Mr. Yousefzadeh offers a damning report that purports to show that Edwards is no champion of the downtrodden, but a scheming opportunist:
"'During his career of allegedly championing the helpless, he took no pro bono cases.' This failure is especially noteworthy given that the North Carolina bar's rules of professional responsibility state that "The provision of free legal services to those unable to pay reasonable fees continues to be an obligation of each lawyer ...."
Mr. Yousefazdeh's report isn't original, though. It comes courtesy of Professor Bainbridge, who writes:
"...his concern might be more plausible if he has demonstrated such concern in private life. Unfortunately, as the Washington Times reports, 'During his career of allegedly championing the helpless, he took no pro bono cases.'"
Oddly, the good professor doesn't source the quote other than to say it comes from the Washington Times. A little sleuthing turns up not any actual reporting, but an unsigned 2004 Washington Times editorial that contains the quote:
"Mr. Edwards even sued the American National Red Cross three times, winning confidential settlements on claims that HIV had been transmitted through contaminated blood supplies. During his career of allegedly championing the helpless, he took no pro bono cases."
A search of the Washington Times archive doesn't turn up any reporting to support the claim. So where did it come from?
Apparently from this article in the New York Times, that ran 10 days before the editorial. It tells a somewhat different story:
"Another former adversary, James P. Cooney III, who defended a dozen medical malpractice cases brought by Mr. Edwards, agreed that 'he was very selective about his cases.'
'He only took the best cases, and by that I don't mean the ones with the highest damages,' Mr. Cooney said. 'I mean the ones where somebody had done something really bad.'
But Mr. Edwards handled no notable pro bono cases, the typical vehicle for lawyers who want to have a larger impact."
It seems the Washington Times took "no notable pro bono cases" to mean "no pro bono cases at all."
How much pro bono work has Mr. Edwards done in his career? I don't know. Mr. Yousefzadeh doesn't either. Nevertheless, Professor Bainbridge takes the long pass from the Washington Times, revives the bogus report, and dishes to Mr. Yousefazdeh who slams it home.
For those of you keeping score: Washington Times to Bainbridge to Redstate on the play.