Patterico's Pontifications

6/11/2008

The L.A. Times’s Tipster on Kozinski’s Porn: Cyrus Sanai (UPDATED: Commenter Claims to Be Sanai, Makes New Accusations)

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General,Judiciary,Kozinski — Patterico @ 9:13 pm

[UPDATE: A commenter purporting to be Cyrus Sanai has left a comment to this post, with several other allegations against Judge Kozinski.]

[UPDATE: The commenter is indeed Sanai. He sent me images that he copied from Kozinski's site. I have reproduced them here.]

It has been revealed who tipped the L.A. Times about the porn on Alex Kozinski’s web site: Cyrus Sanai.

[Roger Jon] Diamond [defense attorney for obscenity defendant Ira Issacs] volunteered to the court that a Beverly Hills attorney, Cyrus Sanai, had recently called him and indicated he had a dispute with the 9th Circuit and knew about the material on the judge’s Web site.

“He called me to get my view and I said, ‘It’s not right, don’t do it,’” Diamond said without elaborating on what that attorney planned to do.

Sanai said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press that he informed the newspaper about the pornographic images on the judge’s Web site.

Sanai said he discovered the graphic material in December on Kozinski’s Web site, which he was monitoring as part of a long-running dispute he has with the 9th Circuit tied to his parents’ divorce case. After downloading the files, Sanai said he began contacting reporters at various publications in January in an effort to publicly expose them.

Sanai said he hoped disclosure of the material in the media would bring attention to what he called widespread ethical problems on the 9th Circuit.

The court “refuses to acknowledge the existence of judicial ethics,” Sanai said. “I expected people to be shocked and revolted.”

If that name sounds familiar, it should. Sanai is a lawyer who had a public dispute with Kozinski in which Kozinski ripped Sanai a new one. I posted about this in September 2005, in a post titled Ouch! in which I said:

Don’t cross Alex Kozinski.

. . . .

If lawyer Cyrus Sanai had much of a professional reputation before (which I doubt), it’s gone now.

I guess this is Sanai’s way of saying to Kozinski: don’t cross Cyrus Sanai.

Details in the extended entry.

[Extended entry]

The dispute arose in this way. Sanai wrote an article addressing “whether an attorney may cite the unpublished case law of an appellate court as the binding law of the circuit.” The article focused on Ninth Circuit jurisprudence relating to a doctrine called the Rooker-Feldman doctrine — which, Judge Kozinski explained in a responsive article, “holds that district courts may not entertain lawsuits challenging the validity of state court judgments.”

Kozinski fired back with this response:

Despite his colorful language, Mr. Sanai’s article raises no legitimate question about whether the Ninth Circuit has been derelict in following circuit or Supreme Court precedent. But the article does raise serious issues of a different sort. Mr. Sanai’s article urges us to “grant en banc rehearing of the next decision, published or unpublished, which asks the court to resolve the split among H.C., Napolitano and Mothershed.” A petition for en banc rehearing raising this very issue crossed my desk just as Mr. Sanai’s article appeared in print. The name of the case? Sanai v. Sanai. A mere coincidence of names? Not hardly. The petition, signed by Mr. Sanai, cites the same cases and makes the same arguments as his article — including the reference to “Catch-22.”

Mr. Sanai’s byline modestly lists him as “an attorney with Buchalter Nemer in Los Angeles.” The firm’s Web site identifies him as “a Senior Counsel and English solicitor … [whose] practice focuses on project finance, corporate finance and business transactions, with a particular expertise in international finance transactions.” The careful reader would therefore have no cause to doubt that Mr. Sanai is a disinterested observer of this court’s Rooker-Feldman jurisprudence. Nothing alerts the reader to the fact that Mr. Sanai has been trying for years to get the federal courts to intervene in his family’s state-court dispute, an effort referred to by a highly respected district judge as “an indescribable abuse of the legal process, … the most abusive and obstructive litigation tactics this court has ever encountered. …” Nor would the reader — unless he happened to enter Mr. Sanai’s name in the Westlaw CTA9-ALL database — realize that, as part of the same imbroglio, he and certain members of his family have hounded a state trial judge off their case (read the PDF); been held in contempt and sanctioned under 28 U.S.C. §1927 and had their ninth sortie to our court in the same case designated as “frivolous” and “an improper dilatory tactic” by the district court. A detached observer, Mr. Sanai is not.

