Devin Nunes' Lawyer Continues To Use Unrelated Case To Try To Unearth Satirical Internet Cow Account

from the abusing-the-subpoena-process dept

A few weeks back, we wrote about a bizarre situation in which Rep. Devin Nunes' lawyer, Steven Biss, appeared to be using his subpoena power to seek out info about Twitter accounts related to some of Devin Nunes' lawsuits -- but in an unrelated case. The whole story was crazy. As you've likely heard, Nunes has been suing (among other things) an account holder of the satirical @DevinCow Twitter account. While that case continues to plod on, Biss tried to subpoena Twitter for the account holder's identity (along with information on political consultant Adam Parkhomenko) in a totally unrelated case, involving breach of contract claims following a settlement of an earlier defamation lawsuit involving a well-known civil liberties lawyer, Jesselyn Radack, and a PR guy, Trevor FitzGibbon.

Part of the claims in that breach of contract lawsuit is that Radack may have been communicating with third party accounts to say things about FitzGibbon, after the settlement involved an agreement not to speak publicly about him. So, there could be some reasonable areas in which Biss might seek evidence that Radack is communicating about FitzGibbon, but (1) so far most of the fishing expedition seems to be based on pure random speculation, (2) sending a subpoena to Twitter, rather than the users in question, is simply the wrong way to do things, and (3) most importantly, the inclusion of the Devin Cow account and the Parkhomenko account -- when there appears to be zero public evidence that either the cow or Parkhomenko even knew who Radack or FitzGibbon were -- is especially questionable.

Indeed, in moving to quash the subpoena, Twitter called out Biss' fishing expedition, claiming that the attempt to unearth the details behind the @DevinCow appeared to have been done "for an improper purpose: to end-run around discovery disputes in an unrelated lawsuit."

Incredibly, along with that filing, Twitter included quite an incredible email from Biss to Twitter's outside counsel, Pat Carome from Wilmer Hale:

Pat,

As I said during our conference call on Friday, I am interested in obtaining the name(s) of the public interest groups behind Mom and the cow. I am not interested in delay.

Having said that, and in light of the fact that your client will not agree to any less drastic alternative, I will withdraw the Subpoena and either submit to the process set forth in section 407.1 or server Twitter with discovery requests or both.

Ultimately, your client will be required to divulge the identities of the dummies and stooges it permits to use its platform.

Steven S. Biss

We'll see about that, Steve. We'll see about that.

Anyway, it appears that Biss is not at all happy about Twitter's motion to quash and last week filed quite the opposition. It is pages upon pages of bluster and nonsense. It begins by claiming that the litigation process is "a search for the truth" as if that allows for any fishing expeditions possible. That's not how it works. Then it engages in a bizarre, systematic attempt to smear Jesselyn Radack. It's not often you see legal filings with the following statements:

Radack is not what she seems to be. She does not behave like an attorney. She behaves as if she is a political operative or an undercover government agent. Radack openly, proudly and publicly admits that she uses “drug dealer tactics” in her representation of whistleblowers and leakers...

She meets with people in person. She pays in cash, and she uses “burner phones”. She admits to having “multiple computers, including an air-gapped computer that’s not hooked up to the Internet, so that I can use encrypted communications if we’re not able to meet in person.” [Id.]. Radack admits that she uses encrypted messaging services, including Signal,9 to cloak and hide her communications with third-parties. It is virtually impossible to get any useable evidence from Radack.

This is all presented as nefarious evidence of her hiding the key evidence in this case. Of course, what it leaves out is that Radack mainly represents government whistleblowers and leakers, and the reason for these actions is to protect her clients. It's actually good lawyering, rather than "not behaving like an attorney."

Of course, reading between the lines, what Biss appears to be trying to say is that he actually has no evidence to back up his fishing expedition in this case (which is relevant to a wholly unrelated case), and if he can just convince the court that the reason he has no evidence to back up his claims is because Radack is sneakily hiding the evidence, perhaps the court will let him go forward with the fishing expedition and force Twitter to "divulge the identities of the dummies and stooges."

