Bennie Thompson Sues Trump, His Mobsters, and Rudy G under the NAACP Act

Congressman Bennie Thompson, who is the Chair of the Homeland Security Committee, just sued the Former President, Rudy Giuliani, the Proud Boys, and the Oath Keepers under the Ku Klux Klan Act for setting off a mob on January 6. Effectively, Thompson argues that the conspirators deliberately set off an insurrection and the insurrection succeeded in preventing Thompson from performing his duties in certifying the vote.

4. In furtherance of this common goal of preventing the timely approval of the Electoral College vote count, the Defendants acted in concert to incite and then carry out a riot at the Capitol by promoting an assembly of persons to engage in tumultuous and violent conduct or the threat of it that created grave danger of harm to the Plaintiff and to other Members of Congress.

5. This conduct jointly undertaken to threaten the Plaintiff and other Members of Congress in order to disrupt the Electoral College vote count was part of an ongoing course of action pursued by the Defendants for the purpose of contesting the announced results of the presidential election held in November 2020 and preventing the duly elected President and Vice President from attaining approval of Congress of their election necessary to their inauguration.

6. The insurrection at the Capitol was a direct, intended, and foreseeable result of the Defendants’ unlawful conspiracy. It was instigated according to a common plan that the Defendants pursued since the election held in November 2020, culminating in an assembly denominated as the “Save America” rally held at the Ellipse in Washington, D.C. on January 6, 2021, during which Defendants Trump and Giuliani incited a crowd of thousands to descend upon the Capitol in order to prevent or delay through the use of force the counting of Electoral College votes. As part of this unified plan to prevent the counting of Electoral College votes, Defendants Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, through their leadership, acted in concert to spearhead the assault on the Capitol while the angry mob that Defendants Trump and Giuliani incited descended on the Capitol. The carefully orchestrated series of events that unfolded at the Save America rally and the storming of the Capitol was no accident or coincidence. It was the intended and foreseeable culmination of a carefully coordinated campaign to interfere with the legal process required to confirm the tally of votes cast in the Electoral College.

It combines many of the allegations laid out in the impeachment inquiry with the allegations laid out in some — but not the most recentOath Keeper and Proud Boy conspiracy cases.

There are old details not included — such as that Trump’s DOJ treated threats from Proud Boys against Judge Amy Berman Jackson to be a technicality, as well as recently revealed details not included, including details about how the Proud Boys prevented cops from shutting down access to the tunnels.

But there are a lot of key details, down to lawmakers contracting COVID after he was stuck sheltering with colleagues who refused to wear masks.

126. By being required to shelter in place, Plaintiff Thompson and other Members of Congress were forced to occupy space that did not allow for the social distancing measures that minimized the risk of transmission of the virus.

127. Shortly after the siege on the Capitol ended, at least two other Members of Congress who shared the confined space with Plaintiff Thompson tested positive for COVID-19.

It is a well-argued suit and we will see what happens (bmaz warns that a criminal conspiracy charge against Trump is a ways off, which it is, temporally, though he doesn’t consider the object of the conspiracies actually being charged, which is very similar to what Thompson alleges).

If nothing else, this will oblige the defendants to retain documents until such time as the FBI comes looking for them.

Update: Corrected that Thompson did not contract COVID and my defendants/plaintiff problem.

155 replies
  1. klynn says:

    “If nothing else, this will oblige the plaintiffs to retain documents until such time as the FBI comes looking for them.”

    That’s an important “if nothing else.”

    Thank you for the post.

    • bmaz says:

      It is not. The one and only Plaintiff is Bennie Thompson “in his personal capacity”. If Mr. Thompson did not retain whatever documents he has, that is his problem and he is a fool. As to the defendants, which a document preservation might be applicable to, we shall see.

      To my eye, this is a PR stunt, not a real piece of litigation. Here is the official DOJ guidance on dec actions, which is the primary premise of Mr. Thompson’s purported suit:

      “Title 28 U.S.C. § 2201, allowing the issuance of declaratory judgments in cases with the courts’ jurisdiction, is procedural and restricted to “cases” and “controversies” in the constitutional sense. See Longshoremen’s Union v. Boyd, 347 U.S. 222 (1954); Miller v. Udall, 368 F.2d 548 (10th Cir. 1966). It is not available for the resolution of hypothetical, academic, or theoretical problems. See Wirtz v. Fowler, 372 F.2d 315 (5th Cir. 1966). The federal courts do not render advisory opinions. Golden v. Zwickler, 394 U.S. 103 (1969). However, assuming the requisite case or controversy is present, the United States, suing under 28 U.S.C. § 1345, can invoke the Declaratory Judgment Act to obtain a declaration of rights or other legal relationships. See, e.g., Wyandotte Transportation Co. v. United States, 389 U.S. 191, 201, 204 (1967); State of Wyoming v. United States, 310 F.2d 566 (10th Cir. 1962), cert. denied, 372 U.S. 953 (1963); Universal Fiberglass Corp. v. United States, 400 F.2d 926 (8th Cir. 1968).”

      Note that the “U.S.” is not a party Plaintiff here, only Thompson is. In his “personal capacity”. This is a joke and a stunt. Although Cohen Milstein is a very legitimate firm. Again, we shall see, but I would not pin many hopes on this.

      • klynn says:

        Since the litigation involves his workplace as a MoC, would this protect all security video at his workplace?

      • BobCon says:

        Are there other potential suits which you feel may be more risky to the people involved? I’m curious whether the injured police or Officer Sicknick’s family, for example, have a decent chance of winning a lawsuit.

        I’d also be curious whether the House and/or Senate have grounds to pursue civil action against the organizers, since I’m clueless as to what Congress can do separately from DOJ.

        I’m struck (although not really surprised) that members of the GOP like Gaetz have started an active denialist movement around Sicknick’s death. Whatever PR bump among their followers they may get, it seems dumb in terms of the implications of a lawsuit.

      • Former AFPD says:

        bmaz, I understand your criticisms of this suit. However, when an African American representative from the deep south stands up to Trump, Guiliani, the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys, I would not characterize this as a stunt. Under the circumstances, I find the filing of this lawsuit to be courageous. The pleadings can be amended. Parties can be added. Under the current circumstances, it seems to me it took a great deal of courage by Rep. Thompson and his lawyers to file this suit, particularly their reliance upon the Klan Act.

