We previously discussed the bizarre divorce case of former Chicago Cubs player Ben Zobrist and his estranged wife Julianna Zobrist. The case took a nasty turn when it came out that Zobrist was suing his former pastor Bryon Yawn for $6 million. He is accusing Yawn of sleeping with his wife, Julianna, a contemporary-Christian singer, after they came to him for marital counseling. Yawn, former pastor at Community Bible Church in Nashville, is also accused of stealing money from Yobrist’s charity. Now Julianna has come forward with a claim of $4 million that is breathtaking in its audacity and, in my view, lunacy. Thus, I award it my Equus Gluteus Maximus (EGM) Award for legal argument. The EGM is awarded to only those arguments that truly distinguished themselves in sheer asininity. Continue reading “Julianna Zobrist Wins The EGM Award For The Most Asinine Claim In A Divorce Proceeding”
A well-known Colorado lawyer and animal rights activist, Jennifer Emmi, 43, is facing an impressive array of charges in an alleged murder-for-hire plot targeting the girlfriend of her estranged husband. While she previously claimed the entire thing was a set up, the host of a Facebook show has now pleaded guilty to a slew of serious charges. Continue reading ““Kill Two Birds With One Stone”: Well-Known Colorado Lawyer and Animal Rights Advocate Pleads Guilty to Murder-For-Hire Plot”
Suffolk County police and officials have accused an attorney of making false claims about the alleged abuse of Cindy M. O’Pharrow who was arrested after a recent shooting. She is now suing. O’Pharrow, who is black, alleged that the police injured her when they forced her out of an ambulance without cause — allegations amplified by her lawyer, Frederick K. Brewington in front of cameras. However, officials claim that a dash camera disproves the allegations and they accused Brewington of lying. The controversy raises the question of when lawyers can be punished for making unsupported claim. In relation to Trump lawyers facing disbarment or sanctions, I have previously written on why such charges should be a concern for all attorneys. Notably, there has been none of the hue and cry for bar action from those supporting such sanctions against Republicans and Trump’s counsel.
Below is my column in the Hill on a series of cases that appear propelled by political rather than legal considerations. The costs to the legal system, the public, or victims in such cases are often overlooked but they are considerable.
Here is the column:
Below is my column in The Hill on the suspension of Rudy Giuliani by the New York Bar. The widespread hatred for Giuliani may be blinding many to the more troubling aspects of the opinion by the New York Supreme Court.
It is often said that “He who represents himself has a fool for a client.” That adage was most evident this week in Florida as Ronnie Oneal III represented himself into a rapid double murder conviction. Judge Michelle Sisco reportedly told Oneal “I have to tell you, I think in another lifetime, you would have been an outstanding lawyer.” However, it was hard to discern that natural talent after Oneal yelled at jurors in his opening statement and went on to confess in open court to murder. In fairness to Sisco, she was trying again to convince Oneal to accept counsel, particularly as he moves into the sentencing phrase where he could be sentenced to death.
Newly released emails show the pressure brought by the White House on both former Attorney General Bill Barr and his brief successor, acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, to intervene in the 2020 election. Both Barr and Rosen refused to intervene and pushed aside numerous efforts to arrange meetings with Trump counsel and to file federal complaints. What is astonishing is the degree to which these pressures continued in the brief period in which Rosen served as acting Attorney General in the final days of the Administration. Continue reading “New Emails Show Unsuccessful and Unrelenting Pressure on Barr and Rosen from Trump to Intervene in the Election”
Remember when networks and legal experts (correctly) denounced President Donald Trump for his attacks on judges who ruled against him? Two years ago, I ran a column noting that Democrats were adopting the same attacks on conservative judges but the media was entirely silent. Now, California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Democrats are lambasting a federal judge who ruled in favor of gun rights in a recent decision — accusing him of being in the pocket of the NRA and a danger to the country. The response to Newsom’s attack from all of those same media and legal experts has ranged from outright support to conspicuous silence.
