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Doug Gamble- Contributor

Doug Gamble is a former writer for President Ronald Reagan and resides in Carmel. [go to Gamble index]

Please, Gloria Allred, Just Go Away
She represents the worst in celebrity ambulance-chasing and cable TV

[Doug Gamble] 11/26/03

To paraphrase an old joke, if you want to avoid injury, don't ever get between Gloria Allred and a TV camera.

The Los Angeles-based lawyer, whose credo seems to be, "It is better to be obnoxious and famous than not to be noticed at all," is impossible for viewers of cable TV interview shows to avoid. It is nothing for Allred, with her forced grin and grating manner, to pop up on MSNBC, CNN and the Fox News Channel all on the same night.

She is the poster woman for a society where celebrity has become precious currency, and is representative of a breed of lawyers famous for being famous rather than for accomplishments in the courtroom. Her current vehicle on the fame freeway is her representation of Amber Frey, a key player in the Scott Peterson murder trial in Modesto, although Allred is also now trying to inject herself into the Michael Jackson case. Most people find it difficult to understand why Frey, who is neither being charged nor sued, needs a lawyer, but publicity is presumably the reason this lawyer needs Frey.

Allred's involvement in the Peterson case combined with her ubiquitous media presence talking about it is like a football coach being allowed to do self-serving color commentary in the broadcast booth while his team is on the field. Since Allred apparently has no sense of shame that would keep her from this dual role, the all-news channels should have disqualified her. They won't, of course, because they prize anyone who looks at things with an open mouth.

Allred insists she doesn't solicit clients like Frey, that they seek her out. If they do, it's because her fame guarantees she doesn't have to ambulance-chase. All Allred all the time on the cable news channels assures her a continued high profile and amounts to millions of dollars worth of free advertising.

While most lawyers toil unnoticed, the media-savvy Allred seems to choose quirky cases that guarantee publicity. If she were doing the famous Tom Jode soliloquy from The Grapes of Wrath, it would be along the lines of, "Where there's a woman told by a restaurant manager that she can't breast-feed at her table, I'll be there. Where there's a girl not allowed to join the Boy Scouts, I'll be there. Where there's a pregnant actress dropped by a TV show because the character she plays is not supposed to be pregnant, I'll be there. And where there's a TV camera anyplace in the vicinity, I'll be there, too."

At least some of Allred's animosity toward another celebrity lawyer, Mark Geragos, could be attributed to her resentment of Geragos' many attention-garnering cases. When not in Modesto pretending Peterson is innocent, Geragos is a leading L.A. limousine-chaser with clients such as Robert Downey Jr., Winona Ryder and Jackson. He may be temporarily out of sight, however, while he's busy concocting a scenario that has a satanic cult infiltrating Jackson's Neverland ranch and crafting a statement accusing Santa Barbara County sheriff's deputies of planting and tampering with evidence.

It took Allred, temporarily left in Geragos' dust, less than 24 hours to crash the Jackson story, holding a news conference to demand the singer's three children be removed from his custody.

For every loudmouth, egomaniacal lawyer for whom TV exposure is oxygen, there are many more who quietly go about the business of practicing law far away from the media glare. Even Jerry Curry, the Simi Valley lawyer shot several times outside the Van Nuys courthouse, made just a brief statement upon leaving the hospital and hasn't been heard from since. Imagine how Allred or Geragos would milk such an incident.

The lawyers who labor in anonymity must be ashamed of their brothers and sisters whose lust for publicity cheapens the legal process, brings scorn upon their profession and increases public cynicism about the justice system.

Doug Gamble has written for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush and other prominent Republicans.

Copyright 2003 Doug Gamble




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