Attorney’s Bill Amounts to Racketeering

When is an attorney’s litigation tactic so outrageous that it’s criminal? One jury said that an attorney made the litigation so costly to the other client that it amounted to civil racketeering. They say the attorney made the custody matter unreasonably long and expensive. They said that it was unfair and even criminal that the attorney took advantage of his position as an attorney in order to make litigation costly. In addition to damages, the jury awarded the victim special damages totaling $243,000.

The attorney, Millard Farmer, represented the victim’s ex-wife in a custody matter. The victim is the opposing party, the ex-spouse and father involved in the case. The jury said that Farmer used his position in order to stir up conflict.

Rather than simply represent his client and work towards a resolution of the case, the attorney tried to keep the litigation going and make it expensive in order to force the other side to give in. Accusers say that Farmer even had a word for it – conflictineering. They say that stirring up conflict was Farmer’s litigation tactic. Farmer said the tactic was fair, and that he was only trying to expose the other side’s immorality.

In addition to trying to keep the litigation going as an offensive strategy, the attorney also allegedly tried to bribe a judge. Court records say he also tried intimidating a court officer. Allegedly, the attorney filed court motions against the court recorder involved in the case. He then promised the court recorder that he’d dismiss the case against her if she got the judge to resign from the case.

Authorities say that he also tried to anger witnesses. He made accusations against them that weren’t founded and threatened to sue them if they didn’t do what he wanted. In at least one case, he made an unfounded complaint against a witnesses’ professional license. He allegedly made false statements against the opposing party and his wife that he knew would likely hurt their professional reputations.

Farmer maintains his innocence. He says that he was just doing his job in order to represent his client. He said the racketeering charge was retaliation because he did his job representing his client. He said he took the case pro bono because it was unfair that the other party had so much money to spend on the case. Officials say they offered to drop the racketeering charge if Farmer agreed to resign his law license, and he refused.

Texas Judge Interferes With the Jury

One Texas judge is under fire after he barged in on the jury and told them to find the defendant not guilty. The judge tried to take over the jury’s deliberation process in order to make sure the jury entered a verdict of acquittal. The judge said that God told him the defendant was not guilty and told him to go tell the jury.

Gloria Romero Perez was on trial in Comal County, Texas. The charges against her related to human trafficking and the sale of a child. Allegedly, the defendant helped a relative come to the United States from Honduras. Once the relative was in the United States, the woman arranged for the child’s sale to a man.

Believing he had been sent by God, judge Jack Robison entered the jury room and told the jury that God said the defendant wasn’t guilty. He went further to instruct the jury to find Perez not guilty based on God’s opinion of the matter. It was too late for Judge Robison and the defendant. By the time the judge barged in on the jury, the jury had already reached their verdict of guilty. Jury foreman Mark House told the judge that they already had their verdict.

The jury wasn’t swayed by the judge’s revelation. They upheld their conviction. However, the judge said that he didn’t have a choice but to speak to the jury. He said God told him to speak with the jury, and he had to do what God told him to do.

Before the unusual interaction with the jury, the attorney for the defendant asked the court for a directed verdict. That means they asked the court to dismiss the charges without sending the case to the jury for deliberation. The judge refused.

If the judge had granted the motion, the case would have ended and the judge would have entered a not guilty verdict as a matter of law. However, because the judge refused to grant the motion for a directed verdict, the case went to the jury. Once a case goes to the jury, there’s no way for the judge to lawfully intervene or interfere with the jury’s deliberation process or decision. If the jury can’t reach a verdict, the judge can declare a mistrial. Otherwise, it’s up to the jury alone to decide the defendant’s innocence or guilt.

Judge Robison recused himself from sentencing in the case. The judge who is now overseeing the case refused to grant a mistrial. A state ethics committee is looking into the judge’s actions.

Marijuana Maybe Legal in California, but There Is a Catch for Non-Citizens

The progress that has been made by the state of California in the legalization of pot has not been all a bed of rose. The new commercial structures that had been put in place to supply and grow cannabis have been burnt out in the recent wildfires that raged throughout the state of California from December last year.

However, the most significant milestone was achieved when adult recreation use of pot became legal on January 1, 2018. Some of the few premises and store that had completed the bureaucratic paperwork and earned their licenses to sell marijuana have already begun what is expected to be a multibillion-dollar business in the most affluent state in all of America. For more than 20 years, stores that sell medical marijuana have been operating legally throughout the state, but no one must get new licenses to continue with their operations which many haven’t got yet.

