Roca Labs Exec Claims Marc Randazza Bribed Nevada Politician To Get Anti-SLAPP Law Passed

from the say-what-now? dept

The Roca Labs story just keeps getting weirder and weirder. You can click that link to go back through the earlier stories, since I won’t rehash them all here, but the latest is that Don Juravin, the “vice president” of Roca Labs who filed an earlier affidavit in the case (which caused some problems with actor Alfonso Ribiero’s lawyers), has apparently decided to go directly after Marc Randazza, the lawyer representing Consumer Opinion Corp. (better known as PissedConsumer.com) in the lawsuit that Roca filed against that company.

Juravin has put out a press release accusing Randazza of bribing a Nevada politician in order to get Nevada to pass an anti-SLAPP law (thanks to Adam Steinbaugh for the pointer). You kind of have to read the whole thing to get a feel for it. The press release is clearly designed to attack Randazza’s (somewhat well known) reputation for defending the First Amendment rights of folks who work in the adult entertainment industry.

It is said that politics make strange bedfellows; so what could be stranger than Democratic State Senator Justin Jones, a Mormon with family values, and Marc Randazza, a porn attorney and a speech advocate for pedophiles whose client list includes Phillip Greaves author of “The Pedophile’s Guide?, Kink.com, Bang Bus and Milf Hunter. So what brings these two opposite personalities together: money and politics.

So what’s the specific details of the supposed “bribery”? Randazza recently wrote a blog post — since taken down — talking about how he had met Justin Jones and promised to support his campaign if he’d support an anti-SLAPP law:

“Two years ago, my partner, Ron Green, introduced me to a guy. That guy?s name was Justin Jones. Justin was running for State Senate in Nevada. ? I shook his hand and said ?if you will sponsor an Anti-SLAPP bill, I?ll vote for you, and I?ll contribute to your campaign.? He promised me that he would do so. Within days of taking office, he made good on his promise. Today, Nevada has the strongest Anti-SLAPP law in the country”

Now, this is perhaps not a particularly wise thing to say either in private or in public concerning a politician. It’s possible that the statement on the blog is exaggerated as well. But to Juravin — who amusingly describes himself as a “concerned public citizen” who “believes in the integrity of our electoral system and that no one person should wield undue influence over government officials” — it’s apparently a sign of our failing republic. Uh huh.

Juravin — whose company it should be noted has threatened us with what I would argue would be a SLAPP lawsuit — also claims that the reason Randazza likes anti-SLAPP laws is because he can make money with them, and not because, you know, free speech is a good thing and thuggishly trying to shut people up is a bad thing.

Mr. Randazza is a proponent of an Anti-SLAPP law (pornography lawyers generally want to be able to say and show anything), and he has brought numerous SLAPP lawsuits and generated tens of thousands of dollars in revenue for himself and his law firm. A stronger Nevada Anti-SLAPP law means more money for Randazza.

Either way, it will be interesting to see whether the “integrity complaint” Juravin filed with the Nevada Attorney General actually goes anywhere. It does seem worth noting, of course, that many states have been passing anti-SLAPP laws (because they’re a good thing, and we really should have a federal anti-SLAPP law) and that the Nevada one passed unanimously without a single negative vote (there was one “excused” — and everyone else voted in favor). That certainly makes Juravin’s statement that he “speculate[s]” that “the law would not have passed” if the Nevada legislature were aware of Randazza’s promise to contribute to Jones’ campaign.

Again, making any sort of statement of “if you support this bill then I’ll give you money” is not a good idea (even as it’s often done implicitly). So, it’s reasonable to at least question Randazza’s statements on the matter, but considering it “bribery” seems like a pretty big stretch — and Juravin is far from an unbiased party. At the very least, at the end, Juravin does admit that Roca Labs is in litigation with a company represented by Randazza, but either way, it seems like playing dirty. It appears to be similar to Roca Labs’ behavior throughout this entire effort, basically attack or threaten almost everyone calling the company out.

