Deputy PD, Erika Ballou, has refused to comply with a judicial order to remove a Black Lives Matter pin from her blouse — a clear violation of court rules. As we recently discussed with regard to such pins, judges maintain basic rules of decorum and dress in their courtrooms, particularly in barring political symbols that may influence a jury or witnesses. What is astonishing is not just that Ballou defied the court but that Clark County Public Defender Phil Kohn was standing next to her and a dozen defense lawyers stood behind her in support.
We have been discussing the controversy surrounding the decision of the Justice Department to give immunity to former State Department staffer, Bryan Pagliano and tech specialist Paul Combetta — thereby removing much of the pressure that could have been brought to bear with the threat of criminal charges. That immunity deal became even more questionable when it was disclosed that Combetta used Bleachbit to destroy email records despite his knowledge that those records were being sought by Congress. Now, there is an allegation that Combetta sought advice on the website for how to hide a “VIP’s (VERY VIP) email address.” If true, that would show a conscious effort to conceal the identity of the VIP and illegally alter federal records. Either Combetta did not disclose this effort in violation of his immunity deal or the Justice Department effectively removed a serious threat of indictment though the agreement. Update: the House Committee has ordered Reddit to preserve all messages concerning “Stonetear.”
The Trump legal team lost a major motion in San Diego that could have political consequences when U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel refused to move the planned November 28th trial date in the Trump University fraud case. Trump attorney Daniel Petrocelli wanted the trial moved to January 2. Petrocelli argued that it was his not Trump’s schedule in November that needed to be accommodated due to another trial.
We previously discussed the problematic role of all of the Clinton staffers speaking with FBI being represented by the same lawyer despite potential conflicts of interest. The release of material from the FBI has revealed an even more troubling role of a Clinton lawyer. In an accommodation that would have been refused in most criminal investigations, the FBI allowed Cheryl Mills to sit in on the interview of Hillary Clinton on the email scandal even though Mills is a witness and a key figure in the scandal. The FBI still allowed her to advise a witness who could have opposing or conflicting accounts to her own prior statements. It is a dual role that is frowned upon by bar rules and would likely draw intense objections in most cases. The accommodation reinforces the view that Clinton received extraordinary accommodations by the FBI in its consideration of criminal charges.
A father was most likely spared a rape conviction by a lawyer’s crash reading of the best-selling sadomasochistic sex novel Fifty Shades of Grey. The accuser was his daughter who admitted that she made the allegation to get back at her father. As we have previously discussed, such false rape case often do not result in charges for the false victim. In this case, there is no reference for such charges.
Kristen Parker, 27, has achieved the type of national notoriety that every prosecutor dreads. The assistant McLennan County district attorney who prosecutes DWI cases was arrested over the weekend for . . . you guessed it, DWI.