In a real-life story that seems taken out of George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones, a New York lawyer accused of fraud is actually asking for a trial by combat to settle a legal dispute.
Richard Luthmann says his bizarre request may sound ludicrous to most people, but it certainly isn’t against the law. He pointed out that the right to Trial by Combat was technically never outlawed in the state of New York, or anywhere else in America. “The common law of Britain was in effect in New York in 1776,” he told reporters “And the Ninth Amendment of the Constitution recognises the penumbra of those rights. It’s still on the books.” Historically, trial by combat was indeed a little-used but accepted aspect of English common law.
Luthmann, 35, feels that his request for a combat trial is fair, given that the legal dispute itself is silly and “baseless”. It started in 2013, when Luthmann represented the losing side in a lawsuit between two investment firms. His client, David Parker, was supposed to pay $550,000 to the opposition, but he disappeared without a trace. So the opponents decided to sue him instead, alleging the lawyer helped his client hide his assets in order to avoid payment.
After spending the past two years filing motions and countermotions against the other lawyer, Luthmann was at his wits’ end. “This is not a lawsuit anymore; this is an absurdity,” he told the New York Post. “So I will give them absurdity in kind.” That’s when he decided to make use of a loophole in the law and challenge them to a medieval-style duel to settle the matter.
In his brief, Luthmann asks “that the court permit the undersigned (Luthmann) to dispatch plaintiffs to the Divine Providence of the Maker for Him to exact His divine judgment once the undersigned has released the souls of the plaintiffs and their counsel from their corporeal bodies, personally and or by way of a champion.” Alternatively, he’s willing to settle for just having the case dismissed.
It sounds like a joke, but Luthmann is actually pretty serious about testing the power of the Ninth Amendment. “The judge may look askance at it, but I’m prepared to take it to the highest level,” he said. “I’d love to have a court determine whether we have those rights under the Constitution. This is a matter of honor.”
It’s highly unlikely that the judge will accept Luthmann’s request, but in any case, he’s prepared to go to combat dressed as Game of Thrones character Robert Baratheon. His weapon of choice – a warhammer.
The plaintiff’s lawyer, Richard Chusid, feels differently about the issue. “It should be clear that we do not find the brief amusing and, we believe, neither will the court, both from a legal and ethical perspective,” he said.
You have to admit, seeing two lawyers fighting for their lives medieval style would be fun to watch.
Irving immigration lawyer and Obama supporter, Sherin Thawer, was arrested on federal fraud charges and for forging applications of illegal immigrants.
Sherin Thawer was invited to the Obama White House last year to discuss immigration reform.
Meeting with the White House Policy Council today in Washington DC regarding #immigration reform.
12:03 PM – 11 Apr 2014
An Irving immigration lawyer was arrested Friday morning on federal fraud charges for allegedly forging visa applications for illegal immigrants she represented, the U.S. attorney’s office said.
Sherin Thawer, 45, was arrested by agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations at her Coppell home, authorities said.
She made her initial court appearance Friday and was released.
The seven-count indictment, issued earlier this week and unsealed on Friday, charges Thawer with one count of conspiracy to commit fraud in connection with immigration documents; one count of mail fraud; one count of transfer or use of the means of identification of another person; and four counts of aggravated identity theft.
Thawer represented immigrants who were applying for various visas to enter or remain in the U.S., officials said. That included U Nonimmigrant Status, known as a U-Visa.
To qualify for a U-Visa, an immigrant must have been a victim of a certain crime and helped law enforcement with the investigation or prosecution. Applicants must submit a form completed by the law enforcement agency that worked on the case.
Sherin Thawer is quite the Barack Obama supporter.
A lawyer that works in the IRS ethics office faces charges that she lied to a court-appointed board looking into whether she embezzled several thousand dollars of her client’s money in a case she worked as a personal injury attorney before joining the IRS.
IRS ethics lawyer Takisha McGee is accused of diverting several thousand dollars she was supposed to pay to healthcare providers for a client in a case she took several years ago.
McGee is listed as a Section Manager of the Legal Analysis Branch on the IRS website.
Despite these public proceedings, the IRS refuses to comment on the case and continues to have McGee give lectures on ethics.
But theft isn’t all she stands accused of. McGee is also accused of lying to the D.C. Court of Appeals’ board of professional responsibility empanelled to review her case.
Additionally, she is accused of essentially intimidating her former client into writing a letter asking the board to dismiss the charges against her.
McGee’s client sent a letter to the board in 2011 saying that she was dropping any case against her one-time lawyer and urged the board to do the same. But the client later testified that McGee threatened to begin subpoenaing the client’s family members if the case continued.
“In its 43-page report, the board detailed the personal injury case, which resulted in an $8,900 insurance settlement,” The Washington Times reported this month. “But after receiving the settlement check, she failed to pay about $3,000 combined to two medical providers whom she was supposed to reimburse for treatment given to her client, according to records.”
Thus far the missing funds have not been located.
The board said it found “clear and convincing” evidence that McGee lied to them and that there was no reason to recommend any lesser punishment than a full disbarring.
“In addition to intentionally misappropriating third-party funds, respondent also violated a number of other ethics rules and gave false testimony during the hearing,” the board wrote in its ruling.
Not that there was any doubt, but a Department of Justice lawyer has anonymously contacted Powerline Blog to say why the IRS claim about losing emails because of a computer crash is “laughable”:
I’m a DOJ lawyer, so you obviously cannot use my name or any identifying information. But the idea that a “hard drive crash” somehow destroyed all of Ms. Lerner’s intra-government email correspondence during the period in question [2009-2011] is laughable. Government email servers are backed up every night. So if she actually had a hard drive fail, her emails would be recoverable from the backup. If the backup was somehow also compromised, then we are talking about a conspiracy.
