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.
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.
I recently wrote about the lawsuit by Rep. Eric Swalwell against former President Donald Trump as a serious miscalculation that could result in a legal vindication for Trump either on the trial or appellate levels. In my view, the lawsuit contravenes free speech as well as controlling case law from the Supreme Court. Now two Capitol Police officers injured during the riot, James Blassingame and Sidney Hemby, have sued on similar grounds with many of the same inherent flaws. The 40-page lawsuit was written by D.C. attorney Patrick Malone, who previously filed ethics complaints against lawyers representing the Trump campaign or the Republican party. Trump lawyers many view this lawsuit as a greater opportunity than a liability for their client.
Below is my column in USA Today on the approaching trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin for the alleged murder of George Floyd. Thus far, many in the media have failed to shoulder their own burden to discuss the countervailing evidence in the case. Indeed, there is a real danger of a cascading failure in the case where a loss in the Chauvin case could bring down the cases against all four officers. This potential domino effect is the result of making the three other cases dependent on the base murder/manslaughter charge against Chauvin.
Below is my column in the Hill on second Trump trial and how core values quickly became the extraneous to the purpose of this constitutional process. The final chaos triggered by Rep. Jaime Raskin (D., Md) only highlighted the procedural and legal irregularities in a trial that seem increasingly detached from values like due process.
It appears that Marc E. Elias is back. The Perkins Coie lawyer was the focus of stories related to the Steele dossier and the long-denial of the Clinton campaign that it actually funded investigation. Despite such false statements by the campaign before the election, the money was found to have been paid out as a legal expense through Elias as counsel for the campaign. Elias also reportedly was present when this funding was denied to the media and to Congress. The Biden campaign enlisted Elias to lead efforts in election challenges despite that history. He is now making a curious argument in New York for a Democratic lawyer: he is alleging that thousands of votes may have been switched or changed by Dominion voting machines. Continue reading “The Return Of Marc Elias: The Lawyer Implicated In The Clinton Dossier Scandal Is Back In The News”→
I have long-criticized President Donald Trump for his tweets suggestions that MSNBC Joe Scarborough murdered a former aide when he was a Republican congressman two decades ago and suggested on Twitter that the two had an “affair.” The tweets are cruel for the family of Lori Klausutis but make scurrilous unproven allegations against Scarborough. Scarborough is saying that he may now sue Trump for defamation. The problem remains that Scarborough is a public figure and, as such, is subject to a high burden for defamation. What is most striking however is what Scarborough said his lawyers told him about suing earlier. The “best lawyer in New York” and the “best lawyer in New York” told him that he could not sue a sitting president. That is clearly untrue.
We have been discussing the chilling crackdown on free speech that has been building for years in the United States. This effort has accelerated in the aftermath of the Capitol riot including the shutdown sites like Parler. Now former Texas congressman Ron Paul, 85, has been blocked from using his Facebook page for unspecified violations of “community standards.” Paul’s last posting was linked to an article on the “shocking” increase of censorship on social media. Facebook then proceeded to block him under the same undefined “community standards” policy.