Showing posts with label Lawyer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lawyer. Show all posts

May 10, 2018

Avenatti and Cohen Are Totally Qualified to Control the News Cycle and They Do








Michael Avenatti has a unique ability to control a news cycle. On Tuesday night, he revealed the shell company Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen used to pay off Avenatti's client – the adult film actress and alleged ex-Trump paramour, Stormy Daniels – has been collecting sizable payments from multinational corporations during the first year of the Trump administration. His claims have since largely been confirmed by the New York Times, NBC and others. In but a few tweets and with a Dropbox link, Avenatti pushed one of the biggest stories in the world a few steps forward.



Korea Aerospace Industries, a defense contractor bidding on part of a U.S. Air Force project worth up to $16.3 billion, paid $150,000 to Cohen's shell company, Essential Consultants, LLC, in November 2017. AT&T, which is currently awaiting government approval on a $185 billion merger with Time Warner, reportedly paid Cohen's company $600,000. As of now, the largest contributor appears to be Swiss pharmaceuticals manufacturer, Novartis, which signed a one-year $1.2 million contract with Essential Consultants in February 2017. 
Perhaps the largest revelation of all: Columbus Nova, a Russian-affiliated investment fund based in New York, made "approximately $500,000 in payments," which were initiated by Viktor Vekselberg, a Russian oligarch with an estimated net worth of $13 billion. According to Avenatti's executive summary, "Mr. Vekselberg and his cousin Mr. Andrew Intrater routed eight payments to Mr. Cohen through a company called Columbus Nova LLC ('Columbus') beginning in January 2017 and continuing until at least August 2017." In a separate tweet, he added, "these monies may have reimbursed the $130k payment" Michael Cohen made to Stormy Daniels.
While the companies scrambled to explain themselves, Rolling Stone called Avenatti to hear what it all means for the L.A. attorney's high-profile case.  
Getting the obvious question out of the way: How did you get this information that you posted on Twitter yesterday?
Like any good journalist, I'm not divulging my sources. That information is also protected by the work-product privilege.
Are you at all concerned that the White House might use banking regulations to force you to disclose your sources?
Not at this time.
How does the information that you revealed about Essential Consultants' transactions impact your case?
Well, it's highly relevant to our case because it's all part of the continued cover up relating to the payment to my client and the reimbursement of that payment.
What's your strategy from here with this information?
Well, no good lawyer would ever divulge his strategy in advance of carrying it out. I mean Michael Cohen might do something like that. 
What, in your view, should Michael Cohen be afraid of?
Michael Cohen should be fearful of a serious criminal indictment charging him with potential money laundering, bank and wire fraud, and other charges, all of which might carry significant potential jail time.
Got it.
He should also be concerned about being sold out by Mr. Trump.
What do you think the relationship was between these companies and Michael Cohen through Essential Consultants?
Well, we don't know the full extent of the relationship, but it appears to have been a pay to play or a pay to access type of arrangement.
But it also appears to have been a slush fund of sorts, so which in your view is it? Is it a slush fund or a pay to play system?
Well, it may ultimately be proven to have been both. 
How do you think these relationships formed? Did Cohen seek out these companies or was it the other way around?
Our understanding is that Michael Cohen actively solicited these clients.
And he solicited them for the purpose of these investments in Essential Consultants, is that correct?
No, I think he solicited them for the purpose of lining his own pocket.
Do you think there will be any more information on outgoing payments from Essential Consultants?
No doubt.
What might they show? What might that information show us?
I'm not going to speculate as to what it shows or might show.
Okay. Do you have that information?
Again, I'm not going to get into details about what I have or don't have.
What's the significance to you that Columbus Nova is an affiliate of a Russian owned company?
I think the significance is pretty obvious. Michael Cohen should not have been taking money from any entity or individual tied to Russia during this time. Period. It was beyond stupid, among other things, and it likely may have been illegal.
All right. Michael, here's the last one. How do you think these bank records change the calculus of the Mueller investigation?
I don't think they really change the calculus of the Mueller investigation. I'm sure that Mr. Mueller is going to do what he's going to do. He's an incredibly able prosecutor.