Keep up the good work.
He reiterates in a postscript:
I’m serious about your keeping any identifying information out of the media. Things are very, very bad.
When the story broke on Friday, I really believed this administration was insane to think the story wouldn’t hit the headlines. But if you look at the Sunday morning news shows, not one featured the outrageous stonewalling by the IRS. Let’s hope our political leaders have the courage to pursue this outrageous abuse of power.
A trainee lawyer hoping to qualify as a barrister cried rape 11 TIMES – to get out of taking her Bar exams, a court heard.
Rhiannon Brooker, 30, falsely accused her boyfriend of repeatedly raping and assaulting her which saw him arrested, charged and held in custody for 30 days, it was said.
But detectives could not find any evidence that Paul Fensome, 46, had carried out the crimes and arrested Brooker.
It then emerged that she had used the allegations as “extenuating circumstances” in a failed attempt to dodge her exams, Bristol Crown Court heard.
She is now standing trial for 11 false claims of rape and nine of assault, two of which include imprisonment allegations.
David Bartlett, prosecuting, said: “The prosecution says that one of the reasons for her false allegations was that she was living an active social life in Bristol and not doing the work required to pass the assessments, so she falsified the allegations in order to give substance to her extenuating circumstances forms.”
The court heard how “confident and outspoken” Brooker took a Bachelor of Law degree at Birmingham City University before moving to Bristol in September 2010.
She attended the University of the West of England (UWE) in the city in order to take her BVC qualifications to become a barrister.
Brooker, who lived in Frampton Cotterell, South Glos., at the time of the alleged offences, claimed Mr Fensome, whom she met in Birmingham, objected violently to the move.
Mr Bartlett told the court that, shortly before her move to Bristol, Brooker appeared at a convenience store where she worked with injuries and complained her boyfriend had assaulted her.
While at UWE she told fellow students she had been assaulted and raped and occasionally sported physical injuries, but had not reported the matter to police.
She finally went to police in May 2011 following a visit to the Royal United Hospital in Bath but all the allegations were denied by railway signalman Mr Fensome.
Brooker consented to police examining her medical records from hospitals or clinics she had attended, and took photos of her injuries.
The court was told allegations involving false imprisonment and assault at her home were countered with “cast iron alibis” by Mr Fensome.
On other occasions texts from his phone, telephone cell site analysis and his work shift patterns all either undermined or disproved further allegations.
Mr Bartlett said: “Whilst in respect of some allegations there was no independent evidence either to confirm what she had said or undermine it, on other occasions independent evidence either undermined or disproved her account.
“Eventually the Crown dropped the numerous charges against Paul Fensome because, taken as a whole, the evidence showed that there was no longer a realistic prospect of conviction.
“Expert opinion was obtained which suggested that those injuries of Brooker that were photographed were self-inflicted.”
She claimed Mr Fensome forced her to have sex a number of times, and on one occasion she told a friend she had lost a baby because her boyfriend had punched her in the ribs, the court heard.
While at UWE it is alleged she told friends that facial injuries and bruising she had were as a result of her attempts to end her relationship, which Mr Fensome would not allow.
In March 2011 she was assessed by an independent domestic violence advisor, who tried to encourage her to involve police and log events.
The court heard Brooker only sat the first four of her 12 assessments for her BVC course and persuaded the Extenuating Circumstance Committee to let her sit all at a later date.
Although she failed the exams because she went beyond time limits for the retakes.
After withdrawing her allegations Brooker confirmed they were false, and admitted that injuries seen by witnesses, including her friends and doctors, were self-inflicted, the court heard.
She denies 20 charges of doing an act tending, and intended, to pervert the court of justice between May 2011 and January 2012.
The case continues.
President Obama and Democrats have been at great pains to insist they knew nothing about IRS targeting of conservative 501(c)(4) nonprofits before the 2012 election. They’ve been at even greater pains this week to ensure that the same conservative groups are silenced in the 2014 midterms.
That’s the big, dirty secret of the omnibus negotiations. As one of the only bills destined to pass this year, the omnibus was—behind the scenes—a flurry of horse trading. One of the biggest fights was over GOP efforts to include language to stop the IRS from instituting a new round of 501(c)(4) targeting. The White House is so counting on the tax agency to muzzle its political opponents that it willingly sacrificed any manner of its own priorities to keep the muzzle in place.
And now back to our previously scheduled outrage over the Chris Christie administration’s abuse of traffic cones on the George Washington Bridge.
Yet my sources say that throughout the negotiations Democrats went all in on keeping the IRS rule, even though it meant losing their own priorities. In the final hours before the omnibus was introduced Monday night, the administration made a last push for IMF money. Asked to negotiate that demand in the context of new IRS language, it refused.
That’s a lot to sacrifice for a rule that the administration has barely noted in public, and that then-acting IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel claimed last fall when it was introduced is simply about providing “clarity” to nonprofits. It only makes sense in a purely political context. The president’s approval ratings are in the toilet, the economy is in idle, the ObamaCare debate rages on, and the White House has a Senate majority to preserve. With one little IRS rule it can shut up hundreds of groups that pose a direct threat by restricting their ability to speak freely in an election season about spending or ObamaCare or jobs. And it gets away with it by positioning this new targeting as a fix for the first round.
This week’s Democratic rally-round further highlights the intensely political nature of their IRS rule. It was quietly dropped in the runup to the holiday season, to minimize the likelihood of an organized protest during its comment period. That 90-day comment period meantime ends on Feb. 27, positioning the administration to shut down conservative groups early in this election cycle.