We have previously discussed the controversial history of Marc Elias, including allegations that he lied about the funding of Steele Dossier by the Clinton campaign. Elias has also been criticized for challenging elections when he and other Democratic lawyers denounced Republican challenges as a threat to democracy. Now, Elias (who is heading a new group called “Democracy Docket”) is again under intense criticism after a tweet that some have called inherently racist. Continue reading “Democratic Lawyer Marc Elias Under Fire For Suggesting Georgia Voters Will Be Unable To Correctly Identify Their Driver’s License Number”
One of the key witnesses in the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd will not be testifying. Other than the officers themselves, the person with the greatest knowledge and observation of Floyd was his friend who was in the car with him, Morries Lester Hall. Hall, 42, has given public interviews but has declared that he will not testify in fear that he might incriminate himself. He was listed as a witness for both the prosecution and the defense. It is rare for someone who gave interviews to news organizations like CNN to refuse to testify in trial. Usually such witnesses decline to speak in any forum to maintain their silence. Continue reading “Key Witness In Chauvin Trial To Invoke The Fifth Amendment And Refuse To Testify”
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.
We previously discussed the controversial threats of Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel (D) against those who were raising electoral fraud allegations. She is currently in another controversy involving the arrest of restaurant owner Marlena Pavlos-Hackney. Fox Host Tucker Carlson has alleged that the owner was arrested due to her appearance on his show. (For full disclosure, I am a contributor to Fox News). Nessel can certainly point to a long history of noncompliance to justify the arrest but her statement issued in response to the allegations is, in my view, highly inappropriate and shows raw political bias. Continue reading “Michigan AG Nessel Unleashes Political Diatribe Against Defiant Restaurant Owner”
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.
The Lincoln Project is facing rising allegations of ignoring sexual harassment claims against co-founder John Weaver, profiteering on donations, and even violating federal law in posting private messages by another co-founder. Now, in an effort to show that it is addressing the Weaver allegations fully and openly, the Project announced that it has retained a law firm to do an independent assessment of the controversy. However, the Project selected Paul Hastings, which has leading members (including a managing partner) who supported the Project financially. The support of lawyers for the Project is particularly troubling given its campaign to harass other lawyers to get them to drop Donald Trump or the Republican party as clients in election challenges. Continue reading “Lincoln Project Scandals Highlight The Role Of Lawyers As Donors”
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.
Here is the column:
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced yesterday that he would leave the question of whether to call witnesses to the House managers to decide. In the meantime, various Democratic senators said that there is no need for witnesses despite the House repeatedly acknowledging that it does not know critical facts related to Donald Trump’s state of mind. The position of Schumer and the Democrats is in strikingly contrast to their positions in the last two impeachments. Continue reading ““We’ve Heard From Enough Witnesses”: Democrats Oppose Calling Witnesses While Schumer Leaves It To The House Managers”
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.
On January 7th, an attorney representing President Donald Trump filed a one-page motion of withdrawal from a case filed shortly after the election. That is hardly remarkable with attorneys entering and leaving cases every day in federal court. What is remarkable is the reason. Philadelphia-based attorney Jerome Marcus told the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania that he was withdrawing because President Trump used him, and his election challenge, to “perpetuate a crime.” The filing raises some troubling questions regarding the alleged criminal conduct as well as the necessity of making such an allegation in a simple motion to withdraw from representation.
For many legal analysts, President Donald Trump remains a type of criminal Midas figure: everything he says or does turns instantly into a crime. Over the last few years, the media has published a long line of unfounded criminal theories by experts claiming that a tweet or a meeting or a statement established a clear prosecutable case. It is a popular and profitable take with the media which has been feeding an insatiable appetite for such reassuring views. Law has become a recreation and legal analysts have become part of the legal entertainment. Continue reading “Trump’s Midas Touch: Legal Experts Line Up To Declare The Georgia Call As The Latest Crime By Trump”
Judge David Bernhard is a jurist in Fairfax County (where I reside) has issued a controversial order that the portraits of white judges must be removed from a courtroom because their presence would deny a black defendant a fair trial. In a decision applauded in the Washington Post, Bernhard declared that a fair trial is threatened in “a courtroom gilded with … white individuals peering down on an African American defendant.” Continue reading ““Symbols . . . Of Subtle Oppression”: Virginia Judge Orders Removal Of Portraits Of White Judges”
U.S. District Judge Leslie Abrams Gardner attracted considerable criticism when she declined to recuse herself from a challenge over voter eligibility. Gardner is the sister of Stacey Abrams who has led the effort to register voters in the state. Many felt it was inappropriate for Gardner to rule on the case, a concern that was magnified by her quick rejection of a purging of the rolls of roughly 4000 inactive voters. Now, it appears that Gardner has not recused herself but did reverse herself. A new order has issued upholding the purge in the face of an appeal.