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SMC Speaker Report: Barbara McQuade

Barbara McQuade and President Ken Mokray

Our luncheon speaker on October 8th was Barbara McQuade, the former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan. She is currently a professor of law at the University of Michigan Law School and a legal analyst for NBC News and MSNBC.

Barbara began by talking about whistleblowers and the Whistleblower Protection Act, a federal law that protects whistleblowers who work for the US government and report possible wrongdoing. The law is intended to protect whistleblowers from retaliation such as firing, demotion or reassignment, but only if their claims are credible and raise an urgent concern. Such protections are important to discourage the leaking government secrets to the press. Barbara cited a number of well-known leakers, such as Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning, Reality Winner, and Julian Assange and described how leaking classified documents could damage national security. She mentioned that established media outlets had declined to publish such documents but several internet sites such as WikiLeaks had no such compunctions.  Barbara had a security clearance while serving as US Attorney and prosecuted cases involving terrorism financing, foreign agents, and export violations, so she was able to discuss the different levels of classified documents.

Barbara stayed for a lengthy question and answer session that covered a number of issues, including the current impeachment proceeding. She discussed the elements of the crime of extortion and how it was important in the federal prosecution of Kwame Kilpatrick that she headed in Detroit. Barbara also touched on topics such as the power of Congress to investigate the President, the chance that a President could be prosecuted after leaving office, how she uses remote studios to appear on TV, how experts are compensated by TV networks, and the Michigan Innocence Clinic at Michigan Law School.

Oct 8th Meeting Speaker Barbara McQuade

Barbara McQuade, former US Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan

Barbara McQuadeBarbara L. McQuade is the former United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan. As part of President Trump’s 2017 dismissal of U.S. attorneys, she stepped down in March 2017.[1] She is currently a professor of law at the University of Michigan Law School,[2] and a legal analyst for NBC News and MSNBC.[3]

Born in Detroit, McQuade received her A.B. degree in 1987 from the University of Michigan and her J.D. degree in 1991 from the University of Michigan Law School. Before joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office, McQuade practiced law at the firm of Butzel Long in Detroit, and served as a law clerk for Hon. Bernard A. Friedman on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

McQuade was an assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of Michigan from 1998 until becoming U.S. Attorney in that same district. She was also a professor of law at University of Detroit Mercy School of Law from 2003-2009.

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