As soon as I heard the news this morning of Andrew Breitbart’s sudden death today at age 43, I thought of Joel Pollak, the Harvard College and Law School graduate who left Skokie, where he was raised and attended Niles North, to go to Los Angeles to serve as editor-in-chief and in-house counsel for Breitbart.com.
I wrote about Pollak, 34—he now lives with his wife and baby daughter in Santa Monica—when he was running against Jan Schakowsky for Congress in the 9th District, and I covered a related fundraiser for him at which the guest of honor was his mentor, Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz.
I asked Pollak, who has become a key player in the Breitbart operation, for details of his boss’s death—the conspiracy theories are brewing—and he said that he couldn’t say much now. We agreed to talk next week: “I don’t want to make the story about myself.” He did say it was “out of the blue,” totally unexpected. When I asked him if the website Breitbart.com would continue, he said, “Yes, yes, it’ll go on in a big way.”
In a conversation last September Pollak told me that Andrew Breitbart had taken note of his campaign for congress, and after a “15 second” conversation in a social setting, Breitbart had contacted him and first asked him to come work for him as in-house counsel. Soon thereafter Pollak took over as editor in chief of Breitbart.com. He oversees the editors, looks at posts that could potentially cause legal problems, and writes several posts a week for the site’s “Big” blogs.
Pollak told me last September that he was involved in the Anthony Weiner saga/scandal. He added that there will be a chapter on Weiner in Breitbart’s next book. “Andrew is going to be writing a new version of his book adding a chapter about the Weinergate saga and he will tell that part of the story in his book.” (Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World! was published last April.) That book, presumably, will now be published posthumously.
Photograph: markn3tel (CC by 2.0)