Vance Was Elected, Whether Cuomo Likes It or Not
Following the Eric Schneiderman accusations of either assault, rough sex or possibly nothing, the elected District Attorney of New York Count, Cyrus Vance, announced he was starting an investigation, the allegations of at least some incidents occurred within his jurisdiction.
Big deal? It was to Governor Andy, who announced that Vance would be removed from the investigation and it would be handled by Madeline Singas, Nassau County District Attorney. Cuomo has the authority to remove a prosecutor and appoint a special counsel where a conflict of interest exists. But did it?
In an ironic twist, Schneiderman was already investigating how Vance handled Harvey Weinstein, who more than 70 women have accused of sexual harassment and assault. Vance decided to not pursue charges against Weinstein in 2015 despite police having a recording of Weinstein admitting to groping. Weinstein’s lawyer had donated $55,000 to Vance in campaign contributions.
Cuomo said Tuesday morning that he wanted to make sure the DA pursuing the case would “have no conflict whatsoever with the attorney general, either institutionally or personally” to assuage the women in the article who outlined that fear about Schneiderman’s political power and position stopped them going public earlier.
Was this a matter of dueling offices or bad blood between Vance and Schneiderman as a result of the AG’s office’s investigation of Vance for Weinstein? Does it matter?
Vance said in the letter that the potential conflict between his office and the attorney general was eliminated when Schneiderman resigned and that “the alleged acts are plainly within the jurisdiction of my office.”
“Put simply, no prosecutors are better equipped to investigate and pursue such
cases in Manhattan than those in my office; we do so, in partnership with the NYPD, every single day,” Vance said.
There was little doubt that Schneiderman would seize upon the Weinstein story to pander for self-aggrandizement to the #MeToo crowd, which has nothing to do with whether it’s a legitimate accusation against Vance. But then, when the mob turned on Schneiderman, was turnabout fair play or was Vance just doing his job? After all, he was elected District Attorney.
Or was Singas the easy way out, removing the potential taint and next scandal should the mob complain that whatever the outcome of Vance’s investigation, it was tainted by supposition of impropriety, whether because of bad blood or because Vance was a misogynist?
The team has worked out a compromise for the sake of appearances, but it leaves Vance as the goat, too tainted to be trusted. The intersecting spirals of accusations and investigations has undermined the ability for an elected district attorney to do the job for which he was elected, while a governor fights to establish his cred with the mob.
We’re up to our eyeballs in accusations, and internecine warfare over who will win the hearts of the mob long enough to win an election, if not merely remain in office, while no prosecution has been brought and no accusation tested by the system that exists for that purpose. And now, an elected district attorney has been ousted from his duties to appease the mob.
Mercury News Calls For Persky’s Recall
“Send a message” is a convenient argument to signal one’s virtue, even if it’s usually nothing more than one of those “common sense” beliefs that doesn’t actually work except in the minds of those in need of an excuse to exercise retribution. But this might be that oddball circumstance where a message may, indeed, be sent.
The decision comes down to this: Voters need to stand up and make a statement on behalf of women and men about the seriousness of sexual assault. Persky’s sentence failed to do so to an extent that he never will again be able to serve as a respected, effective judge. He should be recalled.
It may not be fair to Persky, who is a decent man and an able judge. But neither was Persky’s six-month sentence in 2016 fair to the young woman who was sexually assaulted by Brock Turner.
To be clear, the issue is not Turner’s sentence. That’s done and can’t be undone no matter how many torches the mob carries to the castle. Maybe it was too lenient, but a judge imposing a sentence with which outsiders disagree isn’t breaking news.
And the Mercury News concedes, heck it affirmatively states, that Persky is an “able judge,” as confirmed by both prosecutors and defense lawyers who have appeared before him. He’s smart and respected. He’s deemed by both sides to be fair. He’s exactly the sort of person who one would want to be a judge. So off with his head?!?
The argument that recalling Persky will strike a blow against judicial independence is not compelling. That ship already has sailed. The recall campaign and the surging MeToo movement have put judges across California on notice: Take sexual assault more seriously or risk being “Persky’d”.
If you’re going to assert “that ship already has sailed,” it would be nice if you offered some tiny, itty-bitty hint at what you’re talking about. But only if you’re trying to be a credible editorial in a legit paper, I mean. No pressure.
But that “not compelling” argument is compelling enough to push judges, who are ill-equipped to fend off the mob, to be ever-more-harsh or be “Persky’d”? Draco Dauber must be ever so proud of herself, assuring that those prison cells emptied by non-violent drug users will be filled by men serving life plus cancer for sex offenses. All because the mob didn’t like one sentence.
Burn The Yale Witch
The incantation of feeling uncomfortable is good enough to destroy a great many lives, but not when the target of discomfort has more victim points than the accuser. Sara Braasch learned this the hard way.
On Thursday, the Yale University Police Department posted its account of the incident, which it says began when a caller told the police a woman “she did not know” was sleeping in the common room. After checking identification, police said they told the caller the woman was an authorized resident and “had every right to be there,” adding that this was “not a police matter.”
The room was dark and Braasch called out “who’s in here, you’re not allowed to be sleeping in here.” Rapist? Drug addict? Killer? Braasch would have been a hero. But it turned out to be Lolade Siyonbola, another Yale student, whom Braasch didn’t know. After Yale police verified that she was student, which took longer than otherwise because Siyonbola’s preferred name on her student ID was different from her name as a registered student, the incident was over. Or was it?
It turns out that Braasch, in addition to the engineering degrees and the philosophy degree she was pursuing, was also an admitted lawyer in New York.
It must be exhausting to save the world from uncomfortable white women.*
The Singing of Avenatti’s Wings
He’s become famous as the brash lawyer for the porn star who purportedly bedded the future president, but before Michael Avenatti accused Donald Trump and his attorney of a payoff scheme to muzzle Stormy Daniels, he faced allegations of dubious business dealings as owner of a flailing coffee chain.
Fly high and there will invariably be people aiming to bring you down.
And late last month, the list of grievances against Avenatti only intensified, with new allegations of wrongdoing.
In a complaint submitted to the California State Bar Association — and cc’d to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle — Bellevue attorney David Nold asserts Avenatti carried out an illegal “pump and dump” scheme through his Washington state-registered Tully’s ownership firm, Global Baristas US, LLC.
Is there any merit to the accusations? To the suits against him? To the greivance? To the Tully’s employees who don’t love him nearly as much as the Resistance?
Sifuentez, the former Tully’s employee, said he can’t help but see the irony.
“He’s getting all this positive press for the Stormy Daniels thing, but at the same time, this (expletive) just cost hundreds of people their jobs,” he said.
As one’s profile rises, so too do the daggers of those who fail to appreciate your fabulousness. Whether this will bring Avenatti down remains unclear, but if he thought this was going to be purely a lovefest for his “brash” defense of Stormy and attacks on Trump, then he didn’t learn the lesson. And then there’s the question of how he got Michael Cohen’s SARs, which might not piss off his fans but could well annoy the Treasury Department’s Inspector General a bit.
*As was pointed out to me after this post was published, the twit mentions the NYS bar disciplinary committee. As any competent New York lawyer should know, the NYS bar is a voluntary membership organization which has nothing to do with attorney complaints, which is handled by the Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Departmental Disciplinary Committees for the department where the lawyer was admitted to practice. So call the NYS bar all you want.