        • klynn says:

          Thompson tends to seek and resolve much needed, well documented concerns. He does not have a history of going for a PR stunt. So, I’m trying to figure out why he filed this now?

        • bmaz says:

          Let me respond to various things:

          Former AFPD: It matters not what his race or personal locale is (note, he did not bring it there, but instead in DC District, which, if that is his “personal” residence, means he is committing campaign fraud). Pleadings can only be amended before answer as a right. That ought to be if they were defective to start with. After that, only with court permission.

          BobCon: I don’t know, but this sure is not it.

          Kathleen Galt: Um, the intent to get publicity, i.e. the normal intent of PR stunts.

          The Old Redneck and Ravenclaw: Yes, I am absolutely certain that it was indeed such a simple keyboard mistake, because I know the author.

          Gulateten: No, they are not, but this is a stunt.

          Joel Fisher: Any litigant can issue subpoenas all day long, but if challenged via a motion to quash, they will certainly need court permission and order. But you can’t play if you don’t try. The House has been particularly lame and ineffective in this regard. If Pelosi and the House are so scared of “consuming time” maybe they should not even be in the game.

          “Fun Fact”: if you want your issued process respected, have the balls to issue it and then enforce it. Pelosi has not, and never has. It is the way of cowardice and failure.

        • joel fisher says:

          Doesn’t the “balls” issue militate more toward the Congressman’s private suit and away from the figures who lack the necessary balls (as you say, “lame and ineffective”) to enforce subpoenas? In fairness to Congressional subpoena issuers over the years, it’s seems to be very hard to get them enforced. In a civil suit after the motion to quash is denied–a motion perhaps even deadlined in an early scheduling order–the judge is apt to get a little churlish if their order isn’t obeyed.

        • joel fisher says:

          Lord knows, you could be right. It’ll have to survive a motion to dismiss. That’ll take some time; but I think it will go on into discovery. I mean, there is such a cause of action.

      • The Old Redneck says:

        I think she just got her terms transposed and meant “defendants” rather than “plaintiffs.”

      • joel fisher says:

        One thing about bringing the suit in his personal capacity, he doesn’t have to ask anyone’s permission to get subpoena issued. I gather a Congressional subpoena requires committee votes and is otherwise problematic. Enforcement, I’ve heard, requires coordination with the Justice Department. Sounds time consuming. Seems like this might be a faster way to get some answers–objections probably–sooner. Fun fact #1: it’ll be hard for the former POTUS to claim he doesn’t have time to sit for a deposition when he’s playing golf 3-4 times a week. Fun fact #2: a civil suit over the horrors of seeing Bill Clinton’s dick was how he ended up getting impeached.

      • MelW says:

        Is it possible that Trump et. al. could be sued for violating the civil rights of 81 million Americans who voted for Joe Biden when they (Trump & co) tried to obstruct and/or overturn an election?

    • Ravenclaw says:

      I think “plaintiffs” may have been a simple slip of the keyboard. Doesn’t “defendants” make more sense in context? (Also not a lawyer, so I’m not sure of the correct terminology in a civil suit. But that’s what it is, right? Not a criminal prosecution, I mean.)

      Steeling myself for the blast from above re my ignorance…

  2. graham firchlis says:

    I ache to sit in on the depositions.

    Conspiracy is a steep climb, but when the elements are there the view from the top is exhilarating.

    Indicted a major criminal out of Hong Kong with conspiracy in addition to drug smuggling and human trafficking, filed under seal. He was picked up two years later in LAX customs, unaware he’d been charged. Convicted on all counts he caught 10-20, served the 10 then deported.

    Satisfying, even if he deserved life.

    These Trump clucks are not so clever as they think they are. Conspiracy charges are built brick by brick, and this gang of fools left bricks everywhere.

    • bmaz says:

      Oh did you now? Are you, like “Montana Voter”, yet another very latent “former prosecutor”? Yer killing me. And, apparently, being dishonest with readers here.

      • Montana Voter says:

        Please don’t drag me into your bullying. For all we you know YOU are a Ted Bundy type with access to Lexis.
        I know its tough to understand with your ego rattling around in your head but plenty of people have gone to law school and practiced all forms of law. You are not the authority on who is or is not qualified to comment on legal issues as shown by your criticism of the House Managers decision on calling witnesses.
        Try to dial it back on the rudeness scale and maybe we’ll all be happier.

        • Rayne says:

          Your disapproval is noted. Focus on the content of the post, add something constructive with adequate supporting material, or move on.

        • Montana Voter says:

          Thank you. I am pretty nice except when provoked by a blowhard.

          [I was serious about being constructive and moving on. Quit poking the bear. /Rayne]

        • Cynthia says:

          bmaz’ arrogant & rude responses are an unfortunate feature of the otherwise interesting & informative emptywheel conversations

        • timbo says:

          Oh I dunno…isn’t this site more like Hell’s Kitchen for progressive political thinkers with some inkling of a conscience? ;D

        • BobCon says:

          He and Rayne have pissed me off on occasion and I’m sure vice versa. I know bmaz and EW have locked horns sometimes.

          I think the key is knowing when it’s good faith fighting, which makes it easier to move on. I fight with my family sometimes too, you have to try figure out where and when and why and how.

        • bmaz says:

          The issues here, with the exception of sports trash talk, are not easy. Hopefully that is why people come here. Usually we agree, sometimes not. But also hopefully the discussion leaves all, including me, better informed.

      • graham firchlis says:

        Yes, I did.

        I chaired a Special Federal Grand Jury for 20 months, investigating international organized crime. It was a grueling experience and sucked up way too much of my time, but I was determined to get it right. There were many indictments, and it was my (real) name in all caps and my signature on all of them right above those of the judge. I alone took full responsibility for the jury’s work product. No true bill was brought without my leadership and court delegated authority.

        Dragging someone into the maw of our justice system is not something to be done lightly. It is a human process, fraught with flaws. My jury pinned the Joint OC Task Force up against the wall of reason. By luck of draw and the judge’s wisdom we had two defense lawyers and a corporate tax law prof, majority liberal skeptics, a well educated greater San Francisco jury. Warp speed education in federal criminal law, the ways of gangsters and the sad willingness of DOJ to skirt the law. To our AUSA team’s frustration they did not get all the true bills they wanted, and we trimmed charges for all the complex cases. But what was charged was solid, and I can sleep at night confident the proper job was done.