By 
Rolling Stones



July 18, 2017

Sekulow, Trump's Attorney Blames Secret Service for The Meeting









Running the full Sunday morning media gauntlet, the president’s lawyer, Jay Sekulow, presented Team Trump’s latest line of defense in the mounting Donald Trump Jr. scandal: blaming his meeting with Natalia Veselnitskaya, a Russian lawyer whom he was told would have damaging information about Hillary Clinton, on the Secret Service. “I wonder why the Secret Service—if this was nefarious—why the Secret Service allowed these people in?” Sekulow mused, pitching his self-consciously rhetorical question on ABC’s This Morning. “The president had Secret Service protection at that point, and that raised a question with me.”

As Sekulow sought to bolster Trump Jr.’s case via the media, the president took his own shotgun approach to Twitter. “HillaryClinton can illegally get the questions to the Debate & delete 33,000 emails but my son Don is being scorned by the Fake News media?” Forty minutes later, he discharged a characteristic follow-up: “With all of its phony unnamed sources & highly slanted & even fraudulent reporting, #Fake News is DISTORTING DEMOCRACY in our country.” In between, he tempered his tone enough to extend a hearty thanks to former campaign adviser Michael Caputo—who worked in Russia during the 1990s and for Gazprom Media in the early 2000s—for testifying “so powerfully” that there was no Russian collusion in his “winning” campaign before the House Intelligence Committee, and also showing his appreciation for those who had cheered him at the United States Women’s Open, played at the Trump National Golf Club, despite calls for it to be moved because of his record of derogatory behavior towards women. “Thank you to all of the supporters, who far out-numbered the protesters, yesterday at the Women's U.S. Open. Very cool!” 

Waving to the crowds from the viewing stand Saturday, Trump must have received some welcome respite at the golf tournament. Despite his attempts to appear unperturbed by his son’s scandal, he is in the midst of the most turbulent patch of his presidency. His case has not been helped by the undulating explanations his cohort have offered for the meeting which, prefaced by a now-public e-mail chain titled “Russia - Clinton - private and confidential,” was also attended by Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and his campaign chairman, Paul Manafort. Initially claiming the meeting was focused on the contentious issue of U.S.-Russian adoption, it has since emerged that its ostensible purpose (from Trump Jr.’s perspective, at least), was to gather information about Clinton as part of the Russian government’s efforts to help elect his father. Another twist emerged Friday, when it was revealed that Rinat Akhmetshin, a Russian-born lobbyist who served in the Soviet army, attended the meeting, and said Trump Jr. asked Veselnitskaya for information on illicit money flowing into the Democratic National Committee but that Veselnitskaya had nothing substantive to provide—although he noted that she may have left several documents. (Akhmetshin has been alleged by U.S. officials to have ties to Russian intelligence, a claim he has denied.)

It was perhaps predictable, then, that Sekulow’s attempts to shift blame over to the Secret Service were met with a flat incredulity. Mason Brayman, a Secret Service spokesman, told Reuters in a statement that the agency was not protecting Trump Jr. in June 2016 when he attended the meeting. “Thus we would not have screened anyone he was meeting with at that time,” Brayman said. According to Think Progress, Kushner and Manafort were not under Secret Service protection at that point, either. Brayman was echoed by former Secret Service agent Jonathan Wackrow, who told CNN on Sunday that only a physical screening was required to enter Trump Tower at the time, as Trump was just a candidate. Speaking to Yahoo, Akhmetshin said that “no one asked us for IDs” when he and Veselnitskaya entered Trump’s namesake Midtown high-rise. “We literally walked in,” he said.

Fueling speculation that Trump himself was present at the meeting, Sekulow’s reference to the Secret Service is either false, or stupidly clumsy. Both, of course, are possibilities. Trump has repeatedly claimed he knew nothing about the meeting, despite the fact he is reported to have been present in Trump Tower at the time, and, forty minutes after the meeting, began tweeting about Clinton’s e-mails. Just days later, he announced plans to deliver a “major speech” focusing on a discussion of “all of the things that have taken place with the Clintons.” The speech never happened. Perhaps Trump was stripped of his physic tendencies.

