News & Politics

Gilbert Arenas Finally Makes a Good Decision!

Kenneth Wainstein. Photograph by Chris Leaman.

Washington Wizards star Gilbert Arenas isn’t scoring many points for good judgment. In addition to being investigated for bringing handguns into the Wizards locker room, his careless Twitter musings after the story broke—this from January 1: “i wake up this morning and seen i was the new JOHN WAYNE”—probably factored into the NBA’s decision to suspend him.

But Arenas may have made one good choice. Despite his own erratic behavior, he has turned to one of Washington’s steadiest legal hands, Kenneth Wainstein, a partner in the DC office of O’Melveny & Myers.

Even in a profession filled with straight arrows, Wainstein—who has a penchant for blue ties—stands out. He certainly knows his way around the US Attorney’s office: He was US Attorney for DC from 2004 to 2006, during which he led the case against Riggs Bank over illegal practices.

He also has been an assistant US Attorney in both DC and the storied Southern District of New York as well as chief of staff to FBI director Robert Mueller. Wainstein was the first assistant attorney general for national security at the Justice Department before becoming Homeland Security adviser to President George W. Bush in 2008.

Since joining O’Melveny, just a few blocks from his old West Wing office, Wainstein has been building a practice as a leader in the emerging subject of national-security law.

He has never represented an athlete before. In recent years, Howrey partner Billy Martin—who previously practiced at Sutherland Asbill & Brennan—has been DC’s go-to athlete defender. Martin represented ex–Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick during his 2007 criminal trial for running a dogfighting ring and also represented former New Jersey Nets player Jayson Williams at his aggravated-manslaughter trial.

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Senior Editor

Marisa M. Kashino joined Washingtonian in 2009 and was a senior editor until 2022.