Category: Lawyering

Turley Speaks To Alaskan Bar On Free Speech and The Free Press

This morning I have the great honor of delivering a keynote address before the Federal Bar Conference in Anchorage, Alaska. The conference is being held at the Hotel Captain Cook and I will be speaking at 9:00 am on the foundations and evolution of both free speech and the free press in America.

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Trump Rescinds Medals For Prosecutors In Gallagher Case

President Donald Trump took a highly extraordinary — and in my view a highly inappropriate — step on Wednesday in ordering the Navy to rescind the achievement medals awarded to military prosecutors in the case against Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher. Gallagher was accused of murder and other crimes in his killing of a teenage ISIS fighter who was his prisoner in 2017 in Iraq. It is hard not to view the President’s intervention as retaliation against prosecutors who took an unpopular case and carried out their duties despite being publicly ridiculed by the Commander in Chief. The move undermines the professionalism and independence of the military justice system.

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The No Call Case: New Orleans Lawyer Wins Right To Depose Roger Goodell

As many on this blog know, I am an avid football fan (Bears, of course) and my love for the sport is only equaled by my long-standing contempt for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. However, the recent decision of State Civil District Court Judge Nicole Sheppard of New Orleans to order Goodell and three officials to be deposed over the infamous “no-call” play last year is baffling. All of us immediately cried out after flagrant passer interference by the Los Angeles Rams was missed by officials (the only people in the universe who appear to have missed the violation). The failure likely cost the New Orleans Saints a return to the Superbowl. However, I cannot see how such a failure can possibly be judicable case for fraud. A no call is no case in my view.

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Tweet From MSNBC Legal Analyst Sets Off False Story on Mueller Hearing Coverage

I have always been a critic of President Donald Trump’s “fake news” mantra, which is often directed at stories that are true but embarrassing. However, that does not mean that new media allows the rapid spread of false stories — stories that are quickly replicated and repeated across the blogosphere. An example of this problem arose recently when MSNBC legal analyst Joyce Vance tweeted that Fox News would not air the hearing today with former Special Counsel Robert Mueller because Trump is “afraid” what Mueller will say. That is entirely untrue but the story quickly spread with people like author Stephen King picking up the thread and spreading it to millions. I have had the pleasure of appearing with Vance. While we sometimes disagree, I have great respect for her and her experience as an attorney. The tweet was a mistake but it is the aftermath that is a chilling insight on how fast things spread on our web-based news platforms.

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Former Judge Literally Dragged To Jail In Chaotic Courtroom Scene

Former juvenile court judge Tracie Hunter caused an extraordinary scene in a Cincinnati courtroom yesterday when she was literally dragged away to jail to serve a six-month sentence for improperly obtaining information for her brother to help in a job dispute. The video shows Hunter refusing to move and being dragged across the courtroom floor.

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The Life and Legacy of John Paul Stevens

Below is my column in the Washington Post Sunday on the legacy of Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens. With roughly 35 years on the bench, he was the nation’s second oldest and third-longest serving justice.

Stevens will lie in repose at the Supreme Court on Monday. On Tuesday his funeral will be held and he will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery. I expect he would have preferred center field at Wrigley but this is a strong second option.

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Dershowitz Moves To Dismiss Defamation Case Over Epstein Allegations

Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz is back in the news in connection to allegations that he was one of the men who had relations with underaged girls during trips with Jeffrey Epstein. New evidence has been released in the case that have rekindled the allegations against Dershowitz. Moreover, Dershowitz (who invited a defamation suit by the woman accusing him with having sex with her as a minor) is now seeking to dismiss the action and thus avoid discovery. Additionally, an early interview has been uncovered with what may be the single worst line since Bill Clinton’s “I experimented with marijuana a time or two, and didn’t like it. I didn’t inhale and I didn’t try it again.” When confronted on whether he did in fact accept a message from one of the women at Epstein’s mansion, Dershowitz admitted that he did but insisted “I kept my underwear on.”

