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Manatt again - American law firm claims it got US$15,000 more

Phillips renews call for enquiry into Manatt issue

BY ALICIA DUNKLEY Senior staff reporter dunkleya@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, July 15, 2010

THE Government of Jamaica yesterday remained mum over the latest claims by
American law firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips that the State paid it US$15,000 more for
lobbying work on its behalf than was previously disclosed.

Manatt, Phelps & Phillips is the same law firm that Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) affiliates
reportedly hired, after being given approval by Prime Minister Bruce Golding, to lobby
the United States government on the extradition request for former West Kingston 'don'
Christopher 'Dudus' Coke, which was made last August.
Phillips... "It is clear that the Government has not been telling the
country all the facts. It is clear that we are still being treated to a
cover-up of sorts,"
2/2

Prior to an admission by Golding in May this year that he had sanctioned the initiative,
the Government had insisted that no arrangement was reached between itself and the
firm. It, however, said that solicitor general Douglas Leys met with representatives of
Manatt, Phelps & Phillips at the invitation of attorney-at-law Harold Brady but merely for
"exploratory discussions" contrary to the firm said. It also said that any money which had
changed hands was through a link between Brady and the firm.

But in a new Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) filing with the Justice
Department, Manatt said it had got $15,000 more than the US$49,892.62 that was
originally disclosed.

According to the 24-page supplemental filing dated June 30, the activities done under the
firm's agreement with Jamaica involved consultations with Molly Warlow, director of the
Justice Department's Office of International Affairs, about extradition matters.

Particularly, the filing states that Manatt lawyers met with Warlow on December 17,
2009, to thrash out "extradition treaty process requirements". The filing made no mention
of Coke.

Like in previous FARA filings, Manatt maintains that it "represented the Government of
Jamaica in the US regarding existing political and economic matters, including existing
treaty agreements between Jamaica and the US", until its engagement was terminated on
February 8.

When contacted yesterday, JLP general secretary Karl Samuda said that he was unaware
of the firm's latest claims.

"I can't help you at all, I am on my way to China, I am not in a position to comment. I
don't know anything about what you're talking about. Call somebody in the JLP, call Mr
Brady," Samuda said.

Information Minister Daryl Vaz, in the meanwhile, said that he was at a community
meeting in his constituency but promised to 'investigate' the matter on his return to
Kingston.

Repeated calls to Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Kenneth Baugh
went unanswered as well as to the JLP's public relations chairman, Andrew Holness.

But the disclosure has forced People's National Party's Dr Peter Phillips, who was the
first to bring the Government's involvement with the firm to the attention of the
Parliament in March of this year, to reiterate his call for a commission of enquiry into the
matter.
"With relation to Manatt, Phelps and Phillips and the other matters arising from the
extradition of Mr Coke and the handling of that request, we need a properly appointed
commission of enquiry. It is clear that the Government has not been telling the country all
the facts. It is clear that we are still being treated to a cover-up of sorts," Dr Phillips told
the Observer last night.

He said that the Opposition was not ruling out bringing a resolution to Parliament to
cement this call.

"It is not going to be a matter that goes away. More facts and matters are going to come
out. It is not a private matter that can just rest with Mr Golding in consideration of the
fortunes of the JLP," he noted.

In addition he said that matters, such as whether "monies were still owed", the terms of
reference given to Manatt, Phelps and Phillips and the involvement of Government
officials were yet to be made clear.

"There is a lot to be answered and it can't be just treated with disdain by a contemptuous
government," Dr Phillips said.

It is still unclear whether or not the additional US$15,000 had also been paid by
contributors to the party as said by the prime minister in relation to the source of the
payment of the previous US$49,000.

The matter of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips' involvement emerged, following attempts by the
US government to have Coke extradited, and subsequent efforts by the Jamaican
Government to delay the process, citing several reasons, among them the illegal gathering
of information by US authorities in respect of the extradition request.

Coke was captured last month and flown to the US to face drug-trafficking and gun-
related charges, after he waived his right to an extradition hearing in Jamaica. He is being
kept in a New York detention centre, pending trial.

If he is convicted of the charges, Coke could spend the rest of his life in prison.