A big gift for Bybee

Latham & Watkins' Maureen Mahon­ey took on a major assignment when she agreed to represent Jay Bybee, a federal appellate judge who was accused of violating ethics rules for his work at the U.S. Department of Justice on so-called "torture memos." Newly released records show just how big the assignment was.

From 2007 to 2010, Bybee accepted legal and consulting help totaling $3.4 million as he fought off allegations that he authorized torture, according to financial disclosure reports. Nearly all the assistance, $3,251,893, came from Los Angeles-based Latham, whose lawyers used to appear before Bybee in the courtrooms of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.

Experts on judicial ethics said they could not recall another federal judge receiving so large a benefit. Although the fact that Latham represented Bybee has been widely reported since 2009, the dollar value of the work had not been reported.

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