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Comments on “Roca Labs Exec Claims Marc Randazza Bribed Nevada Politician To Get Anti-SLAPP Law Passed”

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111 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Not a lawyer, but from Nevada law:

NRS 218A.960  Person prohibited from bribing or using other corrupt means to influence Legislator.

1.  A person shall not give, offer or promise, directly or indirectly, any compensation, gratuity or reward to a Legislator, or attempt, directly or indirectly, by menace, deceit, suppression of truth or other corrupt means, to influence the Legislator to give or withhold the Legislator’s vote or to be absent from the House of which the Legislator is a member or from any committee of the Legislature.

There’s nothing that I could find that addresses campaign contributions except a statement from Nevada’s lobbying law:

NRS 218H.060  “Gift” defined.
2.  “Gift” does not include:
(a) A political contribution of money or services related to a political campaign;

It seems to me that if a campaign contribution doesn’t count as a “gift” from a lobbyist, it shouldn’t count as “compensation, gratuity or reward to a Legislator” from an individual.

And then of course, does any of this even apply since it happened before Jones was elected?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I stand corrected: Jones’s tweet linking to Randazza’s article was not deleted, it was a last year tweet, not 2014 Oct.

Yet Randazza hastily white-outed his tweets and posts. It would be funny if Marc commented on removed posts as follows:

“We will not dispute that they were there but please don’t think that we react to anyone as Randazza Legal Group is a serious company that acts according to its plans.”

Mr. Pissed says:

Under Nevada Law (Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) Chapter 197), bribing a public official is a crime. NRS 197.010 and 197.020 defines bribery as: A person who gives, offers or promises, directly or indirectly, any compensation, gratuity or reward to any executive, administrative or public officer of the State, with the intent to influence the officer with respect to any act, decision, vote, opinion or other proceeding. Receiving a bribe is also a crime. According to NRS 197.1030 and 1040 an executive, administrative or public officer or person elected or appointed to an executive or administrative office who asks or receives, directly or indirectly, any compensation, gratuity or reward, or any promise thereof, upon an agreement or understanding that his or her vote, opinion or action upon any matter then pending, or which may by law be brought before him or her in an official capacity, will be influenced.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

A candidate running for office has little control over people who implicitly offer money for legislature. If you’re a candidate and you plan to pass a bill regardless and people offer you money because of a bill that you already plan to pass (they want you to win the election and pass this bill) are you supposed to not accept the money? I think that makes little sense because the reason people are offering you the money is because you already plan to pass this bill. It would be illegal if you change your mind on what bills you wish to pass or not pass based on money that they offer you.

So it sorta depends. Was the money offered in exchange for the candidate’s willingness to pass it or was it offered because s/he was going to attempt to pass it regardless? and if the candidate was already planning to pass this bill if elected and someone tells him that they will only contribute if they plan on passing it what is the candidate supposed to do? Change her mind and not pass the bill? Refuse the money? Or simply state that he plans to pass the bill regardless of the contribution and not because of it.

I guess the question boils down to is the contributor asking the candidate to pass a bill in exchange for money or is the contributor inquiring into whether or not the candidate already plans on passing the bill to determine whether or not she wants to contribute (or find someone else to contribute to). Should the candidate simply respond with the disclaimer that he plans on passing the bill regardless, and not because of the contribution, or should the candidate simply interpret the question as money offered in exchange for legislature and refuse the money even if it’s a bill she plans to pass anyways.

antidirt (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Not my area of expertise, but I did find this:

This same distinction between bribes, gratuities and lawful campaign contributions has recently been applied to some of the Federal prosecutive theories that are currently used to address bribery and corruption by state and local public officials. For example, in McCormick v. United States, 500 U.S. 257 (1991) the Supreme Court held that the Hobbs Act (18 U.S.C. § 1951) did not apply to a series of campaign contributions that were made with a general intent to curry favor with a state senator and to thank him for his support. Noting that campaign contributions are a necessary part of the American political process, the Court held that when an allegedly corrupt payment represents a bona fide campaign contribution, the prosecution must prove the existence of a quid pro quo. This principle was thereafter affirmed shortly thereafter in Evans v. United States, 504 U.S. 255 (1992).