The long-awaited, though partial, release of a memorandum from the Justice Department this week left many “frustrated,” as predicted by the Washington Post, in Washington. The reason is what it did not contain. Critics had sought the memo as the “smoking gun” to show how former Attorney General Bill Barr scuttled any obstruction charges against Donald Trump. Instead, the memo showed the opposite. The staff of the OLC actually found that the allegations did not meet the standard of obstruction even without any defenses or privileges related to Trump’s office. Continue reading “Newly Released OLC Memo Shows Staff Lawyers Found No Basis For Obstruction Charges In Mueller Report”
A new lawsuit by the Chinese American Civil Rights Coalition has garnered national attention in the media where former President Donald Trump is being sued for his use of such terms as the “Chinese Virus,” “China Virus,” “Wuhan Flu,” and “Kung Flu.” What is most interesting about this lawsuit is how it is arguably meritless under both tort and constitutional law. However, there has been little pushback from a host of lawyers who have spent months calling for sanctions against Republican lawyers for filing lawsuits viewed legally or factually meritless. This lawsuit seems designed to amplify a public relations campaign without substantial legal support. The question is whether it states just enough to avoid sanctions and whether the Trump team wants to seek such sanctions under Rule 11. Trump is being sued in his official and personal capacities.
Below is my column in The Hill on two issues that arose on the final day of the trial of Derek Chauvin that could now feature prominently in any appeal. There will likely be an array of conventional appellate issues from the elements of the murder counts to the sufficiency of the evidence. Obviously, any appeal will wait until after sentencing, which will take many weeks. However, two issues were highlighted on the final day which could play a role in the appeal even if the odds are against Chauvin. The first on the denial of a venue change and the sequestering of the jury is very difficult make work on appeal. However, there are strong arguments to be made in this case. I believe Judge Cahill should have granted the venue change and also sequestered this jury. It is not clear if the court polled the jury on trial coverage, particularly after the inflammatory remarks of Rep. Maxine Waters (D., Cal.). However, there are credible grounds for challenging how this jury may have been influenced by the saturation of coverage of the trial as well as rioting in the area.
Here is the column:
I previously wrote a column warning that media coverage of the George Floyd trial of Derek Chauvin was dangerously incomplete and slanted. The concern was that the public was not being informed of strong defense arguments that would be used at the trial. The danger is that any acquittal or hung jury would then come as an even greater surprise — contributing to more rioting and violence. The coverage of the final day of the trial only magnified those concerns as legal experts and journalists seemed more set on advocating than reporting on the underlying issues. Continue reading ““Believe Your Eyes, Chauvin’s Knee Killed Floyd”: How The Line Between The Press and The Prosecution Disappeared In The Chauvin Trial”
Chicago prosecutor, James Murphy, has been placed on leave Saturday after he noted in court hearing this month that Adam Toledo, 13, had a gun in his possession. The statement was made at the bond hearing for Ruben Roman, 21, who was with Toledo on the night that he died. The action was taken despite the position of the Chicago police that Toledo was armed until a fraction of a second before the shooting — a view also echoed by local media after reviewing the videotape. However, various politicians like Andrew Yang have insisted that this was the shooting of “an unarmed child” by police. The error may prove be the use of the word “has” in a court statement. The question is whether this type of action was warranted for a prosecutor who was trying to keep a dangerous individual in jail.
For years, the media shredded Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway for a statement on Meet The Press interview on January 22, 2017, in which she defended White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on attendance numbers at the inauguration. Conway insisted that, while Chuck Todd was citing one set of numbers, Spicer was giving “alternative facts”. The statement produced a firestorm of ridicule that the Trump White House was constructing an alternate reality. That is not the response however to the repeated misrepresentations of the Georgia election law by President Joe Biden — false statements criticized even by the Washington Post. Likewise, there was little response this week when Press Secretary Jen Psaki defended the alternative facts presented the White House and some media outlets, even after another major newspaper called out the same false statements about the law.