Much of the filing is just a rehashing of the original claims in the case, rather than any actual responses to Twitter's motion to quash. Nowhere does it ever explain how the @DevinCow account has anything to do with any of this. Instead, bizarrely, in explaining how Twitter works to the judge, Biss keeps using @DevinCow in hypothetical examples for no clear reason. For example:

A “tweet” is a message posted to Twitter containing text, photos, a GIF, and/or video. A tweet appears on the sender’s profile page and home timeline and on the home timeline of everyone who follows the sender. A “retweet” is a tweet that is shared publicly with a user’s followers. Retweets can be published with or without comment. “Likes” are represented by a small heart and are used to show appreciation for a Tweet. Likes appear on the sender’s profile page and can be accessed by anyone simply by clicking or tapping into the Likes tab. “Mentions” or “tags” are tweets that contain another account’s username, preceded by the “@” symbol. For example: “Hello @DevinCow”. “Tagging” someone is a way of including them in a conversation. Tags appear on the sender’s profile page of public tweets and in the recipient’s notifications tab and will appear on the recipient’s home timeline view if the recipient of the tag follows the sender.

Why even mention @DevinCow there?

The only attempt at evidence that Biss has that Radack has somehow communicated with the DevinCow and Adam Parkhomenko accounts is a tweet she made after Biss had already filed this subpoena, which merely lists some of Biss' various questionable lawsuits.

Note that that tweet is on January 8th of this year. The original subpoena filed by Biss seeking info on @DevinCow and Parkhomenko dates back to at least December of last year, when Radack first mentioned it online. It takes quite a lot of chutzpah by Biss to file a subpoena in this case, with absolutely no evidence that Radack and DevinCow or Radack and Parkhomenko were communicating, and then use her mentioning this subpoena as evidence that now they are communicating.

But that's what Biss appears to be doing.

No one forced Radack to tweet or to tag @DevinCow or @RVAwonk or @AdamParkhomenko. Radack chose to breach the settlement agreement and to defame Fitzgibbon to these third-parties. She chose to follow these accounts and she chose to tag them in tweets that were none of their business. Radack made this case the business of @DevinCow and many, many other third-parties. She chose to broadly tag Twitter users with massive followings, such as @DevinCow, because she wanted to increase the audience and, therefore, exacerbate the pain and suffering she inflicted with each foul tweet

That's not how any of this works. But Biss is digging furiously to now claim that because of his subpoena leading Radack to tweet at @DevinCow, that now means that @DevinCow is a "witness" and thus can be subpoenaed:

As Radack’s own tweets demonstrate, Radack intentionally mentioned or tagged @DevinCow and other anonymous users repeatedly in tweets that violated the settlement agreement and constitute defamation. The user or users operating these Twitter accounts, including @DevinCow, are witnesses to Radack’s wrongdoing. Fitzgibbon is entitled as a matter of law to discover their identities so he can take their depositions in this case.

The reason she tweeted at them was because you put them in the subpoena, dude.

Then, on Tuesday, Biss filed a "statement of additional evidence" which consists of... evidence that Jesselyn Radack has used Twitter's DM function. But not with @DevinCow.

Twitter wasted very little time in responding to Biss' nonsensical filing:

Plaintiff’s 59-page Opposition misapprehends the law and fails to provide any justification for the invasive discovery he demands from Twitter about 23 accounts on the Twitter platform. First and foremost, Fitzgibbon’s arguments completely disregard the First Amendment rights of Twitter’s anonymous users (Requests 1, 2, 3). Courts across the country have agreed that an online service provider, like Twitter, can, and is often best positioned to, assert its users’ rights to anonymity. Fitzgibbon cannot intrude on these rights without proving, among other things, that unmasking these particular anonymous speakers is necessary to advance his core claims and defenses—including by demonstrating that these speakers have highly relevant information that Fitzgibbon cannot obtain elsewhere.

