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Honor Among Lawyers

Oh, I’m so confused….

It is accepted as fact in New Mexico that former, fired and disgruntled U.S. Attorney David Iglesias served as the inspiration for the Tom Cruise character in a A Few Good Men. More than one local story has used it to bring a little bit of Hollywood to their coverage of Mr. Iglesias’ firing for performance reasons:

After graduating from the University of New Mexico School of Law, Iglesias became a Navy judge advocate general. Early in his career, he was assigned to defend court-martialed sailors at the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. There, his involvement in a hazing case became the basis for Tom Cruise’s character in “A Few Good Men.”

But, here is where it gets weird. Former GOP State Party Chairman John Dendahl recently had a letter published (subscription) in the Albuquerque Journal where he points out that Mr. Iglesias is not alone in his claim to fame:

Political campaigns being what they are, we were pleased to tout Iglesias’ story that he was the dauntless Navy court-martial prosecutor portrayed by Tom Cruise in the movie “A Few Good Men.” Now I find sources, including Wikipedia, revealing the Tom Cruise character to be another Navy lawyer, Don Marcari, currently in private practice in Virginia. But the Cruise-plays-Iglesias myth lives on, adding gloss to the voluminous 2007 press Iglesias has attracted to obscure his justified firing.

Iglesias’ résumé needs corroboration. Pending that, I’m reminded of Bill Richardson’s claim of having been drafted to play major league baseball, debunked— but only after about 40 years.

It often takes the truth too long to catch up with a well-told lie.

So, I did a little bit of digging, and sure enough, there is another lawyer out there claiming to be the inspiration for A Few Good Men:

Don first gained national attention when his exploits as a young defense attorney with the U.S. Navy JAG Corp became the basis for the motion picture “A Few Good Men.” For the last 19 years, Don has been fighting for injured people throughout North Carolina and Virginia. His skill in the courtroom has lead to his selection to the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association Board of Governors and the Ethics & Professionalism Committee.

Now who am I supposed to believe? The trial lawyer or the former U.S. Attorney with a well-documented history of honing his performance.