There’s a lot going on in the legal world today. Make that too much. My head is spinning and glistening with sweat because it’s summer. That was almost melodramatic enough to score a gig as a cable news host. I can hype things with the best of them, but I choose not to. I value my sanity. I’ll never be able to sigh as much as Rachel Maddow…
I did a search for songs with Thursday in the title. I was surprised at how many there are. I picked this Townes Van Zandt song because it’s summer and it’s Thursday:
It has nothing to do with the law, but I like it. We need something mellow on such a frantic news day.
I’m not writing this in order of importance. The SCOTUS stuff and the Trump Org indictment are clearly the top stories for this edition of the Legal Docket, but we begin in Pennsylvania.
Castor Oiled: Cassandra wrote a swell post about the Cosby case and I’m following up with a few notes on the law. While the ruling by the Pennsylvania supremes is bizarre in its reliance on a Bruce Castor press release, the Cosby prosecution fucked up.
Prosecutors should have done a better job insulating their case from Castor’s promise not to prosecute Cosby. They’re only partially to blame for this clusterfuck. The bulk of the blame goes to Bruce Castor.
We all remember Castor as the faux folksy lawyer who worked on the second Trump impeachment. He wasn’t any more competent as District Attorney of Montgomery County, PA.
I don’t agree with the court ruling but it’s not baseless since Castor made such a mess of everything. The good news is that it didn’t exonerate Cosby. The bad news is that it freed him so he can pontificate and lecture the rest of the country. He’ll always be a convicted sex offender to me. Fat Albert can fuck off too.
There are some fine instant analysis pieces by sharper legal minds than mine:
SCOTUS: There was a major decision in an Arizona voting rights case. Plaintiffs said the laws discriminated against minorities. The majority opinion by Justice Alito dismissed those concerns. It’s genuinely frightening that Sam Alito created a new test to be applied to voting rights cases. Shorter Alito: Republicans good, Democrats bad. I oversimplify but that’s the end result.
California had a law that forced non-profit donors to disclose their identity. Transparency is good, right? Not according to 6 supremes who struck the law down. They even compared Americans for Prosperity to the NAACP during Jim Crow. AFP is a Koch brothers group. Oy just oy.
There’s been a lot of speculation that Justice Breyer *might* retire today but nothing has happened as of this writing. I remain concerned that the pressure campaign might have backfired. As I wrote a few weeks ago: “These tactics didn’t work with Ruth Bader Ginsburg, why would they work with Justice Breyer?”
Watch this space.
Manhattan Melodrama: I wrote this segment in bits and pieces before and after the arraignment hearing. Here we go.
I wish I could augment my original nickname for Donald Trump and make it the Indicted Impeached Insult Comedian, but his head is not on the chopping block today. Since he never thinks ahead, he’s apparently celebrating that fact. The indictment of the Trump Org could doom it as a business enterprise. It owes hundreds of millions to lenders who may call in the loans. Spiking the ball prematurely is never a good idea.
I was hoping that Allen Weisselberg would flip but there’s still time. Why does he think that Trump will reciprocate his loyalty? Beats the hell out of me. Perhaps he sold his soul to the elder Trump long ago.
The indictment makes it clear that the charges involve a long-running scam to avoid taxes on the part of Weisselberg personally and the company. The amount listed is substantial: $1.5 million but the crime is not as sexy as insurance or bank fraud.
Prosecutors made it clear that the investigation continues. My hunch is that the indictment is a club to hang over Weisselberg’s head. They’re hoping he’ll flip now that he’s been cuffed and charged. If he doesn’t, it makes it less likely that Trump will be a defendant in this case.
A reminder that the law is slow.
I’ll be back if anything major happens today, but I’d rather focus on the Top Chef finale.
The last word goes to David Bowie: