With their phones ringing off the hook Friday, former Aipac lobbyists (and, we can now add, former defendants) Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman are trying to figure out what next.
Their lawyers celebrated the decision to dismiss the case with a media conference call and a joint statement in which they called for a further public review into why the investigation against the two pro-Israel lobbyists started in the first place.
But before that happens, there is still one issue to settle: money.
Aipac has already paid (after putting up a fight) millions of dollars in legal fees to the attorneys representing Rosen and Weissman. Now the former employees are seeking compensation for their more than four years of unemployment and loss of income since they were fired from the lobby in 2005.
Steve Rosen has filed a civil lawsuit against Aipac, but he expects, as do most observers who are following the case, that the lobby will settle with him before the lawsuit is heard in court.
The only person who had no reason to celebrate Friday was Larry Franklin, the former Pentagon analyst who was charged with providing Rosen and Weissman the information. Franklin had reached a plea agreement with the prosecution early on in the case and had expected his 12.5-year sentence to be reduced significantly after he testifies against Rosen and Weissman. Now, with no testimony needed, he is left at the mercy of the prosecution and the court, when it comes to reducing his prison term. Franklin has not yet begun to serve his sentence.
Nathan Guttman, staff writer, was the Forward’s Washington bureau chief. He joined the staff in 2006 after serving for five years as Washington correspondent for the Israeli dailies Haaretz and The Jerusalem Post. In Israel, he was the features editor for Ha’aretz and chief editor of Channel 1 TV evening news. He was born in Canada and grew up in Israel. He is a graduate of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Rosen and Weissman's Next Act?