Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Pittsburgh blog-dom is agog over the developments in Lamargate, specifically the news today that local Blogger Bram was interviewed by staff of the US Attorney and asundry legal begals over his role in bringing certain things to light. I have commented on the whole situation before in Constant Bearing Decreasing Range. I have also said this before, but as a general rule: interview with US Attorney = need lawyer. I don't care if one thinks they are as guilt-free as Mother Theresa, it's a good idea to have counsel with you when being interviewed by Federal agents. Do I need to start up a collection for Bram? Someone ought to at least register as a domain.

But some out of the way thoughts on the article in the PG. Just the semantics of refering to Bram as a "local blogger" without much explanation. Yes, I know anyone reading this is aware of what a blogger is, but I wonder what percentage of the PG readership is. My mother is a regular PG reader, and much like many I suspect she has no idea what a blogger is.

Further, Bram has been pretty up front in his role in all of this to date, or at least I think he has. What was there to interview him for an hour over. Probably a lot of background stuff they had to go over just for due diligence's sake. What is unclear to me from the PG story is whether Bram was brought in as part of something having to do with the Lamargate at all. A Housing Authority lawyer is reported to have been there. It is not inconceivable that his has little to do with Lamargate but more with issues involving the Housing Authority. Who knows at this point?


Blogger Bram Reichbaum said...

People have been giving me options to explore for legal counsel all day. Apparently there is one federal program that will fund defense out of restitution in cases of corruption, et cetera. As soon as I get the facts straight, I'll blog about it so *everyone* knows that such an option exists. And yes, I'm exploring.

Watch Ch. 4 tonight. I wasn't exactly "brought in" quite as a quick skim of today's P-G story might suggest. Other than that, I shared as much as I felt like sharing about the meeting itself, so I'm gonna start "no commenting" on the details for obvious reasons.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008 4:33:00 PM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

I think the 'no comment' plan would be the first thing a lawyer would advise.

but the PG follow up story has some direct quotes from Ford's attorney saying that he is not a target of an investigation. So whatever Bram was interviewed for, it was not about the Larmar signs in and of themselves at all is the only conclusion I have. That logic then leads to some bigger unknowns. The connection between HUD allegations and Ford back to Bram as blogger is not obvious on the surface... I could conjecture on what they were fishing for by bringing in Bram....

Wednesday, July 16, 2008 5:23:00 PM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

hmm.. the wtae version says Bram initiated contact with the US Attorney's office. If so, it may not be fair to say that whatever they are doing has much to do with any blog comments anywhere. Does that mean they never reached out to Bram at all?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008 6:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Quite agree Chris--being interviewed by the feds is never a good thing, despite the limelight. And to take it a step further, Bram's interview could chill future investigative blogging. After the burghosphere digests the reality of Bram's burden--further interviews and depositions, court testimony, lost time, financial costs, etc.--few will be willing to dig up and trumpet a scoop. It's tough being a martyr. Better to pass off the goods to the PG and be satisfied with telling your friends down at the pub how Rich Lord wouldn't have won that latest Golden Quill without your help.

Thursday, July 17, 2008 9:14:00 AM  
Blogger Bram Reichbaum said...

Anon, I can't honestly deny that "the limelight" (such as it is) played some tertiary role in my decision-making. However, sometimes the right move is the right move is the right move, and as far as "lost time, financial costs, etc." ... let us just say that's another reason I was in a decent position to do what I did. I do think on balance it will do more to encourage investigative blogging than otherwise; and if it provides some cautionary notes, well that will be useful to future travelers as well.

And I did in the end "pass off the goods to Rich Lord" -- you'll notice I elected not to use my interview to score a scoop for the Comet.

Sunday, July 20, 2008 10:16:00 PM  

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