Zazi's lawyer earns uncomfortable spotlight time

Days before terror-suspect Najibullah Zazi was arrested, he hired lawyer Arthur Folsom and actually engaged with members of the press rather than shunning them -- an unusual tack in this type of investigation. Now, however, there are increasing indications that the attempts at media spin may have backfired on him, with Folsom coming in plenty o' blame along the way. For instance, a Channel 31 report about Zazi's decision to stick with Folsom is loaded with Monday-morning quarterbacking courtesy of attorney/KHOW radio personality Craig Silverman, who suggested that this onetime DU water-law specialist may be over his head. The piece also included a reminder of an embarrassing factoid that surfaced earlier this week: In June, Folsom was charged with drug possession after a Larimer County deputy discovered marijuana on his boat amid a safety check.

High or not, Folsom understood that he needed help in dealing with the reportorial onslaught coming at him, hiring PR pro Wendy Aiello to act as his liaison. According to her, "Our primary duty is to 'clear the deck', allowing Mr. Folsom to conduct his business." Shortly thereafter, Aiello was identified in the Denver Post as Zazi's spokesman, not Folsom's -- an error the Post corrected this morning. Don't know how many other mistakes have occurred in coverage thus far, but betcha they're voluminous -- and if evidence in Zazi's case is sealed (a likely prospect according to today's Post), the situation is apt to get worse before it gets better.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts