Weingarten has represented defendants in just about every major fraud case in the past four years, including Enron's chief accountant, CEOs at WorldCom and HealthSouth and a former general counsel of Tyco International.
A 2002 Business Week article estimated Weingarten's fees run $600 an hour, raising the question of how Owens, whom Weingarten described in court as "son of a utility employee and a pre-natal nurse," can pay the bills.
The work could be pro bono, or at a reduced rate.
A regional trustee for the Naval Academy Alumni Association, William O. Rentz, said he did not know whether an informal group of alumni would be aiding Owens' defense, but that such actions would be in character.
"The alumni would respond to a cause like this," said Rentz, a retired Navy captain who was part of the academy's Class of 1955. "I am not surprised that there are people who want to help. ... There are some wealthy grads out there."
Rentz added: "I think it would be right to do so."
Jo Metcalfe, a spokeswoman for the alumni association, declined to comment on the case.
In April, Duke lacrosse players embroiled in a sexual-assault scandal got financial backing from a group consisting of their parents, school alumni, former players and university boosters, which hired prominent Washington lawyer Robert Bennett.
Owens exhausted his athletic eligibility after completing his senior year, so he apparently is not subject to NCAA restrictions on accepting financial help, experts say.
Like many top defense lawyers, Weingarten learned his trade on the other side of the argument. After graduating from Cornell University and Dickinson Law School in 1975, Weingarten went to work for a Pennsylvania state's attorney's office. But he made his reputation in his next job, as a young lawyer in the U.S. Department of Justice's new Public Integrity Unit, according to Holder, who worked with him there.
One Florida judge whom Weingarten prosecuted was acquitted, but then impeached based on his trial transcript, Holder said. That man is now a congressman; through a spokesman, Rep. Alcee Hastings declined to comment.
At the Justice Department, Weingarten prosecuted cases such as Abscam, a public corruption sting in the 1970s that led to the resignation of a U.S. senator and six congressmen.
Holder recalled a case against a public official they tried together in Pennsylvania where Weingarten modulated his voice carefully, starting out almost yelling and then dropping to a whisper.
"Once he had them engaged he had his voice real low," said Holder. "You could almost see the jury lean forward to hear what he was saying."
A divorced father, Weingarten makes sure to spend time with his son, Ross, Holder said. Ross Weingarten is attending Vassar College in New York and has been present in the courtroom.
Reporter Phillip McGowan contributed to this report