SAN FRANCISCO (Legal Newsline)-When House Speaker Nancy Pelosi addresssed the nation's trial lawyers' group Saturday, the media was barred from attending.
Ray De Lorenzi, associate director of communications for the American Association for Justice, said the event is exclusively for members of the national trial lawyers' group.
"No media have ever been allowed at our conventions," he told Legal Newsline. "This is for members only."
Pelosi, a California Democrat, is speaking at the American Association for Justice's annual convention in San Francisco, which has drawn hundreds of plaintiffs' attorneys. The nation's trial lawyers are a key Democratic constituency and major fundraiser for the party.
When asked to speak to a Pelosi staffer at the event, De Lorenzi explained that it is AAJ -- not the congresswoman's office -- that controls access to convention events.
The convention comes at a time when Congress is grappling with such thorny issues as President Barack Obama's push for healthcare reform -- a topic the powerful speaker would all but assuredly address in her speech.
In addition to Pelosi, other members of Congress are slated to speak to the group, but those events are only open to the organization's top donors. It is only Pelosi's address that is open to general AAJ members.
Other officials scheduled to speak in closed session during the convention week are: Democratic U.S. Sens. Barbara Boxer of California, Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Bob Martinez of New Jersey, U.S. Rep. Harry Waxman, D-Calif., and Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, chairman of the Democratic National Committee.