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jberryhill's Journal
jberryhill's Journal
January 26, 2019

May I just say that days like today...

...should forevermore be memorialized as days of feasting.

On days like today, DU shines.
January 23, 2019

On "Cohen is a convicted liar, and therefore his testimony is worthless"

That argument is being floated in various right wing circles.

It is fundamentally flawed, and it is important to understand why.

Taking that argument of "he's a convicted liar, so what he has to say doesn't matter", you have to go back a step and consider:

And what was he convicted of lying to Congress about?

The thing that he lied to Congress about was, in fact, an attempt to conceal the fact that negotiations about Trump Tower continued well into the campaign.

So the "he's a convicted liar" argument hinges on admitting that Trump was still dealing with Moscow when the campaign was on.

The Republicans can't have it both ways.

They can't say "Cohen is a convicted liar" and "Trump wasn't negotiating with Russia during the campaign".

In order to agree that "Cohen is a liar", they have to admit that Trump was dealing with Russians.

And that bring us to the most important point about "Cohen is a liar".

Why did Cohen lie, and to whose benefit did Cohen lie?


It's not really a problem for Cohen if he was dealing with Russians on Trump's behalf for well into the campaign. Cohen had no independent reason to lie about that subject to Congress.

The only reason for Cohen to have lied to Congress was for Trump's benefit.

Clearly, that incentive is no longer present. Having had documentary evidence of these negotiations presented to him by investigators, or knowing that they had such evidence, during his criminal proceeding Cohen could no longer maintain that lie without digging himself a deeper hole by lying to the investigators.

January 23, 2019

Former Client Accuses Michael Avenatti of Operating Law Firm Like a 'Ponzi Scheme'


Former Client Accuses Michael Avenatti of Operating Law Firm Like a ‘Ponzi Scheme’

According to the statement of claims, Avenatti handled litigation with an unnamed third party for Barela, securing him a confidential settlement. In January 2018, according to Barela’s claim, the third party started paying funds into a client trust account managed by Avenatti for him to pass to Barela. But instead of doing so, Avenatti allegedly told Barela the third party never paid the settlement money. As the months passed, Barela’s suit says, he grew increasingly anxious about the money, frequently asking Avenatti when it would come through.

Barela needed the money to cover other business expenses, the statement says, and faced financial hardship because he couldn’t get it. Avenatti eventually offered to lend him money to help him get by, the claim says. Instead, Barela retained new counsel. Those lawyers contacted the third party with which Barela had entered into a settlement, and allegedly learned it had already started making payments to Avenatti, which were intended for Barela, back in January 2018—payments Barela’s claim says he has yet to receive.

“Mr. Barela hired our firm to investigate what happened to the settlement payment that he was supposed to have received early last year,” Steven Bledsoe, a lawyer with Larson O’Brien LLP representing Barela, told The Daily Beast. “As part of our investigation, we contacted the lawyer for the settling party and he gave us a copy of the unaltered settlement agreement and the wire-transfer confirmation showing that his client made the settlement payment to the bank account specified by Mr. Avenatti five days before it was due.”


“This is apparently how a firm with virtually no money in its operating accounts is able to fund hundreds of thousands of dollars in expenses each month,” Frank stated in the filing. “And by keeping the money stashed away in the IOLTA account, rather than transferring it to EA, Avenatti is able to prevent [Frank] from levying on these amounts as a judgment creditor.”
January 22, 2019

Reminder: Hearing Today in Stormy Daniels v. Essential Consultants et al.

There is a possibility that today will be the end of the road in Daniels' case against Cohen and Trump over the hush agreement under which she was paid $130,000 just prior to the election.

To briefly recap, Daniels has filed two principal cases involving Trump. The hush agreement case came about after Cohen won a sizeable arbitration award against Daniels for her activities in January/February 2018, when she was making various media statements hinting at the existence of the agreement after the Wall Street Journal had published details of the agreement and the payment on January 12. In the hush agreement case, Daniels sought no monetary damages, but primarily sought a declaration of the court that the contract was void (and thus she wouldn't have to pay the $20M arbitration award against her).

During the course of that first case, Daniels also filed a defamation suit against Trump for certain comments to the press and Twitter about the case. That suit backfired spectacularly, and Trump has been awarded $300k in legal fees. That case is now over.

