Some quick updates on law-related sex scandals previously covered in these pages:
First, Kansas Attorney General Paul Morrison, a recent Lawyer of the Day, is resigning. We’d say that this is pretty lame; what prominent public official hasn’t had an affair? But there are other allegations in the mix, including a claim that he tried to get dirt on a political rival from his lover, which make the resignation more understandable.
Second, yes, we missed last week’s juicy NYM story about financier Jeffrey Epstein, alleged former paramour of model Maximilia Cordero. Fortunately, our colleagues over at DealBreaker didn’t; Bess Levin’s post appeared here.
Finally, a sex scandal that’s new to these pages: some 1Ls at UVA getting busted for bonking, in a cell phone booth at the law library. Of course, library sex is nothing new. But it seems to be moving up the U.S. News rankings.
Attorney General Paul Morrison scandal (collected coverage) [Topeka Capital-Journal via WSJ Law Blog]
In Kansas, Top Official Announces Resignation [New York Times]
Jeffrey Epstein, Owner Of An Enormous Townhouse, Doesn’t Bitch About Having To Answer The Front Door When He’s In The Middle Of A 4th Floor Breast-Feeding [DealBreaker]
The Fantasist [New York Magazine]
Law Lib Bump ‘n Grind? [BLOTUS via TJ's Double Play]
Earlier: Lawyer of the Day: Attorney General Paul Morrison
Sex in Your Law School Library Is Illegal, and ‘Necessity Is Not a Defense’
Some quick updates on law-related sex scandals previously covered in these pages:
- Gender, Jeffrey Epstein, Media and Journalism, Nude Dancing, Sex, Sex Scandals, Wall Street, Weirdness
The story of Cordero v. Epstein — the lawsuit filed by an aspiring model against prominent Wall Street financier Jeffrey Epstein, alleging that he took advantage of her when she was underage — gets weirder by the day.
The New York Post reported that the model, Maximilia Cordero, was actually born a man — one Maximillian Cordero, b. 1983. Cordero then sued the Post, filing as an exhibit with the court a birth certificate showing she was born a female. A number of you questioned the document’s authenticity, pointing out various irregularities. And such skepticism made sense: Cordero, despite filing the birth certificate with the court, is not including the Post’s claim that she’s a transsexual in her lawsuit.
But even if it may not be the gravamen of her complaint, Cordero still wants you to know she’s not a tranny. From a statement that William Unroch, her lawyer / roommate / possible ex-boyfriend, sent to the Daily Intelligencer (via Gawker):
Ms. Cordero will be happy to attend a televised nude settlement conference or celebrity charity benefit nude tea party with Rupert Murdoch and Lucifer Carne [a reference to Post reporter Lucy Carne] if the NY Post feels this would clear up the matter. Both Ms Cordero and Mr. Murdoch can appear nude and state their positions on this matter of grave public concern.
Hmm… Time for an ATL field trip?
More insanity, after the jump.
We’re confused. And we’re guessing we’re not alone.
We have provided extensive coverage of Cordero v. Epstein, in which model Maximilia Cordero alleges that high-profile financier Jeffrey Epstein took advantage of her when she was underage. To add to the suit’s salaciousness, the New York Post previously claimed that Maximilia Cordero was born a man — to wit, Maximillian Cordero (b. 1983).
Now Cordero has turned around and sued the Post. She has filed an exhibit with the court casting doubt on the Post’s claim that she was born a man — but oddly enough, she’s not raising the gender issue in her lawsuit. From DealBreaker:
Cordero and her lawyer (and alleged sometime boyfriend) William Unroch have filed a lawsuit against the Post, claiming it engaged in a smear campaign coordinated with Epstein’s flack Howard Rubenstein (who is also the publicist for the Post).
Radar has all the dirt, but here’s the dirtiest bit:
“Conspicuously absent from the accusations is the Post’s revelation that Cordero was born a man. A source tells Radar that the initial filing of the suit by Unroch includes as an exhibit a birth certificate, which showed Cordero being born Maximilia Cordero, a woman. Reached by phone this weekend, Unroch (with Cordero commenting loudly in the background but declining to come to the phone), called the Post’s behavior ‘outrageous’ but refused to address Cordero’s birth gender or the authenticity of the birth certificate originally filed. ‘She’s a woman,’ Unroch tells Radar. So, why not go after the Post’s gender claims?
