Its reputation in tatters, the Blackwater private military firm has hired "a bipartisan stable of big-name Washington lawyers, lobbyists and press advisers," report John Broder and James Risen. In addition to the Burson-Marsteller PR firm, the hired guns who have worked for Blackwater include Kenneth D. Starr (previously famous for his Whitewater prosecution of Bill Clinton); White House counsel Fred F. Fielding; PR specialist Mark Corallo; and lobbyist Paul Behrends, who previously worked at the Alexander Strategy Group, a Republican firm with close ties to the jailed lobbyist Jack Abramoff. "Blackwater is pursuing a bold legal strategy," report Broder and Risen, "going so far in a North Carolina case as to seek a gag order on the lawyers for the families of four Blackwater employees killed in an ambush in Falluja in 2004. The company argues that the dead men had signed contracts that prohibited them from talking to the press about Blackwater and that this restriction extended to their lawyers and their estates even after death."
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