With the Upcoming Concord Consulting Not Guilty Plea, Russians Continue to Win the Lawfare Hockey Title
Last year, I observed how effective the mostly-Russian (with some assistance from Republicans) lawfare surrounding the Steele dossier had been. Between the Webzilla and Alfa Bank suits against Steele dossier actors (the latter advised by top Republican lawyers at Kirkland & Ellis), they forced out information that would embarrass Democrats and assist Republican efforts to undermine the Russian investigation. Further, the many suits were far more costly than the initial oppo research had been.
As a number of outlets have observed, one of the firms named in the Internet Research Agency indictment, Concord Management and Consulting, is waging similar lawfare in response to that indictment.
Concord is the firm of Yevgeniy Prigozhin, often called Putin’s chef because he’s gotten rich of catering contracts. The indictment claims Concord provided the bulk of the funding for the IRA. It further alleges Concord funds disinformation campaigns not just targeting America, but targeting other countries and domestic Russian audiences.
Beginning as early as 2014, Defendant ORGANIZATION began operations to interfere with the U.S. political system, including the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Defendant ORGANIZATION received funding for its operations from Defendant YEVGENIY VIKTOROVICH PRIGOZHIN and companies he controlled, including Defendants CONCORD MANAGEMENT AND CONSULTING LLC and CONCORD CATERING (collectively “CONCORD”). Defendants CONCORD and PRIGOZHIN spent significant funds to further the ORGANIZATION’s operations and to pay the remaining Defendants, along with other uncharged ORGANIZATION employees, salaries and bonuses for their work at the ORGANIZATION.
Defendants CONCORD MANAGEMENT AND CONSULTING LLC (Конкорд Менеджмент и Консалтинг) and CONCORD CATERING are related Russian entities with various Russian government contracts. CONCORD was the ORGANIZATION’s primary source of funding for its interference operations. CONCORD controlled funding, recommended personnel, and oversaw ORGANIZATION activities through reporting and interaction with ORGANIZATION management.
CONCORD funded the ORGANIZATION as part of a larger CONCORD-funded interference operation that it referred to as “Project Lakhta.” Project Lakhta had multiple components, some involving domestic audiences within the Russian Federation and others targeting foreign audiences in various countries, including the United States.
Among the details in the indictment that would require the most SIGINT (as distinct from cooperation from Facebook and domestic forensics analysis) is a paragraph describing the funding behind the operation.
To conceal its involvement, CONCORD labeled the monies paid to the ORGANIZATION for Project Lakhta as payments related to software support and development. To further conceal the source of funds, CONCORD distributed monies to the ORGANIZATION through approximately fourteen bank accounts held in the names of CONCORD affiliates, including Glavnaya Liniya LLC, Merkuriy LLC, Obshchepit LLC, Potentsial LLC, RSP LLC, ASP LLC, MTTs LLC, Kompleksservis LLC, SPb Kulinariya LLC, Almira LLC, Pishchevik LLC, Galant LLC, Rayteks LLC, and Standart LLC.
Presumably, the Mueller team named Concord and Prigozhin because doing so would support sanctions against him and his companies (indeed, Prigozhin was added to sanctions back in March). But it was also a way to put the operation within the immediate vicinity of Putin and tie it to the patronage that he uses to stay in power.
But then the corporate person of Concord Consulting unexpectedly started to contest the charges. On April 11, two lawyers from Reed Smith filed an attorney appearance for the firm. That same day, the lawyers sent Mueller’s team two letters, one asking for a Bill of Particulars and the other an expansive discovery request. Mueller’s team (having previously tried to serve Concord via the Russian government) then sent a letter to the lawyers, asking for confirmation they can receive summons for their client, which the lawyers returned it 10 days later, saying it violated Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. The government, based on the returned summons, asked for a continuance to make sure that summons had been accepted.
Acceptance of service is ordinarily an indispensable precondition providing assurance that a defendant will submit to the jurisdiction of the court, obey its orders, and comply with any judgment. Here, proper service is disputed. It would not be an efficient use of resources to conduct proceedings against Concord clouded by the question whether Concord has been properly served. And as mentioned above, that is particularly true given the sensitive intelligence gathering, national security, and foreign affairs issues presented by defense counsel’s initial requests.
Concord’s lawyers responded by arguing the Special Counsel was ignoring local rules requiring two weeks advance notice to make a scheduling change, and further noting the government had not cited any case law supporting the argument that there might be uncertainty about whether Concord had been served.
