Last week, I told you that Aaron Walker was arrested for blogging about a public figure. I published a report of the events of the hearing, which was consistent with another report from David Hogberg of Investor’s Business Daily. In that post, I said:
This is a clear-cut case of a First Amendment violation — about as clear-cut as you’ll ever hear.
This post contains the audio from that hearing.
Listening to the audio, I am struck by how much more respect I have for Aaron’s performance, and how much less respect I have for the judge’s behavior, than I did based on the published reports.
At one point, Aaron cites the seminal U.S. Supreme Court case on inciting violent speech: Brandenburg v. Ohio, a case that absolutely supports Aaron’s position. Judge Vaughey responds: “Forget Bradenburg [sic]. Let’s go by Vaughey right now.”
Yesterday, I published a Glenn Reynolds-style request to the “Army of Davids” — asking people to transcribe the most outrageous parts of the hearing.
In this post I will just highlight a few key passages that show a) how rude and dismissive the judge was; b) how dishonest Kimberlin was; and c) most important, that the judge disregarded Supreme Court precedent and found Aaron in violation of a peace order for his public statements about a public figure.
These excerpts also show that the judge issued an order preventing Aaron from blogging about Kimberlin for six months — a clearly unconstitutional prior restraint of speech.
I’ll get to the transcripts in a moment, but I want to say one thing first.
Now that it is clear that Aaron Walker was arrested for blogging about a public figure — and that a judge has imposed unconstitutional restraints on his speech rights — the next steps are clear:
- Aaron Walker needs an immediate court order modifying the current peace order. There must be a clear judicial order stating that Aaron is allowed him to blog, tweet, and otherwise express himself publicly about public figure Brett Kimberlin. Every second that he is muzzled from speaking out is an intolerable crushing of his most sacred American right of free speech.
- Aaron Walker needs legal help to obtain a reversal of this unconstitutional peace order, as well as to fight the possible criminal case against him for violating that peace order.
- Aaron Walker needs a permanent injunction preventing Brett Kimberlin from seeking peace orders against Aaron based on his public speech about Kimberlin.
To accomplish these goals, we need the spotlight of Big Media on this tremendous injustice. Please spread the word, far and wide.
Here is the full audio:
And what follows are transcripts of excerpts from the hearing.
The first several excerpts show the judge’s contemptuous attitude towards Aaron, when Aaron is trying to make valid points or objections. For example, at 5:19 we hear the judge call Aaron “Sport” when Aaron tries to make an objection:
KIMBERLIN: He wrote a blog post that said that I framed him for this alleged assault.
THE COURT: Framed?
KIMBERLIN: That I framed him for this assault, and that I forged the documents from Suburban Hospital, and that I photoshopped pictures of my black eye.
THE COURT: Let me see, you have a copy of that there?
KIMBERLIN: Absolutely. Do you want the Suburban Hospital records?
WALKER: Objection, your honor. That is — that is — records that comes from before 30 days. He’s trying to prove the supposed assault.
THE COURT: Well, this is — now, wait a second. This is–
KIMBERLIN: –Well, I’m just saying, he said that I framed him for an assault. The assault, Judge–
WALKER: –Yes. I would like to object–
THE COURT: –Hey, hang on, Sport. Sit down.
In the second clip, Aaron tries to make a valid objection to Kimberlin’s characterization of statements by third parties, and the judge mocks Aaron, asking if he has any clients. The following clip starts at 9:22:
KIMBERLIN: Yes, here’s his post, “How Brett Kimberlin Tried to Frame Me for a Crime, and How You Can Help.” And he wrote this 30-page document that he put on his blog saying I framed him for an assault.
THE COURT: People honestly read this stuff?
KIMBERLIN: Huh. I–
WALKER: –I’m going to object to this [inaudible]–
THE COURT: –Just hold on, hold on, wait. You could have this thing going for three days. I intend to be finished here in 10 minutes. Go on. Now, people read this stuff, 54 pages. Don’t they have jobs?
KIMBERLIN: So — really.
THE COURT: What the heck’s going on out there in this world?
KIMBERLIN: So not — so on — last week, he got all these bloggers all over the country to create Let’s Blog about Brett Kimberlin Day, over 350 blogs blogged that I framed him. And that led to a number of, probably scores of death threats to me. They threatened my daughter, who is a preteen, my mother, they called on the phone and threatened SWAT teams–
WALKER: But, your honor, I would like to object here. He is characterizing the statements of third parties–
THE COURT [to Aaron]: –You got any clients?!
