Author: jonathanturley

Michael Cohen’s Last Hustle: How Trump’s Former Fixer Blew His Final Play

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Below is my column at Foxnews.com on the inevitable collapse of Michael Cohen’s strategy to avoid jail for his extensive criminal conduct as a businessman and a lawyer.  I recently discussed how the filing detailed the windfall payments of over $4 million that Cohen received from companies like AT&T to buy access and influence with Trump.  It was one of Cohen’s last scams.  He ended up keeping the money despite being embroiled in the scandals that led to his demise.  He then scammed thousands of anti-Trump donors on a GoFundMe site for hundreds of thousands of dollars on the promise of turning against Trump.  He never mentioned the millions that he shook down companies for in his cash for access scheme.  In other words, Cohen continue to hustle but, on this occasion, he came up one hustle too short.

Continue reading “Michael Cohen’s Last Hustle: How Trump’s Former Fixer Blew His Final Play”

“Don’t Mess With Santa”: Texas Town Could Face Free Speech Challenge Over Santa Protest

Aaron Urbanski
Aaron Urbanski

There is an interesting free speech case emerging in Cleburne Texas where Aaron Urbanski was arrested after protesting in front of the St. Mark United Methodist Church against its Christmas event.  Urbanski, 31, was screaming that Santa is not real and was arrested for criminal trespass.  It was a remarkably obnoxious and disrespectful act by Urbanski and other protesters, but much will depend on where the protest was held in front of the church.  If the arrests were due to the content of the protests rather than its location, a serious free speech issue could emerge.  For this part, Cleburne Mayor Scott Cain simply declared “Don’t mess with Santa” — a statement that could be cited by the defendant in a first amendment challenge to his arrest.

Continue reading ““Don’t Mess With Santa”: Texas Town Could Face Free Speech Challenge Over Santa Protest”

Do You Want To Burn A Snowman? South Carolina Man Arrested For Setting Christmas Decorations On Fire

Cameron Baun of Summerville, SC is charged with arson after allegedly burning Christmas decoration

I guess some people in Summerville, South Carolina just do not like winter or at least Christmas.  Cameron Lewis Baun, 29, has been arrested for going on an alleged spree of arson in burning Christmas decorations.  He reportedly started by burning an outdoor Snowman.  He may have misunderstood the lyrics from Frozen. It is “Do you want to build a snowman?”

Continue reading “Do You Want To Burn A Snowman? South Carolina Man Arrested For Setting Christmas Decorations On Fire”

Giuliani Says Trump Answering Mueller’s Questions Was A Nightmare

An earlier column discussed the unnerving statement by Trump that he answered the questions of Special Counsel Robert Mueller “very easily.”  The column suggested that the claim may have been bravado since nothing is easy in this investigation.  That would seem to be the case since Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani just contradicted the President and said that Trump did not answer the questions either easily or quickly.  He described the process as taking two weeks and that the process was an utter “nightmare.”  He also spoke openly about the President not being as controlled as other clients — a statement occurring after Trump former Secretary of State called Trump “undisciplined.” 

Continue reading “Giuliani Says Trump Answering Mueller’s Questions Was A Nightmare”

DOJ: Cohen Sold Access To Trump For $4 Million

One of the overlooked portions of the Justice Department filings on Michael Cohen was the calculation of how much Cohen made selling access to Trump after the election. I previously wrote about how Cohen found willing corporations like Novartis and AT&T to give him windfall payments to curry favoritism with Trump.  It turns out that Cohen made over $4 million and appears to have done little since he was quickly ensnared in scandal.  These companies however were outed in what is usually the hidden, seedy underbelly of this town. 

Continue reading “DOJ: Cohen Sold Access To Trump For $4 Million”

And Now The Sound Of The Martian Winds . . .

As many on this blog know, I am something of a geek and particularly love the NASA website.  Having watched the moon landing on a tiny black and white television (at another family’s house because we did not have a television), I still marvel at seeing images from space.  I found the latest posting by NASA thrilling: the actual sound of winds on Mars.

Continue reading “And Now The Sound Of The Martian Winds . . .”

Can You Identify The Woman Who Shoplifted At Your Store?

7160626-6473655-Alyssa_Zebrasky_27_was_arrested_around_6_30pm_Wednesday_for_shop-a-3_1544248038468-1Something tells me that witness identification at the trial of Alyssa Zebrasky, 27, who was arrested for shoplifting at an Ohio Walmart.  She was accused of stealing a purse and was also found with a hypodermic needle, a ‘whitish rock like substance’ and an ‘orange pill’ in containers in her purse. Continue reading “Can You Identify The Woman Who Shoplifted At Your Store?”

