William H. Ginsburg, a successful medical malpractice attorney who drew criticism as an incompetent after he agreed to represent Monica Lewinsky, has died. He was 70.
Ginsburg died Monday at his home in Sherman Oaks, The Los Angeles Times reported. The cause was cancer, his daughter-in-law, Virginia Ginsburg, told the newspaper.
Ginsburg was a senior partner in Ginsburg, Stephan, Oringher & Richman, a Beverly Hills medical malpractice firm, where he had a sterling track record defending unpopular clients.
Ginsburg defended the doctor for Loyola Marymount University basketball star Hank Gathers, who died of a heart disorder after being cleared to play. He also represented Liberace's doctor when he ws accused of covering up his cause of death.
"He was a superb jury trial lawyer," Los Angeles attorney George Stephan, who worked with Ginsburg for 25 years, told The Times. "His cases were very difficult ... but he was just very insightful about what was important to the jurors and the justice system."
Ginsburg's longtime friendship with Lewinsky's physician father landed him in the middle of the biggest scandal to hit Washington since Watergate. Lewinsky was the former White House intern who found herself in legal jeopardy for allegedly lying under oath about having sex with President Bill Clinton.
Shortly after the scandal broke in January 1998, Ginsburg agreed to represent her. But he soon became a target himself, with prominent attorneys accusing him of missteps, including the failure to secure immunity for his client.
Ginsburg said he would have relished the chance to take on independent counsel Kenneth Starr in front of the public and a jury, The Times reported. But after half a year in the media glare, he turned Lewinsky over to a new defense team and returned to his private practice, seemingly unruffled by attacks on his legal competence.
"Bah, humbug!" he said in a 1998 Los Angeles Times interview. "After you have handled a few high-profile and high-pressure jury trials, then come back and comment. Until then, may I suggest that you curb your tongues and your criticism."
Ginsburg is survived by his wife, three children, his mother, a brother and two grandchildren. No funeral plans were announced.