Robert D. Luskin (born January 21, 1950) is an attorney and partner in the law firm of Patton Boggs LLP, specializing in White-collar crime and federal and state government investigations. Luskin is also a lecturer at the University of Virginia School of Law, where he teaches one course each spring in Labor Racketeering.
Luskin is a graduate of Harvard University and Harvard Law School, and a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University. Before attending Harvard Law School, Luskin worked as the Deputy Chief of the Washington Bureau for the Providence Journal. Luskin took a leave of absence in 1984 to work as Senior Speechwriter for the campaign of Geraldine Ferraro. He worked in the US Department of Justice, specializing in Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) enforcement, and helped supervise the ABSCAM investigation of the early 1980s. Since entering private practice, he has represented both witnesses and investigative targets in independent counsel, criminal, and congressional investigations, and has argued before numerous Courts of Appeal and the United States Supreme Court. Luskin is admitted to the bars of the U.S. Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th,7th, 8th, 9th, 11th Circuits, U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
Luskin has represented cabinet secretaries, federal judges and members of Congress.
In 1995, Luskin successfully represented a sitting Federal Judge in a criminal appeal to the Supreme Court, resulting in a landmark case narrowing the construction of the general perjury statute. United States v. Aguilar, 515 U.S. 593 (1995).
Luskin represented White House senior advisor and chief political strategist Karl Rove, representing Rove in the special investigations into the outing of covert operative Valerie Plame's position within the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) as a weapons of mass destruction (WMD) specialist.
In 2004, Luskin successfully represented the Assessor for Orange County, California in a Constitutional tax case involving $5–8 billion. County of Orange v. Bezaire, 11 Cal.Rptr.3d 478 (Cal. Cat. App. 4th Dist., March 26, 2004).
In his 2011 book Tangled Webs: How False Statements are Undermining America, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist James B. Stewart singled out Luskin as a lawyer who, unlike most criminal lawyers, was prepared to be candid with prosecutors, not permit his client to lie, and come forward with information. Stewart wrote further: "These cases also illustrate that criminal defense lawyers have much to answer for. To his credit, Rove's lawyer Robert Luskin promptly revealed a damaging e-mail and had Rove amend his earlier testimiony that he didn't speak to Time's Matt Cooper. But other defense lawyers allowed their clients to lie in circumstances where they knew or should have known they were doing so."
Fee Forfeiture Claims
In 1997, US Attorney Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island accused Luskin of "willful blindness" for accepting $505,125 in gold bars as well as Swiss Wire transfers of $169,000 from Stephen Saccoccia, after Luskin represented Saccoccia post-conviction. Whitehouse argued that Saccoccia's payments to Luskin were related to Saccoccia's broad money-laundering scheme and that the money should be returned to the government. The Court of Appeals for the First Circuit considered Whitehouse's forfeiture claims in two separate opinions and both times ruled that there was no basis to seek forfeitures from Saccoccia's attorneys. United States v. Saccoccia, 433 F.3d 19 (1st Cir. 2005); United States v. Saccoccia, 354 F.3d 9 (1st Cir. 2003).
William Moffitt, VP of the National Association of Defense Lawyers, supported Luskin: "if the case gets a high profile [or] they don't like the lawyer in it, they can immediately open this kind of assault," adding "if you plead your client guilty, they're never going to go after your fee. So there's an incentive here to give the government what it wants." In 1998, Luskin settled with the government, forfeiting $245,000 in fees.
In 1995, Luskin reportedly became the first male lawyer to wear an earring while arguing a case before the Supreme Court. He had his left ear pierced in 1990 and has worn an earring since.
Luskin splits his time between West Tisbury, Washington, D.C., and Atlanta. When in Washington, Luskin often rides his motorcycle to work. When in Atlanta, Luskin, a pilot, will fly.
Luskin is married; he has two sons and two step daughters.
Luskin has been described as a "man of somewhat Neiman-Marxist tastes".
- Official Patton Boggs Biography
- Leiby, Richard (7 December 2005). "The Liberal on Karl Rove's Case". The Washington Post. Retrieved 23 April 2013.
- Ho, Catherine (8 July 2012). "Lance Armstrong's Lawyer is No Stranger to Famous Faces". The Washington Post. Retrieved 23 April 2013.
- Stewart, James B. Tangled webs : how false statements are undermining America : from Martha Stewart to Bernie Madoff. New York: Penguin Press. ISBN 0143120573.
- Burger, Timothy. "DOJ Goes For The Gold". Legal Times. Retrieved 3 July 2011.
- "Sheldon Whitehouse on Civil Rights". http://www.ontheissues.org/domestic/Sheldon_Whitehouse_Civil_Rights.htm.
- Rockoff, Jonathan D. (February 6, 2000). "Minority leaders seek independent inquiry". The Providence Journal. Retrieved 3 July 2011.
- Robert Luskin's Federal Campaign Contributions
- Leiby, Richard (December 7, 2005). "The Liberal on Karl Rove's Case". The Washington Post. Retrieved 3 July 2011.
- Official Biography at Patton Boggs
- The Liberal on Karl Rove's Case
- Robert Luskin Receives 45 Gold Bars From Stolen Assets