Interview: John Walker Lindh's Lawyer

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Courtroom sketch of John Walker Lindh's arraignment

James Brosnahan, the chief lawyer for John Walker Lindh, the American accused of supporting the Taliban, had some harsh words for the U.S. government's conduct after his client's first appearance in court this week.

In an interview with TIME, Brosnahan suggested that the U.S. was breaking with widely accepted international norms in its treatment of Lindh. "My opinion is, I should have been allowed to see him in December," Brosnahan told TIME. Brosnahan says he was unfairly kept away from his client for 54 days. "I think our government is playing with dynamite. He has the right to counsel under the Geneva Convention."

Brosnahan says he met his famous client for the first time this week, in a short session before the hearing this week and in another one just afterwards. Despite Lindh's unpopularity in polls of the U.S. public, and reports suggesting that Brosnahan might have private reservations about representing a client accused of supporting enemies of America, Brosnahan insists he instantly warmed to Lindh. "It was really good," says Brosnahan. "I like him. I enjoyed talking to him. I'm glad to represent him."

Brosnahan says Lindh knew he had a lawyer and so their initial meeting was not a complete surprise to his client. Says Brosnahan: "He knew because they had finally allowed a little information in there?It was good to talk to him finally. I think no one could really understand the amount of adverse publicity that has been poured on his head. I don't think he realized how much he was being attacked."

Lindh was also reunited with his parents for the first time in two years this week. "He was pleased beyond words to see his parents," says Brosnahan. " I think he's glad to be home and he's glad to be in this country. He's a citizen of this country."

It's clear that Brosnahan and his team plan to fight for Lindh in the court of public opinion as much as the courtroom. However, Brosnahan refuses to go into detail about exactly what sort of legal strategy he and his team will employ to defend Lindh in the case. "It would take all the fun out of it," he says.

Brosnahan is clear on this point: he plans to mount a vigorous defense. Says Brosnahan: "We will be bringing many motions of many different kinds."