Folks I’ve never understood why newspapers couch a story around a massive fib, especially when they know it is a fib. Monday night’s workshop witnessed a number of transparency errors but what interested me most was insubordinate City employee Jerry Beaugez, a crony of Mayor Fillingame arguing with the City Council after being given a direct order to stop streaming the workshop on Facebook. While such an order against a member of the public would certainly be an ethics no-no, a City employee faces a far different set of legal questions vis-a-vie the exercise of free speech while on the taxpayer’s dime. Let’s start with the massive falsehood Beaugez told to Dwayne Bremer of the Echo:
One possible reason for the council’s concern is that there have been accusations that Facebook comments were being edited or deleted to reflect only “pro-Fillingame posts.”
Beaugez said anyone can see the comments on Facebook and they could not be edited or deleted. He said that the Facebook settings are set to not allow vulgarity, but the administrator cannot delete or edit a post.
Individuals, however, can delete their own personal posts, he said.
Beaugez also argued that the meeting was public and that other entities such as local media are allowed to record meetings.
OK folks have we thought about this enough? We have a federal subpoena out to the folks at NOLA Media Group asking for all the skinny on 11 internet commenters. One of the post Katrina NOLA police murder cases involving civilians is in danger of getting verdicts set aside. And the former Goatherder in Chief has asked for an evidentiary hearing. Days later Federal prosecutors contested Broussard’s motion arguing his guilty plea precluded such a line of inquiry. And then I started getting emails from observers with criminal defense experience and those off blog comments were enlightening. I’ll preface the rest of this post by saying I know very little about the practice of criminal law in the Federal Court system beyond the fact it is hard for a defendant to win at trial.
With that said there are some important points that were made and the first regards the Team Horn subpoena to NOLA Media Group for information on those 11 commenters. I’ll let a knowledgeable reader explain:
As part of their law enforcement mission the Feds can issue a subpoena to ensure that the law is being observed. They don’t need even a suspicion that the law may have been violated to issue a subpoena. That the newspaper is (1) objecting, (2) asking the Feds to disclose the basis for the subpoena, and (3) questioning whether the DOJ has authority to request the information under the Inspector General Act is curious and raises issues. For example, if the DOJ indulges the newspaper’s opposition and does not respond by saying, “Make the return on the subpoena or we’ll seek a contempt citation against your publisher.” it will indicate a lack of resolve and perhaps a political approach by the DOJ in the investigation.
Insofar as the merits are concerned, the paper can’t object, because it is not any of the commenters who have that right instead. The newspaper has no standing to act to ensure the DOJ is complying with law. That’s a right that belongs to the commenters and there’s no 1st Amendment issue involved. If there were it would have been asserted already. Furthermore, federal law enforcement need not give a basis for issuing the subpoena. They can issue a subpoena to check whether the law is being observed even without a suspicion of criminal activity. They need not give the basis to the newspaper. Asking for the basis for the subpoena is like asking for information so the paper can expand on the story. Thus, not only are the merits entirely in favor of the DOJ, the paper insulted the DOJ.
The newspaper is defending itself, not the commenters.
Ok its no secret that I follow and have followed Slabbed.org and in reading a recent post that led me to a TP link that had another link (yea, link after link, but follow me here) to U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt recent order of November 26, 2012 with regard to certain people posting on the TP web site on cases that they had knowledge of or were involved in.
Now with that being said, I can see the problem that presents itself; and while I have internal disagreements as to the 1st amendment issues involved; I can fully understand and agree I do not want a prosecutor or defense attorney, nor law enforcement trying a case via the press or blogs.
Where I have a problem with Judge Engelhardt’s order is his further pontificating (on Page 17) on who has 1st amendment right and what other parties that should refrain from such conduct. Judge Engelhardt states; “the undersigned commented on the inappropriateness and impropriety of persons engaged in certain professions, such as lawyers, government employees and other public sector workers, and persons who handle sensitive/confidential information, for instance, in posting unprofessional opinions, unauthorized comments, or even some factual statements hidden behind the mask of an online alias regarding matters related to their professions or employment.”
Unless I miss reading the statement, he is not limiting this prohibition to just the DOJ and parties involved in the current case. He would remove the right to express ones opinion to all who work for any agency of the state, county or local government. Continue reading……..
In part 1 of this series I covered the genesis of Trout Point development and the associated fleecing of the ACOA by our three amigos Danny Abel, Vaughn Perret and Charles Leary. The fallout was slow in developing though as certain employees at the ACOA that were involved with the La Farme D’Acadie disaster actually died in the interim and the ACOA was not especially diligent in pursuing repayment of the tax money given to the 3 American partners. When the ACOA filed suit Trout Point did not contest it and a default judgment was entered. Later the default was set aside and the litigation began a tortuous path in the Canadian court system. It came to a head in 2008.