        Have you always been a defense lawyer, bmaz? The courts are a place unto themselves, where the truth is too often unrecognized. I would be deeply frustrated in your line of work, not suited at all. What I have done is sign my name under oath on the truth of indictments that would send those charged to prison for decades, strip them of thier wealth, thier family and reputation, and for some to face the death penalty.

        I found that sobering, and burdensome. Horrible crimes, nightmarish evidence, shattered victims, ruined lives and sorrow all around. I was glad when it was over, and that I didn’t have to do it anymore.

        We agreed early on you don’t know anything about me. Now you know a little more. All I know about you I’ve read here. All I want to know. It is only the discussion that is of interest.

        If I am wrong on the merits I welcome correction. Invective, false charges, serve no useful purpose. Unless you feel better for it, so maybe there’s that.

        • timbo says:

          If that SFGJ one I’m thinking of, thanks for helping clean up a little bit of the political corruption in California. And if not that one, thanks for doing the hard work, whichever SFGJ it was. If it’s just hot bull on the Interwebs—on the off chance it could be—then situation normal…

  3. Kathleen says:

    So, now we have some of Trump’s mobsters (domestic terrorist who attacked the Capitol) being arrested, jailed, etc, do you think any of them will turn on their mob boss since he has escaped being held accountable again?

  4. Valley girl says:

    typo? plaintifs = defendants in last sentence?
    I think that would make more sense.
    but then I just woke up…

  5. William Bennett says:

    Not to stray too far OT, but civil suits notwithstanding I’d like to see some movement toward “Fourteenth Amendment solutions,” to paraphrase a certain ex-President. If we strip him of his ability to run, that’s got to deprive him of some of his power over the GOP, which is still consolidating itself under his banner.

    • timbo says:

      I think it’s pretty clear that the DP leadership in the Congress ain’t much interested in that. If they were, in all probability they’d have been more insistent on witnesses in the past two impeachment tries.

  6. sand says:

    It is said that the GOP leadership kowtows to Trump because they love power. They don’t seem very powerful. Lindsey Graham embarrasses himself on national television almost daily. Ted Cruz carries water for a man that insulted his father and wife. Mitch McConnell says the Senate was impotent to conduct a trial on charges of impeachment delivered a week before the end of the president’s term, even though he was certain the president was “practically and morally responsible.” Maybe they’re actually masochists. Is there any comparable example of supposedly powerful people enduring such humiliation?

    • MB says:

      There’s a parallel to this in the under-the-radar world of those who study cult dynamics. Just about every cult leader has an inner circle of “lieutenants” (in the case of political cults) or “disciples” (in the case of spiritual cults) whose main responsibilities involve cheerleading for the Big Cheese, defending the BC, doing PR work for the BC, and organizing the activities of the middle and outer circles around the BC, all while remaining performatively loyal and faithfully deferential to the BC. If the loyalty and deferential behavior is not there, then these inner circle lieutenants and disciples no longer have a purpose and they are …o-u-t.

      Proximity to power is an aphrodisiac to these types and the ability to exercise at least some power over those lower on the hierarchical rung makes them feel like mini-BC’s. And yes, displays of masochism, and the ability to endure humiliation and then keep on keeping on are features, not bugs. They probably see themselves secretly as martyrs to a worthwhile cause.

      I recommend reading Steven Hassan’s book The Cult of Trump for a fuller explanation of cult dynamics. Hassan was a Moonie who came from a liberal family background, but when ensconced within the Moonie organization, adopted the virulent anti-communist political stances that Moon demanded of all his followers.

    • PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

      I think it’s a mistake to conflate Mcconnell not holding a longer impeachment trial, or not holding it sooner, with a lack of power. He didn’t want either of those things, and was allowed to squash it even in the minority.

      • timbo says:

        Yep. If one looks who has actual power in Washington DC, it could be argued that there are more folks who have to listen to McConnell more than Trump at the moment.

      • sand says:

        This is very interesting to me, as the discussion depends on whether we have a common definition of what it means to be powerful. I intentionally included McConnell as the primary example. I think power might be defined by two primary aspects: 1) you can bend others to your will, and 2) you do not have to bend to the will of others. I see McConnell bending and twisting in public in ways that we would never see from those with power, as I would define it. To me, his bending and twisting is a sign that someone else holds the power.

        It may be a mistake to believe the Senate could not hold an impeachment trial, but I cribbed that argument from McConnell himself, because I think it tells us something.

        From his comments on the Senate floor: “. . . the president sent a further tweet attacking his vice president. Predictably and foreseeably under the circumstances, members of the mob seemed to interpret this as further inspiration to lawlessness and violence.” From his WSJ oped: “There is no question former President Trump bears moral responsibility.” But again from his comments in the Senate, “A Senate verdict before Inauguration Day was never possible.”

        In other words, McConnell has publicly stated that it was obvious to him that the president was guilty of an impeachable offense. At the same time, he argues that it was impossible for the Senate (whose schedule he controlled) to get a conviction by January 20. While that may be a stretch of the truth, the important thing is that McConnell’s own argument is that he did not have the power to hold Trump accountable. His argument is impotence. If it’s a lie, then he’s telling a lie that debases himself.

        Further, McConnell has to support his argument with a specific (I’d say tortured) reading of Art. II Sec. 4,
        “The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” I read this sentence as providing for a punishment. McConnell has to break it apart and put it back together out of order in order to interpret it as a description of who can be impeached and convicted and when. While it’s perhaps not an impossible interpretation, the vast weight of history and constitutional scholarship seem to be contra. There’s no reason a jury of any kind should acquit simply because the specified punishment is unavailable. Why do we try fugitives in absentia, levy financial penalties against the broke, or sentence anyone to more than 100 years in prison? Those are also cases where a finding of guilt can be had even though the specified punishment may be unachievable. In a political process, it should be even easier to deliver a verdict without regard to whether the punishment could actually be delivered.

        I think McConnell himself knows that his argument is weak, which is why he took to the Senate floor and the WSJ to defend himself. McConnell seems to take the most pride in his reputation as the consummate political player. He’s out trying to defend that reputation with some pretty weak arguments. Powerful people don’t have to spend a lot of time explaining to others that they are smart. Again, McConnell looks weak to me here.