Source: http://www.justice.gov/usao/eousa/foia_reading_room/usam/title9/crm02046.htm

So it looks like the difference between a contribution and a bribe is that there has to be a quid pro quo. The quote from Randazza’s blog makes it sound like there could have been one:

I shook his hand and said “if you will sponsor an Anti-SLAPP bill, I’ll vote for you, and I’ll contribute to your campaign.” He promised me that he would do so. Within days of taking office, he made good on his promise.

I have no idea if there really was such an agreement, and I doubt there was, but it was a dumb thing to post, IMO.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I think a big part of it is the double-standards. If something like this can be said, on live tv no less…

“Those who count on quote ‘Hollywood’ for support need to understand that this industry is watching very carefully who’s going to stand up for them when their job is at stake. Don’t ask me to write a check for you when you think your job is at risk and then don’t pay any attention to me when my job is at stake,”

… with no repercussions or charges, the idea of ‘Hey, if you promise to vote for and/or sponsor a law that I agree with, I’ll vote for you and help you get elected’ being this massive breach of ethics, worthy of charges, is just a titch insane and hypocritical.

antidirt (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

I think a big part of it is the double-standards. If something like this can be said, on live tv no less…

“Those who count on quote ‘Hollywood’ for support need to understand that this industry is watching very carefully who’s going to stand up for them when their job is at stake. Don’t ask me to write a check for you when you think your job is at risk and then don’t pay any attention to me when my job is at stake,”

… with no repercussions or charges, the idea of ‘Hey, if you promise to vote for and/or sponsor a law that I agree with, I’ll vote for you and help you get elected’ being this massive breach of ethics, worthy of charges, is just a titch insane and hypocritical.

I don’t read that quote as indicating that there was a mutual agreement for a quid pro quo. There’s no promise that certain action will be taken if they write a check.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Perhaps not specifically, but to me at least that seems to be a pretty clear statement of ‘We gave you money in the past with the understanding that you’d be doing what we wanted you to, if you’re not going to do that, then they flow of money is going to be cut off’.

Or, put more simply, ‘Do the job we’re paying you for or you’re not getting paid.’

If threatening to stop giving money to a politician if they don’t do what you want is acceptable, then giving money to one if they indicate that they will sponsor/propose certain legislation should be treated the same. And if the latter is seen as bad, then so should the former. Consistency is what I’m looking for here.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I guess it’s not how political fundraisers are ostensibly supposed to work but that’s how they functionally and logically do work. It’s not like each candidate has a predetermined set of bills they plan to pass and oppose and stick to regardless of funding. Doing that will ensure that the guy that does adapt his stance to the will of voters and contributors will naturally receive the most contributions and votes.

So every candidate (or at least every candidate that has a chance of winning) will naturally adjust their stance, at least to some extent, based on what they think will get them the most votes and contributions.

G Thompson (profile) says:

So this individual has issued an individual press release supposedly distancing himself from his employer (Roca) so that there is no conflict (yeah right!) has made statements backed up by alleged factoids that to all intents and purposes create the idea that Randazza has done something corrupt and/or unethical and/or illegal.

This therefore goes beyond the realms of opinion (since this idiot has placed specific and exact citations and ‘evidence’ in the release).

For any lawyer to be accused of unethical behaviour and/or illegal activities during the course of their practice is highly damaging no matter whom they are. For someone to do this whilst they are already in litigation no matter if they try to act innocent and moral by stating “Im doing this as a concerned individual” is dubious to say the least. Doing it to someone like Mr Randazzaz is well to quote a well known memem.

You never go the full retard!

*munches popcorn hears the dogs of war being released*

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Not really. The issue is the claim that Roca uses improper defamation claims/threats to website owners and/or hosting providers in order to get negative reviews of their product removed.

I’d say that falls within the realm of material that TD is concerned with. That you don’t see that it applies almost makes it seem that you’re “shilling” for Roca.

And, since I’m sure Roca is watching, the above is a statement of opinion, not fact, and is therefore not defamatory.

