The Lawyer Brett Kavanaugh Hired Is No Stranger To Controversial Cases

by Seth Millstein

According to CNN, President Trump's latest Supreme Court nominee has hired an attorney to help him navigate his confirmation hearings following an allegation of sexual assault. Brett Kavanaugh's lawyer Beth Wilkinson is a notable hire — and not just because she's married to former Meet The Press anchor David Gregory.

Kavanaugh, who Trump tapped to replace former Justice Anthony Kennedy, has been accused of sexually assaulting Dr. Christine Blasey Ford when the two were teenagers. Kavanaugh, who categorically denies the allegation, reportedly hired Wilkinson shortly after Ford went public with her claims.

A former Army captain and graduate of Princeton and the University of Virginia, Wilkinson had a lengthy career in government before working in the private sector. She's served as Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of New York, counsel to the Deputy Attorney General, and Principal Deputy of the Terrorism and Violent Crime Section, according to her official biography.

Wilkinson has made a name for herself in numerous high-profile cases. As one of the prosecutors in the trial of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, Wilkinson successfully argued for McVeigh's execution, describing him as a "traitor [who] deserves to die." As her biography notes, she was also appointed Special Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of Florida to aid in the prosecution of former Panamanian military leader Manuel Noriega. After leaving the public sector, Wilkinson became a founding partner of the Washington D.C. firm Wilkinson Walsh Eskovitz, where she is now.

In 2006, Wilkinson joined Fannie Mae and served in various positions, including general counsel, during her time there. According to the Washington Post, she was brought on to improve the company's relationship with federal regulators; she resigned two years later after Fannie Mae was taken over by the federal government amidst the 2008 financial crisis.

This isn't the first time Wilkinson has taken on a high-profile political figure accused of sexual misconduct as a client. Earlier in the year, she represented former Tennessee congressman Harold Ford Jr., when he was accused of trying to force a female journalist into an elevator after she allegedly declined his invitation for drinks. Ford denied the allegation, and his then-employer, Morgan Stanley, said that it never found evidence to corroborate it. However, Ford was subsequently fired from Morgan Stanley for reasons that remain unclear.

Wilkinson also defended the National Football Association when it was sued by former players who'd suffered from concussions during their time on the field. Over 300 former NFL players joined the lawsuit against the league; however, Wilkinson argued that the players shouldn't be allowed to take the case to court, and attempted to block them from doing so. She was unsuccessful, however, and the NFL ultimately agreed a $1 billion settlement with the injured players.

Although Wilkinson is now defending Trump's latest pick for the Supreme Court, she's far from a partisan: In 2016, she represented several senior aides to Hillary Clinton, Politico reported at the time, when the FBI was investigating Clinton's use of a private email server during her time as Secretary of State.