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Smolla Will Advise Woman on Legal Action Against the Times 

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A former dean of the University of Richmond law school has been hired by Washington lobbyist Vicki Iseman, who is considering a lawsuit against The New York Times over a story questioning her relationship with Sen. John McCain.

“She's retained me for general advice with regard to her dispute with The New York Times,” Rodney Smolla confirms. He declines to comment further.

On Feb. 21, the Times ran a lengthy story focusing on Iseman, a partner with the lobbying firm Alcade and Fay.

“Convinced the relationship had become romantic,” the Times reported, “some of [McCain's] top advisers intervened to protect the candidate from himself — instructing staff members to block the woman's access, privately warning her away and repeatedly confronting him, several people involved in the campaign said on the condition of anonymity.”

Iseman has denied having any kind of inappropriate relationship with McCain and told the National Journal that she believes three of her major clients terminated their relationships with her after the story broke.

Smolla became dean at the University of Richmond's law school in 2003 and left to become dean of Washington and Lee School of Law in 2007. A celebrated First Amendment scholar, Smolla defended the constitutional rights of cross-burners in a 2002 U.S. Supreme Court case, and is author of several books including “Jerry Falwell v. Larry Flynt.”

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