The Special Counsel is not entitled to special rules, and is required like the Attorney General to follow the rules of the Court. See United States v. Libby, 498 F.Supp.2d 1, 10-11 (D.C.C. 2007).
The Special Counsel’s motion, filed late on a Friday afternoon, essentially seeks to usurp the scheduling authority of the Court by requesting a continuance of a proceeding scheduled in five days knowing that Defendant is ordinarily entitled to fourteen days to respond.
The Special Counsel’s motion is in violation of Local Criminal Rule 47(b) in that its contains no citation to points of law and authority and instead proclaims without citation to any authority that “A criminal case against an organizational defendant ordinarily requires that the defendant has been properly served with a summons in order for the court to be assured that the defendant has submitted to the jurisdiction of this court and has obligated itself to proceed in accordance with the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure and other applicable laws that govern this criminal proceeding,”
Judge Dabney Friedrich denied the government motion, meaning there’ll be an initial appearance Wednesday.
Before looking at what Concord is trying to do with its discovery request, let’s take a step back.
The US has been charging Russian hackers and other criminals (like Viktor Bout) for years. Russia hates it. Even ignoring the number of Russian criminals we’ve imprisoned for long sentences, in cases where we don’t nab defendants while on vacation, the indictments still provide the US a forum to expose Russian intelligence activities with little cost to the US.
Charging a corporate person — one close to Putin — for a crime (information operations) that the US also engages in, the government provided Putin and his ally Prigozhin with an opening to either inflict some damage or force the government to withdraw the indictment (and think twice before indicting any other Russian corporations in other Russian investigation indictments).
Here’s some of what Concord is asking for:
Unnamed co-conspirators. When Rod Rosenstein announced this indictment, he emphasized that no Americans were named as co-conspirators in the indictment. That’s different than saying no Americans did conspire (indeed, I’ve noted that three Trump Campaign Officials described in the indictment may be under ongoing investigation). The motion for a Bill of Particulars asks for the identities of those three Trump Campaign Officials, as well as the identities of at least ten other Americans described specifically, and 100 recruited by IRA (described in ¶81). It also asks for the name of co-conspirators for an act, ¶7 of the indictment, who were required to register even though no co-conspirators are alleged to have to do so. Intriguingly, it asks not just for the identity of the real US person who held a sign in front of the White House (¶12b), but also all details surrounding the communications behind that appearance.
Related crimes the government will introduce at trial. The discovery request makes a very normal Rule 404(b) request for any “other crimes, wrongs, or acts” the government might introduce at trial. If Mueller’s team believes anyone in this indictment was involved in other parts of the operation, they might have to disclose that.
SIGINT. The request for a Bill of Particulars asks the government to identify all VPNs, PayPal accounts, Twitter accounts, and web-based emails used in the operation. It asks for the IDs of the people behind the operation and a definition of what significant funds means which would convey how much money Mueller has tracked. It asks for the specific bank accounts the indictment alleges Concord used to launder its money. It asks for specific evidence showing Prigozhin’s knowledge of the operation. It asks for all the communications behind the named events in the indictment. Showing this would provide Concord, and so Prigozhin, and so Putin, a very detailed picture of how much intelligence the US collected to draw up this indictment, which would also hint a lot about how we got it.
Details they will use to show US double standards. This includes a request for all the times since 1945 an agent of the US “engaged in operations to interfere with elections and political processes in any foreign country,” which is probably a reference to this study that shows CIA has done it more than Russia, along with a parallel request about any times Americans have been charged under the same crime, 18 USC 371, charged in the indictment. It also asks for a definition of a bunch of terms — such as “improper foreign influence,” “computer infrastructure,” “collecting intelligence,” and “began to monitor” that Russia will then use to point out where US spooks do the same. The request asks for a list of all criminal statutes that prohibit interference operations, the specific statutes behind the FECA, FARA, and visa violations alleged, as well as statutes that prohibit “impairing, obstructing and defeating the lawful governmental functions of the US … [by] interfer[ing] with US political and electoral processes. Together, those requests are designed to show that much of this stuff is either legal or spying.
The names of informants. Concord asks for this both as a general Brady request and asks for the specific name of the uncharged co-conspirator who traveled to Atlanta in 2014 in the request for a Bill of Particulars. While Prigozhin probably knows which Russians cooperated, Russia will nevertheless love to use that to punish whoever did.