The Opposition confirms that Fitzgibbon cannot come close to satisfying this demanding standard to unmask @DevinCow. Indeed, the Tweets that purportedly demonstrate @DevinCow’s relevance, if anything, underscore that @DevinCow is embroiled in this dispute only because @DevinCow is the defendant in another, unrelated state-court action in which Fitzgibbon’s counsel represents a different plaintiff and has sought repeatedly, without success, to discover the identity of the account holder of @DevinCow. Fitzgibbon has not demonstrated that @DevinCow is even relevant to his case, let alone that he will be unable to pursue his claims against Radack without unmasking @DevinCow.

Fitzgibbon’s arguments regarding his other requests are also meritless. He fails to address Twitter’s arguments that the Stored Communications Act (“SCA”) prohibits it from producing a user’s address book (Request 4) and Tweets, Retweets, Likes and replies (even redacted) in response to a demand for communications containing certain words (Request 5). Nor does Fitzgibbon address Twitter’s argument that the Subpoena imposes an undue burden in violation of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 45(d) by demanding that Twitter manually redact communications between @JesselynRadack and other users that, once redacted, would be (at best) barely relevant to his claims because they would show nothing more than the accounts from or to which each message was sent and the time and date of each message (Request 6).

Moreover, recognizing that these three requests (Requests 4, 5, 6) seek Radack’s own documents, Fitzgibbon concedes that he has other options. He could, for example, move to compel the discovery he seeks from Radack. Fitzgibbon never explains why he did not pursue—and still has not pursued—this less burdensome alternative.

Twitter points out that Biss appears to confuse the standards for 1st Amendment protections of anonymity with the 4th Amendment's privacy protections:

Fitzgibbon errs in suggesting that the First Amendment provides no protection to Twitter’s anonymous users because they “have no reasonable expectation of privacy in their noncontent subscriber information.” Opp. 54. Although that test may be relevant to a Fourth Amendment analysis, it is not the First Amendment test for unmasking an anonymous speaker. Rather, the applicable First Amendment test requires a litigant to prove, among other things, that unmasking the anonymous speaker is necessary to advance his claims—including by demonstrating that there is no other way for the proponent of the subpoena to obtain information essential to his case.... That is true whether the anonymous speaker is an actual (or prospective) defendant in the underlying litigation, or merely a potential source of evidence.

It also goes into more detail about the utter (or should that be udder?) nonsense involved in the opposition regarding @DevinCow and highlights (as I mention above) that the "evidence" of Radack and DevinCow communicating is almost entirely them tweeting after the subpoena was issued, which appears to be what first put them in touch.

Fitzgibbon has not come close to making the exacting showing necessary to unmask @DevinCow. Fitzgibbon fails to show that @DevinCow has any evidence of Radack’s alleged wrongdoing, let alone that @DevinCow is uniquely in possession of critically important evidence on which the success of Fitzgibbon’s claims depends. See Ex. A (collecting all of the images of Tweets that Fitzgibbon has put forward as allegedly showing a connection between @DevinCow and Fitzgibbon’s case). Fitzgibbon does not dispute that the pleadings in his case never mention @DevinCow. And he nowhere explains how either of the two screenshots his counsel previously shared with Twitter’s counsel show that @DevinCow is a “potential witness[] to Radack’s breaches of the settlement agreement” or a “participant[] in the conspiracy to defame” him. Opp. 53; see Ex. A at 4. As explained in Twitter’s opening brief, these Tweets involved unilateral outreach by @JesselynRadack to @DevinCow, commenting on entirely different subject matter. They do not suggest, even remotely, that @DevinCow was involved in, or witness to, any of the alleged misconduct in the Fitzgibbon Litigation.