By failing to disclose his long-standing, active and abiding interest in the legal issue he discusses in his article, Mr. Sanai has done the reading public a disservice, cloaking his analysis with a varnish of objectivity. Worse, by publishing the article while he had a case raising this precise issue, Mr. Sanai used The Recorder to call unfair attention to his petition for rehearing, to the detriment of opposing parties who limited their advocacy to the briefs. And, by gratuitously drawing my name repeatedly into the controversy, he has also managed to disqualify me from participation in his case, skewing the en banc voting process.

Whether our court is diligent in applying circuit law and faithful to Supreme Court precedent are issues that deserve public attention. Contrary to Mr. Sanai’s bold assertion, I have never claimed that intra-circuit conflicts never arise, and my colleagues and I welcome legitimate efforts to tell us when our circuit law needs mending. It is important, however, to draw a clear line between case advocacy and objective public debate. This Mr. Sanai has neglected to do.

So: Kozinski busts Sanai for failing to disclose something relevant to an article he published. Now Sanai busts Kozinski for failing to disclose something relevant to a trial over which Kozinski was presiding.

There you have it.

UPDATE: Sanai also admitted being the tipster in an e-mail early Thursday morning to Howard Bashman, whom I thank for the link.

18 Responses to “The L.A. Times’s Tipster on Kozinski’s Porn: Cyrus Sanai (UPDATED: Commenter Claims to Be Sanai, Makes New Accusations)”

  1. Cyrus Sanai obviously thinks Barack Obama Sucks.

    daleyrocks (d9ec17)

  2. There is no secret that I am the person who discovered what Kozinski was doing with his website.

    What the LA Times did not cover, which was may original focus, was the material Judge Kozinski was actively publicly distributing: music mp3′s. I found the link to his /stuff/ directory on a Russian “free mp3″. The artist? Weird Al Yankovic. Once I knew of that directory, I called up a catalog and saw the stuff. By the way, in addition to viewing women as cattle, Judge Kozinski finds blacks, Catholics and Arabs as equally worthy of his contempt, to judge from his humor collection.

    Kozinski initially ‘fessed up to the LA Times, after denying the existence of “alex.kozinski.com” in the initial misconduct proceedings I initiated. However, he apparently had second thoughts about this, and has put up his son, Yale, as a fall guy.

    The cover-up is always worse than the original crime. While his son did register the site and set up its architecture–I found an outline of the code on his portion of kozinski.com–it was Judge Kozinski who had complete control of the sub-domain alex.kozinski.com.

    Interestingly enough, I have only received positive responses from my clients concerning the Kozinski situation. Likewise, the comments on the LA Times site are running 80/20 against Kozinski. I think everyone recognizes Kozinski’s lame excuses for what they are. His efforts to have his son take the rap are far more contemptible than any of the porn he put up.

    Cyrus Sanai (4df861)

  3. This is an amended version of my prior post.

    Yes, it really is Cyrus Sanai. It’s been a long day, so the typos in the prior post should not be taken as evidence of absence of a legal education.

    There is no secret that I am the person who discovered what Kozinski was doing with his website.

    What the LA Times did not cover, which was my original focus, was the material Judge Kozinski was actively publicly distributing: music mp3’s. I found the link to his /stuff/ directory on a Russian “free mp3″site. The artist? Weird Al Yankovic. Once I knew of that directory, I called up a catalog and saw the stuff. By the way, in addition to viewing women as cattle, Judge Kozinski finds blacks, Catholics and Arabs as equally worthy of his contempt, to judge from his humor collection.

    Kozinski initially ‘fessed up to the LA Times, after denying the existence of “alex.kozinski.com” in the first misconduct proceedings I initiated. However, he apparently had second thoughts about this, and has put up his son, Yale, as a fall guy.