I highlighted the entire ACOA disaster in several posts but this one has received the most attention and for good reason as the lawsuits involving Leary, Abel and Perret and the ACOA heated back up and one of the major issues turned on exactly who owned La Ferme D’Acadie. Let”s review shall we:
In June 1998 the plaintiff, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, made a “repayable contribution” to a partnership involving the defendants, in order to assist in the startup of a cheesemaking and tourism business. The partnership was subsequently dissolved and incorporated by the former partners, and part of the business was moved to another location. In September 2001, the plaintiff declared that the partnership was in default of the repayable contribution agreement. The plaintiff launched an action in June 2002, the defendants being Mr. Leary, his former partners and the partnership itself.
These past 2 weeks on Slabbed have been nothing short of extraordinary as the allegations of wrongdoing on part of former Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard, who resigned in disgrace the day after he was interviewed by then Fox 8 reporter Val Bracy have snowballed with Karen Parker and Tim Whitmer’s plea deals. Those deals happened to mention Broussard’s business interests in Nova Scotia and Slabbed has explored those in great detail. Readers of Slabbed know we got to this point via St John the Baptist Parish President turned convict Bill Hubbard and a dime drop to Raphael way back in July 2009. The intertwining of the media into the scandal and its aftermath itself began just a few months after.
By now several of you know why this topic needs a full and public fleshing out and now I’ll share it with the entire Slabbed Nation. In May of last year, the constitutional and due process rights of 2 Slabbed commenters, Unslabbed and Telemachus, were trampled in a Nova Scotia courtroom via a court order that was obtained under specious circumstances. Slabbed New Media, despite being well-known and publicly disclosed since May of 2010 was not notified of any of these events, which took place in the suit filed by Trout Point Lodge against Fox 8. My web host here on WordPress, Automattic did not release any confidential information in response to the odorous court order issued by Judge Pierre Muise of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court. For now lets circle that Muise surname.
Ed Lancaster, vice president for Citizens for a Better Kenner, (CFABK)
Citizens For A Better Kenner, (CFABK) is pleased that Judge Kovach, after
hours of testimony denied the request for preliminary injunction filed by
Kenner City Councilman Ben Zahn. When it was filed, CFABK thought this
lawsuit was without merit and was political in nature and designed to stop
CFABK from continuing to question the role of the City of Kenner and the
Kenner Convention and Visitor’s Bureau (KCVB), as well as Councilman Zahn’s
role, as the City of Kenner’s representative on the Board of KCVB.
Folks the litigitious bunch at Team Girls/Trout Point are suing again and I was leaked a copy. I use the term leak here because the paperwork arrived at my doorstep in what Mrs Sop describes as a “knock and run”. What I’m gonna do since time is short for me today is post the suit, which is both inane and fairly comical. (Internally we couldn’t decide if paragraphs 26, 87 or 88 were the funniest but I feel comfortable our readers can make up their own minds there.) Later I will post an official statement from Slabbed New Media LLC and put up a new page titled “So You Want to Sue Slabbed” which will give some elemental instruction on how to properly execute service of process etc. Click the pic to get the latest screed from the girls while I prepare the next installment connecting Trout Point Lodge to the Jefferson Parish Political Corrutpion Scandal. ~ sop
After the revelations in last week’s St Pierre trial you would think no one would be so dumb as to pass threats against me via United States mail. Well someone did and now the FBI will sort this one out folks. Meantime I think it is clear we can conclude one thing as it regards the investigation into corruption in Jefferson Parish:
Imagine how much closer to conclusion the Jefferson Parish Political Corruption case would be if the US Attorney’s office did not employ their scarce resources trying to squelch the free speech rights of ordinary citizens and instead focused on cleaning up the rampant corruption in local government?
While we do not condone the contents of Ashton’s emails, we defend his right to send them to the hilt. It doesn’t take much talent to deprive a bipolar man of his prescription medication. Some would argue such constitutes a bald faced act of cowardice and I agree. It was the promise of medication the NOPD used to lure Ashton from his house in September 2005 where he was arrested without cause and then repeatedly shot with bean bag rounds from a 12 gauge shotgun while in custody. Elliot Ness this isn’t; rather such is seemingly business as usual in New Orleans. Sean McGinn sir, you are a sissy!
To be clear folks Haley Barbour and his goon squad aren’t in the same zip code as Theriot and Corbett but it’s very possible he is cut from the same cloth. Mary Perez wrote the Sun Herald story:
A Sun Herald photographer was asked to leave the courtyard of Mary Mahoney’s restaurant in Biloxi on Friday during the filming of a commercial and later was threatened with arrest.
Gov. Haley Barbour’s press secretary, Dan Turner, asked photographer John Fitzhugh to leave during the filming of a commercial by the governor and his wife, Marsha. Turner said he wanted the set to be as quiet as possible and he asked security to remove Fitzhugh from the courtyard.