        I think McConnell has overplayed his hand and lost his power to the loose collection of characters that has arisen from the free-for-all of fringe ideas underpinning Trumpism. If he believed Trump was “practically and morally responsible” and had true power, he would have held Trump accountable. If he had true power he would have consolidated the GOP and squeezed out the loonies. If he had power, he wouldn’t be defending weak arguments on the Senate floor and in the WSJ. He’d be sitting on his porch in Kentucky drinking a toddy and laughing on the phone with Mike Pence. That would look like power to me.

        • Ginevra diBenci says:

          McConnell’s post-impeachment posturing (the floor speech and WSJ article) had one purpose: to reassure mega-donors that the GOP was not going to plunge off the rails of democracy. He voted to acquit to appease the Trump base, whose small-dollar donations many in his caucus will need, but he has to keep the big money flowing and big money has doubts about the lunatic fringe. His power has always derived from finessing situations like this.

        • sand says:

          In that case, I’d say it’s the mega-donors with the power, not McConnell, and the U.S. is a plutocracy. That’s probably not too far off the mark. McConnell is just an agent. He may be a good one, but he is replaceable, and he will need to bend to the will of his donors. If donors could be replaced by voters, that would be democracy, but it seems the voters can be led almost anywhere. That may be why Putin thinks democracy is a bad system, and the plutocrats should just run the show out in the open in whatever way they see fit.

        • cavenewt says:

          In that case, I’d say it’s the mega-donors with the power, not McConnell, and the U.S. is a plutocracy.

          Of course. McConnell is nothing without big money. I think Ginevra is completely right and that he was speaking out of two sides of his mouth at once, because in today’s optics-centered politics that kind of thing works.

        • Thomas says:

          I disagree that McConnell made himself look weak. One dimension of power is being able to lie outrageously, knowing that everyone knows you’re lying and can do nothing at all to hold you accountable for it.

      • njbill says:

        Remains to be seen. This is a civil lawsuit. Certainly there will be preliminary motions practice, including motions to dismiss.

        If some or all of the case survives from preliminary motions, there will be discovery. 100% chance of that. Trump and Giuliani will be required to produce all discoverable documents within their custody or control. Also, 100% chance both will be deposed.

        This is all very simple, basic civil litigation practice.

        One important caveat: if criminal charges are filed against Trump or Giuliani arising from the events of January 6, the civil case could get stayed until the criminal matters are resolved.

        • njbill says:

          Responding to your “no chance of depositions” comment, which is wrong. Maybe you were just being flippant.

        • P J Evans says:

          Whatever lawyers Trmp has would try to avoid it. He has a very bad rep on depositions: he says whatever makes him feel good.

        • njbill says:

          I agree the case isn’t strong, but it’s not a publicity stunt.

          Again, for the third time (you’re out), you are wrong in saying there is “no chance” of depositions. Don’t know how much civil litigating you do, but you can almost never say “no chance” in civil litigation.

          The judge to whom the case has been assigned will likely be favorably disposed towards the plaintiffs. All he needs to do is allow at least a part of the case to proceed following preliminary motions. If he does, then you will have depositions unless Trump settles before hand.

          Unlikely Trump would be able to get an interlocutory appeal. He is a private citizen now.

          As previously noted, however, the case could get stayed if Trump gets criminally charged.

        • joel fisher says:

          I don’t see this case as an obvious loser. Sure, as you say, “the case could get stayed if Trump gets criminally charged”. And that’s one very good reason to get this thing rolling before criminal charges are begun.

  7. I Never Lie and am Always Right says:

    I don’t have the time to review the complaint to form an opinion as to whether it would survive a Motion to Dismiss for failure to state a claim. Assuming for sake of discussion the complaint states a valid claim, if one or more of the defendants in the civil suit is the target of a criminal investigation, it is quite possible, if not likely, that the defendants who are targets or subjects of the criminal investigation will end up filing a Motion to stay the civil proceeding, pending the resolution of the criminal investigations (and any subsequent criminal prosecutions). Most Judges grant those types of stay motions in civil litigation if there is a real risk that a defendant would have to give up their 5th Amendment rights available to them in the criminal case in order to properly defend against the civil suit or if the government itself asks the civil litigation to be stayed pending the resolution of the criminal cases.

    Prosecutors generally don’t like civil suits that involve the same subject matter as pending criminal investigations/prosecutions because the civil suits have the potential to create problems in the criminal matters.

    The above statements are generalizations

  8. njbill says:

    The case has been assigned to Judge Amit Mehta, an Obama appointee. Probably not good news for Trump and Giuliani.

    • BobCon says:

      It may not be good news but I wouldn’t call it bad news either. I doubt there is a reason to think he will rule except on the merits, and Trump is capable of winning sometimes on the merits.

      • njbill says:

        I didn’t mean to suggest the judge would improperly tilt his decision. Just saying it never hurts to have a judge who is sympathetic to your cause as I suspect this judge will be in this case.

        A boss of mine many years ago said litigation is about impressions and personalities. I always argued to him that it’s about the facts and the law. But the truth is, it’s really about all of those things.

        I think this plaintive may have an uphill battle on the law so it won’t hurt if the judge is sympathetic to his case.

        • njbill says:

          You’re a criminal lawyer. Obviously not a civil lawyer. I practiced civil litigation for over 40 years before retiring a few years ago, including about 10 years in the District. Criminal lawyers usually think they are the cat’s meow and look down on civil lawyers. It’s always been that way. But they are a fish out of water in civil litigation.

          You don’t know what you’re talking about with respect to this lawsuit. That’s obvious.

          You’re just a troll. Didn’t take me long to figure that out.

        • bmaz says:

          Lol, I have done both for over 30 years, and, yes, this litigation is complete junk. But thanks. I’ll tell you what, check back in when this piece of junk yields discovery, much less a verdict. Because that will be a cold day in hell. Also, please address the Little Tucker Act and related statutes such as §1346.

        • njbill says:

          So you claim. What you write suggests otherwise, however.

          I’ll give you an example.