That Trump knew nothing of his son’s eager attempts to procure dirt on Clinton seems even more unlikely in light of a Yahoo News report Thursday, which claims Trump’s lawyers knew about the meeting, and e-mails, in June. This was followed by an ABC report, which alleges that two weeks before Trump Jr. published screenshots of the e-mail exchange arranging the meeting, the president’s re-election campaign paid $50,000 in legal fees to the attorney Trump fils is now represented by. The payment was revealed in a Q2 FEC report filed on Saturday by the Trump campaign. On June 27, criminal defense attorney Alan Futerfas was paid by the campaign for “legal consulting.” On July 10, he was hired to represent the president’s son. The filing doesn’t indicate that the June 27 disbursement of funds to Futerfas was made for the purpose of representing Trump Jr. (Futerfas has since dubbed the unfolding scandal, “much ado about nothing.”)

The president’s claim to ignorance, given the timeline and money trail, strains credulity. If Trump’s lawyers knew about the meeting, the Secret Service allegedly knew about the meeting, his campaign paid Trump Jr.’s lawyer, and Trump himself was in the same building at the time of the meeting, the White House can expect nothing less than the barrage of disbelief countering their surreal set of explanations. Already, the administration has lied repeatedly about who attended the meeting and what was discussed. That neither the president’s son, son-in-law, nor campaign manager ever told him about a high-level meeting as part of an explicit Kremlin plot to help him win election seems uncharacteristic.

Sekulow’s channeling of blame towards the Secret Service has backfired, swiveling attention back to Russia just as the Trump administration was hoping to restore the president’s image with a string of “theme weeks,” the latest of which, starting today, and called “Made in America,” focuses on American workers and goods they produce. But, as suspicion mounts, it’s hard to change the subject. Especially when the White House is offering excuses that require a suspension of disbelief too extreme even for their standards, where drawing Shakespearian parallels has become just a tired cliché. The Trump family want to focus on trade, but they will find it hard to shift attention away from the Russia scandal, made right in the midst of Trump’s America.

    Vanity fair

More from ABC:                       

After one of the president's lawyers cited U.S. Secret Service inaction in his defense of Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with a Russian attorney, whom the younger Trump believed to be in possession of incriminating information about Hillary Clinton, attention has turned to the agency's duties in enforcing the law. 
"I wonder why the Secret Service, if this was nefarious, why the Secret Service allowed these people in," President Trump's personal attorney Jay Sekulow said Sunday on ABC News' "This Week" of the June 2016 meeting. 
The law enforcement agency quickly responded to his question Sunday, saying in a statement, "Donald Trump Jr. was not under Secret Service protection in June 2016." "Thus we would not have screened anyone he was meeting with at that time," the statement continued. 
The agency is authorized to protect "major presidential and vice presidential candidates" plus their spouses, the latter within 120 days of the general election, according to Section 3056 of the U.S. Code of Laws, which outlines the "powers, authorities and duties" of the Secret Service. 
The secretary of homeland security decides who qualifies as major candidates. 6 months in, a record low for Trump, with troubles from Russia to health care
Children are protected if they are the offspring of a sitting president or vice president or of a former president until they reach age 16, though the secretary of homeland security may authorize additional security if he or she determines that "information or conditions warrant such protection." 
No provision is made for candidates' immediate family members other than spouses before the election. 
Even if Donald Trump Jr. had a Secret Service detail in June 2016, it's unclear clear whether its duties would have included discovering the nature of a meeting, other than to ensure his safety. While agents are legally able to "make arrests without warrant for any offense against the United States," they do not traditionally sit in on private meetings and would, therefore, not necessarily be aware of any possible malfeasance. 
While Donald Trump Sr. had Secret Service protection during the presidential campaign, it would not have included vetting people who met with members of his campaign staff. The agency didn't address whether it even knew about the meeting. 
Donald Trump Jr. released emails last week concerning arrangements to meet with a Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, with the hope of receiving damning information about Clinton. The meeting came under additional scrutiny Friday with the revelation that additional people with connections to the Russian government attended the meeting, including a longtime lobbyist. 
Sekulow's comment about the Secret Service was met with criticism on Twitter on Sunday, including from Frances Townsend, a former homeland security adviser to President George W. Bush, and Richard W. Painter, Bush's ethics lawyer. 
ABC 
By MERIDITH MCGRAW