Moreover, there are a significant number of immigrants who reside in the bright lights of the golden state from all over the world including countries such as Australia. There is a legal catch in the new state legislation that saw the legalization of recreational marijuana. Non-citizens who are found to be indulging in recreation marijuana may find themselves on the wrong side of the law. The law will have serious implications if you are a non-citizen who have plans to reside in California long-term. One of the articles that were published by the San Diego Tribune warned that residents who are not American citizens would find themselves in trouble if they were caught indulging in the recreational pot though it was legal in the state.

One of the lurking legal technicalities is that while recreation use of cannabis may be legitimate in California and a host of another state, it is strictly a felony to use marijuana for recreation under federal law. The Trump administration has not made any significant moves to prosecute or interferes with any state that has passed laws regarding cannabis since it came not office early last year. One of the immigration officials said that it does not take the recreational use of marijuana for non-citizens to have a legal implication.

The official added that if a customs official found anyone entering the United States in possession of marijuana could have them banned from entering America for the rest of their lives. For instance, if a green card holder is caught traveling with pot, the certificate for permanent residence could be canceled and have them deported back to their countries.

Supreme Court Case May Pave The Way For Sports Betting

A federal law, known as The Bradley Act, has previously prohibited sports betting throughout the country. Now, New Jersey is seeking to have that law deemed unconstitutional, arguing that the federal mandate infringes on state sovereignty. If New Jersey wins the case, which is set to be heard in the U.S. Supreme Court, it may pave the way for sports betting throughout the country.
What is the Bradley Act?
Named for New Jersey’s own democratic senator Bill Bradley, the Bradley Act established that sports betting would be illegal across the nation. There are four exemptions, however. Sports gambling is still legal in Delaware, Montana, Nevada, and Oregon. At the time the bill was passed, sports betting was already legalized in those four states, which is why they were exempt from the new federal law. The law also provided for a grace period for the other states, granting one year for any of the remaining 46 states to legalize sports gambling, before the law went into effect.
Senator Bradley recently spoke about his reasoning for introducing the law. He said he viewed sports betting as something that would monetize professional sports and take the competitive edge away from the game. Instead of playing for the love of the sport, players would be playing for greater monetary stakes. Mr. Bradley, a former New York Knicks player himself, aid sports betting cheapens the skill and dedication of high-level athletes.
New Jersey Wants to Allow Sports Gambling
At the time the bill was passed, New Jersey didn’t take advantage of the 12 month window to legalize sports betting. Decades later, however, the state recognizes a missed opportunity. According to the American Gaming Association, illegal sports gambling rakes in over $150 billion annually. Even without considering the revenue to be raised through taxing sports betting, legalizing the activity would generate sizable resources for cash-strapped states.
Chris Christie, current governor of New Jersey, recently expressed his determination to allow sports betting in the state, regardless of the Bradley Act.
“We intend to go forward to allow sports gambling to happen,” said Governor Christie at a 2012 Atlantic City event. “If someone wants to stop us, then they’ll have to take action to try to stop us.”
Previously, New Jersey has appealed the federal ban in two separate filings, but the issue is now going before the highest court in the land. Ted Olson, representing New Jersey’s interests in the hearing, said he plans to argue that the federal government has no authority to tie the state’s hands. Olson adds that two previous Supreme Court cases pave the way in establishing that the federal government cannot use state resources to enforce federal laws.
The Supreme Court is expected to render a decision in the case later this year.

Cooley Law School Disputes Accreditation Dispute

The American Bar Association says that Cooley Law School admits unqualified law students. Cooley Law School officials disagree. They’ve filed a lawsuit to stop the ABA from publishing a statement that the school is out of compliance with education standards. The ABA has filed actions against several underperforming law schools including Florida Coastal School of Law, John Marshall Law School and the Thomas Jefferson School of Law.

The ABA wanted to publish a statement saying that the law school is out of compliance. Cooley didn’t want the ABA’s opinion becoming public. School officials filed a lawsuit to ask a court for an injunction that prevents the ABA from publishing the letter.

Cooley officials say that it’s unfair to hurt the school’s reputation over what’s essentially an opinion. They say that the ABA hasn’t taken any adverse action against the school. They say that a new crop of law school applicants are about to decide where to attend law school. Prospective students who would otherwise consider Cooley might make a different choice if they see the ABA notice, officials say.

