FRANKFORT — A partner in the Washington, D.C., law firm that represented former President Clinton in his impeachment trial has joined the legal team defending Gov. Paul Patton against accusations made by a Western Kentucky nursing home operator.
Gerald Feffer is a partner in the Williams & Connolly firm. He did not represent Clinton in his impeachment trial, but his clients have included the Church of Scientology and New York hotelier Leona Helmsley.
Louisville attorney Sheryl Snyder, who represents Patton, said he recommended Feffer to the governor.
"He's just first-rate in his area," said Snyder, who said Feffer's specialty is defending clients in federal criminal investigations.
Tina Conner alleged in a lawsuit filed last month that during a two-year affair with Patton she won special favors, and that after she broke off contact he retaliated by having state inspectors crack down on her nursing home. Patton has admitted the affair but insisted he never misused his powers to help or harm Conner.
The FBI and Kentucky attorney general's office are conducting a joint investigation of Conner's charges. The Executive Branch Ethics Commission is investigating whether Patton violated the state ethics code.
Conner's attorney, Fred Radolovich of Louisville, said, "I have the utmost respect for the Williams & Connolly law firm. ... If I was in trouble that's where I would go for help. I look forward to the challenge."
Feffer and Snyder conferred Monday with Patton in the governor's office. Feffer did not return calls Tuesday.
Feffer joins Snyder and Cincinnati attorney Debbie Adams on Patton's legal team.
"Jerry has the expertise in dealing with the federal prosecutors," Snyder said. "I got Debbie Adams involved because of her expertise in sexual harassment. And my expertise has more to do with the governmental immunity and defamation and those issues that I've handled over the years."
Feffer is a former deputy assistant attorney general in the U.S. Justice Department's Tax Division. The law firm's Web site says Feffer "has a nationwide white-collar criminal defense practice, including trials and government investigations throughout the country."
Conner's lawsuit names Patton and the state as defendants. Snyder said Feffer is working only for Patton, not the state.