July 14, 2017

"Watch your back, bitch" The President of The United States Lawyer on the Phone





 

This story has been updated with a response from a spokesman for Marc Kasowitz.
Marc Kasowitz, President Trump’s personal attorney on the Russia case, threatened a stranger in a string of profanity-laden emails Wednesday night.
The man, a retired public relations professional in the western United States who asked not to be identified, read ProPublica’s story this week on Kasowitz and sent the lawyer an email with the subject line: “Resign Now.’’
Kasowitz replied with series of angry messages sent between 9:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. Eastern time. One read: “I’m on you now.  You are fucking with me now Let’s see who you are Watch your back , bitch.”
In another email, Kasowitz wrote: “Call me.  Don’t be afraid, you piece of shit.  Stand up.  If you don’t call, you’re just afraid.” And later: “I already know where you live, I’m on you.  You might as well call me. You will see me. I promise.  Bro.”
Kasowitz’s spokesman, Michael Sitrick, said Thursday he couldn’t immediately reach Kasowitz for comment.
ProPublica confirmed the man’s phone number matched his stated identity. Technical details in the emails, such as IP addresses and names of intermediate mail servers, also show the emails came from Kasowitz’s firm. In one email, Kasowitz gave the man a cell phone number that is not widely available. We confirmed Kasowitz uses that number.
The exchange began after the man saw our story featured last night on the Rachel Maddow show on MSNBC. We reported that Kasowitz is not seeking a security clearance even though the Russia case involves a significant amount of classified material.
Experts said Kasowitz could have trouble getting a security clearance because of what multiple sources described as a recent history of alcohol abuse. Former employees also said Kasowitz had engaged in behavior that made them uncomfortable.
Since the story was published, his spokesman issued a statement disputing several parts of the story: “Marc Kasowitz has not struggled with alcoholism,” Sitrick wrote. “He has not come into the office intoxicated, attorneys have not had to go across the street to the restaurant during the workday to consult Kasowitz on work matters.”
The rigorous background investigation that goes into getting security clearance also considers “any information relevant to strength of character, honesty, discretion, sound judgment, [and] reliability.”
The exchange of emails Wednesday began at 9:28 p.m. Eastern when the man sent the following message to Kasowitz’s firm account.
by Justin Elliott
ProPublica

March 31, 2017

Lawyer Looses License Because of Anti Gay Hostility Towards Client

A former lawyer with the state of Michigan has lost his law license in a misconduct case related to his public hostility for a gay student leader at the University of Michigan.
Andrew Shirvell’s disbarment was ordered Thursday by a panel at the Attorney Discipline Board. He can appeal to the full board.
Shirvell was an assistant attorney general. He was fired in 2010 after criticizing Christopher Armstrong on an anti-gay blog, on Facebook and during visits to the Ann Arbor campus.
 Shirvell said he was exercising free-speech rights. But the panel at the discipline board says his motive was “dishonest or selfish,” not simply careless.
A message seeking comment was left with his attorney. In a separate matter, a jury in 2012 ordered Shirvell to pay $4.5 million to Armstrong

October 12, 2016

(’75)Hillary’Ordered/defend’rape caseTrump’sKathy Sheldon



 Hillary Clinton was the court appointed defender on the case of  The State Vs. Taylor(defendant)




“I am also here to support Trump. At 12 years old, Hillary put me through something that you would never put a 12- year-old through. And she says she is for women and children.”
— Kathy Shelton, at a news conference hosted by Donald Trump, Oct. 9, 2016
“Hillary then began to attack my character, forcing me to undergo multiple polygraph tests where I was asked explicit sexual questions I didn’t even understand. Next I was sent for a psychiatric examination. It felt like I was the one on trial.”
— Shelton, first-person account on gofundme page
Before the second debate, Donald Trump held a brief news conference with three women who claim they were abused by Bill Clinton – and one woman, Kathy Shelton, who says Hillary Clinton ruined her life when she was hired as a public defender for a man who raped Shelton in 1975.  