While neither will happen immediately — Mueller’s team will push for a protection order and CIPA process before turning over the requested discovery and defendants almost never get a Bill of Particulars — effectively, Concord signaled its intention to impose real costs on the US government’s use of our criminal justice system to embarrass Russia. They made it clear that one of Putin’s closes allies will be demanding the intelligence behind an indictment naming him and two of his companies. Which is going to pose real discomfort for Mueller’s team (which might explain a bit of their delay here).
Let me clear: Concord is entirely within its right to begin demanding such evidence. That’s the risk of using our criminal justice system, affording due process, in charging a Russian corporate person who can challenge any charges without risking their freedom. I imagine Mueller’s team didn’t sufficiently account for this possibility when charging it this way. And if there are any other known Russian corporations involved in this operation (or fronts, such as the one Joseph Mifsud worked behind), I would imagine Mueller’s team is rethinking their approach to including those fronts. This could be problematic to the extent that proving any “collusion” between Trump’s people and Russians would most easily be demonstrated via conspiracy charges involving Russian entities.
As I said, for years, it has pissed off Russia generally and Putin in particular that the US used its criminal justice system to embarrass Russia, particularly for actions (like nation-state spying or information warfare like that alleged in this indictment) that we also engage in, including against Russia. It seems clear Putin and his buddy Prigozhin are using the incidence of the latter having had his company be named in this indictment as an opportunity to retaliate and make DOJ think twice as it continues to expand such efforts in the future.
And to a large degree, it’s quite likely to work.
Why does it look like part of this is Putin schooling Trump – in follow the bouncing ball over the song lyrics fashion – about how his people should begin defending themselves against Mueller, so as also to defend Putin?
And thanks for another fine piece of work. Hope the IPA holds out.
Prigozhin, the same person who sent hundreds of Russian mercs to their deaths in Syria in February. Maksim Borodin who wrote about it “fell” off a balcony. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/04/16/suspicions-raised-journalist-reported-secretive-russian-mercenaries/ Right out of the oligarch mob playbook, write about Mogilevich and Paul Klebnikov is shot dead.
Nice divide and distract strategy! I’ll give you a few points too for throwing in the buzzwords mob & oligarch.
Remind me again who is violating sovereignty in Syria? Last time I checked, the Russians had permission to be there and the U.S. didn’t.
I’d love to hear your perspective on the deaths of Michael Hastings and Aaron Schwartz.
Triggered much? Sucks to be on the side of pedo Putin who likes to lick little boys’ belly button lint.Trump is just his subcontractor. Be sure to tell your boss your trolls don’t work and are only here for humor and tracking your metadata. Not my job to up a troll’s game by pointing out your flaws.While disruption is your game we all know what pedo Putin’s hot button is.
A question for the lawyers: How can Concord’s lawyers demand evidence without accepting the summons to face the charges? My admittedly non-lawyer mind thought that until Concord is properly served, the lawyers have no standing before the court and cannot demand anything related to the charges. Indeed, until Concord is properly served, they are not yet considered to have been formally made aware of the charges, so how can they demand evidence related to those charges?
They can’t. I suspect this will become an issue at the arraignment.
See page 2 – starting with section 4 – of the link given above.
The lawyers of Concord are saying that the lawyers of Concord accepted the summons even though it was shittily done and arrogant Gov’t lawyers don’t get to bully around the courts and their schedules.
Sect. 6: PETTIFOGGERY!
Questions of service only count if the defendant is contesting it. Here they came and affirmatively appeared via attorneys of record. Service is a dead issue as to the appearing parties, in this case the corporate defendant Concord.
Demanding disclosure prior to arraignment is pretty funny though. They will be in their rights to start seeking that after the case is formally presented. And, my guess is the government will move to quash any such proper post arraignment demand until the named principal of the corporation, i.e. Yevgenly Prigozhin, also submits to jurisdiction. Do I think that will work? Eh, maybe not. But that is what I would do to slow this train down.
Big question. Nice to have jurisdiction over the corporate entity. A few things can be done with that, including shutting it down. But its principals could pursue their objectives without halt using one or more other vehicles, alone or in tandem.
The more useful and harder thing would be to obtain jurisdiction over one or more of the controlling shareholders, directors and officers. They controlled the corporation, knew the relevant information, and caused it to act.
