InsiderNJ Legal Analyist Joe Hayden: Comey Book a Double-Edged Sword

Veteran defense attorney Joe Hayden says that given the limitations Special Counsel Robert Mueller put on his testimony and the logistical challenges of the questioning, the House Judiciary Committee hearings accomplished as much as was realistically possible to inform the public and confirm the high points of the Mueller Report.

Veteran defense attorney Joe Hayden, legal analyst for InsiderNJ, said he believes the forthcoming book by former FBI Director James Comey has the potential to do more harm than good to the work of Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller, who is investigating President Donald J. Trump.

“I think Comey’s book is a double-edged sword for Mueller,” Hayden said. “On the one hand, Comey tells a compelling story he has an impressive demeanor, and he has corroboration – but there sure is a downside.”

The downside is that the book doesn’t exactly cast Comey as the classically detached, just-the-facts-ma’am law enforcement source.

“The book deal suggests he has a financial interest,” Hayden said. “Some of the comments, like those about Trump’s hands and his appearance, made him look petty and unprofessional. Certainly I can’t believe Mueller is happy about the book. If he [Comey] testifies, a skilled cross-examiner would be able to ask him, ‘what was the advance for the book deal?’ and ‘how much do you intend to realize from the sale of the book?’ and would try to suggest that he’s trying to monetize the book.”

The book reinforces the cold-eyed independence of Mueller, Hayden added, “but makes a critical witness vulnerable. No litigator wants their star witness to be doing this. It’s a double-edged sword.”

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