Nor do any of the four recent Tweets relating to @DevinCow highlighted in Fitzgibbon’s Opposition suggest any connection between @DevinCow and Radack’s alleged defamation of Fitzgibbon. All these Tweets were posted after Twitter had notified all of the users affected by the Subpoena, and seem to have been prompted by the happenstance—created by Fitzgibbon and his counsel—that the Subpoena seeks information from a group of Twitter accounts that includes @JesselynRadack and @DevinCow. See Opp. 30, 35-36, 40, 41. Three of the four Tweets appear to involve unilateral outreach from @JesselynRadack, or one of these other accounts, without any statement or response from @DevinCow. See Opp. 30, 35-36, 40. In one, @DevinCow was unilaterally “tagged” (i.e., mentioned by account name) by the author of the Tweet along with many other accounts whose information is also demanded by the Subpoena. See Opp. 35-36. The remaining three Tweets refer to the fact that Fitzgibbon’s counsel (Steven S. Biss) also represents Congressman Devin Nunes in a defamation action against @DevinCow (as well as several other plaintiffs prosecuting other defamation suits). See Opp. 30, 40, 41. The possibility that @DevinCow and @JesselynRadack may (or may not) have a reason to communicate with each other about being targets of different lawsuits filed by the same lawyer hardly shows that @DevinCow can provide testimony or information that is essential to the success of Fitzgibbon’s claims. And even if @DevinCow did have some knowledge or information about Radack’s alleged conspiracy, Fitzgibbon still could not satisfy the First Amendment standard because he has not tried to compel Radack to produce that information and has not shown that unmasking @DevinCow is truly necessary.

The primary case on which Fitzgibbon relies, Sines, 2018 WL 3730434, further underscores that he cannot meet the First Amendment standard for unmasking @DevinCow. In that case, the subpoena sought to discover the account information of an anonymous individual who, according to credible evidence, had “at [a] minimum” “discussed preparations for the event” that gave rise to plaintiffs’ claims. Id. at *11; see also id. at *13 (“[D]iscovery from other individuals involved in planning the … event is highly relevant to understanding Defendants’ purpose and intent in organization it.”). The court concluded that “[s]uch participation support[ed] an inference that Doe could be a witness with information relevant to Plaintiffs’ case.” Id. at *11. Here, Fitzgibbon has not produced any evidence that @DevinCow even discussed Fitzgibbon with Radack at all, much less that @DevinCow is a critically important witness to Radack’s alleged conspiracy to defame him.

Let's just say that one side in these filings comes across as a competent, well-reasoned legal argument. The other seems to be taking the throw as much shit at the wall and hope something sticks approach. Hopefully the judge in the case sees through the nonsense.

Oh, and Twitter even had time to respond to that bizarre "additional evidence" filing, noting that it's meaningless regarding the issues at hand:

Just hours before Twitter’s deadline to file this Reply, Fitzgibbon filed a “Statement of Additional Evidence” that, he alleges, demonstrates his basis and need for the Subpoena’s demands.... This “additional evidence” consists exclusively of what purport to be a series of Direct Messages pertaining to Fitzgibbon that were supposedly exchanged between @JesselynRadack and an unidentified Twitter account holder whom Fitzgibbon describes as a “whistleblower.”... While Fitzgibbon says he knows the identity of this “whistleblower,” ... he does not suggest that the “whistleblower” has any connection to any of the Twitter accounts listed in the Subpoena (other than @JesselynRadack).

Fitzgibbon’s last-minute filing does not cure any of the Subpoena’s numerous defects. Nothing in the filing demonstrates that the identity of @DevinCow (or @jimmysllama and @Kaidinn, for that matter) is at all relevant to Fitzgibbon’s claims—let alone that he thinks he needs to unmask these users to prove those claims. To the contrary, the filing indicates that Fitzgibbon believes he already has sufficient evidence to prove Radack’s liability, and so, if anything, confirms that Fitzgibbon has no such need.

Finally, Twitter once again suggests that the court should award Twitter its legals fees and costs:

Finally, Fitzgibbon offers no response to the argument that this Court should award Twitter the fees and costs incurred in connection with its Motion under Rule 45(d)(1). Fitzgibbon’s counsel’s offer to stipulate to a protective order does not dispel the inference of improper purpose in his demand for identifying information for @DevinCow—a defendant in an entirely separate lawsuit in which Mr. Biss represents the plaintiff. A protective order that limits disclosure to counsel for the parties would still mean disclosing @DevinCow’s identity to one of the individuals that has unjustifiably sought to invade the account’s anonymity: Mr. Biss, Fitzgibbon’s counsel. And the inference of improper purpose is only strengthened by the complete absence of any evidence that @DevinCow was involved in the events alleged in the pleadings of the Fitzgibbon Litigation and Fitzgibbon’s concession that he could have—but has not—sought to compel production of most of the demanded records from Ms. Radack herself. The Subpoena demands the very same information that Mr. Biss has been seeking (so far, unsuccessfully) in an unrelated action in Virginia state court. He should not be permitted to use this Subpoena to circumvent that court’s management of ongoing discovery disputes. An award of fees and costs is needed to curtail such abuse of the discovery tools.

Filed Under: adam parkhomenko, devin nunes, fishing expedition, jesselyn radack, steven biss, stored communications act, subpoena, trevor fitzgibbon
Companies: twitter


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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 19 Feb 2020 @ 10:48am

    Well, there goes that excuse

    Given that they doubled-down and are really pushing to use this to unmask @DevinCow I'd say the 'it was included by accident' possibility that was brought up before just went right out the window to be run over by a fleet of buses.

    They are pretty clearly trying to use this unrelated case to get the information that they have been refused in the actual DevinCow case so I'd say a hearty benchslap and fine would be appropriate, as I can't imagine that would go over very well with the judges involved.

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  • icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 19 Feb 2020 @ 11:00am

    No judge worth a good goddamn would — or should — rule in Biss’s favor. Everything about what he’s done here reeks of unethical behavior that should land him in hot water with the bar association that could disbar him.

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  • icon
    ECA (profile), 19 Feb 2020 @ 11:19am

    Any lawyers need a job??

    A person with more money then he needs.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Feb 2020 @ 11:30am

    God judge

    Frivolous litigant already!

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Feb 2020 @ 11:31am

    Jesus Christ, Nunes!

    He seems really pissed off about this novelty twitter account. Hasn't anyone told him to not have a cow?

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  • identicon
    Bruce C., 19 Feb 2020 @ 11:44am

    Steven Biss...

    The Richard Liebowitz of defamation attorneys.

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  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 19 Feb 2020 @ 11:53am

    yawns

    Something something courts pretend that lawyers would NEVER do something even in the face of that lawyer pulling his dick out an pissing on the bench while singing showtunes.

    Democrats keep thinking Trump would never do that, because thats now how we've done it before... they get shocked just shocked.

    Judges keep thinking lawyers before them would never lie to then, despite the huge pile of examples showing that.

    Society keeps thinking cops are honest hard working people who never harm any innocents, despite evidence to the contrary.

    Perhaps it is time we stop relying on the "good image" of a group & remember they are merely humans & some humans are horrible people.

    If they show you who they are and you keep insisting they could never do that because of label assigned to them perhaps you are the problem.
    Not all cops are from Mayberry.
    Not all lawyers are Matlock.
    They are merely humans, who can be flawed & horrible people.

    When the alleged protections against bad behavior are never invoked until the 1000th time perhaps it is time to ask why we refuse to believe them when they are screaming at us that they are bad. This lawyer has shown he doesn't care about courts, the law, or decorum, he wants to get the pound of flesh for his clients at any cost... even ignoring the law, and he is enabled by courts who can read a subpoena for a completely unrelated entity & say okay dokey he would NEVER use this case to help another case.

    Rules are cool... but they need to be enforced early and often if you want to them remain respected, handing out passes merely teaches them they don't need to ever worry about the rules.

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  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 19 Feb 2020 @ 12:02pm

    Red-faced Nunes engages in more shenanigans to lampoon justice

    Does this popcorn party ever get old?

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Feb 2020 @ 12:07pm

    Ultimately, your client will be required to divulge the identities of the dummies and stooges it permits to use its platform.

