PORTEOUS IMPEACHMENT TRIAL — DAY FOUR

The fourth day of the Senate trial for United States District Court Judge Thomas Porteous starts today. Yesterday, we called Timmy Porteous, son of Judge Porteous and one of the judges who pleaded guilty in the Wrinkled Robe investigation. The latter was a House witness who was dropped at the end of their case in chief.

Some this testimony will center on Article IV of the impeachment. I have attached our motions to dismiss Article Fourth and our general summary if you are following the case.

Judge G. Thomas Porteous, Jr.’sMotion to Dismiss Article IV

Porteous Pre-Trial Statement
Porteous Pre-Trial Statement – Exhibits

111 thoughts on “PORTEOUS IMPEACHMENT TRIAL — DAY FOUR”

  1. eniobob, glad to hear you are ok. I don’t know about hurricanes but tornados are monsters that I have a healthy fear of. I hope your services aren’t interrupted, that’s a drag.

  2. FFLEO, great set of lyrics there guy!

    We seem to be on opposite sides of the question regarding Judge Portious and I’ve given that some thought. I think our emphasis is different in this matter. I think you are more concerned with the Judge as a person and the process of ethical rules for judges and their peers than I am focusing on. I’m not trying to ascribe any theory or agenda to the substance of your previous postings. We agree on many things and I’m tying to understand our seeming disagreement on this so correct me by all means.

    Porteous the man, his virtue or lack of it, is in great part to me immaterial in this exercise. I’m a process junkie and feel that if a process is sound, based or a series of logical steps that adhere to the fundamental aim, then your outcome will tend greatly to certainty and predictability. We owe it to our collective aims to hold true to our processes when they impartially advance our aims.

    If the Justice system is, as a process, sound then bad guys will go to jail (or be impeached) and innocent people (in the main) will not. Trial and trial=like procedures are at the heart of that to me. I’m not looking for perfection by any means. Just some level of certainty that justice is primarily accomplished, and done so through an impartial process impartially and consistently applied.

    This hearing does not restore my faith in the justice process as the Senate practices it. I see little process of justice but a lot of politics and the process is being deformed to fit the politics. The actual aim, to determine if some measure of guilt or innocence under the law exists, is then less certain and possibly entirely false no matter which way a decision goes. I’m offended by that.

    I think we have made a few postings to each other and been talking about different aspects of this matter all together.

  3. ARTICLE ONLINE FROM THE NEW ORLEANS TIMES-PICAYUNE AT 11:21 A.M.

    Porteous defense continues in impeachment trial
    Published: Thursday, September 16, 2010, 9:08 AM Updated: Thursday, September 16, 2010, 11:21 AM
    Bruce Alpert, Times-Picayune

    WASHINGTON — Denied the chance to question a Department of Justice prosecutor on why Judge Thomas Porteous was never charged with a crime, his attorneys today asked the Senate Impeachment Trial Committee to seek additional department records — including a memo explaining the decisions.

    His attorneys have argued the decision not to prosecute Porteous, 63, appointed to the U.S. District Court New Orleans in 1994, suggests the department found insufficient grounds to try him. They also say the lack of a criminal trial leaves the Senate without an objective hearing record to assess the allegations contained in the four impeachment articles approved by the House of Representatives.

    Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., the panel’s chairwoman, said that she would make “another run” at the department, but doubted it would agree to turn over the memo outlining the reasons Porteous was never prosecuted.

    She didn’t explain the committee’s decision Wednesday to deny the request from Porteous’ attorney to subpoena a department prosecutor. But it’s almost certain Attorney General Eric Holder would have fought any effort to compel testimony based on the Constitution’s Separation of Powers clause.

    Jonathan Turley, Porteous’ lead counsel, recounted this morning that former Jefferson Parish Judge Ronald Bodenheimer testified late Wednesday that he had been questioned 30 to 40 times about Porteous’ conduct and records released from the Justice Department don’t reflect anywhere near that much activity.

    He said reports of any Justice Department interviews with Bodenheimer and any other witnesses should be made available to his defense team.
    Today is day four of the impeachment trial.

