* Georgia Supreme Court expedites Genarlow Wilson hearing. [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]
* Libby gets supervised release to wrap up his sentencing. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Off with their food safety head. [BBC]
* Georgia judge dies after beating received during robbery two weeks ago. [Fulton County Daily Report]
- China, Crime, Death Penalty, Deaths, Habeas Corpus, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Morning Docket, Oral Sex / Blow Jobs, Sentencing Law
* Georgia Supreme Court expedites Genarlow Wilson hearing. [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]
Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) apologized last night after his telephone number appeared in the phone records of the woman dubbed the “D.C. Madam,” making him the first member of Congress to become ensnared in the high-profile case.
The statement containing Vitter’s apology said his telephone number was included on phone records of Pamela Martin and Associates dating from before he ran for the Senate in 2004….
“This was a very serious sin in my past for which I am, of course, completely responsible,” Vitter, 46, said in a statement….
This is not the first time Vitter has found himself in a sticky situation:
During his Senate campaign, Vitter was accused by a member of the Louisiana Republican State Central Committee of carrying on a lengthy affair with a prostitute in New Orleans’s French Quarter. In a radio interview, Vitter then called the allegation “absolutely and completely untrue” and dismissed it as “just crass Louisiana politics.”
We believe him. The French Quarter? How tawdry!
For a Harvard grad and Rhodes Scholar like Vitter, only the high-class escorts of Pamela Martin & Associates — college-educated women, including at least one Ph.D. — would do.
(Random speculation: Might Senator Vitter have been a client of the Akin Gump Escort?)
Senator’s Number on ‘Madam’ Phone List [Washington Post]
Sen. Vitter Apologizes for Number Showing Up on Phone Records of Alleged Prostitution Ring [Fox News]
Last night we watched Transformers: The Movie. In our defense, it was enthusiastically recommended to us by a friend with a very high-powered legal job.
While the special effects and action-sequence set-pieces were impressive — after all, it’s a Michael Bay film — we were disappointed on the whole. The movie is about an hour too long.
The most thrilling part for us? During the epic battle at the film’s end, in which the Autobots and the Decepticons fight to the death in downtown Los Angeles, you get a very clear shot of this building:
The camera lingers on the Paul Hastings Tower. The law firm’s name and logo are clearly visible.
Pure coincidence? Or law firm product placement?
Former Milberg Weiss partner David Bershad has agreed to plead guilty to a conspiracy count, and to cooperate with the feds in their investigation of his former law firm (in which he was once a name partner). The government alleged that Bershad paid kickbacks to clients to serve as plaintiffs in securities class action cases. See here, here, and here.
The best part of the whole story, from the WSJ Law Blog:
* In the earlier years of the alleged conspiracy, Bershad along with Partners A and B and others, “pooled their personal cash into a fund Bershad maintained in his office at Milberg Weiss, which was used by the Conspiring Partners to supply cash for secret payments to paid plaintiffs and others.”
* According to the statement, “the amounts the Conspiring Partners each contributed were supposed to be approximately proportionate to their respective partnership interests in Milberg Weiss. Bershad kept track of the amounts contributed and of the secret cash payments that had been made to paid plaintiffs.”
Now THAT is what we call partnership. Complete trust and cooperation. Working together towards a common goal.
Who says there’s no honor among thieves?
Milberg Weiss’s Bershad to Plead Guilty [WSJ Law Blog]
Bershad Agreement: The Personal Cash Fund [WSJ Law Blog]
Lawyer Pleads Guilty in Securities Case [New York Times]
* We’ll probably have more to say about this one later. For now: WOW. Tell us how you really feel, John Koppel! [Denver Post]
* What kind of tree would you be? The kind that robs banks. [AP]
* Don’t mess with the police — even if you’re an old lady charged with not watering your lawn. [KSL.com via Drudge Report]
* Laying the groundwork for the Twinkie defense? [New York Times]
* Nothing to do with the law yet, but surely that will change. Any news this baaad generates litigation. [Marin Independent Journal]
Update: With respect to the first link, in case you’d like to know more about John Koppel, check out his wedding announcement.
The reader tips about Peter Barta, the Legal Aid Lawyer who allegedly made surreptitious videos of his female co-workers getting changed, are starting to flow into our inbox. From a former colleague:
I used to work at the Criminal Defense Division (CDD) in Manhattan with Peter Barta. He would sidle up to female co-workers, bragging about his fluent Hungarian: “Did you know that the only language related to Hungarian is Finnish?”
Uh, yeah, I’m not an idiot. And if I didn’t know that already, I would have remembered from the seventeenth time you told me.
He would then mention, with no apparent self-consciousness, that he lived with his mother. Finally, he’d try to ask the girl — not me, I was too rude to him — out.
We’re repulsed. But at the same time, we can’t help wondering: Was Peter Barta just lonely and misunderstood? Could Judd Apatow, writer of The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up, write a screenplay that would make Barta appear sympathetic — a lovable schlub, a la Ben Stone (Seth Rogen)?
Even our tipster has a soft spot for her former colleague:
Creepy as he was/is, what a sad way to end one’s legal career. (Though I suppose he should have thought of that before he recorded “bare breasts and buttocks” on a nannycam.)