    Steven S. Biss

    Funny how often people named Steven, or variations thereof, turn out to be utter scumbags. Anyone else ever notice that? About the only counter-example that comes to mind is Captain America, and he's a fictional character!

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    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 19 Feb 2020 @ 12:24pm

      Funny how often people named Steven, or variations thereof, turn out to be utter scumbags.

      Well, you’re not entirely wrong.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Feb 2020 @ 12:28pm

      Re:

      About the only counter-example that comes to mind

      Hawking? Fry? Amell?

      Although what I'm really interested is Stephen T. Stone's reaction to the above.

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    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 19 Feb 2020 @ 12:29pm

      Steves

      I think you underestimate the power of Steve.

      Offhand I can think of Stephen Colbert who doesn't seem like a terrible dude, though granted I don't know about his secret perverse life offstage.

      Then there's Project Steve and the 1500 signatories, all named Steve (and variations) who dare support the theory of evolution (in response to lists of evolution-denier signatures that are not restricted by name).

      I think Steve is just a super common name like Mike or John or Jim and they, like Twinkie-eaters and pants-wearers cannot be nailed down to a narrow range of behavior or attributes.

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  • icon
    Ed (profile), 19 Feb 2020 @ 12:20pm

    Looks like...

    ... the only person more stupid than Nunes is his lawyer, Biss.

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    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 19 Feb 2020 @ 12:32pm

      Don't mistake malice for stupidity

      Oh I don't imagine he's acting due to stupidity here so much as calculated malice. Sure the arguments are paper-thin and so weak that they'd probably qualify as homeopathic but it costs him basically nothing to make them, against a target less well funded than Twitter arrogance like that is likely to work, and even if it doesn't odds are low it will backfire in any notable way given the extensive benefit of the doubt and silk-glove treatment lawyers enjoy .

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      • icon
        Uriel-238 (profile), 19 Feb 2020 @ 2:59pm

        Against less funded targets, that is likely to work...

        And that right there is an indictment of our legal system. The arguments made by the defense in the trial of the President provided the public an example of the kinds nonsensical of arguments accepted in court. I am horrified at the notion that they were typical. Biss' submissions in the Nunes cases only add further evidence they are.

        I can't yet imagine some kind of stopgap against spurious logic, appeals to emotion, table pounding and willful obfuscation. Still while we do not have these measures, it is evident that our current courts are not qualified to administer fair justice. And yert so long as our legal departments continue to hold court, we pretend it works well enough when it clearly does not.

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        • icon
          Thad (profile), 19 Feb 2020 @ 3:28pm

          Re: Against less funded targets, that is likely to work...

          The arguments made by the defense in the trial of the President provided the public an example of the kinds nonsensical of arguments accepted in court.

          Huh? Are you talking about the impeachment trial? Because the Senate is not a court.

          For the most part, actual courts have not accepted the nonsensical arguments his lawyers have made in court. On his taxes, for example, he's repeatedly lost in court but hasn't exhausted his appeals yet.

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          • icon
            Uriel-238 (profile), 20 Feb 2020 @ 2:55am

            "the Senate is not a court"

            I was pointing out that the arguments made by Trump's👑 lawyers during the Senate Impeachment Hearing gave the public a recent example of lawyers making ridiculous arguments. More over, the jury -- that is the Senate -- accepted them as convincing.

            Without other information, it seems logical to determine from those events that lawyers make ridiculous assertions normally. And juries find them convincing, typically. And as someone who thinks we shouldn't depend on packs of idiots who are fascinated by the absurd when it comes to adjudication, that maybe we shouldn't rely on juries or courts of law, or even Chief Justices to determine wrongdoing, since they obviously can't spot it.

            But yeah, when it comes to the impeachment, no action has been taken. Trump👑 has done a bunch of things that are morally reprehensible, or embarrassing, or cruel and arbitrary. We find one thing that warrants removal from office, and we can't even do that right.