    After more than 2½ days of testimony by witnesses for the House, which serves as prosecutors, Porteous began his defense late Wednesday, with testimony by the judge’s son, Timothy Porteous, 37. He said that lawyers who provided him with money for living expenses while on a 1994 Washington internship did so out of affection for him, not to influence his dad’s judicial decisions.

    The Senate trial is scheduled to continue later today, and for a full day on Tuesday.
    During this morning’s session, McCaskill provided more details of the impeachment committee’s plans. She said the panel, which is assigned with writing an impartial summary of the trial for the full Senate, would have it completed in advance of a Nov. 8 meeting.

    At that time, she said, both House impeachment managers and Porteous’ attorneys would have a chance to offer proposed revisions – before the document is submitted to the full Senate.

    The Senate is likely to vote during a lame-duck session, beginning Nov. 15, on the four articles of impeachment. If two-thirds of members voting approve one or more of the articles, Porteous would be stripped of his $174,000 judgeship and lose his federal pension.

    Late Wednesday, at the end of a marathon session that began at 7:30 a.m. CDT and ended just before 7 p.m., Turley and the lead House prosecutor, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., engaged in an angry spat over testimony by Bodenheimer, the former Jefferson Parish judge.

    Turley said the House, which had scheduled Bodenheimer as one of their witnesses, canceled his appearance, and then sought to “trash” him when he testified for Porteous.
    During questioning, Bodenheimer said House impeachment managers wanted him to boost the credibility of Louis and Lori Marcotte. They were the executives with Bail Bonds Unlimited who testified that they provided meals, gifts and trips to Porteous to win favorable bail bond rulings.

    Bodenheimer said House impeachment prosecutors told him they feared the Marcottes, who pleaded guilty to corruption charges as part of the Wrinkled Robe investigation at the Jefferson Parish courthouse, lacked credibility and wanted him to bolster their testimony.

    At that point, Schiff angrily objected, saying that Bodenheimer had the facts wrong.
    McCaskill stepped in, and suggested that that it probably wasn’t a good idea to go into the reasons either side decides to call or not call a witness.

    Bodenheimer was very much a mixed witness for Porteous. He praised Porteous as a brilliant jurist, who was widely admired, but also said that he had known the judge to show up for court after drinking. He also suggested he had a reputation for ruling favorably on behalf of certain attorney — though he admitted he didn’t know if that was true.

    “If he can get confirmed, anyone can get confirmed,” is how Bodenheimer described the courthouse scuttlebutt after Porteous’ 1994 confirmation to the federal bench. Porteous was appointed by President Bill Clinton.

    This morning, Rafael Pardo, a University of Washington law professor and bankruptcy expert, testified that some spending by the judge during his bankruptcy proceeding, mentioned in the House impeachment documents wasn’t inappropriate.
    For example, Pardo said, the judge was well within his rights to make a withdrawal from an IRA account to pay a gambling debt.

    IRA accounts, he said, are “free and clear” of debtor claims.

    That the committee is not a courtroom trial was apparent again this morning.

    The panel, after a 90-minute morning break for Senate work, had planned to reconvene at 10 a.m., but couldn’t get a quorum of seven senators. McCaskill said several senators were still voting on a treaty in the Foreign Affairs Committee.

    “I apologize,” McCaskill said, explaining that senators also have “another job.”

    McCaskill urged both sides to find a way to get Don Gardner, a Jefferson Parish attorney who was friends with Porteous and represented clients before him, to testify today.

    He appeared at the committee hearing Wednesday, but was told the House impeachment managers had decided not to call him. McCaskill said he flew back to New Orleans Wednesday night.

    After talking to committee staff, and hearing that Porteous’ defense team wanted to call on him, Gardner got back on a plane Thursday to return to Washington and was due to arrive this afternoon, McCaskill said.

    But Turley said that because of the delays in today’s proceedings, it was possible he wouldn’t get to Gardner until next week. Bankruptcy experts testifying today were under tight time restraints, Turley explained.

    McCaskill said she didn’t want taxpayers to pay for a third round-trip air ticket for Gardner and urged Turley to find a way to get his testimony today — even if it came in a deposition outside of the committee room

    Turley promised to work out something, if the House managers, who were absent because of votes on the House floor, agreed.