          Above, you cited to “official DOJ guidance on dec actions.” No experienced civil lawyer would cite that because it’s inapplicable here. No governmental entity or individual is a party to the action. DOJ is not representing anyone in the case. So there is no purpose to cite the DOJ manual which has no relevance to the case. Besides, what you cited simply outlines basic, boilerplate propositions which don’t do anything to further the discussion of the case at hand.

          I always loved it when I litigated against a criminal lawyer in a civil case. They’re cocky, arrogant. They don’t know the rules. They don’t know how to take civil depositions. They’re unfamiliar with civil motions practice.

          Generally, they are babes in the woods, just as I would be if I were to get involved in a criminal case. (That’s why I haven’t posted on this site before since the articles almost always involve criminal matters.)

          One exception was Jake Stein who knew his way around both civil and criminal court rooms.

          As I’ve said above, I do agree the case probably isn’t strong.

        • bmaz says:

          Thank you very kindly, I hope to never face a fierce civil litigator.

          Is this the point where you purportedly agreed the case “isn’t strong”?

          “I think this plaintive may have an uphill battle on the law so it won’t hurt if the judge is sympathetic to his case.”

          What exactly is a “plaintive”?

        • njbill says:

          You are welcome.

          See. You’ve learned something today. Always best to stay in your lane.

          Nope. See my 10:01 post.

        • bmaz says:

          Naw, you demonstrated you are (checking notes, starting today), and I will be kind here, suspect as a drop in commenter. Thanks. By the way, you have exactly nine comments on this blog, all this day.

          Just so everybody knows that you are a troll interloper that slipped through.

        • njbill says:

          If you don’t know, you’re more hopeless than I thought you were.

          I already said today was my first day of posting here. Do you usually need things repeated to you.

          May not be back. You are too easy. Will go back to where I usually post where there is you genuine competition.

          Ooh, now I’m a troll. Don’t forget. I said it first. Are you sure you litigate?


          Drop in commentator

          P.S. You may go to bed now. Don’t forget to brush your teeth.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          This may not be Nick and Nora’s SFO mansion on New Year’s Eve, but an experienced litigator would know to find out whose party he’s just walked into. You can do that in two clicks: click the object in the top right and click on “about.”

        • njbill says:

          How many times are you going to revise your posts?

          Having trouble keeping up with me?

          The Little Tucker Act? You are embarrassing yourself. That Act has nothing to do with this case. Have you even read the Complaint?

        • njbill says:

          Now I am seriously getting concerned about you. Are you alright?

          You posted:

          “Also, please address the Little Tucker Act and related statutes such as §1346.” 10:36 p.m. post.

          You really don’t remember posting that?

        • Troutwaxer says:

          njbill, Bmaz is a regular. If I’m not mistaken, he has some level of administrative/moderator rights on the site, and is an experienced Federal prosecutor.

          So maybe instead of hurling accusations at each other, you two could play nice – maybe you’d both learn something.

        • njbill says:

          Hmm. Explains why he is deleting my posts.

          He is a bully. If he really is a mod as well, that is unfortunate.

          Yeah, does appear to be a criminal lawyer. Doesn’t know what he’s talking about in the civil arena though.

          I’m all for playing nice, and always do until someone levels unwarranted attacks against me, as he has been doing all day.

        • bmaz says:

          You mean the only day and limited purpose you have been here for? Do tell. Who are you, and what is your real agenda? I have been around quite a while, you have been, dubiously, at best a day.

        • njbill says:

          My purpose was to comment on the new lawsuit and, in particular, posts regarding whether there might be depositions.

          For some reason, that got you going and instead of respectfully disagreeing with me with reasoning and logic, you went into attack mode. And then proceeded to attack almost every single one of my posts with little to no real substance, just personal vitriol.

          And now I learn you are a mod. Thanks for deleting one of my posts. Power is intoxicating, I guess. I reposted the same thing. This time are you going to leave it up?

        • Ginevra diBenci says:

          njbill, I just reread all the posts in the thread you started. If your “purpose” was indeed to contribute to a conversation about the lawsuit, we here at EW value new insights when they are offered in good faith. But not only do you seem unfamiliar with our community (e.g., that bmaz serves as moderator), your comments suggest that you were looking for a fight. How ironic that you accuse someone else of “arrogance”! If you truly want to share ideas and expertise, I will welcome you. And I think I speak for most, if not all, of EW.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          I’ve noticed that prosecutors are arrogant when they are drunk on power. Civil litigators are drunk on arrogance when they assume they know more about their client’s business than their client, like the courtier who imagines himself king. Corporate lawyers are arrogant when they can – like Bill Barr – reinvent reality to suit their CEO’s whims and keep them accountability free.

          I’d say that we – like the federal bench – need more criminal defense and public interest lawyers. They get drunk when their clients are constantly shat on, but come in the next day to do it all over again. The lucky ones exorcise their demons over the barbecue pit with a little brisket and a few friends.

        • njbill says:

          Occasional reader but didn’t post until yesterday.

          If you follow the posts between bmaz and me yesterday in chronological order, you will see I started by making what I considered to be a valid, substantive point.

          bmaz then responded, first with snippy posts, then more vitriolic ones. And then we were off to the races.

          He is a bully. I don’t back down to bullies even if they are moderators which I learned at some point last night. Just like with bullies in real life, I think you need to push back. Otherwise, they will never learn and will keep up the harassment.

          Yes, the discussion ended up circling the drain. For that I apologize to other posters and readers. But not to bmaz as his posts were beyond the pale.

          Then he started deleting my posts. Three or four, I think. I reposted one which he allowed to stand for some reason.

          I learned from his bio that he practices law (clearly mainly criminal) in a small town in Arizona. Nothing wrong with that, but I don’t think that gives him any extra special expertise to comment on a civil case in federal court in D.C. When I noted that in a post, he deleted it.

          Again, apologies for the sidetrack.

          Unfortunately rogue moderators are all too common and are really a scourge on sites such as this. Unless or until he is reined in, there isn’t much that can be done, except ignore him, which probably is advice I should take myself.

        • bmaz says:

          Lol. I guess the 4th or 5th largest metropolitan area in the US is small town for an expert guy like you. As always, you are brilliant. Thanks for jumping in, but why did you? What exactly is your agenda?

          I may be full of shit, but I have been right here for a very long time. You are a noisy interloper.