In the contract case, both Cohen's company and Trump have agreed and admitted to the court that the contract is void, and thus argue that there is nothing further to fight about. Daniels disagrees, and believes that despite the defendants' having basically surrendered the suit, that she is entitled to discovery in order to expose them as liars, etc., but that objective isn't really strongly tethered to any ostensible goal of the lawsuit - i.e. to have the court basically confirm that the defendants have conceded the basis for the suit having been brought in the first place. Additionally, Daniels is seeking to amend the suit in order to remove a later-added defamation claim, having learned how the Texas SLAPP standards make those claims risky. Amusingly, Cohen and Trump are seeking to maintain that claim against them IN the suit, because they have an unopposed SLAPP motion against that one too.

So, what's on the menu today:

Dec 18, 2018
SCHEDULING NOTICE by Judge S. James Otero re: NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION to Strike Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint Amended Complaint/Petition 14 31, NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION to AMEND Amended Complaint/Petition 14 91 . The hearing on Defendant Michael Cohen's Motion To Strike Plaintiff's FAC (ECF No. 31) and Plaintiff's Motion To Amend the FAC (ECF No. 91) is continued to Monday, February 4, 2019 at 2:00 PM. The hearing on Defendants' Motions To Dismiss the Declaratory Relief Cause of Action (ECF Nos. 87 and 88) will remain on January 22, 2019 at 2:00 PM.

The judge has scheduled the hearing on whether Daniels may remove the defamation claim to February 4, and has scheduled the hearing on the plaintiff's motion to dismiss for today at 2PM.

At the conclusion the judge may: issue an order from the bench either dismissing the case or maintaining the case, or listen the arguments, ask a few questions, and decide to issue an order at some later point.

Regardless of what happens today, expect a round of "I'm still relevant to something" sounds out of Michael Avenatti late this afternoon Pacific Time.
January 18, 2019

Delaware Passes ERA to State Constitution



Republican Sens. Bryant Richardson, Dave Lawson, Brian Pettyjohn, David Wilson and Gerald Hocker voted no.
January 18, 2019

Wilmington Christian School Teacher Fired After Allegations of Misconduct With Student

Marcos Almonte, who also is a pastor at Brandywine Baptist Church in Chadds Ford:


Pastor Marcos Almonte and his wife, Mary, have been teaching elementary art and Spanish to homeschool students on the WCS campus.

And, as it always is with these people:

January 17, 2019

Let the dirty tricks commence - GOP buys bobcaseyforpresident.com


But the owner of the domain is not some squatter who wants a big payday from an aspiring presidential candidate — nor a supporter of the Pennsylvania Democrat who wants to protect the website from internet trolls.

It's the Pennsylvania Republican Party, and the reason for its quiet purchase is to be determined.

January 16, 2019

We'll soon know why the appeal on that subpoena was sealed

We won't necessarily know any more about what it was, but at a minimum we will know why it is sealed:

January 8, 2019

The 28 National Emergencies in effect as of December 2017

This is an interesting piece:


As of today, 28 emergencies remain in effect. The list still includes the first emergency authorized under the act—President Jimmy Carter’s 1979 emergency, declared ten days after Iranian students took American diplomats hostage in Tehran. Earlier this month, President Donald Trump renewed the emergency for the 38th time.

Why have seven presidents extended the 1979 emergency 38 times? It, along with a second emergency declared in 1995 to implement the oil embargo, forms the basis for many of the United States’ sanctions on Iran. The president’s (and thereby the the Treasury Department’s) power to impose sanctions for foreign policy purposes comes from the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA). IEEPA was passed one year after the National Emergencies Act, and it grants the president sweeping economic power in response to “any unusual and extraordinary threat, which has its source in whole or substantial part outside the United States, to the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States.” But IEEPA doesn’t supplant the National Emergencies Act. Rather, the president may take advantage of IEEPA powers only if he declares a national emergency (with respect to that foreign threat) under the National Emergencies Act.

In fact, 26 of the 28 national emergencies currently active invoke IEEPA. The remaining two also exist to respond to foreign threats. The first is President Bill Clinton’s 1996 emergency, declared after the Cuban military shot down two civilian airplanes off of the Cuban coast. It allows for the regulation of vessels in U.S. waters that may enter Cuban territorial waters “and thereby threaten a disturbance of international relations.” The second is Bush’s Sept. 14, 2001 emergency. It gave the president broad powers to mobilize the military in the days (and now years) after the attacks. But nine days later, Bush issued a second emergency proclamation, this time invoking IEEPA explicitly for the purpose of restricting terrorist financing.
January 4, 2019

Dancing "discredits" a politician?

Who knew....

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