            That, to me, sounds like a penetration test that exposed a critical vulnerability. We should be scrambling to patch it before Trump's👑 governance causes any more death or misery.

            And yet we're not in general quarters. We're stood down. Trump👑 is still President of the United States, and is free to attack witnesses. He's also interfering in criminal cases of his cohorts. If we keep waiting, I'm sure he'll do even more that is embarrassing to the people of the US, and/or heinous.

            Today, the United States is, somehow, not in constitutional crisis after a process happened which was clearly contrary to the rule of law (if not outright illegal). It was a systemic failure of all that the US was intended to be.

            If Martians had seized Washington and replace all our elected representatives with pod people would we passively let our pod-officials determine policy? I imagine so.

            In fact, I wonder how crazy things could get in government while we carry on and let it happen. It terrifies me to think of the possibilities about which the public and our alleged guardians and watchdogs might just do nothing.

            So, no. I don't have any evidence that Biss and Dershowitz are anything other than par for lawyers, and their statements and behaviors typical within our legal systems

            I don't have any evidence that juries are not routinely swayed by absurdity and false testimony. Here on TD, it seems (for example) trust in a badge is epidemic. And Juries routinely believe officers claiming red to be blue, and noon to be midnight.

            I have no evidence that the US legal system actually serves justice. As far as I know, we just pretend it does, while really we just don't look to closely to see if its adjudications make any sense at all.

            And at this point, this dearth of evidence is horrifying.

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            • icon
              Thad (profile), 20 Feb 2020 @ 7:28am

              Re: "the Senate is not a court"

              I was pointing out that the arguments made by Trump's👑 lawyers during the Senate Impeachment Hearing gave the public a recent example of lawyers making ridiculous arguments. More over, the jury -- that is the Senate -- accepted them as convincing.

              And you described this as "an example of the kinds nonsensical of arguments accepted in court." It is not. Because the Senate is not a court. It's a chamber of elected officials, currently controlled by the same political party as the president.

              The conclusion of the Senate trial was a fait accompli. The president's party was going to vote to acquit. You seriously think that result had a goddamn thing to do with anything his lawyers said? They could have handed the floor over to a rock with googly eyes glued to it and gotten the same result, though I'm sure Susan Collins would have been very concerned about it.

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            • identicon
              Jon, 20 Feb 2020 @ 7:57am

              Re: "the Senate is not a court"

              "Today, the United States is, somehow, not in constitutional crisis"

              I'm not sure what a "constitutional crisis" is, if not this. It's not like the Constitution comes with a glossary but the daily crimes and lying commited by the "President" and his enablers and cronies seem to qualify.

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            • identicon
              PD, 20 Feb 2020 @ 8:26am

              Re: "the Senate is not a court"

              Correction, the Senate didn’t find Trump’s lawyers’ arguments convincing. It didn’t matter what they said, the GOP Senators were never going to vote against Trump because they have no spine.

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              • icon
                Uriel-238 (profile), 20 Feb 2020 @ 12:23pm

                Spineless senators

                Calling the senators spineless or cowardly is descriptive but doesn't actually address their motivation for not convicting and unseating the current president.

                Either way, it is an indictment of the senate that they would uniformly ignore the evidence. (I don't know if the evidence would rise to the standards of clear and convincing or beyond reasonable doubt. It was pretty damn incriminating.)

                I'm sure we can rule out Hugo Strange brainwashing them, or them being replaced with pod-people, or even Al Capone systematically bribing them all. But what is clear is that something is going on that has the same level of influence as the above three scenarios.

                If it was Strange or pod-people, we as Americans would be completely freaking out. I know I'm freaking out.

                But I'm especially freaked out that no-one around me is freaking out about it, as if a controlling majority of influenced US Senators is normal for the United States.

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  • icon
    Khym Chanur (profile), 19 Feb 2020 @ 1:51pm

    As I said during our conference call on Friday, I am interested in obtaining the name(s) of the public interest groups behind Mom and the cow.