        • njbill says:

          Your bio makes it sound like you practice in a small town. If that’s not accurate, and you work in Phoenix, OK.

          I answered your question last night. It started with me disagreeing with your assertion that there will be no depositions in Thompson’s case. I could be mistaken, but I don’t think you ever responded with any substance, just increasingly nastier posts. And, yup, I kept up with you, toe to toe.

          So this is my last post to you unless you want to have a respectful, substantive discussion about something.

          The floor is yours. You get the last word.

        • Kathleen Galt says:

          Did not find your original comments “arrogant” at all. Read everything.. You challenged, but not in a disrespectful way. Then things got testy

        • bmaz says:

          How many names are you going to appear, and sock puppet under, “Leen”? You have been doing this for years, and it is tiring.

          What is “testy” is when people like you lie about who and what they are.

        • Kathleen Galt says:

          Bmaz I had to re register you arrogant bully. “Leen” and Kathleen Galt (my legal name) are the two names I have registered under. What is your legal name? .

          Why do you have to attack so viciously? What is the point? Because someone sticks up for the individual you are attacking. Or because someone challenges you? Too bad EW allows this kind of bullying by you at this site. I am not trying to hide who I am. Why would you try to insinuate that. Totally inaccurate.

          This unnecessary attack on me because I posted a comment that I did not find Nj bill’s original comments “arrogant” was pathetic and so immature on your part.

          You are truly and arrogant bully. Unnecessarily pounding down. So pathetic

          You really need to learn how to back down and apologize for these unnecessary and inaccurate attacks,

        • bmaz says:

          The one name rule here is quite well established. And you, under various names, have been warned about it for many years. What is arrogant is that there have been so many discussions about this over the years with you, and you just don’t give a damn. I can think of four or five of them you seem to feel entitled to blithely and interchangeably sock puppet with over all the years, just off the top of my head, without even looking. So, sorry, yes, you still get held to the same standards as everybody else.

        • Kathleen Galt says:

          February 17, 2021 at 10:59 pm
          How many names are you going to appear, and sock puppet under, “Leen”? You have been doing this for years, and it is tiring.

          What is “testy” is when people like you lie about who and what they are.”

          What are you talking about Bmaz? I have posted under “Leen” now “Kathleen Galt” possibly “Kathleen” if I had to register at another time. I have not “sock puppeted” purposely in any way shape or form. I have had to re register here several times over the years. Why do you continue to make claims that are completely and purposely inaccurate and vicious lies.

          What rules am I not following? You really are a vicious and arrogant bully. That is a claim about you I stand by. Why would you spend so much time punching down?

          You really owe me an apology, clearly so difficult for you. You continue to make inaccurate and inflammatory claims Again, what rules am I not following or have broken so that I can mend if need be. I re-registered under my legal name.

          All of this because I stated that I did not think njbill had not been arrogant in his original statements. This is why you went after me. Really is pathetic.

        • bmaz says:

          You have appeared here under “Leen”, “Kathleen”, “Kathleen Galt”, “Janna” and “Janna ___” which I will not use to out your real name. There are likely more, but we have enough issues here at the current time, I have a day job, and don’t have the time to mess with your dishonest baloney.

          Don’t play with me Leen, this has been a problem with you for in the vicinity of a decade. You are lying and bullshitting thinking you can falsely snow newer people here. And, by the way, I think I originally owed you patience, you have relentlessly used that up. Apology? Nope.

  9. e.a.f. says:

    When I read the news earlier to day regarding this suit I couldn’t stop laughing. Some one is actually suing. Good on them. It cheered me up no end. Now, I’ve read Bmaz’s comments and what he writes makes sense. I’m not a lawyer so I will defer to his expertise on the matter, but it still makes me laugh that some one decided to file a law suit against them.

    It may be petty, but some times the only thing you can do is bury them under paper, to take up as much time and money as possible, even if you don’t win. Now I do understand sometimes loosing is worse than not fighting, but what ever Mr. Thompson’s reasons, some times tying the opposition up gives them something to think about. In this case though those who the suite is filed against, maybe a little short on the ability to think.

  10. ramzes says:

    What is the pont of posting this if a front pager is shitting all over every comment saying how pointless this is? Is it possible to have any discussion? No. Because a front pager is intent on shutting down any discussion that refuses to call this a PR stunt. “It’s a worthless PR stunt.” Write that post instead. (I think this blog needs to deal with this issue at this point. The same front pager was shutting down discussion on a post during election iirc, and it’s done in a very uncivil way.)

    • PeterS says:

      It’s hardly my place to comment, but for me the real and blindingly obvious point is that if you don’t like it here, go somewhere else. I hear the internet is a big place.

      • e.a.f. says:

        You do have a point there.
        Its a discussion and not every one agrees. If one person makes a comment some one else can make another which disagrees and that in my opinion is not shutting down a discussion, its voicing an opinion and some times some people have strong ones and keep making their position.

        Having been on the receiving end of a comment by Rayne, twice, it made me think. that is, in my opinion, what this is all about. Its not to sing off of the same song sheet, to all agree but to voice different opinions and that is what I get out of it, along with some good laughs, even if they aren’t intended to be funny.

        As to those who run the blog, its their blog. They can set the perameters. If we don’t like them, we are free to go else where. Not every one has to agree with every one else. This blog has provided me with information I would not have had if I just stuck with the MSM.

        • bmaz says:

          Thank you. We do not always agree, even amongst ourselves. We usually do though, and so it may look outsized on the fairly rare occasions where not. The discussion is good though, and the best part is it gets to be shared right here.

        • PeterS says:

          Yep, it’s their blog is the way I see it. You don’t go to a Cuban restaurant and ask the owner for French cuisine because you don’t like Cuban food. He or she might politely tell you to try a different establishment.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      You should write your own comment if you are unsatisfied with what’s written here. That’s the point, too.

      • bmaz says:

        In a bit of fairness, I could have written a dissenting post. but why when comments and discussion are sufficient. We’ll see as time marches on with this suit. I could be very wrong, and I am experienced at that.

        You will love this, I am currently in hold music hell for a “remote arraignment”. In the meantime, I could have driven downtown, made the appearance, and been at least halfway home, if not all the way, by now. I would scream, but it would be at the elevator hold music.

