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Liman, Arthur L.


LIMAN, ARTHUR L. (1932–1997), U.S. lawyer. Born in New York City, Liman grew up in a suburb, Lawrence, L.I. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard and then from Yale Law School, where he was first in his graduating class. Soon after he became an associate at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton … Garrison, a firm with ties to the Democratic Party. Liman was considered a masterly legal strategist who represented both corporate tycoons and scalawags but made his public mark investigating pivotal events like the Iran-contra affair and the prison uprising in Attica, N.Y. Liman occupied the public stage in the summer of 1987 when he was chief counsel to the Senate committee investigating the Reagan administration's arms-for-hostage scheme known as the Iran-contra affair. On live television Liman jousted with Lieut. Col. Oliver L. North and other witnesses. The scandal centered on the sale of United States arms to Iran in the mid-1980s to obtain the release of American hostages in Lebanon. The sale, which involved diverting some of the profits to Nicaraguan contra insurgents, was done clandestinely and in violation of stated American policy. Liman was considered a master of cross-examination, a litigator with total recall of intricate details and supreme self-assurance. His blue-chip clients at Paul Weiss included Time-Warner, GAF, Weyerhaeuser, Pennzoil, Heinz, Continental Grain, CBS, and Calvin Klein. He also represented the fugitive financier Robert L. Vesco, Dennis B. Levine, a convicted Wall Street inside trader, and Michael R. *Milken, who admitted violating Federal securities law. Liman earlier was chief counsel to a New York State panel that spent a year investigating the inmate rebellion at Attica state prison, in which 43 inmates and guards were killed during four days of rioting and hostage-taking in September 1971. His commission issued a 470-page report that concluded that an assault by state troopers to recapture the prison, ordered by Gov. Nelson A. Rockefeller, was ill-considered and far too harsh, leading to needless loss of life. It was published in book form and was so well written that it was nominated for a National Book Award.

[Stewart Kampel (2nd ed.)]

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