Have looked at a couple reports and the situation is fluid and confusing but I’m opening a thread for discussion. Sounds as though they may have a verdict on one of six counts but are still deliberating on the other five.
The L.A. Times has the story:
The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum field is the place where the USC Trojans play football, two Summer Olympics were staged, John F. Kennedy accepted the Democratic presidential nomination and Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass.
It was also a location for “The Gangbang Girl #32,” a hard-core pornographic movie that featured 40 minutes of group sex on the gridiron turf, The Times has learned.
The filming at the taxpayer-owned stadium was done at night, with the Coliseum’s towering lights blazing and its rows of distinctive red and white seats framing many of the scenes.
. . . .
How the crew got permission to use the national historic landmark — which was built as a memorial to World War I veterans — is unclear. . . . Gaining access to the locked stadium and firing up the field lights typically requires the approval of a high-ranking manager, according to people familiar with Coliseum operations, who requested anonymity because they are not allowed to speak publicly on the matter.
The article is full of great quotes. I’ll pick two:
An attorney for the top Coliseum executive at the time the video was made said his client knew nothing about the production.
Former General Manager Patrick Lynch resigned in early 2011 and was indicted in March of this year in a sweeping corruption case.
“That’s disgusting,” Lynch’s attorney, Tony Capozzola, said of the porn shoot. “He would never allow that.”
Lynch has pleaded guilty to conflict of interest in a deal that required him to return $385,000 in alleged kickbacks he received from a Coliseum contractor.
A spokesman for the California attorney general’s office said Tuesday that he did not know if it is illegal to film pornography on state property.
There are undoubtedly many jokes I could make at this point, but that would take your fun away.
Meanwhile, the AP is trying to get prostitutes away from its front door:
I’ve been in touch with the commander of the Metropolitan Police Department’s Third District about the resurgence of the prostitution problem in front of our bureau. My email included a request that the 1100 block of 13th Street be designated as a “prostitution free zone.”
Once again, the jokes pretty much write themselves.
Megyn Kelly hosted the segment, which was done by Trace Gallagher. See if you recognize that handsome blog in the screenshot:
Too bad I was not interviewed by Megyn Kelly; that would have been fun. But a pretty good segment, all in all.
P.S. The segment didn’t mention Brett Kimberlin . . . or did it? Look at that screenshot again.
P.P.S. No suspects, Trace? Really?
Professor Jacobson describes Kimberlin’s ambush of Aaron Walker:
That same day, as Patterico documents, Brett Kimberlin obtained a warr[a]nt for Walker’s arrest based violating a prior Peace Order by blogging about Kimberlin (which, as David Hogberg wrote, triggered a “Google Alert” which [K]imberlin claimed was contact prohibited by the Peace Order).
Kimberlin knew how to use the system so that by the time Walker arrived in court on Tuesday, he had no idea there already was a warrant for his arrest.
Kimberlin has used this tactic before. Last year, in a lawsuit against Seth Allen, he had Seth Allen arrested for harassment when Allen showed up to a mandatory hearing in the civil suit.
Now, in that case, the criminal complaint was arguably quite justified, as Allen had mused about killing Kimberlin in an email which was duly and promptly reported to police. If someone made a statement like that about me, I’d go to the authorities too.
But in the process, Kimberlin learned a technique that he later used against Walker: namely, having your critics arrested in civil court.
Namely, this serial litigant forces his critics into his jurisdiction with a frivolous civil action. If Kimberlin’s critics complain that the action is frivolous, he calls that criticism “harassment,” and through a process of seeking frivolous peace orders and/or filing frivolous criminal complaints, obtains an arrest warrant for the critic. When the critic shows up to court as required, he or she is arrested on the trumped-up charges.
Success! The story becomes about the critic’s arrest. The critics look worse because authorities seem to take Kimberlin’s side; and he gets the satisfaction of putting his critics behind bars, even if for a short time.
Alternatively, Kimberlin and his supporters can use the threat of arrest to try to frighten civil litigants into staying out of court. After Allen’s arrest last year, he was very afraid to go back to court, because Kimberlin continually alleged that Allen’s blogging violated a peace order. Kimberlin supporters flooded Twitter with messages declaring Allen was going to be arrested at the next hearing for blogging. Allen almost decided never to go back to court.
It’s a Catch 22 for people who want to blog about public figures. You either go to court and risk arrest on a bogus criminal charge, or stay away and risk default on a bogus civil claim.
The combination of frivolous civil and criminal actions is a creative abuse of process and it’s bound to be repeated — until judges start noticing that Kimberlin repeatedly makes false statements in the course of filing flurries of court actions against his critics.
On a more positive note, Brit Hume has noticed Aaron’s arrest for blogging:
Uh, oh. It seems you can be arrested for blogging in MD if the judge thinks your posts could incite threats.blogs.investors.com/capitalhill/in…
— Brit Hume (@Kimsfirst) May 30, 2012
I don’t think we’ve heard the last of this story.
