Category: Bizarre

Smollett Lawyer Reportedly Demands Mistrial After Accusing Judge of Lunging At Her

If you thought that Smollett case could not get more bizarre, think again. CBS 2 Legal Analyst Irv Miller is reporting that defense attorney Tamara Walker had a sidebar conversation with attorneys from both sides and Cook County Judge James Linn. She reportedly accused Judge Linn of some improper comment and then said that he lunged at her in the courtroom.  She was crying during the sidebar.  Another Smollett attorney accused Linn of snarling and making faces during the trial. In thirty years of practice as a criminal defense attorney, I have never heard of such allegations in a criminal trial.

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The Gun Did It? Baldwin Denies Pulling The Trigger in Fatal “Rust” Shooting

Recently, I noted the curious scene of actor Alec Baldwin insisting with reporters that he has been given clear legal instructions not to discuss the shooting of Halyna Hutchins at the set of the movie “Rust” . . . and then making detailed statements about the shooting. Now, with an ongoing criminal investigation and various civil lawsuits expected to be filed, Baldwin has given a detailed statement to ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, including a surprising claim that he never pointed the gun or pulled the trigger.  That interview may be one of his most watched scenes, particularly if he is charged criminally or sued civilly. Continue reading “The Gun Did It? Baldwin Denies Pulling The Trigger in Fatal “Rust” Shooting”

Antifa Member Who Took Axe to Senate Office Given Probation and his Axe Back

 

We have been discussing the continued incarceration of many individuals for their participation in the Jan. 6th riot.  Despite claims that the riot was an insurrection, the vast majority of defendants have been given relatively minor charges. Nevertheless, the Justice Department has insisted on holding many without bail and some have received longer sentences, like Jacob Chansley (aka “QAnon Shaman”) who was given a 41-month sentence for “obstructing a federal proceeding.”

Thomas “Tas” Alexander Starks, 31, of Lisbon, N.D., faced a strikingly different approach by the Justice Department. The self-avowed Antifa member took an axe to the office of Sen. John Hoeven’s in Fargo on Dec. 21, 2020. Federal sentencing guidelines suggested 10–16 months in prison but he was only sentenced to probation and fined $2,784 for restitution . . . he then reportedly mocked the FBI for returning his axe.  Others declared him a hero and Democratic politicians pitched in for his legal defense. Continue reading “Antifa Member Who Took Axe to Senate Office Given Probation and his Axe Back”

Pittsburgh Lawyer Charged After Dropping Pants In Protest in Courthouse

There are times when it is a good thing justice is blind.  Attorney Jeffrey Pollock, 59, was reportedly put out when a metal detector repeatedly set off an alarm at a Pittsburgh courthouse. After being told to remove garments, Pollock eventually dropped his pants in protest. He was then arrested and charged with disorderly conduct. However, there is an interesting question on the key terms underlying such a charge against Pollock. Continue reading “Pittsburgh Lawyer Charged After Dropping Pants In Protest in Courthouse”

Facebook Under Fire For Role in Covering Up Vietnamese Communist Figure Eating Gold-Encrusted Steak

We have often discussed the hypocrisy of leaders and social media companies proclaiming their faith in free speech while promoting unprecedented levels of censorship. However, the layers of hypocrisy in a story out of London is breathtaking. Gen. To Lam was shown recently on a trip to visit the grave of Karl Marx. That is hardly surprising for a Communist leader. What followed was a tad surprising. To Lam is shown eating a steak covered in 24-karat gold flakes at a restaurant owned by the social media star and restaurateur known as Salt Bae. It costs $1,150 per steak.  Facebook later suspended Salt Bae’s hashtag as the scandal exploded in Vietnam. It is not the first time social media has intervened to assist foreign authoritarian or government interests.  This story may prove Marx’s prediction that “history repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.” Continue reading “Facebook Under Fire For Role in Covering Up Vietnamese Communist Figure Eating Gold-Encrusted Steak”

Schiff Calls For Prosecutions of Those Who Lied on Steele Dossier . . . After Attacking The Durham Investigation

In a bizarre exchange this week with former State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) was confronted with his relentless promoting of the now debunked Steele dossier in prior years. Schiff surprisingly declared “First of all, whoever lied to the FBI or Christopher Steele should be prosecuted, and they are.” (It is actually not a crime to lie to Christopher Steele under 18 U.S.C. 1001. It is a crime to lie to federal investigators). It was a curious statement from someone who attacked the appointment of the Special Counsel and, with other leading Democrats, did his level best to kill the investigation. If it had been left to Schiff, there would have been no John Durham and no Durham indictments. Continue reading “Schiff Calls For Prosecutions of Those Who Lied on Steele Dossier . . . After Attacking The Durham Investigation”

Six Degrees From Brookings: How a Liberal Think Tank Keeps Coming Up in the Russian Collusion Investigation

The latest indictment by Special Counsel John Durham has created a stir in Washington as the investigation into the Russian collusion scandal exposed new connections to the Clinton campaign.  The indictment of  Igor Danchenko exposes additional close advisers to Hillary Clinton who allegedly pushed discredited and salacious allegations in the Steele dossier. However, one of the most interesting new elements was the role of a liberal think tank, the Brookings Institution, in the alleged effort to create a false scandal of collusion. Indeed, Brookings appears so often in accounts related to the Russian collusion scandal that it could be Washington’s alternative to the Kevin Bacon parlor game. It appears that many of these figures are within six degrees of Brookings.

