Is Jay McCloskey the Right Choice for U.S. Attorney?

Jay McCloskey, a former defender of oxycontin and its manufacturer, is being considered for the position of U.S. Attorney in Maine.  Marianne Skolek and others are raising questions about this.

Before we turn to Jay McCloskey, let’s review where we are on this oxycontin problem in Washington.   We talked in earlier posts about the rash of pharmacy robberies in Washington and how the company that manufactured oxycontin plead guilty to a felony and was fined over $600 million.  Purdue Pharma illegally marketed oxycontin as a safer alternative to percocet and vicodin, and told doctors that oxycontin posed a lower addiction risk than those drugs.   See earlier posts here, and here.   Part of the way that Purdue Pharma’s executives avoided jail time was by paying former prosecutors, like Rudy Giuliani, over a million dollars to go lobby the federal prosecutor that was prosecuting Purdue Pharma.  Another “consultant” for Purdue Pharma was attorney Jay P. McCloskey, who is now under consideration as a potential appointment U.S. Attorney in Maine.  I heard about this story through Marianne Skolek’s column in the  Marianne Skolek remembers McCloskey well.  The consideration of Jay McCloskey as a prosecutor is raising eyebrows among people who remember his role in defending Purdue Pharma.

Jay McCloskey used to work as a federal prosecutor in Maine, and witnessed the ravishes of oxycontin on local residents.  But later when hired as a consultant to Purdue Pharma, he defended the company.  See his testimony.  Jay McCloskey suggested the following strategy for defending the company: “You need to have somebody who has clout to get in the door to legitimately make your presentation” (meaning Giuliani apparently)- see story.  The irony of Jay McCloskey defending Purdue Pharma as a criminal defendant wasn’t missed on the local Maine papers who quoted him as saying he had “no regrets”.

By all accounts, Purdue Pharma got off pretty easily in their plea bargain with federal prosecutors.  Even the judge noted this.  Shouldn’t prosecutors strive to treat defendants fairly?  Defendants with better financial resources always seem to do better in this country.  Shouldn’t Jay McCloskey have to explain his position to the people of Maine?

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Steve Graham is a criminal defense lawyer, and he splits his time between Spokane and Seattle, Washington. Visit his website by clicking:
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