‘Publicity Stunt?’: Legal Experts Already Seeing ‘Highly Unusual’ Aspects in Trump ‘Incompetent’ Legal Filing
Legal experts are already noticing curious aspects about Donald Trump‘s legal filing late Monday afternoon – including with the strategy and writing of the motion, and that Trump may be representing himself. In that new filing, Trump asks the court to block DOJ from reviewing the White House records, including classified documents federal agents confiscated two weeks ago, and appoint a “special master.”
Attorney Tristan Snell, who successfully prosecuted the case against Trump University, points to a screenshot from the federal court’s PACER system, and says, “Trump is representing HIMSELF, with no lawyer at all, in his case against the United States regarding the search of Mar-a-Lago and recovery of government records. The legal term is ‘pro se’ – for himself. He could not find anyone to represent him.”
Screenshot from the federal court online system: pic.twitter.com/B1k1OEbHYU
— Tristan Snell (@TristanSnell) August 22, 2022
“There are attorneys on a motion, though,” Snell adds, meaning at the end of the document there are three of Trump’s new attorneys’ names listed.
“So what is going on here?” he asks. “Is this a publicity stunt by Trump? Or some kind of administrative snafu? Or did the attorneys file the motion without first appearing / being admitted for the case?”
“This is highly unusual, to say the least.”
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Noted attorney and former federal prosecutor Ken White, who runs the popular Popehat Twitter account, calls the filing “just bad,” and goes as far as to blast Trump’s attorneys, writing: “I mean this is shitty on every level. It’s shitty strategy, shitty lawyering, shitty writing, shitty organization. It’s even shitty as propaganda. It’s just incompetent.”
“Last time we had attorney-client privileged docs seized from a client we were in court to contest it THAT DAY. Two weeks later is . . . well,” White writes.
“Also, if I DID take two weeks to file it, with the greatest respect, it wouldn’t look like this,” White says. “This is just bad.”
“Also, when I file a motion, I use a weird trick,” he says apparently with some snark. “I identify the rule or statute I’m invoking that gives the court power to act and the rules governing the process. In criminal cases I cite criminal rules. And cases.”
“Finally, I think it’s fair to say I don’t have a LOT of shame, but I have enough that I wouldn’t file a motion arguing that my client took an official legal position the court should have noticed on Truth Social,” he adds.
Andrew Weissmann, who spent two decades at DOJ, including as General Counsel of the Federal Bureau of Investigation weighed in.
“The new Trump defense that the docs were for personal memoir,” Weissmann says. “1. That’s not an exception in any criminal statute. 2. Inconveniently for you, Gen. Petraeus did just that and was criminally charged.”
Weissmann concludes, “The new Trump Florida court filing is a press release masquerading (tenuously) as a legal brief.”
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Dominion Wins ‘Blockbuster Victories’ Against Fox News – Last Legal Issue Will Be Decided by a Jury: Report
Dominion Voting Systems won what are being called “blockbuster victories” Friday afternoon when a judge ruled the company suing Fox News for $1.6 billion in a major defamation lawsuit had met its burden of proof that Rupert Murdoch‘s far-right wing cable channel had repeatedly made false statements.
The final, and likely greatest legal issue Dominion will have to prove will be actual malice. That issue will be decided in a jury trial, Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric M. Davis ruled Friday, according to Law & Crime.
Unlike previous cases, Fox News will reportedly not be able to argue the on-air statements its personalities made were opinion.
CNN legal analyst and Brookings senior fellow Norm Eisen calls Friday’s decision a “huge win for Dominion on their summary judgment motion against Fox News.”
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“Dominion won partial summary judgement that what Fox said about them was false! Now they just have to prove actual malice and damages,” Eisen says. “Meanwhile Fox’s motion was totally denied.”
Former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance, an MSNBC contributor adds: “Dominion’s evidence Fox made false statements with reckless disregard is as strong as any I’ve seen.”
The judge was very clear in his ruling.
“While the Court must view the record in the light most favorable to Fox, the record does not show a genuine issue of material fact as to falsity,” Judge Davis wrote. “Through its extensive proof, Dominion has met its burden of showing there is no genuine issue of material fact as to falsity. Fox therefore had the burden to show an issue of material fact existed in turn. Fox failed to meet its burden.”
READ MORE: ‘Propaganda Network’: Media Reporter Says Dominion Filing Exposes Fox News as ‘Void of the Most Basic Journalistic Ethics’
Attorney and MSNBC host and legal analyst Katie Phang points to this key passage in Judge Davis’ ruling.
Dominion has won the argument on the issue of falsity, meaning that as the Court funds below, “it is CRYSTAL clear that none of the Statements relating to Dominion about the 2020 election are true.” pic.twitter.com/7lKEspN0WI
— Katie S. Phang (@KatiePhang) March 31, 2023
Court watchers and news junkies are familiar at this point with the massive legal filings Dominion has made in which it exposed how Fox News knowingly made false statements regarding the 2020 presidential election. Those filings, each hundreds of pages, also detail internal Fox News communications and bombshell conversations between the company’s top personalities, executives, and even Chairman Rupert Murdoch.