While the cases of three women connected to Bill Clinton have been well-litigated in the media, the Kathy Shelton case has attracted much less attention. Until a Newsday reporter informed her in 2008 that Clinton was the lawyer in the case, Shelton had no idea that Hillary Clinton had been involved.
Moreover, a central part of her story — the psychiatric exam — does not appear to have taken place, according to court records.

The Facts

In 1975, Clinton — then Hillary Rodham — was a 27-year-old law instructor running a legal aid clinic at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. After a 41-year-old factory worker was accused of raping a 12-year-old girl, he asked the judge to replace his court-appointed male attorney with a female one. The judge went through the list of a half-dozen women practicing law in the county and picked Clinton. She has said she was not thrilled with the assignment but felt she had little choice but to take the court appointment — which the prosecutor in the case confirmed to CNN.
Court records describe a sad tale. Shelton, at the time 12 years old, went out for a late-night drive with Tom Taylor, then 41, a 20-year-old cousin, and a 15-year-old boy with whom she was apparently infatuated. They bought a pint of Old Grand-Dad whisky, which was mixed with Coca-Cola for Shelton. After hanging out at a bowling alley for a few hours, they allegedly drove to a ravine where the two older men left Shelton and the 15-year-old together. The two then had sex, the boy told police. After they were finished, Taylor approached the truck and apparently attacked Shelton. The boy reported that Shelton screamed and he saw Taylor hitching up his pants.
As part of her handling of the case, Clinton filed an affidavit July 28, 1975, requesting that the girl go through a psychiatric examination. “I have been informed that the complainant is emotionally unstable with a tendency to seek out older men and to engage in fantasizing,” Clinton said. “I have also been informed that she has in the past made false accusations about persons, claiming they had attacked her body. Also that she exhibits an unusual stubbornness and temper when she does not get her way.”
 When Glenn Thrush, then a reporter for Newsday, showed the affidavit to Shelton in 2007, he wrote that she was visibly stunned. “It kind of shocks me – it’s not true,” she said. “I never said anybody attacked my body before, never in my life.”
But Shelton told Thrush at the time that she bore no ill will toward Clinton. “I have to understand that she was representing Taylor,” she said. “I’m sure Hillary was just doing her job.”
But in 2014, Shelton told the Daily Beast that she had been misquoted. “Hillary Clinton took me through hell,” she said.
Shelton’s ire had risen with the 2014 discovery of previously unpublished audio recordings of Clinton discussing the case in the mid-1980s with Arkansas reporter Roy Reed for an article that was never published.
In the recorded interview, Clinton is heard laughing or giggling four times when discussing the case with unusual candor; the reporter is also heard laughing, and sometimes Clinton is responding to him.
For instance, Clinton laughed after she said: “Of course he [the defendant] claimed he didn’t [rape]. All this stuff. He took a lie-detector test. I had him take a polygraph, which he passed, which forever destroyed my faith in polygraphs.”
The Daily Beast article said:
The victim was put through several forensic procedures, including a lie detector test. At first, she failed the lie detector test; she said that was because she didn’t understand one of the specific sex-related questions. Once that question was explained to her, she passed, she said. The victim positively identified her two attackers through one-way glass and they were arrested.
In an interview with the Daily Mail that appeared Aug. 9, Shelton agreed for the first time to be identified by name. This article strongly suggested that the psychiatric examination took place:
Although Clinton’s legal maneuver would likely be prohibited today under Arkansas rape shield act, the law was not passed until two years after the case.
Shelton said one of her worst memories of the case was being questioned repeatedly by appointed experts.
“It got so bad that I told my mom I wasn’t going back, and whatever happened, happened,” said Shelton. “It’s sad that a 12-year-old had to go through what I had to go through, because for days I cried and cried and cried over it.”
The gofundme site, which was established Aug. 13 and seeks to raise $10,000, quotes Shelton as explicitly saying that the test took place: “Hillary then began to attack my character, forcing me to undergo multiple polygraph tests where I was asked explicit sexual questions I didn’t even understand. Next I was sent for a psychiatric examination. It felt like I was the one on trial.”
But the court docket, unearthed by Pittsburgh attorney Norma Chaseand for the first time made public, shows that one day after Clinton filed a request for psychiatric exam, it was denied by the judge. The court docket for July 28 says Clinton filed her motion for an exam. On July 29, it states: “Hearing on Motion for Psychiatric Examination — Motion denied. Defendant objects.” (There is also no evidence that Clinton was responsible for arranging Shelton’s polygraph test.)
Here’s the docket sheet:

For a variety of reasons, a plea agreement to a reduced charge was reached. Investigators mishandled evidence of Taylor’s bloody underwear, cutting out the stain for testing and then losing it. Newsday also quoted a retired detective on the case as saying that Shelton’s “ ‘infatuation’ with the teenage boy, which she refused to admit,” led to “serious inconsistencies in her statements about the incident.” The detective also said Shelton’s mother “was so eager to end the ordeal she coached her daughter’s statements and interrupted interviews with police.”
Shelton did not respond to requests for comment left on her phone and the gofundme site. We also sought comment from Candice E. Jackson, an attorney who represents her.

The Bottom Line

Memories are malleable over time. The record shows that Shelton’s memories of the case have changed, specifically concerning being forced to take a psychiatric exam that, it turns out, was not approved by the court. Shelton did not know about Clinton’s affidavit asking for the exam in the 41-year-old case until it was shown to her by a reporter nine years ago. There is little indication that the outcome of the case would have been much different, no matter the defense attorney, given the mishandling of the evidence and Shelton’s difficulties as a witness. Yet now the exam has become a key part of her story in order to raise funds.
Shelton is a rape victim and until recently has not been in the public eye. However, she chose to appear at Trump’s news conference, and Trump has begun to highlight her story in campaign speeches. We’re not going to assign a Pinocchio rating, but readers should be aware of the facts of her case — and how her account has changed over time.

June 12, 2016

When Lawyer Shows up in Court in China: ‘He Better have clean underwear’


 
A photo showing Wu Liangshu in a ripped shirt and trousers
Mr Wu was allegedly assaulted by three officers inside a courtroom, in front of two judges who rejected his request to file a case in the district court of Nanning
 Plenty of Chinese lawyers have been harassed, detained, even jailed in China but the photograph of one with his clothes reportedly torn off him by police has drawn plenty of attention in China.
Wu Liangshu stood in the Qingxiu District Court wearing the remnants of his suit with his bare leg and underpants showing. 
He and other lawyers were telling court officials that he had been assaulted by three officers inside a courtroom in front of two judges who also happened to reject his request to file a case in the district court of Nanning in Guangxi Province.
Mr Wu was offered a new set of clothes but he knew the power of what he was about to do. "No thanks," he said.
The lawyer then walked out the front door of the court complex carrying his court materials, with a pen still stuck in the top pocket of his ripped open shirt.
He was then photographed outside the building. 
It was a simple act of defiance.
If his goal was to draw attention to what happened to him and what Chinese lawyers face every day then it worked.
Wu Liangshu told the BBC: "I wasn't shocked. I have heard plenty of weird and violent stories of things happening to lawyers in China but I didn't expect it to happen to me".
The officers, on the other hand, say that he refused to hand over his mobile phone when they asked for it. They had accused him of making illegal recordings of court officials.
BBC

August 18, 2014

400,0000 Strong American Bar Asso. Vote to back LGTB Rights


                                                                          

Attorneys David Bois (L) and Ted Olson (R), who argued against the California law Proposition 8, arrive to speak to the media after arguing their case before the Supreme Court in Washington March 26, 2013. U.S. Supreme Court justices signaled on Tuesday that they are reluctant to embrace a broad ruling finding a fundamental right to marriage for gays and lesbians across the United States.