In this third excerpt, the judge again calls Aaron “sport” and threatens him with incarceration for making a valid objection. At 11:07:
KIMBERLIN: It could have been, except, of these thousands and thousands of tweets, he’s telling people to attack my funders …
THE COURT: Attack your what?
KIMBERLIN: My funders.
WALKER: Your Honor, I would object to the characterization. I would like him to show where I told anyone to attack his funders.
THE COURT: Hey, Sport–
KIMBERLIN: –Okay, it’s right here–
THE COURT [to Walker]: –Where’d you go to Law School?
WALKER: Yale Law School.
THE COURT: What’d they tell you about the Judge?
WALKER: Well, not to upset him, if that’s what you’re trying to get at.
THE COURT: Well, I’m not saying — I said you don’t interrupt when I’m [inaudible].
WALKER: My apologies, Sir.
THE COURT: Have yourself a seat.
WALKER: All right, Sir.
THE COURT: Keep it up, I got a spot for you in the Courthouse.
Kimberlin claimed in the hearing that he had received “scores” of death threats. That is not impossible, of course, but he was never forced to place any proof of that into evidence where it could be scrutinized later. Instead, the court chose to take the word of this convicted perjurer and pathological liar who has uttered one falsehood after another under oath during the past year.
Want to see just how dishonest Brett Kimberlin is? At 13:53 we have this:
WALKER: And you were known as the “Speedway Bomber,” were you not?
KIMBERLIN: I don’t know that.
WALKER: You don’t know that you were known as the Speedway Bomber? Do you not know that you — you never read this before in your life?
KIMBERLIN: I’ve read a lot of things.
He doesn’t know if he has been called the Speedway Bomber. If you believe that, you just might be a judge in Maryland.
The fifth excerpt has to do with Kimberlin’s claim that there is no longer a wrongful death judgment against him. Before you hear that excerpt, a little background is in order. Mark Singer addressed this in Citizen K, at page 348. After hiding money from the DeLongs and never paying them what he owed, Kimberlin believed he had found a loophole:
In October 1995, as the Supreme Court opened its new term, Kimberlin’s cert petititon was indeed denied. By then, however, he had received advice from an Indiana attorney that convinced him he had nothing to fear. “That judgment against me is worthless,” he told me. “I found out Indiana has a statute of limitations on any judgment ten years or older. If they don’t renew it within that period, it’s as if it never happened. And they’ve never bothered to renew it. So none of this matters anymore. I’m home free.”
Kimberlin has often tried to claim that the wrongful death judgment was the product of a corrupt judge who solicited a bribe from Kimberlin. But court decisions make it crystal clear that the judge’s bribery conviction “was not connected to Kimberlin’s case” and there has never been any evidence that the judge did anything improper in Kimberlin’s case — beyond Kimberlin’s opportunistic claims made after the judge’s corruption came to light.
That is what you need to know to understand the following clip, at 16:10, in which Kimberlin tries to bamboozle the judge about the wrongful death case:
WALKER: You had a judgment against you involving the death, it’s the suicide death of Carl DeLong, is that correct?
KIMBERLIN: Uh Judge, that, that, that judgment has been thrown out…
WALKER: I’m asking for a yes or no question…
THE COURT: It was reversed?
KIMBERLIN: It’s been, it’s been nullified. I don’t know what the word is in Indiana, but it’s been nullified.
WALKER: Well, it wasn’t nullified in 1998, when the Parole, when the Parole Commission revoked your parole, is that correct?
KIMBERLIN: The judge in that case solicited a bribe from my attorney and he was…
WALKER: In the Parole case?
KIMBERLIN: He was indicted and sent to jail for 18 years.
THE COURT: That’s very good. I think that’s wonderful.
KIMBERLIN: So that’s what happened in that case.
THE COURT: Well, what did that do to your case?
KIMBERLIN: Well, it resulted in that case .. it no longer …
THE COURT: How did it terminate? With a reversal of conviction?
KIMBERLIN: Considered satis … quote satisfied … I guess is what they called it.
THE COURT: Never heard of that in a criminal case.
KIMBERLIN: It’s not a criminal case, it’s a civil case.
THE COURT: The parole board …
THE COURT: The parole board thing?
KIMBERLIN: No, no, that was a civil case where I was found … the judge solicited a bribe and he went to jail, 18 years, extortion, bribery …
THE COURT: It’s got nothing to do with your case, though.
KIMBERLIN: No, no, but he solicited a bribe in my case.