Well, partially dispelling.
Aaron Walker (aka Worthing) was arrested today in a Maryland courtroom. Several days ago, convicted bomber and perjurer Brett Kimberlin had obtained a “peace order” against Walker, and today Walker was arrested for violating the order. My information is that the judge claimed that Walker violated the provision against electronic communication with Kimberlin, because Aaron blogged about Kimberlin — thus “inciting” others to contact Kimberlin.
In other words, as best as I can tell, Aaron Walker was arrested today in the United States of America for blogging about a public figure.
Kimberlin supporter OccupyRebellion is thrilled:
This post is based on a couple of first-hand accounts from witnesses who don’t want to be named. I have not had a chance to read transcripts, listen to court audio, review minute orders, or see any other similar material (besides two docket entries shown below) that would definitively establish precisely what happened. But I am reasonably confident of the following:
- Aaron was not arrested for second degree assault, contrary to some false reports floating around. The rumor apparently started because the deputy who arrested him was familiar with the incident in which Aaron grabbed Kimberlin’s iPad when Kimberlin was trying to take a picture of him. Apparently the deputy believed that he was arresting Aaron for that alleged assault. But Aaron was actually booked for violating a peace order.
- It does not appear that Aaron was held in contempt for his behavior in court today. Aaron may have irritated the judge by interrupting Kimberlin and the judge repeatedly (a good reason why you don’t represent yourself in court; you are too emotionally involved). But as you’ll hear below, it sounds like the judge explicitly disregarded applicable Supreme Court precedent, saying he didn’t care about it.
- As best as I can tell, the arrest occurred because Brett Kimberlin got a warrant from a judge two days ago, for a criminal charge of violation of a peace order.
I am not an expert on Maryland criminal law, but from talking to people about this, it appears (stunning as it sounds) that they have a procedure there in Maryland whereby any citizen can go to a judge and swear out a complaint against another citizen for a crime. If the judge makes a finding of probable cause — and it appears that they rubber-stamp these things, in my opinion — the warrant issues, without any prosecutorial oversight. Only at some point in the future does the State’s Attorney decide whether the charges are appropriate.
(As an aside, this is my understanding of what happened when Aaron was facing second degree assault charges several weeks ago. As best as I can understand the process, the case was never “filed” by the State’s Attorney. They dismissed it after a video showed Kimberlin had lied under oath about several aspects of the incident. But the charges had lingered on for weeks before they did.)
That appears to be what happened here. Apparently Kimberlin went to court and obtained a “peace order” on May 19, 2012 — two days after Aaron wrote his lengthy post about Kimberlin’s extensive harassment of Aaron:
The “interim” order became a “temporary” order on May 22, 2012, as you can see from the above docket entry — and became “final” today. When Aaron refused to stop blogging about Kimberlin, Kimberlin went to court this weekend, on Sunday, and convinced a judge on Sunday to issue a warrant for Walker’s arrest. The charge: violating the peace order.
I interpret “WARI” in the above screenshot as “Warrant Issued” and “WARS” as “Warrant Served” — which happened today, according to the same screenshot.
So Aaron was arrested for the criminal charge that Brett Kimberlin swore out against him on Sunday. That charge was violating the temporary restraining order, which today was extended to November 2012. Meaning that, under the judge’s unconstitutional view of the law, Aaron is not allowed to blog about Brett Kimberlin until November. (There is no way that order will last; trust me.)
Eugene Volokh quotes the illiterate order of the judge today:
That there is clear and convincing evidence that within 30 days before the filing of the Petition, [Walker] committed the following act(s):
Placed [Kimberlin] in fear of imminent serious bodily harm: COUNTLESS NUMBER OF BLOGS EITHER THREATENING DEATH [sic]
From what I know of the hearing, if Kimberlin produced evidence of these countless blogs (and I doubt he did), it was quite clear that none of the alleged countless blogs were written Aaron. In essence, Aaron was blamed for the reaction of people to his posts.
Again, as best as I can tell based on the information I have, Aaron was arrested for blogging.
As Glenn Reynolds says:
If I read this correctly, Aaron Walker is in trouble because Kimberlin claims that his blogging has somehow led to other people making death threats. That doesn’t seem to pass the First Amendment smell test. Only if Walker were inciting those threats in a way that passed Brandenburg scrutiny would that work, and I don’t believe that’s the case at all. At any rate, under this approach George Zimmerman ought to be able to jail any number of journalists. . . .
I am told that Aaron raised the Brandenburg case (that’s U.S. Supreme Court precedent on incitement, folks) and the judge said he didn’t care about Brandenburg.
That’s what I’m told.