Ah, the Bartameter. We hardly knew ye …
Food for thought: Would Peter Barta’s clock / camera be covered by the Skadden technology allowance?
Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of Peter Barta (scroll down)
Supreme Court clerkships, Rhodes and Marshall Scholarships… Who cares?
We’ve unearthed a credential that is far more bad-ass. From a tipster:
I was forwarded this notice about a fellowship opportunity. Who wouldn’t want to have Recipient of Lethal Injection Fellowship on their résumé?
If your curiosity is piqued, read more after the jump.
Prosecutors have tried to prove Mr. Padilla’s guilt with a training camp application they say he filled out and wiretapped phone conversations in which he took part or was discussed. But they have no witnesses who saw Mr. Padilla fill out the form, and the phone recordings make him sound more troubled than malign. They suggest Mr. Padilla, a former gang member in Chicago and fast-food worker in South Florida, struggled to fit in and learn Arabic in Egypt, where he moved in 1998.
“Basically, he is a slow learner,” one of Mr. Padilla’s associates told another in 1999, five months after he arrived in Cairo. “Basically, he doesn’t want to speak. I mean, the man doesn’t … doesn’t move.”
There’s a difference between incompetence and complacency. Nevertheless, Padilla’s inefficacy puts us in mind of this great Onion article.
Mysteries, Legal and Sartorial, at Padilla Trial [New York Times]
After 5 Years In U.S., Terrorist Cell Too Complacent To Carry Out Attack [The Onion]
Last week, Laurie Lin posted a set of delightful summer fashion polls. Check them out here (menswear) and here (womenswear).
We’ll close these polls sometime soon — maybe tomorrow or Wednesday. Please feel free to vote, if you haven’t done so already. Thanks!
Earlier: Summer Fashion Poll: The Ladies’ Turn
Summer Fashion Poll: Menswear
1. While you can use your tech allowance to buy just about anything “tech-y” at Skadden, the tech dept has made it clear that the iPhone is NOT compatible with Skadden tech infrastructure. See below [posting reproduced after the jump].
2. The iPhone isn’t excluded [from the tech allowance], but since you’re basically required to have a Blackberry for business purchases, they would likely frown on purchasing both a Blackberry (the monthly Blackberry service comes out of the tech allowance) and an iPhone (where the entire monthly phone-data package would likely be redundant).
3. What’s the point of having two devices strapped to your hip? Isn’t one enough? As soon as a reliable Blackberry client comes out for the iPhone, I think demand will force the tech folks to support the iPhone. Right now don’t even bother asking to get your Skadden email working on an iPhone.
We thank our tipster for explaining these finer points.
In the comments to our prior post, people expressed an interest in a forum for discussing workplace perks — i.e., “the fringe benefits that vary between Biglaw firms — tech allowances, book allowances, gym memberships, home loans, etc.”
We’re happy to oblige. But let’s do this in an organized way. Over the next week or so, we’ll put up a series of posts on fringe benefits, with each post dedicated to discussion of a specific type of perk.
Let’s get the ball rolling. Please treat this post as the open thread for discussion of technology allowances. Thanks.
A nerdy legal aid lawyer used a spy camera to videotape female colleagues changing their clothes — until the women turned the tables and caught him red-handed, officials said.
Peter Barta, 32, bought a $179 gizmo from Sharper Image that looked like a desk clock but contained a motion-activated camcorder, prosecutors said.
He allegedly planted the clock in co-workers’ offices and downloaded the racy images onto a tape seized at his Queens home.
We solicited information on Peter Barta from people who know him personally. One high school classmate had this to say:
I guess I’m not surprised that he resorted to these sorts of antics; he always seemed a bit strange. So sad that it’s come down to this in his 30s!
I feel badly. He wasn’t a bad guy, but I guess he was a bit off.
Peter Barta was described in news accounts as a master debater (hehe) at New York’s elite Stuyvesant High School. Another ex-debater chimed in as follows:
Please point out to your readers that Peter Barta was a POLICY debater. Those of us who did L-D [Lincoln-Douglas] debate do NOT want the good name of our event tarnished.
They do things differently over in China. Here in the United States, for example, we like to put cats on TV. In China, they like to eat them.
And in the Chinese city of Xiamen, they take an approach to anonymous comments on the internet that diverges from the American way. From UPI:
A Chinese city plans to ban anonymous online postings after Internet users successfully campaigned to stop completion of a chemical factory.
The ban mandates Internet users must provide proof of their real identify when posting messages on more than 100,000 Web sites registered in Xiamen, the Times of London reported Saturday.
We’re not experts on internet use in China, so please excuse our ignorance, but we don’t understand how this ban is supposed to work. How does the ban stop people from posting as “GeneralTso888″? Sure, maybe the authorities can track you down through your IP address, if you dare to post as “Hot Pork Buns” (and that is not your real name). But couldn’t they have done that even before the ban?
And if the point of the ban is to establish some penalties for posting anonymously or under a pseudonym, that also seems like a waste of time. Doesn’t China already have enough pretexts for throwing people in prison?
P.S. Yes, we’re Asian — and part Chinese, in fact.
Chinese city bans anonymous web postings [United Press International via Drudge Report]