Anonymous Coward says:

…Marc Randazza, a porn attorney and a speech advocate for pedophiles whose client list includes Phillip Greaves author of “The Pedophile’s Guide”…

I wonder if Don Juravin asked “Dr. Ross F.” if it was OK for him to bring up the subject of pedophilia in his press release?

Then again, Juravin is talking about Randazza advocating for pedophiles.
I guess that’s totally different than having one’s product advocated by pedophiles.

steell (profile) says:

Re: For those with reading difficulties

And second try, since I have posting difficulties.

From Wikipedia:
“Justin C. Jones is a Democratic member of the Nevada Senate, elected in 2012.”

That means he was not a member of the Nevada Legislature at the time Randaza promised to vote for him and support his campaign.
I have sent e-mails to various candidates promising to vote for them, and support their campaign, if they promised to support the Second Amendment, and I’m pretty sure such actions are normal.

shane (profile) says:

Get real

How is a Mormon Democrat anything resembling a family values conservative? The ties between porn and the Democratic party are well understood.

Also, I think it is a sad statement about the shrinking freedom of speech and of association in this country that someone would think that offering to fund someone’s CAMPAIGN if they promise to vote on a specific issue in a specific way is “bribery”. The entire purpose of electing officials is to cast a vote for someone to vote they way you want, and helping to pay for a campaign is classic freedom of association.

And then there’s the fact that the vote was nigh unanimous anyhow? With one abstention?

What does it take to put a bow on something and call it a wrap these days?

LVDave (profile) says:

Re: Get real

How is a Mormon Democrat anything resembling a family >values conservative? The ties between porn and the >Democratic party are well understood.

I’d wonder that myself.. Being a Mormon myself, I can’t, in my wildest nightmares, ever concieve of either myself or ANY Mormon, who actually believes in what the Church teaches, being a democrat.. Which brings us to Harry Reid, who claims to be a Mormon….

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Get real

It’s not as inconceivable as you might think. Yes, Democrats’ position on various issues related to sexual immorality is horrendous, but on the other hand, look at Alma 30, where we see the root of an ideology that ended up wiping out their whole civilization, and just try and tell me that that’s not a philosophy straight out of an Ayn Rand tract. When the Republican Party begins acting as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Gadianton, Inc., who else is there to vote for?

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: I sincerely hope Randazza gets indicted and convicted

Was thinking along those same lines.

If what he did was grounds to be charged with a crime, I expect to see a lot of very big names behind the defendants bench shortly after this trial, unless it’s that pesky double-standards popping up again, where the big names get away with it, and you only get crushed by the legal system if you’re small fry.

Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

So, it’s reasonable to at least question Randazza’s statements on the matter, but considering it “bribery” seems like a pretty big stretch

Does it? Sounds to me like exactly what it was, and just because it was done to support something good (and I agree that an Anti-SLAPP law is good) doesn’t mean it wasn’t bribery or that it wasn’t despicable. And the way Randazza is scrambling to hide it just underscores that point: he knows what he did was wrong.

This seems like the sort of thing where Techdirt would be taking him to task, but here we appear to be seeing a “the ends justify the means” mentality taking hold. It was in support of a good cause, therefore it wasn’t really anything bad.

Well, no. Come on, call a spade a spade here.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

It’s a dicey problem.

‘I’ll give you money if you do X’ = Yeah, most people would agree that something like that could constitute bribery.

‘I’ll give you money if you indicate that you plan to do X’ = Not quite so clear. Is it bribery, or providing support for a law that you’d like to see introduced? If a politician made it clear that he/she planned on introducing/sponsoring a law that I would like to see passed, and I tell them that due to that they will have my support and money for their campaign, is that bribery?

The line may lie in the timing of the monetary offer. If you offer them money to do something, then it’s bribery. If they make clear their intention to do something and in response to that you offer them money, then it’s not. It’s a tricky matter.

Of course, like you noted, as as I noted as well above, the matter is a murky one, and his apparent attempts to delete his posts make his actions, whether they really are innocent or corrupt, look corrupt, so he really screwed up there.

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