THE COURT: That doesn’t mean the facts, the underlying facts of the case change. It means the judge solicited a bribe. Dirty judge. But it doesn’t change the facts of your case.
KIMBERLIN: The facts of that case are that the judgment is not valid. It’s not valid at this time. It’s not enforceable. It’s, it’s gone.
If so, only due to a technicality exploited by Kimberlin — not because of the judge’s unrelated bribery conviction. Kimberlin is just spinning here.
As Aaron noted, Kimberlin later violated his parole for failing to pay the judgment — something about which he lied about under oath in November 2011, by the way. But that’s another story for another post.
The next clip, at 36:56, shows the judge exhibiting extraordinary sympathy for poor Mr. Kimberlin:
WALKER: Mr. Kimberlin has said that I have filed 100 lawsuits, that it’d be no sweat to file, um, one more. He said that to my friend Patrick Frey.
THE COURT: Hey, but, how’s this going to end?
WALKER: I don’t know–
THE COURT: –Help me along. How do you see it ending?
WALKER: Well, I’m going to tell you [inaudible]–
THE COURT: –I make all my money by predicting the future, okay?
THE COURT: And that’s how I do it. See, I bet on something, and bang (ph), I make a lot of money.
WALKER: See, this is my–
THE COURT: –Yeah, that’s the way I do it.
WALKER: Ok, you might — you might [inaudible]–.
THE COURT: — How do you see this ending? You two guys put swords to each other’s throats? Hmm? How do you see it ending? You two guys going outside, drawing swords and shooting (ph) each other?
WALKER: No, I will never — I would never resort to violence.
THE COURT: So then, it’s going to — it’s going to be a non-violent ruination of an individual.
In the next clip, the judge accuses Aaron of “starting” the conflict with Kimberlin, and tells him that he can only speak about Kimberlin in public “within reason.” After a lengthy soliloquy about how busy he is in retirement, the judge gets around to telling Aaron to “forget” the seminal Brandenburg case. This is astounding because Brandenburg prohibits the government from proscribing allegedly inciteful speech unless it “is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.” Everyone learns this case in law school — and the standard set forth cannot possibly be met by Aaron’s posts.
In other words, the Supreme Court has ruled on this in a way that shows Aaron is right, and the judge says he doesn’t care.
Then the judge goes into another rambling speech — this time about how, in the old days, you’d settle scores against your enemies by getting some friends to “take them for a ride in the back of the truck.”
I’m not making any of this up.
The clip begins at 39:23:
THE COURT: You still haven’t answered my question. Where do you see this case going?
WALKER: I see–
THE COURT: –You’ve talked for 10 minutes and raised a lot of [inaudible] get excited about you, but I don’t know any other [inaudible] — I want to know, where do you see this thing going?
WALKER: I hope to raise enough of a consciousness to convince the state’s attorney to finally charge him. That’s where I hope it goes. That’s my goal.
THE COURT: And how are you going to do that?
WALKER: Well, I — I can bring some awareness. There’s now 400,000 posts on Google. You — you look up Google, you’ll find 400,000 hits for him, discussing him. And I believe probably at least 300,000 of them are not very pleasant toward him. These are people calling for him filing a charge. I mean —
THE COURT: –But who started this?
WALKER: Who started this? Mr. Kimberlin started this.
THE COURT: No. No. No. You started it.
WALKER: How did I start this?
THE COURT: You Googling all these people and getting them all excited and charge 10 or 11 [inaudible].
WALKER: Okay. In that sense your honor–
THE COURT: –The same way a politician gets elected. He doesn’t want to see everybody. He gets the whole thing going. See? See? See? That–
WALKER: –Well, I understand your honor, but–
THE COURT: –And you’re doing just the same thing, only you’re using [inaudible].
WALKER: But it is my right under the First Amendment to talk about what this man did to me. It is my right to tell the world what he did to me. That — Galloway v. State made it very specific on harassment–
THE COURT: —Within reason, my friend. Within reason.
WALKER: Within reason?
THE COURT: Within reason.
WALKER: I have had a crime committed against me. What is unreasonable about seeking justice?
THE COURT: You know, I shouldn’t say this, but I think you’ve got it twisted. The one who decides to prosecute the crimes is the government–
WALKER: –Of course–
THE COURT: –and only the government, and not you.
WALKER: Of course, Your Honor.
THE COURT: And you’re doing this, I think, under a guise — under this new banner of, “I’ve got the right to do.” You can’t. You can’t. Suppose you didn’t like a girl and you wanted to talk about her chastity. He feels the same way. He feels violated. And [inaudible] you have to look at the reasonableness between the two of you on the content. That’s why said, “Where’s this going?”
