padilla1.JPGA few months ago, FDL friend Rick Perlstein (now blogging at The Big Con ) asked me to join him and a friend for lunch. The friend turned out to be Lew Koch, an award winning investigative reporter.  As we chatted, I learned that Lew has been following – as only a real reporter can – the Jose Padilla case and his piece examining whether Padilla could have made a "dirty bomb"  was carried in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists (pdf). 

Lew is also – lucky for us – a dedicated reader of Firedoglake – and after some cajoling, we got him to agree to cover the Padilla trial for us. His posts on the trial will run at 9PM ET on Wednesdays and 7PM ET on Fridays plus he'll let us know if there's a breaking development in between. This week Lew is in Miami covering the opening arguments and getting the lay of the land. Since the trial is expected to take months, we're not able to keep Lew on the scene but he's got amazing contacts on this case and will be keeping us all well informed.

Let me tell you a bit about Lew. An investigative reporter for over 30 years, Lew studied with Saul Alinsky and was one of the founding editors of the Chicago Journalism Review, the first journalism review owned and operated by working journalists, founded to criticize the media. He directed the Urban Journalism Fellowship Program at the University of Chicago in the 70's, broke the news of the murder of Black Panther Fred Hampton (risking his job with NBC News in the process) and produced a three hour documentary as well as a one hour special based on his reporting from the 1968 Chicago Democratic Convention. The first recipient of the Jacob Scher Award, Chicago's highest awards for investigative journalism and community service, Lew became the first reporter to win this recognition twice.  More recently, he's done a great job covering the cyber world as a Special Correspondent for CyberWire Dispatch, the listserve founded by Brock Meeks (which was brilliant).

Lew's spidey senses (as Jane would say) went into overdrive when he saw "a south side jamoke" being charged with being a terrorist mastermind and he's been tireless chasing this story ever since. With contacts ranging from his years of covering Chicago in the streets to his contacts with legal experts and scientists, Lew's been preparing for this story since the original arrest.

Warren Richey of the Christian Science Monitor is noting that Reporters face unusual limits at Padilla terror trial which does not bode well for the MSM coverage. Having Lew take on this story for us will give Firepups a chance to learn the real story as the trial moves forward.  

Let's welcome Lew to our team – he's in court today but Lew will join us during his regular posts and also welcomes comments and discussion at lew dot koch at gmail dot com.