School officials go on to say that the ABA doesn’t have the authority to publish opinion statements. They say the ABA can only accredit law schools and that the ABA doesn’t have the authority to simply state they believe that a school is out of compliance. They say that’s unfair when they have a school to run.

The ABA has a different opinion. They say that Cooley’s bar passage rates are too low compared to other schools. They claim that Cooley admits students that aren’t likely to graduate from law school and pass the bar. The ABA says that prospective law students deserve transparency when they’re deciding whether to go to law school and where to attend.

The average Cooley student has a 2.90 undergraduate GPA. The median LSAT score is a 141 out of a possible 180. By comparison, neighboring Michigan State University’s average LSAT scores range from 151 to 157 for the middle 50th percentiles. Only 61 percent of Cooley graduates pass the bar on the first try.

Even if Cooley ultimately loses it’s accreditation, it may not matter for Cooley graduates. The State Bar of Michigan doesn’t require a person to graduate from an accredited school in order to take the bar exam. Michigan bar officials can decide whether to allow graduates of unaccredited law schools to sit for the bar exam.

Elephants Should Be Legally Recognized As People

The law acknowledges numerous things as people. Humans are people, municipalities, state, and federal offices are regarded as people, corporations are people, and now more recently they are claims that elephants should be legally recognized as people.

Steve Wise, the founder of the “Nonhuman Rights Project” has filed a lawsuit on behalf of three elephants. Wise has made history by filing the first lawsuit that claims elephant’s have a right not to be imprisoned and a right to be treated as a person.

Habeas Elephantidae

Wise does not expect the religious of pachyderms to be acknowledged. In fact, Wise is not seeking to afford elephants the same rights as U.S. citizens. According to Wise, the one thing that he is after is for the right of bodily liberty as provided by habeas corpus. Wise’s efforts are aimed at freeing three elephants, Minnie, Beulah and Karen, held at R.W. Commerford and Sons Traveling Petting Zoo, Connecticut. The elephants have been detained in this home owned facility for decades.

Wise wants the elephants moved to a sanctuary claiming that it should be illegal to detain an autonomous being by force without due process.

The Nonhuman Rights Project’s Similar Lawsuits

The Nonhuman Rights Project has filed a similar lawsuit in the past. In 2014, the group sought to bestow civil rights on a chimp. The 26-year-old chimp going by the name “Tommy” was the subject of the lawsuit as the group attempted to secure custody from his New York owners.

The argument by the Nonhuman Rights Project would not see the light of day since legally, a person was considered to be any one who was able to take on legal duties and be held accountable for their actions. Chimpanzees can neither take on legal duties nor be held responsible for their actions. It was; therefore, deemed inappropriate to afford them legal personhood.

The current case on elephants is likely to result in the same outcome since elephants also have no understanding of the law and cannot be deemed responsible for their actions. If anything, the owners are the ones to be held liable for the actions of the elephants. However, if the court was to grant a writ, it would allow the elephants to challenge the legal grounds of their detention and recognize their personhood. This would result in significant changes in the legal status of animals, which are legally regarded as animals. It will be interesting to see how the court will rule in this case.

Justice Department Goes to Court over Anti-trust Issues

The Justice Department has made it clear that it will not allow Time Warner to be bought by AT&T for $85.4 billion. As a result, the department of justice has filed a lawsuit to block the acquisition. This has proven to be among the first big acquisition to face the current administration. At the same time, this is a move that shows that the justice department is willing to cut the corporate power especially when it comes to the media industry which is fast changing. This means that the decision to oppose the acquisition is quite different compared to the path taken by the past administration. For instance, six years ago, the justice department had its say in a deal that involved NBCUniversal and Comcast. While the deal went through, it had to meet many conditions that had been imposed by the Justice Department. The department is perhaps worried by the creation of a telecommunication as well as a media giant. AT&T has managed to develop through such acquisitions. At the moment, the company provides telephone and internet services, and it’s one of the biggest companies in the US. In the past, it has acquired companies such as DirecTV in its quest for dominance. As a matter of fact, the company became a mammoth in TV distribution when the deal involving DirecTV was concluded.