    The cover-up is always worse than the original crime. While his son did register the site and set up its architecture–I found an outline of the code on his portion of kozinski.com–it was Judge Kozinski who had complete control of the sub-domain alex.kozinski.com.

    Interestingly enough, I have only received positive responses from my clients concerning the Kozinski situation. Likewise, the comments on the LA Times site are running 80/20 against Kozinski. I think everyone recognizes Kozinski’s lame excuses for what they are. His efforts to have his son take the rap are far more contemptible than any of the porn he put up.

    Cyrus Sanai (4df861)

  4. Cyrus – Why don’t you provide links so people can follow the trail to where you found all the stuff you mention? Is there any record of the misconduct probe you cite?

    daleyrocks (d9ec17)

  5. The initial misconduct probe is discussed in John Roemer’s profile on Judge Kozinski in the recent California Lawyer. The initial termination, with an apology to an unnamed attorney by an unnamed judge and a statement that there was no record of the website in question, is 07-89036. You have to write to the Ninth Circuit to get a copy of the disposition.

    The pending misconduct complaint was filed one month before I discovered the porn. I will be filing a new one once I see how far Kozinski decides to go in dishonestly shifting responsibility to his son Yale.

    If you want to see a link, enter “www.alex.kozinski.com”. There are still some available.

    Cyrus Sanai

    Cyrus Sanai (4df861)

  6. This does sound like a mature way to handle disputes when you don’t get what you want, when you are getting smacked around for filing frivolous motions and appeals, go dig up dirt on the fucking judge. Make life hell for him. Embarrass him professionally.

    You go Cyrus. You are a credit to your profession.

    daleyrocks (d9ec17)

  7. You didn’t save copies of everything so that you could recreate his site?

    Daryl Herbert (4ecd4c)

  8. I agree with daleyrocks.

    I’ll add that, after this, I expect that any judge who’s got dirt to dig up (doesn’t have to be as embarrassing as this) is going to be a lot more cautious about calling out attorneys for, well, anything. This is not a good thing.

    Retaliation: fear it.

    Alan (0cf397)

  9. I had a 2 hour phone call with Patterico, and I think you guys should wait to see what he posts before you gang upon me.

    Cyrus Sanai

    Cyrus Sanai (4df861)

  10. daleyrocks replied to Cyrus Sanai: This does sound like a mature way to handle disputes when you don’t get what you want, when you are getting smacked around for filing frivolous motions and appeals, go dig up dirt on the fucking judge. Make life hell for him. Embarrass him professionally.

    You go Cyrus. You are a credit to your profession.

    As has been pointed out by all parties involved in the reporting of this story, this was not a case of Kozinski being “outed” as much as it is someone pointing and saying, “Uh, you may wanna look over in that direction, where that guy in that glass house is doing something pretty interesting.”

    If Kozinski was self-employed and had nobody to answer to but himself, there would be nothing scandalous about this entire situation; he would be dismissed as Just Another California Weirdo With a Website. But he’s not. He’s a public figure, and a maddog important one — he is one of the few among us who has been given the privilege and the legal right to judge the judges that judge the rest of us.

    In Patterico’s thread two days ago about the obscenity trial going forward in the first place, I wrote the following:

    Patterico wrote: As the article notes, [Judge] Kozinski is a well-known libertarian and staunch advocate of free speech. He is unlikely to be particularly sympathetic to the Government’s case.

    Pat, you make it sound as if Kozinski’s mind is made up already, and that despite his duty to uphold the law, he will undoubtedly recognize nothing as being so revolting that it meets the threshold of “obscenity.” Rather than the famous judicial standard of “I know it when I see it,” you paint Kozinski’s intent in such trials as “I know I’ll never see it.”

    I am a layman, but I do watch the courts more than your average non-lawyer. The reason why I don’t like judges like Harry Blackmun, Stephen Breyer, the 9th Circus’ Stephen Reinhardt, CA’s Ronald “I am the Great Romancipator” George, and the like is because they don’t let the law get in the way of ruling the way they want — if necessary, they’ll pretend the laws are something they’re not, or that they are so inconsequential that extra-constitutional shortcuts should be taken, negating them by fiat.