Image of Rupert Murdoch via Shutterstock
Trump Trial Could Go Well Into the 2024 Election – Or Possibly Even Past It: Former Prosecutor
Donald Trump, and all of America, could spend the next 18 months – or longer – engrossed in Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s trial of the ex-president, and that could bring the trial close to Election Day.
That’s according to a former prosecutor in the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office, Charles Coleman, who is now a civil rights attorney and MSNBC legal analyst.
Asked by MSNBC’s Chris Jansing, “How long typically might a case like this take?” Coleman offered a two-tiered answer.
“A case like this is usually going to take a year or a year and a half,” Coleman said.
That could be through September of 2024.
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“Wow,” a surprised Jansing replied. “So it’s going right up into the campaign.”
“Absolutely,” agreed Coleman. “But it’s important to understand I said a case ‘like this.’ This particular case, I expect may take longer because I am anticipating a number of different legal maneuvers by Donald Trump’s defense team.”
That theoretically means into October of 2024, or longer.
“I do see motions to dismiss at a number of different terms, more likely than not to the point that the judge probably will ultimately end up admonishing them and telling them stop filing motions to dismiss. I think that that’s going to happen,” Coleman explained.
“I’ve said before, and I’ll say again, I do believe that we are going to see an attempt to try to change the venue, in this case outside of somewhere in the five boroughs. All of that is going to extend the time deeper and deeper into election season.”
READ MORE: Manhattan DA Unleashes on Jim Jordan With Stern Warning: You May Not ‘Interfere’ With Trump Prosecution
Reuters agrees, reporting Friday morning, “any potential trial is still at minimum more than a year away, legal experts said, raising the possibility that the former U.S. president could face a jury in a Manhattan courtroom during or even after the 2024 presidential campaign, as he seeks a return to the White House.”
And because “Trump’s case is far from typical,” Reuters notes, his trial could extend “past Election Day in November 2024.”
Manhattan DA Unleashes on Jim Jordan With Stern Warning: You May Not ‘Interfere’ With Trump Prosecution
After a Manhattan grand jury indicted Donald Trump late Thursday afternoon on reportedly 34 felony charges, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg took one more step to preserve the rule of law: Friday morning, via his General Counsel, he sent the top three Republican House Chairmen attempting to interfere in his office’s investigation and prosecution of Donald Trump a stern warning.
The letter, addressed to House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan, Oversight Chairman James Comer, and Administration Chairman Bryan Steil spans six-pages. Its letterhead does not say District Attorney’s Office, but “District Attorney,” and has Bragg’s name in the upper corner, although it is signed by Bragg’s General Counsel, Leslie B. Dubeck. Politico has published the full letter.
It clearly states Bragg is drawing a red line: “What neither Mr. Trump nor Congress may do is interfere with the ordinary course of proceedings in New York State.”
The letter also accuses the trio of “an improper and dangerous usurpation” and “attempted interference with an ongoing state criminal investigation.” And it warns them against “unlawful political interference.”
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“The Committees’ attempted interference with an ongoing state criminal investigation and now prosecution–is an unprecedented and illegitimate incursion on New York’s sovereign interests,” the letter reads. “Moreover, your examination of the facts of a single criminal investigation, for the supposed purpose of determining whether any charges against Mr. Trump are warranted, is an improper and dangerous usurpation of the executive and judicial functions.”
In a section titled, “The Committees Lack Jurisdiction to Oversee a State Criminal Prosecution,” the letter points to reports that the Trump team has been working in coordination with House Republicans.
“Even worse, based on your reportedly close collaboration with Mr. Trump in attacking this Office and the grand jury process, it appears you are acting more like criminal defense counsel trying to gather evidence for a client than a legislative body seeking to achieve a legitimate legislative objective.”
Bragg’s general counsel also uses the letter as a warning to all House Republicans that their actions, behaviors, and words are on the record.
READ MORE: Manhattan District Attorney’s Office Says It Is Coordinating With Trump to ‘Surrender’
He holds up U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) as an example, suggesting to others they should moderate their rhetoric.
After dismissing Jordan’s threat in a previous letter to withhold federal funds from Bragg’s office – noting the Manhattan District Attorney’s office has “has helped the Federal Government secure more than one billion dollars in asset forfeiture funds in the past 15 years” – Bragg serves up another warning.
He notes that “some committee members have explicitly stated an intent to interfere with the state proceeding. For example, responding to Trump’s statement that he would be arrested, Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene stated that ‘Republicans in Congress MUST subpoena these communists and END this! We have the power to do it and we also have the power to DEFUND their salaries and departments!’ … and that Republicans who ‘do nothing to stop’ the prosecution ‘will be exposed to the people and will be remembered, scorned, and punished by the base.'”
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