The Justice Department is worried that the deal would create an unrivaled empire. This is because Time Warner already owns big businesses such as HBO. At the moment, HBO is very popular for producing Games of Thrones. Warner Bros is also a part of Time Warner. Warner Bros is currently producing the hit Wonder Woman. It’s also the entity that has successfully adopted the Harry Potter. Finally, Turner Broadcasting is another part of Time Warner. This is the part that includes the likes of TNT network and CNN. The lead antitrust regulator with the justice department Makan Delrahim told the court that the merger would not be good for customers. The merger would play a huge role in weakening competition according to Mr. Delrahim. As for AT&T, it didn’t hide its frustration and said that it would challenge the decision in court. At the moment, AT&T says that the two are not in the same niche meaning they don’t compete directly. The Justice Department, on the other hand, said in an interview that it was willing to listen to an offer between the two companies.

Judge Throws Out 15 Convictions In A Single Day

Judges do not typically throw out convictions. It is standard practice to follow the lead of the courts and juries that have heard a case in the past. If that court and that jury believed that the defendant was guilty, then a subsequent judge is likely to uphold that ruling. There are rare cases in which there was some obvious misconduct or obstruction of justice in a case in which a judge will take a longer look at it. In those rare cases, a judge may decide to overturn a conviction. Given the uncommon nature of this action, the headline that a judge in Chicago overturned fifteen convictions in a single day is truly shocking.

The judge in question is Judge Leroy Martin and his ruling comes as what defense lawyers are praising as the first “mass exoneration of innocent defendants” says NPR. The decision comes after consideration of the events that unfolded in the case. Basically, the judge was concerned that these fifteen defendants were framed by Chicago Police Sargent Ronald Watts and those officers that work for him.

Some of the now released defendants in this case say that Watts would demand money and/or drugs from them when he first made contact with them. If they did not provide either of these things, he would arrest them on the spot. This behavior was largely confirmed when the Sargent himself got in trouble for trying to purchase drugs from an individual who turned out to be an FBI informant. Given this, the judge stated that he did not have confident in the testimony given by the police and others who worked for Watts in the trial. He simply could not allow the convictions to stand based on what he deemed to be unreliable testimony.

The defendants had all spent different amounts of time in prison based on their convictions. For the most part, all of these fifteen defendants had spent at least a few years behind bars for crimes they may not even have committed. Given the behavior of the former Police Sargent, it is difficult to tell which cases were legitimate prosecutions, and which were based on false testimony. The judge was careful to release only those he believed did not have enough true evidence pressed against them. Now, there are fifteen freed defendants who probably have quite the story to tell. It is a victory for their defense lawyers, and some say for the justice system as a whole.

More St. Louis Protesters Are Set To Take A Stand

This past week was exceptional for protesters in St. Louis. They believe the court system finally understands why they protest and the rights that go along with it. A judge in St. Louis made a ruling that all protesting is okay unless it becomes violent. This new law means residents of St. Louis can have a peaceful protest in the middle of the street or on government grounds, and it is within the guidelines of the law. A violent protest would mean people fighting with each other, people throwing items, or people protesting with deadly weapons in their hands.

The law put into effect also states that police officers cannot arrest people for protesting unless they are becoming violent. Police will have to give at least four warnings to people before arresting them. In addition to this, police officers will be able to use tear gas or rubber bullets unless it is necessary. Police officers must also give timely notice regarding the disbursement of either tear gas or rubber bullets. The whole idea behind this is not to hurt protesters who are not being violent.

The St. Louis judge who put these laws into effect believes that these laws are going to make St. Louis a safer place to live. In an interview, the judge talked about how people have always protested in every state. It is only now that protests are getting national attention because of arrests, and these demonstrations are usually due to alleged cases of police brutality.

Recently, several individuals from the community spoke up about how happy they are about a judging siding with the people. These individuals explained in detail some of the horrific scenes they’ve witnessed where police officers treated peaceful protesters poorly.

Members of the ACLU St. Louis branch also spoke up regarding this issue, and they are delighted with the results. In fact, it was the ACLU, along with several other St. Louis activists groups, who helped get this proposed law on the judge’s desk. An ACLU representative stated that the ACLU is going to try to do even more for peaceful protesters, especially when it comes to a protest for alleged police brutality. The ACLU is also urging protesters to adhere to the law and not get violent in any way. The ACLU believes this will help protesters continue to fight for their beliefs and change.

 

Possible Violations Of The Federal Advisory Committee Act

Fighting For FACA Compliance
Recently, The New York Times did an article about presidents trump’s Voter Fraud Commission. This is a Commission that was made to investigate any fraud in voting. Mathew Dunlap is the Secretary of State of Maine in the United States District Court. Dunlap currently serves in Washington, D.C., and he is the individual who is filing the suit. Dunlap alleges that the commission is in violation of the law because it refuses to hand over required documentation to certain members. Dunlap had requested these documents, and he alleges that the committee is not in compliance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act.

