Opening statements in the star pitcher’s perjury trial are expected Wednesday morning.
The governments lead-off witnesses are expected to be House Parliamentarian Charles Johnson & committee staffer Phil Barnet, which should make for an interesting cross-examination since the defense is questioning whether the congressional investigation itself was proper – i.e., material.
John Schlegel story on MLB.com
Arguing that that a reporter’s direct testimony about his source, in this case former CIA agent Jeffrey Alexander Sterling who has been charged under the Espionage Act of sharing classified information with NYT reporter James Risen, is important in obtaining a conviction despite a strong circumstantial case, Assistant U.S. Attorney William Welch told the judge “I hate to use this example, but I think we all know the difference, given what happened in Florida three days ago.”
Seeking to quash the subpoena for Risen’s testimony, his lawyer, Joel Kurtzberg told Judge Brinkema, “A reporter should be a last resort, not a first resort.” “They have an interest in law enforcement,” he said. “We have an interest in freedom of the press and ensuring that information flows to reporters.”
The defendant in the case, Jeffrey Sterling, is seated second from left in the above drawing.
Politico’s Josh Gerstein has the story (from which I lifted the quotes-thanks Josh!) here.
In a motions hearing the day before jury selection is to begin in the trial of baseball living legend Roger Clemens the judge indicated that he may restrict the testimony of teammate Andy Pettitte and two others. Judge Reggie Walton said testimony by the players that they thought that trainer Brian McNamee was injecting them with performance enhancing drugs could unfairly lead jurors to believe that Clemens thought so too. Clemens is charged with lying to congress about his use of drugs.
Clemens’ attorney, Rusty Hardin, also said that he wanted the jury to hear the tone of his client’s voice during a deposition taken before his congressional testimony, but that the government has only been able to provide a transcript of Clemens testimony; the House of Representatives has declined to turn over the audio which it considers “proprietary”.
Judge Walton told the prosecutors to go back to the House and ask again for the audio recording, this time pointing out the considerable cost to the U.S. government of a delay in the trial.
WaPo story here.
The government had asked for a prison sentence of 385 years for Lee Farkas, former chairman of Taylor, Bean & Whitaker Mortgage Corp., who was recently convicted in a $3 billion mortgage fraud scheme that also caused the collapse of Colonial Bank – the sixth largest bank failure in U.S. history according the FDIC lawyer Tom O’Brian (pictured below).
Reading from a prepared statement Farkas told the judge, “I believe that everyone at Taylor, Bean & Whitaker and Colonial were acting together and in good faith,” He said he had to “take risks” and the company “grew too fast”….”I thought perhaps naively that the ship could right itself.” Never once did he mention the fraud scheme.
Saying “I do not detect one bit of actual remorse that what you did was unlawful, that you engaged in fraud, ” Judge Brinkema imposed a 30 year sentence and a $38.5 million forfeiture on the 58 year-old Farkas.
NYT story here.
Citing Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Homer and Dante, as well as Golding’s Lord of the Flies, in his opinion for the majority Justice Scalia said that violent speech, in this case video games, even when directed at children is still protected under the first amendment.
The case is Brown v. Entertainment Merchants.
In another First Amendment case where the speech in question is privately raised campaign money the Court struck down an Arizona law that would provide matching funds to candidates who accept public financing.
“Laws like Arizona’s matching funds provision that inhibit robust and wide-open political debate without sufficient justification cannot stand” wrote Chief Justice Roberts in his majority opinion.
Justice Kagan in her dissent, joined by Justices Ginsberg, Breyer and Sotomayor, and announced from the bench wrote: “Petitioners . . . are making a novel argument: that Arizona violated their First Amendment rights by disbursing funds to other speakers even though they could have received (but chose to spurn) the same financila assistance”. She added, “Some people might call that chutzpah.”
The consolidated cases are Arizona Free Enterprise v. Bennett and McComish v. Bennett.
The Supreme Court announced six opinions today. I have sketches of four of those opinions being read by their authors :
Justice Ginsburg had the the opinions in two cases, Bullcoming v. New Mexico and CSX v. McBride.
Justice Thomas, who turned 63 today, had the opinion in PLIVA Inc v. Mensing.
And Justice Kennedy read his opinion in Sorrell v. IMS Health.
It is beyond the capability of this wretched, inkstained courtartist to understand, much less explain the meaning of all these opinions, so I refer the reader to ScotusBlog.
As the Supreme Court comes into the final stretch of the term opinions on some of the eagerly awaited bigger cases are coming down.
Today Justice Scalia delivered the opinion in Wal-Mart v. Dukes, the largest ever class-action suit. Brought by female employees of the retail giant it accused Wal-Mart of sex discrimination in pay and promotion. Not surprisingly Wal-Mart won.
The other opinion on my watch list to come down today, American Electric Power Co. v. Conn., did not get as much attention. In an opinion written by Justice Ginsburg the Court said that the regulation of greenhouse gases is the job of the EPA, and that States cannot make an end run around the Clean Air Act by filling a “public nuisance” claim in federal court.
ScotusBlog’s Lyle Denniston on the global warming case can be found here.
NYT article on Wal-Mart is here.
Justice Sotomayor : “It is beyond dispute that children will often feel bound to submit to police questioning when an adult in the same circumstances would feel free to leave.”
The case is J.D.B. v. North Carolina.
AP story here.
NSA computer specialist Thomas Drake, shown above with his attorneys in court this morning, was facing felony charges under the Espionage Act for sharing information about the spy agency’s awarding of the billion dollar Trailblazer program to an outside contractor.
After Judge Richard Bennett ruled that some of the allegedly classified documents Drake is accused of taking home would have to be shown to the jury the government’s case crumbled, and Drake was allowed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor.
Baltimore Sun story here.
Justice Sotomayor read her opinion for the Court in the patent-law case, Microsoft v. i4i Limited Partnership, which upheld the lower court judgement against the software giant.
The reaction in Redmond? : “Check under the couch cushions and pay them”.
Financial Times story here.