I would imagine that with jurisdiction over the corporation, shutting down the international finances of the corporation would get much more cooperation from other countries’ banking regulators and central banks. They wouldn’t be able to touch whatever is banked within Russia, but damn near anything outside of Russia could likely be frozen. Given the lengths to which various oligarchs have gone to put their money outside of Russia, losing access to assets like that could really make some of these folks squirm.
Especially if they have certain . . . ahem . . . obligations to high-level officials who have demonstrated repeatedly and with a great deal of finality that they do not take kindly to those who fail to live up to their obligations and commitments.
Meanwhile, the requests from the DOJ/Treasury would start going to international banks for records of deposits and payments, among other such things. Having actual charges laid and official jurisdiction recognized would make banks much more likely to comply.
Think of it as the national version of house arrest. “You can go anywhere you want inside, but you can’t leave.”
Quick question. I thought that prior history is not considered in a case, eg, past criminal history. Can prior “offenses” of the US interfering in Russian elections be part of this trial?
Questions of service do have one big concern on the prosecution side of things.
If the prosecution is going to be asked/forced to turn over the names of unindicted co-conspirators and other “intelligence behind an indictment,” they have to be damn sure that the folks to whom they hand it have a right to be in court at all.
Hey, this is why I said there may be motions to limit, if not quash, disclosure. But that is a different thing than appearance and arraignment. Come on, the government filed the case. Sure it is a tad shocking any defendant submitted to jurisdiction, but here Concord is. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Yup. They waived as soon as they appeared. As to the disco issue, my first question would be “what’s their angle.” Is Concord really a legit business concern? Or is it a red herring? If a herring, it really has nothing to lose, which may explain why it submitted to jurisdiction. It doesn’t care what the U.S. Courts do to it. But it does care about obtaining info it thinks could be damaging to the SCO’s case in regard to other defendant’s.
Just one civil plaintiff lawyer’s thoughts.
Think you have it pretty much right! And, by the way, I’ve seen your handle before. Don’t be a stranger, jump in more often.
That would explain why they’re investing so much money in their lawyers.
Thanks bmaz. I seem to keep most of my commenting confined to naked capitalism an Ian Welsh. Hafta draw some lines when chasing the court calendar all the time. But like I said below, I check in daily. For a while I was bouncing between here and Pat Lang’s blog at Sic Semper just to keep an open mind on all this. But as the narrative has progressed, Lang’s credibility keeps flagging in my view. Whereas, this blogger team just keeps logically connecting the dots.
NC and Ian Welsh are both great, and both, especially Ian (he, Marcy and I worked for a while together at FDL), long time friends to us here. Stop in when you can. I know the time issue. Thanks to modern electronics and connectivity, I can now occupy dead time at court checking in. It used to be just thumb twiddling or looking for friends doing the same out in the hall or the attorney lounge. Isn’t modern life grand? (And I am not sure it is any better, if not worse. There was something to be said about the old camaraderie at and around the courthouses. But everybody is connected now, and it is irretrievably different).
I don’t understand how the rules around ‘attorney of record’ are actually constructed, can you explain?
For example, what’s to prevent me from going to court and claiming to represent Concord? Does Concord have to stipulate and/or inform the court that attorneys Joe Black and Bob White will be representing them? Does it need to be on letterhead from the service address on the summons? What’s to prevent any law firm that has a deep-pocketed client from really messing things up an just causing more chaos?
What’s to prevent? Well, losing your court privileges, bar card, and freedom because a knowing false statement in that regard would be a federal crime.
There’s a lot that’s procedurally weird about this. For example, I think the SCO has a point when they question whether the defendant has actually been served and whether they have actually appeared.
Also, I am curious as to what the rules are regarding organizational defendants being able to make an appearance at all. In civil suits in many state courts, corporate defendants are prohibited from appearing if they don’t have active and current filings with the appropriate regulatory bodies. Are there similar rules for criminal proceedings in federal court?
Finally, while the defendant is certainly entitled to evidence in the government’s possession that the government intends to use against it at trial, they are not entitled to many of the broad requests they’ve made. Per to the April 11 letter, the defendant has made several categories of requests. They’ve made Rule 16 requests which ask for information regarding the specific conduct charged in the indictment. That’s all reasonable and fair game and won’t really require disclosure of anything more than the type of material that the SCO has turned over to Manafort’s attorneys (e.g. financial records, documents intended to be used at trial by the prosecution, etc.). But the category they label “Rule 12 Requests” has stuff that’s ridiculous and will never be produced. Material going back to 1945 for unrelated cases? This is just grandstanding. Selective prosecution isn’t a defense.