About The Federal Advisory Committee Act
The Federal Advisory Committee Act is a law that came into effect in 1972. It is an act that defines how federal advisory committees have to operate. This act gives rules about reporting and public involvement. The law governs the behavior of members of the committee. This act has the purpose of regulating database that have federal access. These are databases that are managed by governmental advisory committees. This is an act that gives emphasis to public involvement through open reporting and open meetings. All of the meetings that are carried out by these committees must be open to the public, and they must be announced on the Federal Register. All of the documents and reports that are prepared for and by the committee must always be available to the public.

What Does The American Oversight Want?
Matthew Dunlap has the goal of bringing the commission in to full compliance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act rules and regulations. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the American Oversight which is a watchdog group. The Federal Advisory Voter Fraud Commission has faced much criticism since it was established, and Dunlap hopes to hold the commission accountable for its actions.

Read more: https://www.gsa.gov/policy-regulations/policy/federal-advisory-committee-management/legislation-and-regulations/the-federal-advisory-committee-act

The FCC Is About to Hang Up On Prison Phone Call Reform

It can cost as much as $14 per minute to make a phone call from prison. Even though the FCC recently made efforts to lower the costs, new leadership at the FCC might mean that those plans are about to be abandoned. That’s because new FCC leaders aren’t willing to carry over the rules made by the prior administration. It’s going to keep the costs high for the 2.3 million people in prison in the United States and their loved ones who depend on phone calls to keep in touch.

In addition to high phone call costs, inmates also pay fees virtually unheard of in the outside world. From fees to put money in an account to high prices for commissary purchases, inmate dollars don’t go very far. An inmate can spend several day’s pay just to talk for a minute on the phone.

Most government contracts come down to who charges the least for services. If your business can do the work for 50 cents less, you’re likely to get the government contract. But that’s not how prison phone call service contract bidding works. Instead, the government awards the contract to the company that’s willing to give the government the greatest kickbacks. Agree to pay the government more money than the next guy, and you can charge prisoners whatever you like. While wireless customers throughout the country talk on the phone 24/7 without incurring additional charges, inmates are at the mercy of the company that agrees to give the government the most.

The FCC banned the practice of charging connection fees for inmates making outgoing calls. However, that wasn’t going to stop the companies who just renamed the fees to call them first-minute charges. Legal efforts to enforce measures to lower the costs have failed. The FCC’s past administration voted to cap the cost of phone calls between 11 cents and 22 cents per minute depending on the specific institution involved.

There are some things that make the prison phone system more expensive than phone calls on the outside. For example, prisoners can’t call judges or 900 numbers. Most calls are also recorded.

Studies show that kids who stay in touch with their incarcerated parents do better in school. In addition, prisoners who are able to connect with loved ones have a smoother reentry to society and lower recidivism rates. Some families with an incarcerated loved one say that they spend more money on phone calls than they spend on food.

Use of Computer Algorithms in Courts

4 years ago in the state of Wyoming, a young man was arrested by the state police for what they described as using a vehicle that had been used in a recent shooting. The man went by the name Eric Loomis. He didn’t object to the fact that he tried to avoid arrest. At the same time, he didn’t object to driving a car without the permission of the owner. On a normal day, he would be hit with a minor fine as few people had been jailed for such crimes. Nonetheless, the judge had other ideas. He cited that his behavior posed a high risk of what he referred to as recidivism. It was further revealed that the decision to sentence him was generated by a computer program known as COMPAS. This is a risk assessment algorithm that has been in use in the state of Wyoming for quite a while now. While the judge refused to offer the man probation, he ordered the man to serve six years in prison and another five years in extended supervision. In total, the man was jailed for 11 years. At the moment, no particular person knows how the COMPAS algorithm works. In fact, the manufacturer of the program has refused to disclose the proprietary on a number of occasions despite pleas from the affected.