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Strzok in Denial: Fired FBI Agent Denounces Durham Indictments For “Dog Whistles”

The indictments of John Durham has shaken up Washington recently as he laid out the critical role played by Clinton campaign associates in the creation of the Russian collusion scandal, including the inclusion of debunked but widely reported allegations. It is clear from the latest indictment why leading Democrats like Majority Leader Chuck Schumer tried to kill the Durham investigation. None of that however prepared some of us for the response of MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, who called upon fired FBI counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok to question the indictments. Strzok was fired at the recommendation of career investigators and has been cited as an example of the raw bias of key players in the Russian investigation. Yet, he was the choice of MSNBC to review the recent indictments and he did not disappoint in belittling the crimes alleged by the Special Counsel. Continue reading “Strzok in Denial: Fired FBI Agent Denounces Durham Indictments For “Dog Whistles””

FBI Raids Project Veritas Writers . . . Over A Missing Biden Diary?

There is a curious story out this weekend on reported FBI raids of writers or associates of Project Veritas, the conservative investigative journalism outfit. Project Veritas has been described variously as “Gonzo” or “guerilla” journalism and some insist it is more of a political than a press organization. However, it fits the definition of journalism, in my view, and that makes the raids troubling. All the more troubling is the cause: the missing diary of President Biden’s daughter Ashley. [Update: The FBI reportedly also raided O’Keefe’s home]

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Canadian Professor Under Fire For Allegedly False Claim of Indigenous Ancestry

University of Saskatchewan is embroiled in a controversy over “self-identification” of ethnic or cultural status. According to news reports, Carrie Bourassa of the Department of Community Health and Epidemiology has claimed Indigenous/Native American heritage, but is “entirely [of] European descent.”  Self-identification has long been accepted in many universities and recently The Hill ran a story that over one-third of white students may have lied about their race on college applications. Continue reading “Canadian Professor Under Fire For Allegedly False Claim of Indigenous Ancestry”

Spooky Torts: The 2021 List of Litigation Horrors

Here is my annual list of Halloween torts and crimes. Halloween of course remains a holiday seemingly designed for personal injury lawyers around the world and this year’s additions show why. Halloween has everything for a torts-filled holiday: battery, trespass, defamation, nuisance, product liability and more. This year, we have the usual fun frights caught on camera, nuisance complaints from “triggered” neighbors, and the occasional misdirected murder investigation. However, there are still some notable additions that raise more legal frights.

So, with no further ado, here is this year’s updated list of actual cases related to Halloween. Continue reading “Spooky Torts: The 2021 List of Litigation Horrors”

Florida Woman Allegedly Fights To Drive Drunk . . Ends Up Charged With Battery Instead

The person in this strikingly cheerful mugshot is Melody Jean Smalley, 24. Smalley allegedly fought with her sister who was trying to prevent her from driving drunk. She ended up allegedly biting her sister and being charged with battery and domestic violence. Continue reading “Florida Woman Allegedly Fights To Drive Drunk . . Ends Up Charged With Battery Instead”

Waste Not, Want Not: Airline Dumps Human Waste on Englishman Sunning Himself in his Backyard

As people venture out after the lock down in England, a man in Windsor, England has a cautionary tale. The man decided to take in the sun in his backyard when, according to news reports, he and his entire yard were covered in human waste dumped by a passing plane. That is not the end to this rather obnoxious situation.

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China Arrests Former Journalist for Criticizing Film on Korean War

There’s an old comedy skit of a haughty art expert giving a museum tour and explaining the meaning of an abstract painting. When he finishes, a woman in front says, “I don’t like it” to which the expert responds “well you’re wrong.” The skit is funny, of course, because art is in the eye of the beholder . . . unless you are in China apparently.  This week, former journalist (and businessman) Luo Changping was arrested. Unfortunately, that is not uncommon in the authoritarian state. However, his crime was saying that he did not like “The Battle at Lake Changjin,” a $200 million film about the Battle of Chosin Reservoir in the Korean War. In China, it is a crime to defame “political martyrs.”

This story combines two of my favorite subjects: free speech and military history. Unfortunately, neither survives unscathed.

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Minnesota Woman Arrested After Running Over Man Who Allegedly Robbed Her

There is an interesting criminal case out of Minnesota that highlights both criminal and tort doctrines on the defense of self and defense of property.  Landis Rachel Hill, 31, and her boyfriend, Christopher Dwayne Grayson, were arrested after Hill ran over a man who allegedly robbed them. Al Rakip J. Zaidi, 21, died from “severe head trauma” after being hit by their 2001 Ford Expedition.

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