Here’s a story that has all the elements: a crusading solo, a muckraking lawyer-turned-journalist, an FBI cover-up, and even a tie-in to Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan.

Victor J. Garo is the kind of lawyer the rest of us only hope to be. This Medford, Mass., solo devoted some 30 years of his career, without a penny of compensation, to a fight to prove the innocence of his client, Joe Salvati, a man who spent nearly 30 years in prison for a murder he did not commit.

Dan Rea is also a lawyer, but one who chose a career in journalism over law practice. Yet he played an equally important role in helping to expose Salvati’s wrongful conviction and free him from prison. From the moment he first heard about the case, he dug and dug and helped expose a conspiracy even Grisham couldn’t make up.

The case pit Garo and Rea against a conspiracy that implicated the FBI, local police and local prosecutors in framing Salvati in order to protect their own underworld informants.

Ultimately, a federal judge awarded Garo’s client more than $30 million for the wrong that was done to him and his family. Last week, Solicitor General Elena Kagan let the deadline pass for appealing that award to the Supreme Court.

On this week’s Lawyer2Lawyer podcast, hear Garo and Rea share their stories firsthand. They’ll make you proud to be a lawyer.

Photo of Bob Ambrogi Bob Ambrogi

Bob is a lawyer, veteran legal journalist, and award-winning blogger and podcaster. In 2011, he was named to the inaugural Fastcase 50, honoring “the law’s smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries and leaders.” Earlier in his career, he was editor-in-chief of several legal publications, including The National Law Journal, and editorial director of ALM’s Litigation Services Division.