No, the SCO does not have much, if any, of a point there. If it did, the court might not have summarily dispensed with the government’s motion to continue the arraignment. And, yes, when a defendant, whether corporate or individual, appears by competent counsel, they have appeared. Yeah, it’s pretty much that simple. There are motions that can be filed for limited appearance to contest jurisdiction, but that was not done here. A full appearance is an appearance.
As to Rule 16, that is a baseline (and there are a number of potential nuances even within that baseline depending on the nature of the evidence). There certainly can be additional discovery above and beyond that, but that has to be sought and ordered.
I definitely agree that the Rule 16 requests seem normal and fair game. It’s the other stuff that is patently ridiculous and clearly grandstanding.
Regarding the summons and service, I guess I was wondering about 1) the ability of the attorneys to make an appearance on behalf of the defendant without making some showing that they do actually represent the defendant, 2) the propriety of making discovery requests prior to the arraignment, and 3) whether there are any additional procedural requirements for organizational defendants to appear in court to mount a defense (which is an issue that often arises in the civil arena).
Regardless, at the end of the day I have a hard time seeing how the defense could use this case to undermine the SCO’s larger work. Seems unlikely that they would be able to compel disclosure of material that’s unrelated to this particular case, which I imagine the prosecution will be able to make without having to delve into national security sources & methods.
1) Yeah, if a licensed attorney appears on behalf of a defendant, especially a corporate defendant, that is pretty much good enough. If it is not legit, there would be bloody hell to pay. 2) The disclosure demand prior to arraignment is….funny. Guess it doesn’t hurt to make it, but it doesn’t mean much, if anything. 3) Well, theoretically, no. It is the government’s burden to prove the case, it is not necessarily incumbent on a defendant to mount or present anything in the way of affirmative defense. (Of course such a defendant may lose, but that’s how it goes).
Don’t think this is anything but a fairly smart fishing expedition. The mere fact it has been interjected is already driving the government nuts. Pretty hilarious actually.
But how does the court know that the attorney who appears has the consent of the defendant to appear on their behalf? In most cases, I assume there’s a simple form that the client signs and the attorney presents it to the court, and that’s that. But here, with Concord refusing to accept service, then how can the attorney prove that he/she has the consent of the client to appear?
The attorney is avowing that with his notice of appearance as attorney of record.
All you have to do is show up and say “Yeah, I’m the lawyer for X”? Really? No paperwork with the client’s signature on it, that says “I authorize Boris and Natasha speak for me, to defend me from the outrageous charges leveled by Moose and Squirrel”?
Yep, you just file your NOA and away you go!
“Now watch me pull a motion out of my hat.”
these are that class of self-interested elites known as lawyers/attorneys :) .
they make the rules, e.g., federal rules of civil procedure, collectively, and over time, e.g., british/american common law.
they both are judges, and strongly influence who becomes (or stays) a judge.
they are a preponderance of legislators at state and federal level.
“now pass me my hat off that rack over there, wouldcha boy? and stand back.”
Ok, that sort of answers my question from above… This seems like a recipe for 100% chaos. Anyone with money to burn on lawyers could really cause some trouble.
We burn a lot of money on cops and DAs. They cause a lot of trouble.
If the client corporation were contesting jurisdiction, the lawyer might have made a special appearance in order to make that argument. He hasn’t done that.
If the attorney were not authorized at all, lots of bad things would follow for the attorney. It would be a fraud on the court, a contempt citation would be in order, disciplinary hearings would follow, and the corporate defendant would probably have a civil case, in the event it suffered any damages as a result.
Agree that USG wouldn’t have to turn over many of these things soon, if ever. That’s why I said it would stall on a protection order and CIPA.
My guess is if USG thinks they need to dismiss this they’ll wait until a judge has told them they can’t CIPA the fuck out of everything.
I’m normally a lurker on here, but as a lurking lawyer I just couldn’t contain myself. I absolutely love reading the analyses in the comments and had to tell you. I’d comment if I ever found a mistake, but you’re so on the money 99% of the time. Love love it. Keep up the good work Marcy and Co.
ps … site was down for a while. DDoS? Makes me think you may be hitting too many nails on the head.
TY. Especially appreciate hearing from lawyers I’m not totally screwing things up.
