In two filings, Defense has announced 1) the departure of RJR/Jones Day lawyer Jonathan Redgrave, and 2) the transfer of his position as liaison counsel to the equally affable Tom Frederick of Philip Morris.
Mr. Redgrave was an interesting participant in the proceedings. I always thought of him as the Defense’s social director, working to organize and disentangle everyone’s schedules, to keep the wheels well-oiled and the communications free-flowing. In his forties, he was large enough to shop at least occasionally at the Big and Tall shop. He seemed slightly out of shape, but still had a full mane of dark hair.
At first, I was very impressed with his humorous ripostes at the podium. Seldom in real life do you run across someone with a true sense of wit, and this Mr. Redgrave undeniably possessed. At one point, he made Judge Kessler positively burst out laughing.
As the weeks went on, however, it was clear that Mr. Redgrave’s talent was such that he could always come up on-the-spot with a trenchant witticism. The predictability itself became a bit tiresome, a la Robin Williams–even if I did feel Mr. Redgrave wasn’t really showing off, just trying to give the proceedings a bit of levity.
Then I began to notice Mr. Redgrave’s face in repose, as it sank naturally into a kind of deep gravitas; to me, his face at these times seemed to bespeak an aching, thoughtful sorrow. In interaction with others, he brightened at once, effortlessly; alone, his face darkened–almost alarmingly. Perhaps this is all just Mr. Redgrave’s basic physiognomy; still, I began to think he might be trying to lighten the proceedings less for the Court than for himself.
Then, on Feb. 9–Ash Wednesday–I saw by his forehead that he is a practicing Catholic.
I attribute my own relatively strong sense of capital-lettered Right and Wrong in large part to my legacy of having been raised a Catholic–even if by fairly liberal ecclesiastic orders. To this day I remain shocked when I see Catholics take positions I feel are outside the Church’s most basic tenets. It was worse in childhood. I well remember seeing on TV racists in Louisiana rioting viciously against civil rights for blacks. “But–but–” I sputtered to my mom, “But they’re Catholics!”
Intellectually, I’ve lost that charming naivete; but not emotionally. As I saw the 3 Defense lawyers* with ashes on their foreheads that Wednesday morning, yes, I indeed sputtered to myself, “But–but–! But they’re Catholics!”
Anyway, since for the last year I’ve been intrigued and moved by Mr. Redgrave’s wit and (perhaps) his secret sorrow, it’s with a pang of wonder that I see him leave, moving on with his own spiritual journey–a journey which, for the thoughtful, must necessarily never be easy.
* For those keeping score, 2 of the DOJ lawyers were also ash-daubed. Considering the number of lawyers on each side, you could call it even, percentage-wise.