    The committee was scheduled to resume deliberations at 1:15 p.m. this afternoon — if congressional work didn’t interfere.

  4. Been off line,just had an unbelievable,don’t know what to call it,Hurrcane/Tornado come through the metro area.

    Storme was brief,but to give you an idea,in Brooklyn N.Y,2500 confirmed lighting strikes to the ground.
    Cars and some tractor trailers blown over on a lot of highways in New York and in some area highways here in jersey.

    Things are fine here now.see you all tommorow.

  5. Thanks, Frank. We Southern boys have to stick together. 😉

    I am glad you feel welcomed here because your commentary has been nothing less than golden. We have have all been enriched by your presence here at JT’s Internet Salon. Your service honors you and honors us all.

  6. Frank M, Thanks for the background. I did not know GJ testimony was so confidential but having been a witness before one I agree that it should be; I have never seen a less ‘fair’ hearing process than a GJ. I would trust very little that came out of a GJ hearing.

    I agree that the decisions by the committee Chair are inconsistent and favor the House. It an alien happened to tune into to these proceedings and had no other experience with the justice system in the US he would have to conclude the rules of the process were made up as the hearing went along to favor what ever the trier of fact felt would advance their bias.

  7. BUDDAH,

    We’re starting to think very similar thoughts contemporaneously. Maybe, it’s the deep south upbringing. I’ve certainly enjoyed your remarks as well as your fellow bloggers ( is that an expression you young folks use?).

    Thanks for allowing me to enter your world in this way. Frank

  8. TO: PROFESSOR JONATHAN TURLEY
    FROM: YOUR FAITHFUL BLOGGERS
    DATE: 9-16-2010
    TIME: 6:59 P.M. EDT
    RE: UNITED STATES VS. THOMAS PORTEOUS

    You’ve done an excellent job of lawyering! Your defense team members have done you proud. Your client should be very pleased with your defense.

    You have withstood bad facts, some hurtful witnesses, many bad rulings, less than desirable “jurors”, etc. and are still standing.

    As we say in the deep south “win, place or show, you’re still my horse”.

    Go home, get a healthy meal, visit with understanding wife and children and GET SOME SLEEP AND REST!

    From an old Italian trial lawyer to a Sicilian trial lawyer:
    PER CENT’ANNI. Frank ( newest blogger)

  9. “To fight the good fight” is a phrase that has its origin in the Bible (Timothy 6:12) that has traditionally been used to advocate spreading the Christian faith.

    I submit that the phrase has more utility than mere proselytizing.

    I submit that it should and in form could be used to indicate any battle made upon a principled and/or ethical stand taken for the good of all. In this instance the good fight is trying to reign in an overreaching Senate acting beyond their Constitutional mandate from obscure motives.

    It is in that sense that I for one am proud of the way the Porteous defense team has performed to date. Under the non-religious usage I provide above, I would like to say they are fighting the good fight. And with apologies to the Bard from Stratford on Avon, “It is better to have fought the good fight and lost than not to have fought the good fight at all.”

    Good show team.

    A job truly well done.

    My hat is off.

  10. lottakatz
    1, September 16, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    J.T. sat down with a perplexed/frustrated look on his face and shuffled some papers and rolled his head around in a manner that is analogous to eye-rolling. I never in my life expected to see a move like that from J.T. I’m not condemning it; I take it as an indication of the level of frustration and bias his side is facing.

    If I got that wrong please let me know ’cause my mind is blown by the last hour of events I’ve seen; I’m thinking I must have misunderstood what I saw.
    —————————————————————–
    Jon is extremely frustated by the changing and inconsistent rulings of the chair. My sense of it is that the parties entered stipulations before the trial NOT to use secret Grand Jury testimony, EXCEPT for IMPEACHMENT purposes.

    Grand Jury testimony has traditional been inadmissable in any real trial to protect the secrecy of the proceedings. It becomes admissable in a federal jury trial only after the prosecutor calls a witness, does direct exam, (who has testified before the Grand Jury previously) [Jencks Act Materials] and then provides the transcript to defense counsel before he begins cross-exam. The other exception is when the witness testifies in contradiction to the prevoius testimony before the Grand Jury-for limited impeachment purposes only.