Later on, when Mr. Loomis challenged the sentencing, the Wisconsin Supreme Court threw out his case. He had challenged the use of the algorithm in his sentencing as it interfered with his right of being sentenced individually. This meant that other considerations were put in place such as his gender. Three months ago, the United States Supreme Court said that it would not hear the case. However, the use of the algorithm will have far-reaching consequences. The question that many people still ask themselves is why these judges are relying on a computer program which, as far as people understand, these judges don’t even know how it works. This results to a bias system where the judges have the higher hand in taking advantage of the unchecked power which involves looking into issues that are not related to the case. This makes the case look serious than it is. Some states such as Colorado argue that having a computer system I place will result in judgments that are not biased. However, some experts in law argue that while it might seem like the computers do away with bias, they compound and delegate it further.

President Trump Faces A Legal Battle Over His Private Twitter Account

Donald Trump’s Twitter account, @realdonaldtrump, which is not to be confused with the official White House account, @potus, is under fire for the way in which President Trump has been handling the account. The president has been blocking his critics on Twitter from viewing his personal account and, in response, Columbia University’s Knight First Amendment Institute has joined with a group of seven other users of the social media site to sue Trump. The suit contends that the president’s use of Twitter’s blocking feature violates their First Amendment rights.
Is @realdonaldtrump Really a Private Account?
That’s the question that is at the heart of this lawsuit and, in this instance, it’s not easily answered. While Donald Trump opened his Twitter account before he was ever elected, he has since used the account to share official news and his own thoughts as president. For example, he uses the account to promote legislation, highlight supporters, and draw attention to those he views as disloyal.
In light of those kinds of posts, it would seem that, although Donald Trump may have started the account as a private citizen, he now treats it as a public forum. That, essentially, is the basis for the lawsuit from those critics who the president has blocked. They argue that the president treats the account as a public forum, which has risen to amass 20 million more followers than the @potus account, and therefore should be viewed as such by others. In light of that, President Trump’s blocking action is a violation of First Amendment rights.
The Department of Justice Responds to the Lawsuit
The Justice Department is representing President Trump in this matter and has offered an answer to the complaint, arguing that @realdonaldtrump is and always has been a private Twitter account. They assert that the account was initiated by a private individual with a private company and has nothing to do with the office of the president.
“The president does not operate his personal Twitter account by virtue of federal law, nor is blocking made possible because the President is clothed in Article II powers,” the Justice Department stated in the court documents.
Further, the brief admits that the president may make official announcements via his private account, but that doesn’t make the account an official state outlet. They also point out that not every tweet published on @realdonaldtrump is official state business. The Department of Justice argues that Knight Institute and other critics of the president do not have standing to bring their case against the presidency and cannot win the injunction to prevent Donald Trump from blocking Twitter users from viewing his personal account.
The case will move forward on November 3, when the plaintiffs, which comprises the group of blocked Twitter users, respond to the DOJ’s request for summary judgment.

High-Powered Attorney Lisa Bloom Steps Down from Harvey Weinstein’s Legal Team

Attorney Lisa Bloom announced at a scheduled press conference this past Saturday that she will no longer be serving as a defense attorney to Harvey Weinstein in his current legal battle surrounding sexual harassment charges. Weinstein is best known for his Oscar-winning films and is highly regarded in the film industry as one of the most talented and sought after producers. He has catapulted numerous Hollywood stars to almost instant fame and is considered one of the wealthiest and most connected producers in the business.

Several actresses have spoken publicly about their encounters with Weinstein and have accused him of acting inappropriately. Many of his accusers have said that they did not feel empowered to come forward until now because Weisntein carries so much clout in the film industry. They feared for their careers, reputation and credibility in going after such a prominent producer with these types of accusations.

Although Bloom has previously stood by Weinstein and has even worked with him on several projects, she announced that she is no longer able to go forward with representing him. Other members of Weinstein’s team as well as members of the board of Weinstein’s production company have been highly critical of Bloom because they say she has a conflict of interest in representing Weinstein. Bloom is in the middle of a production deal for her book to be turned into a television series through Weinstein’s and Jay-Z’s production companies.

Bloom was most sharply criticism from Weinstein’s team for her suggestion that Weinsten release pictures to the press of all of his accusers appearing comfortable around him and laughing with him after the alleged harassment incidents took place. Bloom was mocked for her efforts to sway the press and avoid having Weinstein deal with what most observers are commenting is a serious problem. Weinstein has acknowledged publicly that he has a problem and is seeking guidance on how to improve his behavior around women. Bloom has described Weinstein as a dinosaur adjusting to new ways of thinking as a way to explain his unacceptable behavior towards women.