We did have a few hiccups last night. Hoping it’s a one-time thing, continuing to batten down the hatches in hopes of weathering any upcoming storms.
If things get much darker, you’re likely to see an uptick in viewership. A lot more once trials begin, and through the roof if anything formal touches the Don or his family. I hope the reporting fund plans are in hand should you need to spend a few months in a courtroom covering events.
I’ll let the lawyers sort out the procedural stuff, but I wonder if this complicates the division of labour at the special counsel’s office, given that Jeannie Rhee is also on the Papadocket. The hearing on Wednesday is going to be interesting, because it’s going to require the govt to show up with a litigation strategy they hadn’t really planned for.
(Eric Dubelier comes across like a massive dick, but maybe that’s what gets you the big bucks for as a specialist defender in FCA and FCPA cases.)
I’ve never seen being a massive dick work out well for any lawyer in the long run. There is more “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine” in the legal field than any other I think. Sooner or later, those that scratch other lawyers for blood wind up bleeding. You beat up on opposing counsel’s clients. You never, ever, seek to beat up opposing counsel. The bar (meaning your cohorts) just stops talking to you and soon you’re a pariah. We’re a gossipy bunch. Word travels fast and the biggest dicks are always the easiest to throw under the bus. And in this field, once you’re under the bus it’s nearly impossible to get back on your feet again.
Really nothing of substance to add (especially since, AFAIR, I was never on the prosecution side of a case where a corporation was indicted alone, i.e. without any human as directing mind, and never on the defense side of criminal or similar case where the sole defendant was a corporation without any domestic manifestation), but I do feel moved to point out that, whereas the appropriate noun for a collectivity of crows is a ‘murder’, the same for attorneys is ‘conspiracy’ – a conspiracy of lawyers.
I’m not a lawyer, but this opinion seems a little different than some posed here. Maybe someone can break it down or counter-argue?
Thread at above link:
Lets try this again. For those arm chair litigators that are writing about all the procedural roadblocks facing prosecutors namely speedy trial delays or refusal to provide discovery in the so-called Russian 13 case this should serve as a bit of a primer and reality check. To begin with trial rights can not be used as swords but rather shields. That is to say they exist to protect defendants from certain types of trial delay but do not exist to permit an accused to refuse to appear in court but then argue their speedy trial rights have been violated….The bottom line all three speedy trial requirements demand the presence of an accused and compliance by prosecutors in seeking their appearance. As for discovery once again it does not happen unless and until an accused is before the court. Again its a shield not a sword. So for partisans waiting for this indictment to disappear for want of speedy trial or a lack of discovery get a lot of pop corn the wait will be long.
requirements under extradition treaties to submit to the foreign court certain materials its not “discovery” but various pleadings and attestations. Like with speedy trial, demands to produce discovery made by an accused while they are essentially a “fugitive” are sexy but largely irrelevant. To sum up. . . for those partisans that see the so-called 13 indictment collapsing as so much a partisan wet dream while those charged refuse the jurisdiction of the court I guess hope springs eternal.
Oh, I don’t think that is particularly different that what has been said here. Far as I recall, we have not particularly discussed the defendants other than Concord. They just sit there as fugitives unless and until the court acquires actual jurisdiction over them, their cases don’t magically go away.
But what Stan said does not apply to Concord, they have appeared. And, once arraigned, they will have discovery and speedy trial rights. But the government will have the right to seek to have the court delay or quash most discovery, this is what Marcy is referring to as getting a protective order, for a number of reasons. One of which includes the necessity of a CIPA process for much of the information sought. That takes…….time. We’ll see how it all plays out.
Thanks for the response @bmaz
Also, WTF with AG Schneiderman? His violent history will be cause for Trump/Cohen et al getting away with financial crimes. Damn, we sure can pick ’em in this country.
And an added note: All the Democrats resign. All the Republicans charged with crimes proudly run for office even after serving time.
Just depressing how many powerful men have skeletons like this in their closets.
It seems like a systemic cancer.
bmaz re-tweeted this last night [but read the whole thread]…gave me some relief when I read it this morning : “Sasha Samberg-Champion @ssamcham My old boss, Barbara Underwood, will be taking over in an acting capacity. She is one of the truly great lawyers and public servants I’ve known. No one should fear tomorrow. […]”
There are so many hard working, qualified women, and yet this type of man so often seems to be at or near the top of the food chain. Or maybe it’s because they’re at the top that this manifests…There’s something very wrong with the system.