    Does Biss actually believe that those accounts aren't operated by private individuals? Or does Nunes actually believe it, and Biss is just humoring his client? Or is it all just performative?

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Feb 2020 @ 4:43pm

    The permitted (read: not afflicted) "satirical" accounts of Twitter, which achieve themselves a dose of infamy are exclusivley in the genre "how a simpleton who can't meme attempts rebuttal of eternal truths right-wing".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    bobob, 19 Feb 2020 @ 5:16pm

    Why are people like biss not sanctioned? Why are they even allowed to keep their law licenses? Attorneys are officers of the court and they should be held to the standard their bar license affords them. There is a big difference between being an aggressive advocate for a client and abusing the legal system to win by using a litigation strategy based on bankrupting the opposition to avoid having a case tried on merit.

    Disbarment ought to be employed much more frequently to cut down on frivolous filings and to stop wasting so much court time and money. It seems like disbarment requires incredibly egregious behaviour before the bar is willing to even consider it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Madd the Sane (profile), 19 Feb 2020 @ 7:58pm

      Why they should be disbarred:

      "When lawyers take advantage of how a law is written in a way that is obviously unfair, the rule of law is also weakened. Then it's up to us to fix it before people lose faith in the system and take things into their own hands."
      Source

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 19 Feb 2020 @ 7:59pm

      Re:

      Because if the bar instituted any real standard then a whole lot of lawyers would suddenly find themselves under the microscope, which would require the various bars to actually do some gorram work clearing up their profession.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Thad (profile), 20 Feb 2020 @ 7:29am

      Re:

      Disbarment ought to be employed much more frequently to cut down on frivolous filings and to stop wasting so much court time and money. It seems like disbarment requires incredibly egregious behaviour before the bar is willing to even consider it.

      It kinda seems like you're suggesting that the best way to avoid frivolous lawsuits that waste time and money is to have frivolous bar investigations that waste time and money.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Feb 2020 @ 6:00pm

    I am interested in obtaining the name(s) of the public interest groups behind Mom and the cow.

    So, Biss believes that the Cow is actually a PIG?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    laminar flow (profile), 19 Feb 2020 @ 6:27pm

    The beautiful @DevinCow

    When all the dust has settled, when all the statutes of limitation have been exhausted, when the person behind @DevinCow finally reveals herself, I resolve to offer to take her anywhere in the world she wants to go for two weeks at my expense. It's a small price for all the wonderful schadenfreude bestowed on me as I think of Devin Nunes' paper thin skin igniting in rage every time he reads his cow's Twitter feed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Bruce C., 20 Feb 2020 @ 1:44am

      Re: The beautiful @DevinCow

      Better yet, cover her legal bills.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Feb 2020 @ 1:46am

      Re: The beautiful @DevinCow

      In such a crazy world in which the US assassinates foreign leaders with impunity and has a billionaire buying one of its parties elections, reading about the idiocy induced in Nunes by a satirical cow is priceless.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Feb 2020 @ 9:15am

    wow Steven Biss is a stupid and pisspoor quality lawyer ain't he?

    Anyone stupid enough to use him, OR any firm that hires him is in for a world of fees, expenses and zero results because his knowledge of the law is at best shoddy and illinformed, at best malignantly fraudulent.

    Are we sure Biss ACTUALLY ever passed the bar and isn't running some sort of 'Suits' fantasy?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Feb 2020 @ 2:14pm

    A “tweet” is a message posted to Twitter containing text, photos, a GIF, and/or video.

    DevinCow should post nothing but non-photographic non-textual unanimated PNGs for a while. Just clip-art insults.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    DB (profile), 20 Feb 2020 @ 11:06pm

    The assumption is that Biss is working largely unpaid, with the expectation that his notoriety will result in a profitable client base. Or perhaps with the hope that a profitable settlement might be reached.
    This is supported by his delayed eviction last year for non-payment of rent.
    A sanction from the court that is required to be paid by Biss personally might be a significant problem for him, and I don't see Nunes being especially happy or ready to pay Twitter's legal bills.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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