WALKER: But, Your Honor–
THE COURT: –This is going to you guys shooting — shooting each other, in my opinion.
WALKER: Well, Your Honor, that is absolutely–
THE COURT: –You plan to be peaceful (ph). I think — you know, I’m Irish, okay, and one of the things the Irish are best at in the world is boxing. And a real good Irish middleweight is a counterpuncher. He doesn’t throw the first punch, but, boy, he lets the second one go, and he’s got ya, see?
WALKER: Well, Your Honor–
THE COURT: –You’ve decided to battle, and he comes back. And see, you’re — you — you’re the kind of guy, you don’t want to get into this to settle this, mano y mano. You want to get all these friends who got nothing else to do with their time, in this judge’s opinion, because — my God, I’m a little bit older than you are, and I haven’t got enough time in the day to do all the things I want to do. And I thought by retirement, I would have less to do. I got more! Because everybody knows I’m free! So they all come to me. But you, you are starting a — a conflagration, for lack of a better word, and you’re just letting the thing go recklessly no matter where it goes. I mean, you get some — and I’m going to use word I (ph) — freak somewhere up Oklahoma, got nothing better to do with his time, so he does the nastiest things in the world he can do to this poor gentleman. What right has that guy got to do it?
WALKER: He has no right to do that, Your Honor.
THE COURT: Well, he’s — you incited him.
WALKER: But, your honor, I did not incite him within the Brandenburg standard though.
THE COURT: Forget Bradenburg [sic]. Let’s go by Vaughey right now, and common sense out in the world. But you know, where I grew up in Brooklyn, when that stuff was pulled, it was settled real quickly.
WALKER: I’m not sure what that means, your honor.
THE COURT: –Very quickly. And I’m not going to talk about those ways, but boy, it ended fast. I even can tell you, when I grew up in my community, you wanted to date an Italian girl, you had to get the Italian boy’s permission. But that was the old neighborhoods back in the city. And it was really fair. When someone did something up there to you, your sister, your girlfriend, you got some friends to take them for a ride in the back of the truck.
WALKER: Well, Your Honor, what–
THE COURT: –That ended it. You guys have got this new mechanical stuff out here, the electronic stuff, that you can just ruin somebody without doing anything. But you started it.
All emphasis is mine.
And now we lead into the final clip — perhaps the most outrageous one of all — in which the judge blatantly violates the Constitution by imposing an illegal prior restraint on Aaron’s speech. This is at 46:01:
THE COURT: So what I’m going to do is I am going to pass this Peace Order, and it’s going to remain in effect, sir, for six months. So this is May 15, [inaudible] June, July, August, September, October, November–
WALKER: –Your Honor, if I could say one thing here–
THE COURT: –No, you can’t. Now, you — that’s what you’ve got *** the Appeals Court’s over there.
WALKER: Okay, Your Honor.
THE COURT: Okay. All right, sir, this Order shall remain in effect until 11-15 2012. During that period of time, you not — shall commit any act that causes in person (ph) fear and apprehension of bodily harm, any act that places the gentleman in fear and apprehension of grave bodily harm, any assault, rape, attempted rape, sex offense, false imprisonment, harassment, stalking, [inaudible] or malicious destruction of property. The Respondent shall not contact the person in person, by telephone, in writing or any other means, and any other means is putting it on a blog, a Tweet, a megaphone, a — smoke signals — what else is out there — sonar, radar, laser, nothing.
WALKER: So I’m not allowed to speak about him for 6 months? How about the First Amendment?
THE COURT: How many times have you been interrupting? And you shall not contact or harass him in any way. You shall not enter his residence, wherever he may be living. You shall remain away from his place of employment, wherever that may be, he may be employed.
Now, let me get to the — now, should this — should you violate this order, sir, you are subject to being prosecuted by the state’s attorney’s office as a criminal case, and if found guilty, the maximum penalty for the first violation is 90 days in jail and/or it’s a $500 fine, could be a $1,000 fine. Or worse than that, you could be in contempt of this court, where you could — I could do anything that I deem necessary to keep you away from — or e-mailing him or Twitting him or Googling him or Tooting him or smoking (ph) him, whatever phrase you use. I don’t know if [inaudible]. Thank you [inaudible].
KIMBERLIN: No, Judge, I want to thank you (ph)–.
THE COURT: No, No, No, just don’t — don’t say anything to me. Don’t say anything to me. I’m just a — I’m just a civil servant doing my job.
All hail the civil servant.