There really is, @harpie.
We are being governed by sadists (sadistic personality disorder/antisocial personality disorder).
Underwood seems better qualified than Schneiderman to be NYAG. Hope she gets it permanently.
Top legal positions, like top political, business, military, medical and academic positions, provide ample room for predators to exercise power, to protect themselves, to enable their supporters and patrons, and to raid public and private coffers for their own enrichment.
Compare Boston University’s President John R. Silber, someone I would call a self-enriching, narcissistic predator and Howard Zinn, who held onto his tenure by the skin of his teeth despite decades of abuse from Silber.
Predators are accustomed to camouflaging themselves and are willing to fight dirty to get these jobs and to keep them. The Barbara Underwoods and Dawn Johnsens survive in lower tier positions.
Centrist middle of the roaders like Barack Obama (America is a post-racist society. Yea, how’d that work out?) enable their nominal opponents by not furthering their own networks and reinforcing them against the inevitable assault from the right. Compare, say, the judicial appointments ushered through by McConnell and Reid.
Progressives need to fight and network better if they want to fix that. Banding together and offering consistent mutual support would be a good way to start.
I have a hard time seeing the chaotic and idiotic NY state legislature appointing her even to a full interim status (even though she would be a great choice). And Underwood has nowhere near the name recognition nor funding ability to make a viable run in a primary, much less in November.
hang onto to this vox article until a similar review of fox news’ coverage of the schneiderman collapse is completed:
“… The network is the main source of news for 40 percent of Trump voters. Now, there is some programming on Fox News that attempts to do honest journalism and hold the president accountable. But the most valuable time slots are held by pundits like Hannity, Tucker Carlson, and the trio on Fox & Friends, and it’s clear they have no interest in doing the same.
When the Knight Foundation and Gallup asked thousands of Americans last year how they defined the term “fake news,” they found that conservatives were far more likely to think that an accurate story casting politicians in a “negative light” is always fake news.
In other words, Fox News has convinced many of its viewers that it doesn’t matter if news is accurate. If it makes Trump look bad, it’s fake…”
how is it that psychological monsters (more fairly put, seriously disturbed, mentally warped individuals) like schneiderman or trump or roy moore get themselves elected? and then reelected? when it seems highly likely that others in the know politically had heard of their behavior?
As a practical matter of governing, the u.s. govt cannot permit an entity associated with the current Russian govt to use a u.s. lawfirm to challenge a part of a legal action like the special counsel’S action against concord manager ad consulting.
any general notion that “because we do it, we cannot quarrel with others doing it” is not at all wise, though I see this talked up a lot.
the solution would be political – the application of serious political pressure on the law firm together with whatever domestic financial pressures could’ve brought to bear on the corporation.
but this only works when foreign policy is bipartisan and both parties have no interest, as the Republican Party does now, in stalling u.s. govt actions against a govt like the current Russian govt having a clear 6 yr old policy of damaging the decision making and voting process of citizens in the u.s. and Western Europe, and ,likely, Asia.
Kudos to Marcy and lawyers posting here! Fascinating reading.
Never in a million years would I have imagined receiving a “legal education” in my old age.
Carry on! (I can’t always follow all of it but as time permits, I’m trying.)
“any general notion that “because we do it, we cannot quarrel with others doing it” is not at all wise, though I see this talked up a lot.”
In fact,though I have not thought it through, I doubt this sort of symmetrical thinking has any strong moral base either when one considers the long range consequences that are being analyzed as if merely tit for tat.
“I imagine Mueller’s team didn’t sufficiently account for this possibility when charging it this way.”
Must respectably disagree. See SWIFT. Follow the money laundering.
Does anyone know anything about the judge here? I’ve read “Trump appointee”, but that doesn’t necessarily mean “batshit crazy”. It just increases the odds.
This is a smart fishing expedition for Concord, but as an attorney, would you (or your law firm) take them on as a client? Mueller has already gone back to the DOJ and gotten the President’s attorney raided by the FBI. Concord is pretty much a ghost at this point. It has lawyers, but it has no physical presence itself, and it’s a defendant in a major counterintelligence investigation. Wouldn’t that be enough to get Mueller to go trudging back to Rosenstein to say, “I’ve got a few more lawyers who are acting fishy.”?
Withe the right signed engagement conditions and up front fee, sure.
Rosenstein: Here’s another $10M, proceed.