The American Bar Association, which has more than 400,000 members, has adopted a new resolution calling for an end to "discrimination" against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the Unites States and around the world.
LGBT people have "a human right to be free from discrimination, threats and violence based on their LGBT status," states the resolution passed at the ABA annual meeting in Boston, Massachusetts, this week, and goes on to condemn "all laws, regulations and rules or practices that discriminate on the basis that an individual is a LGBT person."
The resolution, passed by the ABA's 560-member House of Delegates andposted on the association's website, urges the U.S. Government, "through bilateral and multilateral channels, to work to end discrimination against LGBT people and to ensure that the rights of LGBT people receive equal protection under the law."
The national attorneys' organization calls on the governments of countries around the world to repeal "discriminatory laws, regulations and practices."
It also urges other bar associations and attorneys in places where "discriminatory laws or incidents of targeting of LGBT people" exist to work to defend "victims of anti-LGBT discrimination or conduct."
In 2011, the association's House of Delegates adopted a resolution urging "federal, state, tribal, territorial, and local officials to prevent and remediate the existence and dangers of bullying, including cyberbullying and youth-to-youth sexual and physical harassment."
The 2011 resolution also called on the officials to adopt "institutional protections particularly for those children at risk of these acts resulting from actual or perceived characteristics such as race, religion, national origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity."
There are at least 13 LGBT groups and projects at the ABA, according to the association's website. This includes the National LGBT Bar Association, formerly known as the National Lesbian and Gay Law Association and which is an affiliate of the ABA with a delegate to the House of Delegates.
Even federal judges in many states have struck down state amendments and laws banning same-sex marriage as unconstitutional since the U.S. Supreme Court last June repealed a key part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA.
Same-sex marriage is currently recognized in 19 states – California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington – and the District of Columbia.
BY ANUGRAH KUMAR , CHRISTIAN POST

February 6, 2014

10 Lawyers Volunteer to Defend Arrested Activists in Boise




 

BOISE — Long before their arrests, activists seeking to add discrimination protections for gays and lesbians to Idaho's Human Rights Act added lawyers: The 44 people facing misdemeanor trespass charges after Monday's demonstration inside the Capitol's Senate chambers have been promised pro-bono help.

As the action began taking shape in November, Boise criminal defense attorney Dan Skinner learned about it from a client on a separate matter. Given that mass arrest seemed likely, Skinner offered to help and began an informal call for additional attorneys.

So far, 10 have signed up.

"It's about the Idaho Human Rights Act, and the fact that it does not protect gays from being fired from their jobs," Skinner said Tuesday from his office overlooking a side channel of the Boise River. "We're coming at this because we want to support equal protection under the law. That's it. That's who we are."

Skinner anticipates it could take six weeks before those arrested will enter a plea.

Former state Sen. Nicole LeFavour, a Boise Democrat and Idaho's first openly gay lawmaker, was among those arrested, issued a citation and released.

Enlisting legal help was an important part of planning, something that began three months ago and included eight training sessions on how to protest without provoking an ugly physical confrontation, LeFavour said.

"We just knew we had to be peaceful, silent and respectful — and focused on why we were there," she said.

Another reason for legal aid: Some eager would-be protesters embroiled in contentious custody disputes or other legal issues were advised to avoid arrest, given it could hurt their existing cases.

On Monday, 74-year-old Lee Taylor wore a T-shirt emblazoned with "Add The Four Words" demanding lawmakers add "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" to Idaho's existing prohibitions on employment, housing and business-service discrimination.

A day after her arrest, Taylor was defiant, vowing to fight charges punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

"I'm pleading innocent," she said. "They said that's everybody's house up there. So it's mine, too. I can't be trespassing on my own property."

Idaho senators blocked for three hours from entering their chambers and the Idaho State Police see it differently.

"I think they alienated people," said Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, of the demonstrators.