It has also come to light that Weinstein has settled up to eight other sexual harassment cases with female accusers and has worked to bury the outcomes of the settlements for years. Many analysts say that female artists and writers are set to back away from deals with Weinstein as a result of this scandal.

A Constitutional View of Impeachment: Is Donald Trump at Risk of Losing the Presidency?

While the 2016 presidential campaign was one of the most heated in history, the drama didn’t stop when President Trump was sworn into office. In fact, there have been an unprecedented number of controversies since Donald Trump became the Commander in Chief, and it seems that there is a new storm every few weeks.

From the travel ban, to allegations of Russian collusion, to not taking a hard enough stand against the incident in Charlottesville, Trump is getting hit from all directions with serious accusations, and there has even been talk of impeachment. While that can sound quite alarming to the average citizen, impeachment is a legal and constitutional issue, and many people don’t understand how it works and what it may mean for Trump’s presidency.

What is Impeachment?

The process of impeachment is widely misunderstood. In layperson’s terms, impeachment is a specific power given to Congress to try government officials for certain crimes and potentially remove them from a federal office. It is much like a court trial, except that it is political and the trial and verdict are all carried out in the hallowed halls of the United States Congress. Any member can put forth Articles of Impeachment which are much like an indictment in the criminal court system. The House of Representatives then views the evidence and hears witnesses about the specific charges made. If the House agrees that the government official has committed sufficiently serious crimes, it can decide to impeach this person.

A trial, however, is needed in the Senate to determine whether the impeached party should be removed from their office. These are two separate questions, and both are long and drawn out processes. In very few instances is the official removed even when the impeachment itself is successful.

Are the Charges Against Trump Serious Enough?

The House of Representatives can impeach the president if he has committed bribery or treason, and these are relatively straightforward charges if there is sufficient proof. There is, however, a more gray area known as high crimes and misdemeanors, and these categories are open to quite wide interpretation. When it comes down to it, what is considered an impeachable offense is really up to a particular House of Representatives at the time of the proceedings. In the case of Trump, the current makeup of both the House and Senate are largely conservative, so the deck is stacked in his favor when the rubber hits the road on this issue. While Donald Trump’s more liberal colleagues may be throwing everything they can at him, successfully impeaching a president is difficult.

In fact, only three presidents in the history of the United States Constitution have been faced with Articles of Impeachment and, of those, none were formally removed from office. President Andrew Johnson was narrowly acquitted in 1868, while the Watergate scandal of 1972 led President Richard Nixon to resign rather than face impeachment hearings. In late 1998, the only successful presidential impeachment occurred when former President Bill Clinton was tried for lying under oath about his relationship with his intern Monica Lewinsky. He was not, however, ultimately removed from office by the Senate.

The Court of Public Opinion vs. the Numbers Game

If impeachment is unlikely, then why does it seem to be so talked about with each new accusation made against President Trump? Politics is based on polling and perception, and anything that implies that President Trump is in legal hot water has the potential to make his approval rating tank. Liberals understand the numbers game and knows that getting enough conservatives to jump ship all the way to impeachment is unlikely. However, they may plant seeds of doubt in Trump’s constituency base, leaving liberals with a better political position at the end of the day. Even if nothing sticks, enough much mud in the water could sully Donald Trump in the eyes of American citizens.

Read More by Sujit Choudhry
Sujit Choudhry’s Address at the Semi-Presidentialism Round-table in Ukraine
Constitutional Law Expert Sujit Choudhry Presents an Analysis of Freedom of Speech

What if Impeachment Happens?

While it is not clear at this point whether Trump has committed any impeachable offenses, it is always possible that he will find himself subjected to Articles of Impeachment for a current or future incident. However, even if impeachment does happen, President Trump will have plenty of options to decide how he wants the situation to play out. Even if impeachment looked likely, Trump could emulate Richard Nixon and resign rather than allow the proceedings to continue to his ultimate removal from office.

Due to the heavily Republican Congress, the odds of there being enough support for an impeachment process, let alone a removal from office, are not high unless there is a significant change in the balance of power in Washington. President Trump continues to enjoy considerable support from Republican voters. Regardless of whether Trump’s Republican colleagues support him, partisan calculations still matter in D.C. and will probably shape this debate in the end.

As a constitutional law expert, Sujit Choudhry provides a broad range of legal opinions about current events and politics both in America and abroad. He operates the Center for Constitutional Transitions, an organization that provides research and education in support of constitutional transitions worldwide. 

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