    However, in this “trial” the chair has allowed it’s use to REFRESH the witnesses memory in violation of the parties agreement, I think, and worst to allow it to be published to the jury, without foundation predicate and show it to the witness during testimony with no legal basis and just start reading it. This would not be acceptable in front of a real judge in the real world. Jon knows the chair is not ruling in a consistent way, and all aberations hurt his side of the case. I agree!

    I know Jon personally as well, and I suspect even he didn’t think his client would be treated so unfairly by the “judge”/chair.

  11. Woosty’s still a Cat:

    “…when was the last time you spent time with the ‘great unwashed’?

    I ask only because I am probably 1 of them and we are fast becoming the ‘great hosed down’”

    **
    I swoon at your insight. Maybe just ‘the great hosed.’ Unlike others here I wasn’t drinking anything when I read your post and that’s a good thing 🙂

  12. Inspired by the ever musical FFLEO, I’d just like to take a moment and let some music sum up my feelings of the performance offered by the Senate thus far.

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8vINCq_IAI&fs=1&hl=en_US]

  13. I think this expert witness will be accepted 100% by this “jury”. I hope he was enough to sway some of the senators/”jurors” to Jon’s side.

    R-Senator Risch agains shows his prosecution bent questions, I assume, to dilute the effectiveness of the ethical expert. This is shameful. 5:53 p.m. EDT He is “Stunned at the scheme…” as a netural “juror”. I thought we were in a trial now, and this matter was not yet concluded.

    R-Senator Hatch appears to be a little more pro-prosecution today.

    R-Senator Wicker showed his colors as well

    “Judge”/Senator[D-MI] McCaskill’s questions continued true to form, 4 days in a row, unfair, but consistent.
    —————————————————————–

    BREAK UNTIL TUESDAY 9-21-2010 at 8:00 .am. with Jon having about 10-11 witnesses left and plans to conclude on Wednesday 9-22-2010. Jon has about 7 1/2 hours left of his 20 hour allotment.
    —————————————————————–

    Vote due by November 15, 2010 by this 12 member committee as to the record -that it is an objective analysis of the evidence to present to the full senate.
    —————————————————————–
    Day #4 closes about 6:05 p.m. EDT.

  14. Thanks all for the entertaining thread. I don’t get to start watching until the afternoon so I’m always behind until I can see the posted vids later in the evening.

    I tuned in today at an extraordinary moment. Gardner was testifying (you don’t call a witness like that- you unleash him) and J.T. called his attention to a Grand Jury transcript of testimony and the House counsel objected.

    J.T. started to argue that Grand Jury testimony had been used previously (by the House was my impression) and McCaskill stated that such testimony could be used to IMPEACH a witness. J.T. appeared to use it to clarify or rehabilitate the answer that Gardner had made. McCaskill upheld the objection. Apparently, from what I gathered, such testimony could be used to impeach but not to clarify or cast witness testimony in a FAVORABLE light.

    J.T. sat down with a perplexed/frustrated look on his face and shuffled some papers and rolled his head around in a manner that is analogous to eye-rolling. I never in my life expected to see a move like that from J.T. I’m not condemning it; I take it as an indication of the level of frustration and bias his side is facing.

    If I got that wrong please let me know ’cause my mind is blown by the last hour of events I’ve seen; I’m thinking I must have misunderstood what I saw.
    ***

    Just caught the end of JT’s expert witness and the Committee worked overtime to elicits statements that the Judge was corrupt and to modify the thrust of other aspects of his testimony. Riche (?) is an a** and obviously already made up his mind.

    What a farce.

  15. forget about “Gretna” . it is the “parish(county) seat” for all of Jefferson Parish, a suburb of New Orleans, and probably has 1,000,000 residents.

  16. Kudos to Prof Pardo for holding his own under that cross. Why was the prosecutor questioning him so hostile?

  17. Agreed, Frank. I don’t know Professor Cilino personally, but I do know people who have taken his Ethics course. They all speak quite highly of him.

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