Category: Lawyering

The “Royal We” Provision: Newly Released Settlement Favors Prince Andrew as One of Epstein’s “Other Defendants”

The civil litigation between Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre (née Roberts) just took a “Big Lebowski” turn.

In the movie, there is a scene “The Dude” is pressed on what happened to a million dollars in a suitcase. He insists “We dropped off the damn money…” When the Big Lebowski asks “We?,” the Dude responds “I! The Royal ‘we’!…”

It turns out that the settlement agreement between Giuffre and Epstein contains what Prince Andrew might claim is a “Royal We provision.” In exchange for half a million dollars, the settlement expressly bars Giuffre from suing not just Epstein but “other defendants.” Prince Andrew is arguing effectively that the plural reference includes him. Continue reading “The “Royal We” Provision: Newly Released Settlement Favors Prince Andrew as One of Epstein’s “Other Defendants””

Special Prosecutor: Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx Lied To The Public in Smollett Case

Cook County special prosecutor Dan Webb has issued his report on the Jussie Smollett scandal with scathing findings of misconduct by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office. The findings include a determination that Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx lied to the public about her communications and role in the scandal. Despite the highly improper handling of the case (including the dropping of the original charges against Smollett), Chicago voters still reelected Foxx who has an appalling record in office. For a native Chicagoan, it is an all-too-familiar pattern of corrupt or incompetent elected officials continuing in office. The question, however, is whether Foxx will face any bar action for allegedly lying to the public about the handling of the case.

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Arbery Trial Judge Delivers Massive Blow to the Defense on the Eve of Closing Statements

In the Georgia trial over the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, Judge Timothy Walmsley delivered a haymaker to the defense on the very eve of closing statements.  The court ruled that Georgia’s prior citizen’s arrest law is only applicable if a person sees a felony committed and acts without delay. The ruling could be “outcome determinative” in the case by stripping away the core defense that these men were chasing a person suspected of a series of crimes over the last year. Travis McMichael, his father, Greg McMichael, and William “Roddie” Bryan are likely to make this ruling the heart of any appeal if they are convicted. Continue reading “Arbery Trial Judge Delivers Massive Blow to the Defense on the Eve of Closing Statements”

Rittenhouse 2.0: Threats of New Litigation Fly in the Aftermath of Rittenhouse Verdict

In the aftermath of the Rittenhouse verdict, figures on both sides of the case threatened new filings and investigations. It seems likely that the case will move into a new stage of litigation, particularly civil litigation. However, advocates on both sides may be overstating the basis for a Rittenhouse 2.0.  These lawsuits can come with risks and considerable costs. That is why Voltaire once lamented “I was never ruined but twice: once when I lost a lawsuit, and once when I won one.” Continue reading “Rittenhouse 2.0: Threats of New Litigation Fly in the Aftermath of Rittenhouse Verdict”

“I Think Like a Criminal”: Pennsylvania Lawyer Brings New Meaning To Truth in Advertising

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The one thing that Daniel Muessig cannot be accused of is false advertising. The Pennsylvania attorney became something of a sensation after his 3½-minute video featured his tag line “Trust me, I may have a law degree, but I think like a criminal.” That was more true than many assumed. Muessig has now pleaded guilty to conspiring with others to distribute hundreds of pounds of marijuana in April and May 2019.

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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”

When “Work Arounds” Don’t Work: The Fifth Circuit Cites Biden’s Chief of Staff In Rejecting Vaccine Mandate

I recently wrote a column on the legal challenges to President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate issued through OSHA. Not only is the use of OSHA regulations unprecedented for imposing a national vaccine mandate, I noted that Chief of Staff Ron Klain went to Twitter to herald the use of OSHA as a “work around” the constitutional limitations placed on President Biden. I asked how a court would respond to such an admission. We have to wonder no more. Late Friday, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit cited Klain’s comment in its decision enjoining the mandate. Continue reading “When “Work Arounds” Don’t Work: The Fifth Circuit Cites Biden’s Chief of Staff In Rejecting Vaccine Mandate”

Michael Cohen Loses Lawsuit For Compensation as Trump’s “Fixer”

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Michael Cohen has lost his lawsuit against Donald Trump. Cohen was suing Trump for his litigation costs but his case depended on his own legal judgment as former counsel to the former president. A convicted felon, Cohen was always more of a legal thug than a competent lawyer. His case collapsed when the court refused to take his word for an oral contract and noted that he signed a contract directly refuting such oral contract claims. This week proved a double boost for Trump who also saw the withdrawal of the much covered lawsuit of Summer Zervos, a former contestant on “The Apprentice.”  After thousands of articles in the media, Zervos quietly dropped her lawsuit. Continue reading “Michael Cohen Loses Lawsuit For Compensation as Trump’s “Fixer””

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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Biden Calls for the Prosecution of Anyone Refusing Subpoenas in the Jan. 6th Riot Investigation

We recently discussed the troubling declaration of guilt made by President Joe Biden at the start of the investigation into border agents allegedly whipping or “strapping” undocumented Haitians trying to enter the country. The statement shattered the integrity of the investigation as well as the reputation of the federal agents. Now, President Biden has called for the Select Committee looking into the Jan. 6th riot to hold those who refuse subpoenas in contempt and for his Department of Justice to prosecute them. Continue reading “Biden Calls for the Prosecution of Anyone Refusing Subpoenas in the Jan. 6th Riot Investigation”

Legal Pundits and the Washington Post Line Up To Mock Durham’s “Zombie Investigation” in Stark Contrast to The Same Mueller Charges

In Washington, there is no greater indication of wrongdoing than the number of people denouncing efforts to investigate it. The “nothing to see here” crowd went into hyperventilation this week when Special Counsel John Durham indicted a former Clinton campaign lawyer, Michael Sussmann. Legal experts who spent years validating every possible criminal charge against Trump and his associates are now insisting that Durham needs to end his investigation. The Washington Post heaped ridicule on Durham despite an indictment detailing an effort to hide the connection to the Clinton campaign and a concerted effort to push false Russian collusion claims. Continue reading “Legal Pundits and the Washington Post Line Up To Mock Durham’s “Zombie Investigation” in Stark Contrast to The Same Mueller Charges”

Southern Gothic: Alex Murdaugh to Turn Himself in Bizarre Criminal Conspiracy

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Admission Against Interest: White House Chief of Staff Admits Vaccine Mandate is a “Work Around” the Constitutional Objections

In the law, it is called an admission against interest or an out-of-court statement by a party that, when uttered, is against the party’s pecuniary, proprietary, or penal interests. In politics, it is called just dumb. White House chief of staff Ronald Klain offered a doozy this week when he admitted that the announced use of the authority of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for a vaccine mandate was a mere “work around” of the constitutional limit imposed on the federal government. The problem is that the thing being “worked around” is the Constitution. Courts will now be asked to ignore the admission and uphold a self-admitted evasion of constitutional protections. Continue reading “Admission Against Interest: White House Chief of Staff Admits Vaccine Mandate is a “Work Around” the Constitutional Objections”

Tennessee Prosecutor Accused of Telling Deputies to Destroy Pictures of Brutal Beating

A very disturbing case of alleged police brutality just got far worse after defense counsel for Jim Jones, 62, alleged in open court that a prosecutor with the District Attorney for Lawrence County, Tennessee told a deputy sheriff to delete pictures of the beaten Jones.  The prosecutor “has been terminated” but the question is whether the disclosure will feature in a trial for civil damages.

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Clinton Lawyer Featured In Steele Dossier Scandal Opens Firm With Focus On Ethics and Campaign Disclosures

Res ipsa loquitur – The thing itself speaks