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Acosta Resigns Amid Mounting Questions Over Role In Epstein Scandal

There is a curious pattern in the Trump Administration that you need to beware of presidential praise which often proves the swan song for cabinet members. The latest is Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta who tried to keep his job with a press conference that was widely panned as trying to shift the blame for the sweetheart deal that he gave Jeffrey Epstein, the serial sex abuser. Since I previously called for Acosta’s resignation (and opposed his confirmation) based on his role in the Epstein scandal, I will not feign sympathy.

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Flynn Takes Sudden Turn Against Government In Pending Case

440px-Michael_T_FlynnWhile the headlines have been occupied with the Epstein matter and the other news, there is something curious happening in federal court with Michael T. Flynn, the former national security adviser.  Flynn was just listed as an unindicted co-conspirator by the Justice Department. That itself is odd since Flynn is a cooperating witness facing sentencing before a fairly hostile federal judge.  Nevertheless, Flynn now says that the government was trying to get him to give false evidence in the the trial of a former business partner, Bijan Kian, who is accused of violating foreign lobbying disclosure laws.  The move by Flynn (following his replacement of counsel) could indicate an “all in” position for a pardon.

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White House Orders Conway Not To Testify On Hatch Act Violations

350px-US-WhiteHouse-Logo.svgHouseofRepSealI have previously testified and written about the questionable litigation strategy of the House Democratic leadership in fighting privilege assertions, including recommending cases that it should litigate as a matter of separation of powers.  This week another conflict has arisen as the White House again invoked absolute privilege over a staffer.  The White House said it will not allow presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway to appear before a House committee looking into her repeatedly violation of the Hatch Act, a federal law that limits political activity by government workers.  The position of the White House in entirely untenable and would fail in the courts.  This is the type of case that the House should litigate with vigor.

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Office of Special Counsel Calls For Removal Of Kellyanne Conway

The Office of Special Counsel today took the extraordinary step of recommending the removal of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway from federal office for violations of the Hatch Act. That Act bars federal employees from engaging in political activity in the course of their work and Conway has been repeatedly cited with violations. (For the record, Kellyanne Conway is one of my former students).

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Lock Him Up: Harris Says Justice Department Would Have “No Choice” Under Her Administration But To Prosecute Trump

For years, many of us have criticized Donald Trump for his signature campaign mantra of “Lock her up” against Hillary Clinton. Now, however, Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) seems to be adopting a “Lock him up” pledge to jumpstart her campaign, which remains struck around fifth in the pack. Last week, Harris pledged to prosecute Trump. This morning, she said her Justice Department would have “no choice” but to prosecute Trump after he left office.

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Turley To Speak At 2019 Judicial Conclave In New Mexico

Today I have the honor of delivering a keynote speech to the 2019 Judicial Conclave in New Mexico at the Hyatt Regency in Albuquerque. I will be discussing the history, cases, and evolution of the “cultural defense” in federal and state courts. The speech is at 11:15 am on Friday at the conference held at the Hyatt.

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The Politics and Pathology of The House Litigation Addiction

Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on rejection of the lawsuit by the House of Representatives against the order issued by President Donald Trump to build the wall on the Southern border under the National Emergencies Act. I had previously testified against this lawsuit as a reckless and unnecessary move by the house. It is part of a litigation strategy that is clearly driven more by political than legal calculations.

Here is the column:

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Mueller’s Mount Sinai Moment Leaves Media With A Crisis of Faith

Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the press conference held by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his refusal to answer questions from the media (or any questions from Congress beyond what is written in his Report). Mueller not only demanded silence but faith from the media, which surprisingly obeyed. Few reporters noted the direct contradictions in Mueller’s brief statement or the many unanswered questions that he left in his imperious wake. Since Attorney General Bill Barr has already testified on the process and his decisions related to the Report, there was nothing preventing Mueller from answering questions about his own decisions. Instead, Mueller simply said that the media would listen and remain silent . . . and the media dutifully complied.

Here is the column:

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