So Brett Kimberlin, knowing that Aaron was coming to court to defend against a civil “peace order,” lay in ambush with a criminal charge, so that Aaron would be arrested.
One wonders if this is his new strategy: he sues you for your blogging, and simultaneously obtains a peace order saying you harassed him. If you blog about him again, he gets a judge to rubber stamp a criminal complaint for violating the peace order.
Now, if you don’t show up for the lawsuit, he gets a default judgment. If you do, you get arrested for blogging.
Catch 22. And a nice scam if you can get judges gullible enough to go along with it.
This is, I had thought, the United States of America. I thought we had freedom of speech here.
It will take a few days to nail down with precision what happened. But if the account I have given here turns out to be correct — if the basis of the arrest today was that Aaron incited others by blogging about a public figure — I want all lovers of the First Amendment to stand tall and ride to Aaron’s defense.
Because they’re not done. They claim they’re just getting started:
UPDATE: David Hogberg has an excellent post up which appears entirely consistent with this post. He was a witness to today’s hearing. In addition to confirming the presence of “Kimberlin and his associate Neal Rauhauser” at the hearing, Hogberg writes:
A few thoughts: First, never represent yourself. Walker clearly needed an attorney.
Second, it seems that Vaughey doesn’t understand how the Internet works. I or anyone else can write a blog post about “Person A” and urge others to write about it. But I have no control over whether other people do that. And I certainly have no control over whether someone sends a threatening email or tweet to Person A after reading my blog post. Surely, the people who send threatening emails and such should face consequences. But as long as I do not write something along the lines of “send Person A a nasty email,” I’m not in anyway at fault. And looking over Aaron Walker’s blog, it’s clear he never told anyone to do such a thing to Kimberlin.
But, according to Vaughey’s reasoning, I would be at fault. If that’s indeed the case, well, you can probably figure out that the First Amendment has just been gutted.
Much more at the link. I think between Hogberg’s post and mine, you get a pretty good picture of what went down today. And it is truly the gutting of our free speech rights. It cannot be allowed to stand.
UPDATE x2: There is a legal defense fund for Aaron, Stacy McCain, and others financially harmed by Kimberlin’s stalkerish ways. Contribute here.
Did you know that Obama is a low, low spender? Just ask Eugene Robinson:
There are those who tell the truth. There are those who distort the truth. And then there’s Mitt Romney.
Every political campaign exaggerates and dissembles. This practice may not be admirable — it’s surely one reason so many Americans are disenchanted with politics — but it’s something we’ve all come to expect. Candidates claim the right to make any boast or accusation as long as there’s a kernel of veracity in there somewhere.
Even by this lax standard, Romney too often fails. Not to put too fine a point on it, he lies. Quite a bit.
“Since President Obama assumed office three years ago, federal spending has accelerated at a pace without precedent in recent history,” Romney claims on his campaign Web site. This is utterly false. The truth is that spending has slowed markedly under Obama.
As best as I can tell here, the sleight of hand being used to justify this ridiculous proposition is to attribute all of fiscal year 2009 to Bush. When Jay Carney cited the same article Robinson did, the fact checker at Robinson’s own paper gave Carney’s assertion “three Pinocchios” and observed of the article cited by Carney and Robinson:
Nutting basically takes much of 2009 out of Obama’s column, saying it was the “the last [year] of George W. Bush’s presidency.” Of course, with the recession crashing down, that’s when federal spending ramped up. The federal fiscal year starts on Oct. 1, so the 2009 fiscal year accounts for about four months of Bush’s presidency and eight of Obama’s.
In theory, one could claim that the budget was already locked in when Obama took office, but that’s not really the case. Most of the appropriations bills had not been passed, and certainly the stimulus bill was only signed into law after Obama took office.
Once you’ve blamed the stimulus on Bush, it’s easy sleddin’ from there.
It’s too obvious, but I can’t pass it up:
There are those who tell the truth. There are those who distort the truth. And then there’s Eugene Robinson.
His column is here.
If you missed the blog this weekend, keep scrolling. There was a lot going on, including my likely swatter calling in to an Internet radio show and taunting me; Brett Kimberlin’s Wikipedia page coming back after a long hiatus; and much more.
I was supposed to be on Laura Ingraham this morning but it was rescheduled.
UPDATE: Since I first linked the article, it now contains this decidedly non-neutral statement:
Since October of 2010, conservatives have hounded Kimberlin about his bombing conviction…
This was an update to my post about the hoax call that sent police to Erick Erickson’s house — but I think it deserves its own post.
I was on a podcast with Lee Stranahan last night about Kimberlin and the swattings. You can hear it here.
A person claiming to be my swatter called in twice to the show: once at 50:18 and again at about 65 minutes in. I was on the show and the person claiming to be the swatter addressed me directly, twice. He called me “buddy,” mocked me for having been swatted, laughed at me repeatedly, and mocked Michelle Malkin for the situation where her cousin is missing. He asked me what it was like to be swatted, and absurdly claimed that he was present that night, watching me led out in handcuffs.
