Brendan Sullivan

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Brendan Sullivan
Born (1942-03-11) March 11, 1942 (age 72)
Providence, Rhode Island
Nationality United States
Alma mater Georgetown University
Occupation Lawyer
Employer Williams & Connolly

Brendan V. Sullivan, Jr. (born March 11, 1942 , Providence, Rhode Island) is a senior partner of the law firm Williams & Connolly. Sullivan is probably best known for the role he served, in the late 1980s, as defense counsel for United States Marines Lieutenant-Colonel Oliver North in the wake of the Iran-Contra scandal. He also represented former Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Henry Cisneros, Walter Forbes, former chairman of Cendant Corporation, and a number of states against Microsoft.

Education and military career[edit]

Sullivan is a graduate of Georgetown University, where he earned his B.A. in 1964 and J.D. in 1967. He served as a Captain in the United States Army from 1968 to 1969. Although he served as a supply officer, Sullivan became nationally known after he helped defend soldiers charged in the Presidio mutiny.[1]


Sullivan received international media attention in his role as defense counsel to Iran-Contra affair figure Oliver North. During the ensuing congressional hearings, chairman Daniel Inouye suggested that North should speak for himself, because he had wearied of Sullivan's constant objections to questions put to North. Sullivan responded, "Well, sir, I'm not a potted plant. I'm here as the lawyer. That's my job." He also sued Microsoft, on behalf of nine state attorneys general who were unhappy with the federal government's decision to drop the Microsoft antitrust case. He also represented the four Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents involved in the controversial 1992 Ruby Ridge shootout. He defended former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Henry Cisneros against accusations of making false statements to the FBI during a background check. He is the attorney for billionaire chipmaker Henry Nicholas, the founder of Broadcom, who in June, 2008, was charged with violations of both securities and narcotics law. The Washington Post has described Sullivan as a "world class lawyer." He defended U.S. Senator Ted Stevens, in the federal grand jury and court proceedings on seven counts of failing to properly report gifts,[2][3] leading to the Attorney General's dismissal of the indictment during the appeal process.[4]


  • "I'm not a potted plant. I'm here as the lawyer. That's my job."
  • "Internet Explorer, your honor, is the fruit of Microsoft's statutory violations and it should be denied them."
  • "Tapes, as we all know, are very powerful evidence. Tapes that are altered are powerfully misleading."
  • "The fate of no citizen should rest on the testimony of such a man so richly rewarded."
  • "Dismiss it!″

Popular Culture[edit]

Minneapolis band Beat the Clock featured a song on their 1992 Funk Bus album called Brendan V. about Sullivan's role in the Oliver North trial.


  • 1985, White Collar Criminal Practice Grand Jury, Litigation and Administrative Practice Series (Criminal Law Course Handbook No. 137)
  • 1983, Techniques for Dealing with Pending Criminal Charges or Criminal Investigations, Litigation and Administrative Practice Series (Criminal Law Course Handbook Series No. 130)
  • 1981 Grand Jury Proceedings, Litigation and Administrative Practice (Criminal Law Course Handbook Series No. 121)


External links[edit]