        • bmaz says:

          Jesus, am now live and they are apparently going to go through the entire arraignment docket on the phone. I long ago filed a NOA and reached an agreement with the state. It is almost comical. Judge, well actually commissioner, is now trying to tell people how to mute and unmute. HELP ME!

        • bmaz says:

          Holy shit, some other lawyer just apologized for his client being in a “decompressed” state. But it sounded like decomposed.

        • vvv says:

          I rep’d a witnes inna a Zoom bench last week. 1st day we sat in the hold room for a little over an hour; they came back and said trial is continued.
          The subpoena issuer calls me and says we are likely not needed the next day of trial, but he will call with a half hour’s notice, so I stay available but away, and so instruct my client.
          My aged atty client logs into Zoom anyway, without me.
          They put him inna Zoom room and after an hour-plus he gets impatient and logs out then can’t log back in – trial had ended for the day and they forgot him!
          Next day I had to read the riot act that he not do that again so as not to make himself available to the non-issuing party.

          Yesterday I served as arbitrator in the Mandatory Arbitration program, had the joy of listening to an administrator explain to wits 5 or 6 times (4 arbitrations) how to use the mute function. Then had to explain it once myself.

          On the other hand, that was two hours of saved commute time each day, and I can make my own coffee.

        • bmaz says:

          I’ve thus far avoided the Zoomy zoom, save for one settlement conference that was done at my client’s office. Thankfully he and his business are internet specialists and everything went fine. I’d as soon go to live court again, lest the 90 pound dog take over here.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Elevator music hell…is it all Barry Manilow? My comment was really directed at Ozymandias, rather Ramzes, but it would equally apply to our drive-by civil lititgator.

        • e.a.f. says:

          I’m ever so happy this is on computer, no one can throw tomatoes at me: What is so wrong with elevator music? Yes, its sort of bland and when I worked, pre retirement, it was all instrumental. Some times it even reminded me of happy moments. Sometimes it had a calming effect, something not to be over looked when you’re going into a hearing and you want to throw your brief case at the other side of the table. O.K. perhaps we had a better grade of elevator music in Vancouver. the elevator music in one building held a federal government computer and the things which sustained it, including people.

          Now I do recall going shopping with the parental units as a kid, and the department stores did not have elevator music, they had people who operated the elevators. The first federal building I worked in didn’t have elevator music, it had an elevator operator. Now elevator operators knew every thing which went on in a building. people talked as if they weren’t there. Always thought it was a good job. Just open and close that door, no worries, no one to yell at you. And you were paid federal government wages which in Canada back in the early 70s was not bad, actually they were good.

          There is nothing wrong with living in a small town. It has its benefits , no elevators and hence no elevator music.

        • DrFunguy says:

          My worldview was permanently altered when I recognized the tune from the elevator speakers as an instrumental version of Jerry Garcia’s ‘Must Have Been the Roses’.

    • PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

      Idk one of the things I like about ew is there are a bunch of lawyers who can give practical perspectives on a lot of these issues and answer questions. Really Congress should be issuing subpoenas now that the doj isn’t an extension of Trump’s legal team.

      I do like the parallel between trump and his insurrection and the kkk, I haven’t seen enough hearkening back to the abandonment of reconstruction in the south and how the modern gop is an extension of that.

      • John Lehman says:

        “ I do like the parallel between trump and his insurrection and the kkk, I haven’t seen enough hearkening back to the abandonment of reconstruction in the south and how the modern gop is an extension of that.”

        Strongly agree. These are ugly vestiges of the Civil War/slavery era. They need to be addressed. Addressing this ugliness would help purge the systemic racism still staining the fabric of our society.

      • cavenewt says:

        I haven’t seen enough hearkening back to the abandonment of reconstruction in the south and how the modern gop is an extension of that.

        Heather Cox Richardson (historian specializing in Civil War era) talks about that frequently.

  11. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Joe Biden seems to have a chip on his shoulder about the Ivy League. One of his stated reasons for not wanting to use his executive authority to eliminate up to $50k of student debt per student is that it would benefit those who went to Ivy League schools. (He went to a public undergraduate school – when it was virtually free – and Syracuse Law School, a private school whose tuition is as high as Cornell’s, but whose degree carries a fraction of the oomph.)

    I have breaking news for Joe. Oliver Barrett IVs, whose families have campus buildings named after them at Harvard, do not carry much student debt. The debt forgiveness would benefit the Jenny Cavilleris, most of whom do not go on to marry Oliver Barretts, but whose access to the Ivy League enriches their lives, their families, and society overall. It benefits the mid- and lower-income families who sacrifice everything to get their kids into and to pay for a good school – not to climb the social ladder, but because they are smart enough to benefit from it.

    More importantly, the issue is a red herring. The vast majority of student debt is owed by students who go to public universities and those trapped in debt servitude by student loan mills, like Trump’s non-University. The majority of them are people of color. If Biden’s concern is not to benefit the wealthy, he can claw back a portion of the forgiveness based on tax returns. Better yet, he should accept it as a cost of helping to level societal inequality and avoid the bureaucratic mess of clawing such things back, which causes its own heap of political resentment.

    If Joe Biden’s concern is that Congress should authorize debt forgiveness – not the president – he needs to rethink the moment he and we are in. He should also forcefully back elimination of the Jim Crow filibuster, which would allow a deeply divided Congress to get on with business and not allow an extreme minority to dominate his agenda. If he just says no, like Nancy Reagan, he will be as ineffective as she was – and his party will flounder.

    • njbill says:

      Agree about eliminating the filibuster.

      If you have any bright ideas about how to convince Manchin (who is irrationally stuck in Robert Byrd-ville) and Sinema, I’m sure Joe would be all ears.

    • PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

      It’s insane, my parents paid like under $100 a credit at a public University which is now over a thousand per credit. He has the power to wipe this out. We can’t keep hobbling along on means tested tax credits and call that a winning policy plank.

      • bmaz says:

        Yes. Also, what Earl said. Unless I have missed something, the proposal is to wipe off $50K and that is it. That is not really going to benefit “the wealthy”. And, yes, the disparity in tuition costs is stunning. If not for putting our daughter through college, I might not really know how much more it is now than when I was put through. It is simply astonishing.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          I think the nerdwallet numbers given below understate actual debt. As was said below, state tuition costs are now high even for in-state students. That’s especially true given that GOP-run legislatures have gutted state funding for higher education. They have also virtually privatized some of their prized public campuses, such as the once public Ivy, Miami University of Ohio.