Tillerson Calls Trump Undisciplined and Sought to Violate Law. . . Trump Calls Tillerson “Dumb As A Rock” and “Lazy”

440px-Rex_Tillerson_official_portrait.jpgFormer Secretary of State Rex Tillerson unleashed on President Donald Trump at an event for a medical center.  Tillerson said that he stopped Trump from violating the law and that Trump is both unread and undisciplined.  Trump responded by calling Tillerson “dumb as a rock” and “lazy as hell.” Continue reading “Tillerson Calls Trump Undisciplined and Sought to Violate Law. . . Trump Calls Tillerson “Dumb As A Rock” and “Lazy””

President Trump To Nominate Bill Barr For Attorney General

440px-William_Barr,_official_photo_as_Attorney_GeneralPresident Donald Trump is reportedly considering the appointment of Bill Barr to be the 77th Attorney General of the United States.   If true, it would be Barr’s second stint as Attorney General after his service 1991 to 1993 during the administration of President George H. W. Bush — only the second time in history for such a successive appointment.  I have known Bill Barr for years and represented him during the Clinton impeachment (with other former Attorneys General).  He is one of the most brilliant lawyers I have known and would be a brilliant selection by President Trump for the position.  To put it simply, he is the perfect choice for this position at this time.  He is a rock solid leader who would bring stability and authority to the Justice Department.

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PETA Tries To “Bring Home The Bagels” With A New Campaign Against Anti-Animal Speech

100px-Peta.svgBagel-Plain-AltWe have previously discussed the seasonal distemper that seems to take hold of PETA each year.  Ironically, I am a huge animal lover (and many on this blog know) but I cannot understand how PETA has become such a fringe movement.  The latest campaign is an effort by PETA to change common expressions that it deems “anti-animal” language.” It is an effort to jump on the growing movement to ban terms or phrases deemed microaggressions by individuals or groups on race or gender or religion or sexual orientation.  Accordingly, PETA wants to call out people who say things like “bring home the bacon” in favor of “bring home the bagels.”  I personally find the latter to be a raw breadist sentiment for those of us on low carb diets (if not cultural appropriation).

Continue reading “PETA Tries To “Bring Home The Bagels” With A New Campaign Against Anti-Animal Speech”

Michael Cohen’s Plea For Leniency Borders On Lunacy

Michelangelo,_Giudizio_Universale_24Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the effort of former Trump fixer Michael Cohen to convince the federal court to show leniency in his sentencing.  While Cohen should get credit for cooperation, it must be balanced against two high countervailing considerations.  First, Cohen spent much of the last two years threatening people and obstructing efforts to disclose wrongdoing. Second, he is an officer of the court.  Judges generally do not look kindly upon lawyers violating their oaths and becoming vehicles for crimes and wrongdoing.

Here is the column: Continue reading “Michael Cohen’s Plea For Leniency Borders On Lunacy”

Evergreen College Faculty Seek To Ban The Use Of “Covenant” As A Term Of “Cultural Genocide”

theevergreenstate640_c0-0-640-373_s885x516We have followed as the administration and faculty at The Evergreen State College have undermined their institution through national controversies and a failure to defend academic values.  This would lead to a sharp drop in applications.  Under deterred by the costs to their institution, the faculty seems intent on confirming the worst stereotypes of their school. The latest is a resolution that the faculty has proposed to ban the word “covenant” from official documents. The faculty drafters insist that the term reflects “cultural genocide” and will ban its use despite most people who fail to see the common term in the same way. Continue reading “Evergreen College Faculty Seek To Ban The Use Of “Covenant” As A Term Of “Cultural Genocide””

Columbia Students Shutdown Comedian For Joking About Race and Sexual Orientation

200px-ColumbiaNYUCoat.svgWe previously discussed how the attack on free speech on campuses around the world has led to even comedians being banned for insulting or disrespecting any group.  Many comedians are now avoiding gigs at universities to avoid controversies. The latest such example occurred at Columbia where a fairly typical skit led to stand-up comedian and former “SNL” writer Nimesh Patel being forced off stage by students upset that he made jokes about race and sexual orientation. Continue reading “Columbia Students Shutdown Comedian For Joking About Race and Sexual Orientation”

Massachusetts Judge Under Investigation For Allegedly Helping Undocumented Immigrant Evade ICE

Facebook (Joseph on right)

Massachusetts District Court Judge Shelley Joseph is under investigation after she was accused of helping an undocumented immigrant, Jose Medina-Perez,  evade an ICE officer at the courthouse.  The Boston Globe is reporting that a federal grand jury is investigating Joseph and some have called for her to be barred from handling criminal cases in the interim. Continue reading “Massachusetts Judge Under Investigation For Allegedly Helping Undocumented Immigrant Evade ICE”