Note: This article ran on May 21, and was updated with a response from McDermott, below, on May 22 at 10:45 a.m. ET.
A legal battle between two longtime congressmen has cost the winner $880,000, according to the winner's lawyer.
A federal court ruled earlier this month in favor of House GOP leader John Boehner of Ohio against Rep. Jim McDermott, a veteran Democratic member from Washington State. The case is very much inside-the-beltway stuff. As News Desk explained earlier this month, the dispute was over a tape McDermott had obtained of Boehner discussing an ethics ruling with then Speaker Newt Gingrich and several other members of the Republican leadership. Boehner's complaint alleged that McDermott violated federal law when he disclosed the tape of an "illegally intercepted conversation."
The court ruled on May 1 that there was no First Amendment right "to disclose the tape to the media," a victory for Boehner.
"I think we need to move forward with the determination of attorney's fees and costs," Carvin wrote on May 15. "We believe that the fee issue should be capable of prompt resolution."
In a brief interview, Carvin said: "I don't comment on communications between counsel, but obviously we are entitled to the attorneys' fees. That amount would not be uncommon for a case like this."
Mike DeCesare, McDermott's spokesman, said the office was taking a look at the letter regarding the fees. In a statement, when the federal court ruled on May 1, McDermott said: "Legal counsel will continue to review today's decision. It is premature to speculate on a course of action. We have 90 days to decide whether to appeal this important and unfortunate First Amendment ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court."
Update:In response to the letter from Boehner's lawyer, McDermott's office issued this statement:
"The letter sent by Rep. Boehner's attorney was unexpected, unsolicited and premature. This is a very important case, with significant constitutional issues involved, and for the attorney to the plaintiff to act otherwise is impertinent and unwarranted. We are considering an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court and there are over two months remaining before a decision is required."