    If Kozinski doesn’t share that modis operandi, a clarification is needed, methinks. I know your personal convictions call you to hope for Issacs’ acquittal, but your comments read as if you’re wishing for a corrupted verdict.

    As nk asserted earlier in the thread, left unchecked, Kozinski might have stood in position to strike down a federal obscenity statute. We’ve already been through CA Supreme Justice Ron George contorting the Constitution in order to redefine marriage in the state and equating “sexual orientation” with ethnicity in the process. This has set up the a battle between the electorate and the state’s high court this November in the form of a Constitutional amendment. In an increasingly contentious atmosphere in which people without black robes are facing off with those who wear them, there’s no reason why full disclosure in another matter that sharply divides the public (i.e., obscenity) should be discouraged.

    Kozinski has dissembled like a politician now that the light has been shone on his predilections. Even a leading professor “specializing in legal ethics” who calls Kozinski “a treasure” admits that now “the public can reasonably question his objectivity.” None of this has to do with Cyrus Sanai as much as it has to do with fairness and facts, and it’s unfair IMHO to try to diminish the weight of the situation by accusing Sanai of unclean hands.

    Regardless of whether Sanai is a lousy lawyer or not, and even if he had revenge as his motivation for exposing Kozinski’s kink collection on a website that used his real name as its URL, the revelation SHOULD have been made by somebody with that knowledge.

    L.N. Smithee (b7a2bc)

  11. Mr. Sanai is correct. We have spoken extensively, and I am working on a post that will provide links to several of the images that Mr. Sanai says were on Judge Kozinski’s site.

    Patterico (cb443b)

  12. Patterico – My feelings on this are similar to the situations of whistleblowers having national security secrets published in the New York Times as opposed to going through appropriate government channels for revealing their information, because they were concerned about the nation, and nopt for partisan public purposes.

    I would like to hear Mr. Sanai’s explanation for why he was digging for dirt on the Judge. Why he felt that justice was not served in the longstanstanding divorce case and why Kozinski, even though there were many levels and appeals to the case was primarilly at fault. The Russian mp3 explanation sounds like bullshit. Do you have it? Had Mr. Sanai exhausted his professional avenues of redress on the specific obscenity issue before going to the press? I see no mention of discussions with the prosecution.

    As you say, more will be coming out, but right now, this still smells like remarkably self-serving and revenge motivated behavior.

    I’m no fan of the 9th circus, but Sanai press shopping, initially hiding his identity and hiding the depth of his conflict with Kozonski stinks.

    daleyrocks (d9ec17)

  13. “I found the link to his /stuff/ directory on a Russian ‘free mp3′ site.”

    Let’s see Cyrus…You have a longstanding feud with Judge Kozinski, and obviously seek to harm his reputation, have clearly used the media before to influence your cases, and you claim to have ‘stumbled’ upon Judge Kozinski’s site, while searching for Russian mp3′s? I find that very, very, very hard to believe…Did I mention that it’s very hard to believe?

    Lawyer (655ade)

  14. Daleyrocks, Lawyer,

    Sanai is way a lot cleaner than the *confidential informants* who testify for the prosecution every day. Their motives are mostly a lessened sentence for the crimes they have committed, very seldom a little money to support their drug habit.

    The motives of the messenger are totally removed from the content of the message.

    nk (4bb2be)

  15. Lawyer,

    Mr. Sanai didn’t claim to have “stumbled” upon the .mp3 site. As described in another post, he says he was doing a Google search using Kozinski’s site’s URL as a search term, and an .mp3 site popped up.

    Patterico (a0de75)

  16. The motives of the messenger are totally removed from the content of the message.

    nk – Revenge is cleaner, going to the press is cleaner?

    daleyrocks (d9ec17)

  17. Cyrus Sanai , Great job outing the hypocrite judge in this matter, I have great disdain for the nineth circ. as a long time obsever of their
    rulings.(sic)

    Dave Sparring (8066d5)

  18. Go Cyrus! Kozinski is an arrogant snot!

    Uncle Bud (6125ca)


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