When Republican Sarah Palin, the soon-to-be-former governor of Alaska, needs advice, she turns to John P. Coale, a Democratic lawyer with an impressive and varied range of connections.
A Bill and Hillary Clinton confidante, and the husband of Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren, Coale has supported numerous Democratic candidates through the years.
In the 1990s, Coale was one of several lawyers who came together as the Castano Group in suing Big Tobacco.
To add clout to their suits, Coale, a regular visitor to the Clinton White House, signed up Hugh Rodham, a lawyer and Hillary Clinton’s brother, to work on the case.
Coale and his colleagues did this, Boyer suggests, to out-brother-in-law Richard “Dickie” Scruggs, the Mississippi lawyer heading up an opposing anti-tobacco lawyers’ group. Scruggs’ wife was the sister of then Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott.
Scruggs’ group got the better of the settlements, though he is now in federal prison, having been convicted of attempting to bribe a judge in another case.
After the tobacco suits, Coale turned his attention to organizing municipalities to sue gun manufacturers.