It was like some awful B movie you see on the USA Network late at night.
Joe Brooks put up the two calls from last night, together with the New Jersey swatting call, my swatting call, and Ron Brynaert’s voice. Here is the audio, beginning with last night’s calls. The audio from last night is from 0:00 to 1:25. The New Jersey swatting call is from 1:25 to 4:32. My swatting call is from 4:32 to 5:05. Brynaert’s voice starts at 5:05.
The voice of the caller to Lee’s show sounds quite a bit like the voice from the New Jersey swatting call. It also sounds somewhat like the voice at the beginning of the swatting call that sent police to my house.
It seems logical that, if last night’s call was the swatter, it was the swatter speaking in a disguised voice. Why would someone call in to a radio show, speaking in their own normal recognizable voice, and confess to being the swatter? Wouldn’t they be worried that someone would hear it and turn them in? Especially with the story threatening to turn national after what happened to Erickson?
Logically, last night’s caller had to be speaking in a disguised voice.
Why do that? And why do it now?
I will also point out that it is my opinion and the opinion of the forensic audio expert, Kent Gibson, that the caller on my swatting call sounds like he is disguising his voice at the beginning of my call — but not necessarily at the end. As Gibson explains:
The Frey Swat call exhibits a change in vocal quality partway through the call. It is likely the speaker was trying to disguise his voice at the beginning of the call.
That is a fact that people should keep in mind as they analyze this. When you are comparing the voice to Brynaert’s, you shouldn’t compare the part where the swatter is trying to disguise his voice. The end of the audio clip above has what sounds more like the genuine voice of the swatter at 4:56. That’s the part where the caller seems to get rattled by the dispatcher’s questions — and where it seems likely that you are hearing the true voice of the swatter. Brooks combines that with the voice of Ron Brynaert at 5:05.
So if you want the best possible comparison, start the clip at 4:56 and let it play to the end.
Also remember that the same audio expert has already opined that Brynaert is the probable voice of both my swatting call and the New Jersey swatting call. For more details, read my original post on the harassment other Kimberlin critics and I have suffered at the hands of Brynaert, Neal Rauhauser, and Brett Kimberlin.
Two questions come to mind as you review these supremely creepy audio clips:
First: why did the caller make that call now? What does he have to gain?
And second: why did Erick Erickson get swatted last night?
UPDATE: The address in Joe Brooks’s clip is not mine or Mike Stack’s. It’s the address that the swatter believed was Mike Stack’s address.
It is also the address Neal Rauhauser believed was Mike Stack’s. Several months ago, Rauhauser uploaded a cease and desist letter to Stack, addressed to Stack at 30 Mallard Court, Three Bridges, New Jersey.
Above: two screenshots from the beginning and end of a letter from Neal Rauhauser to Mike Stack
That is the (incorrect) address given by the New Jersey swatter to police.
He and his family are OK. He just put up the tweet minutes ago:
Sheriff is at my house. Someone spoofed my phone number and said someone had been shot at my house.
— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) May 28, 2012
I asked him if he was serious and he said yes. Again, he said that he is OK, though. After he started writing about Kimberlin, he told the local Sheriff’s Department to expect this might happen:
We’re ok.After I starting writing about #BrettKimberlin I informed the local sheriff’s office to expect this to happen.
— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) May 28, 2012
UPDATE: More at Red State.
UPDATE x2: I just got off the phone with Erickson. He says the caller reported an “accidental shooting” and that it was therefore less traumatic than my experience. However, he said, his kids were outside as the police showed up with lights flashing — and some of the cops were keeping their hands on their guns even as his children were running around.
Anyone else think CNN is going to talk about SWATting now?
UPDATE x3: Thanks to Instapundit for the link. Glenn observes:
Really, if the goal is to keep people from writing about Brett Kimberlin, this doesn’t seem like the way to do it. It was smart of Erickson to call his local Sheriff ahead of time. I did the same thing.
Of course, Erickson’s swatter could be a copycat.
BLAST FROM THE PAST: It was reported by Joe Gelarden that, when Kimberlin was incarcerated, he tried to have someone set off bombs with similar components to those set off in Speedway, to show that there was another perpetrator and that he therefore could not be guilty.
Something to keep in mind as the investigation unfolds . . .
UPDATE x4: I’m doing an impromptu podcast with Stranahan at 10 p.m. Pacific time — in 7 minutes. Listen here.
UPDATE x5: A person claiming to be the swatter called in twice to the show: once at 50:18 and again at about 65 minutes in. He mocked me for having been swatted, laughed at me, and mocked Michelle Malkin for the situation where her cousin is missing.
This is like a bad movie.