          Moreover, tuition costs for graduate school are high for all students, even/especially at the once-premier University of California system. The most talented students go on to graduate school and acquire astounding debt levels. This drives many into traditionally high-paying professions – Wall Street, medicine, the law – and away from where that talent is needed. Debt forgiveness would be a big step toward solving many of those problems.

    • Dizz says:

      2020 Student Loan Debt Statistics November 18, 2020

      Only 62% of students graduated with student debt.
      The average student loan debt for 2019 graduates is $28,950.
      14.7% of loans taken to attend private/ for-profit colleges are defaulted on.
      9.3% of loans to attend public/ non-profit colleges are defaulted on.
      6.7% of loans to attend private/ non-profit colleges are defaulted on.

      Given that the average debt is < $30K the $50K figure seems high.
      IMO part of the solution has to address the predatory practices of private/ for-profit colleges.

      • Eureka says:

        Here’s a key sign of gaslighting: the word “only” precedes a majority percentage.

        It was just in the news that the average Pennsylvanian has 40k in (UG, I believe) student loan debt.

        Agree that those for-profit “colleges” are a problem. I’d call them vacuous degree-mills but as is well-known, a large share of students at those places never actually gets a degree. They exist mostly to capture public funds.

      • Min says:

        There was a time, within human memory, when a college degree was a ticket into the middle class, and scholarships were plenty. The trouble was, too many of “all those others”, to use Nixon’s phrase, were getting degrees. The solution was to turn lower class college grads into debt slaves. Now they go into debt instead of getting scholarships, and student debt is not, as a rule, discharged by bankruptcy. Lenders are therefore happy to lend, and college tuitions have risen as a result.

    • PeterS says:

      Yes, I agree on the red herring point. As with universal covid relief payments, there’s no problem in principle with universal benefits if there’s an appropriate tax system in place (means testing has bureaucratic costs). Though I freely admit I may be overestimating how easy it is to quickly raise taxes on the wealthy.

    • njbill says:

      Agree with much of this, but I just don’t think >$10k in student loan forgiveness is high on Joe’s priority list.

      While I don’t think $50k in relief really benefits the “wealthy,” it is perceived by many as doing so. If you are unemployed or barely scraping by on minimum wage, it can seem that the relief is going to the “wealthy” if some college grad gets $50,000 and you get nada.

      Also there is the sentiment from those without student debt of “hey, what about my home/car/credit card loans?” While all loans aren’t created equal, there is some truth to the notion that they are fungible, at least when it comes to paying them off. If your student loan is paid off or paid down by the government, you have more money to pay off other debts. If “former student” has $100,000 in debt including $50,000 in student loans and gets those loans paid off by Uncle Sam, he or she is left with $50,000 in debt. Contrast that with a non-college grad with $100,000 in debt. He or she gets nothing and still owes $100,000. If you are in the latter group, that can seem unfair.

      I’m OK with $50k in student loan forgiveness, but I don’t think it’s going to happen.

      • P J Evans says:

        There’s a difference – BK doesn’t get rid of student loan debt, and for graduate degrees, you may be looking at more than $100K, if you’re a doctor or a lawyer. State universities aren’t cheap any more.

    • Dizz says:

      I am less concerned with the individual’s debt level as I am with their ability to pay back the loan in a reasonable time-frame without having to make life-crushing choices.
      Some more statistics:
      Addressing the $1.5 Trillion in Federal Student Loan DebtOctober 29th, 2019

      Forgiveness of up to $10,000 would eliminate all student loan debt for an estimated 16.3 million borrowers, or 36 percent of all borrowers, and reduce by half the balances for another 9.3 million, or 20 percent of all borrowers.

      While tackling the existing $1.5 trillion in student debt is a major challenge, the good news is that there are multiple paths to relief. As our analysis shows, a range of options exists at various levels of cost and complexity that can take the sting out of student debt. Whatever policy is pursued, it should keep a sharp focus on equity and simplicity, as well as on the recognition that borrowers must feel that meaningful help is on the way.

      Lots of good statistic at the link including some low-income, racial, graduate, and non-graduate breakdowns.
      From a larger study on: “The Emerging Millennial Wealth Gap, Divergent Trajectories, Weak Balance Sheets, and Implications for Social Policy”

      The Millennial generation is on a much lower trajectory of wealth accumulation than their parents and grandparents. Dramatically so.

    • Dizz says:

      Biden campaigned on making college education more attainable/ affordable:
      Focuses on Community Colleges, State Schools, HBCUs & MSIs, and low-income students.
      Plus plans to help very low-income graduates and loan forgiveness for public servants.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        The low-income focus may be an electoral ploy or a blindspot of Biden’s. But it does not take account of the much higher relative cost of education compared to when Joe was walking to school and splitting rails to pay for it. Compared to today’s prices, the adjusted cost of his law school tuition would about pay for today’s books and supplies, with a little left over for a few cans of Chef Boyardee.

        Moreover, the focus of Biden’s “plan” does not take account of the centrality of higher education – one reason colleges and universities have been able to hike tuition for decades, at multiples of the inflation rate. (It’s one reason Joe’s law school degree helped him get to the Senate and White House, rather than work in a cubby hole for some Delaware credit card issuer.) Nor does it factor in the massive jolt to the economy that would result from the debt forgiveness advocated by Warren and Sanders. Imagine redirecting those billions in payments from the finance sector into the real economy.

  12. Earthworm says:

    Support student tuition and debt!
    Our children, our youth, are the future of our country.
    Since when is it a bad investment to insure that all capable and willing are WELL educated?
    I have never been able to digest that we budget DOD to the tune of trillions (for forever wars, a strong economy and to keep us safe) and yet have abysmally educated citizenry.
    all the boasting about “richest most powerful nation on earth” is rubbish when the citizenry is sick and unhealthy and led around by cults.
    Support student tuition and debt!

  13. punaise says:

    As this has gone kind of open thready:

    I generally try to refrain from speaking ill of the newly departed. For Rush Limbaugh I will make an exception: I would go out of my way to piss on his grave.

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