Given that activists have sought unsuccessfully for eight years to convince legislators to change the law, Keough said they would be well-advised now to gather 53,000 voter signatures needed for a ballot initiative, rather than orchestrate confrontations.

Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill, R-Rexburg, says he's not "vindictive." He's not demanding that demonstrators be punished.

"They wanted a forum to express their feelings and their ideas. That was the only forum they felt they had," Hill said. "But that did not include keeping senators out of the chamber to do the public's work."

He'd be satisfied if charges were dismissed — with this caveat: That protesters don't stage a repeat action.

“If they get charged with the second or third or fourth misdemeanor, maybe that would be different," Hill said.

January 27, 2014

Attorneys Olson and Bois Promote Gaya Marriage Documentary at Sundance


David Boies and Ted Olson, Proposition 8 Plaintiff Attorneys; & Ben Tracy, CBS News Correspondent; Screen Cap From 27 June 2013 Edition of CBS This Morning | NewsBusters.orgAttorney Ted Olson, who argued for same-sex "marriage" at the Court, "This was a big win, but not a complete win. So what is next?" The journalist then played his sole clip from a traditional marriage supporter, National Organization for Marriage chairman John Eastman. But he followed this with his profile of the impromptu ring ceremony between two homosexual men.

 Attorneys Ted Olson and David Boies once argued the Bush v. Gore case in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, but they say fighting California's law prohibiting same-sex marriage is the most significant thing they've done.
The two courtroom veterans fought on opposite sides of the case that determined the 2000 presidential election, yet they joined forces to defeat California's 2008 gay-marriage ban, Proposition 8. Their five-year effort is documented in "The Case Against 8," which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.
The film follows the attorneys and plaintiffs in the lawsuit that resulted in the marriage ban being overturned last year.
"This is the most important thing I've ever done, as an attorney or a person," Olson says in the film, which won a directing award at the festival Saturday for filmmakers Ben Cotner and Ryan White.
Cotner, 34, and White, 32, gained access to the attorneys and plaintiffs in the case when the American Foundation for Equal Rights first filed its lawsuit in 2009. The film chronicles the case as the legal team and the two gay couples named as plaintiffs in the suit take it through California state courts and then to the U.S. Supreme Court.
"That's the luckiest job you could have as a filmmaker and a gay person," White said.
Olson and Boies said seeing their landmark case in the form of a film "was a really wonderful experience."
"Most of our cases involve a plaintiff and a defendant and a winner and that's it — although Bush vs. Gore was a little different," Olson said. "This involves tens of thousands of people in California, but really millions of people throughout the United States and beyond that to the world."
He and Boies have been deeply moved by their involvement with the case and the "seismic shift" in legislation and public opinion that followed. When they began arguing against proposition 8, only three states permitted same-sex marriage. Now it's 17, Olson said.
"There's been a remarkable transformation, and for us to have been a part of that is really extraordinary," he said.
"For all of us," Boies added, "it's probably the most important case, both in terms of the impact on the law and the impact on people."
"It really doesn't, as a lawyer, get more fulfilling," said Ted Boutrous, who also served on the legal team challenging the constitutionality of Proposition 8. "(It) just doesn't happen in that many cases where people around the country thank you and hug you."
The film is set to air on HBO in June, but the filmmakers plan to spend the next six months hosting grass-roots screenings and bringing the film to festivals around the country. They hope Olson — who represented the Republicans in the 2000 case — will draw more conservative viewers to take a look.
"One of the things he says in the film is marriage is a conservative value," Cotner said. "The fact that he's such a prominent conservative figure will hopefully pique people's curiosity about the film that otherwise might not be interested in a gay marriage film."
Said Olson: "Everybody who sees this film is going to be affected by it."
Meanwhile, the attorneys enjoyed feeling like celebrities during their week at the Sundance festival.
"Everybody's been very nice to us," said Boutrous, "even though we're lawyers."

Featured Posts

NYS State Legislature Bans Gay Conversion Therapy Making It The 15th State To Do So

Albany   By  Dan Avery NBC News The New York State Legislature voted Tuesday to ban so-called gay conversion therapy...