‘It’s a slam dunk case whether she was born a cat, a dog, or a space alien,’ Unroch says.”
You can see why we’re confused. And our confusion has only grown since someone sent us a copy of the exhibit mentioned by Radar — namely, a birth certificate showing that Maximillia Josephine Cordero, born on November 15, 1982, was born a “Female.”
You can check out the birth certificate for yourself — please note, we take no position on its authenticity — after the jump.
Epstein’s Accuser Accuses Page Six Of ‘Raping’ ‘Her’ All Over Again [DealBreaker]
Epstein’s Accuser Sics Law Dog On Page Six [Radar / Fresh Intelligence]
In our earlier post about the recusal motion filed by one Robert Seitz — a Florida pro se litigant seeking recusal of Judge Mary Barzee Flores, claiming that he once received a pre-judicial BJ from Her Honor — we noted that his claims were mere allegations.
We expressly disclaimed any independent knowledge of his claims. We were simply passing along allegations made in a publicly filed court document — which, by the way, has circulated widely via email. (It was forwarded to us by maybe half a dozen different tipsters.)
Now we bring you Judge Barzee Flores’s side of the story. From an omnibus order filed in the case, denying Seitz’s motion to recuse:
You can read the full order, after the jump.
Earlier: Legal Ethics Question of the Day: If the Court Has Gone Down on You, Is Recusal Required?
We reiterate what we observed yesterday: “When it comes to generating ATL material, the University of Miami School of Law tops the rankings.”
It appears that the undergraduate school at UM also sees its fair share of shenanigans. Check out this motion to recuse (PDF), which has been making the rounds by email. It involves one UM alumnus seeking the recusal of a former college classmate, now on the state bench.
Pro se plaintiff Robert Seitz asks Judge Mary Barzee Flores (at right), of Florida’s Eleventh Judicial Circuit, to recuse herself from hearing his case. The grounds for recusal are, er, interesting. Here’s what he alleges (alleges — we’ve undertaken no independent investigation of his claims):
You can read the entire motion by clicking here (PDF).
Update: For Judge Barzee Flores’s response to these allegations, in her ruling on the motion to recuse, click here.
Seitz v. Bareille: Motion to Recuse [PDF]
In a 5-0 ruling, the [South Dakota Supreme Court] overturned the conviction of Michael James Plenty Horse for indecent exposure because he didn’t attempt to arouse others when he tried to have sex with the mannequin in a dark, closed room at a YMCA in Sioux Falls, S.D.
On Nov. 14, 2005, Plenty Horse, then 19, went to the YMCA’s Alumni Room, which housed memorabilia and photos of local high school students, including a mannequin wearing a band uniform, on the second floor of the building.
Once inside the empty room, he closed the door, turned off the lights, took the mannequin over to a desk and began trying to have sex with it, according to court documents.
A security guard opened the closed door, turned on the lights and saw Plenty Horse on top of the partially undressed mannequin, his pants down and a wadded piece of paper in his hand, court documents said.
Plenty Horse immediately rolled off the mannequin and began adjusting his pants when he saw the security guard, according to the ruling. When questioned by police, he said he had not seen his girlfriend in a year.
Grounds for a temporary insanity defense? Wisely, his lawyers took a different approach:
Plenty Horse’s attorney argued throughout the legal fight that, while what the young man did with the mannequin would likely offend people, he did not “flash” his genitals “in hopes of being observed, thereby gratifying himself sexually.”
The defense succeeded in getting him off:
“Nothing establishes that his conduct was done with the specific intent to generate sexual arousal or gratification by the act of publicly exposing, displaying or offer to the public view, his genitals,” the ruling said. “Therefore, the defendant’s act, lewd though it may have been, does not fall within the purview of the indecent exposure statute.”
Good stuff. You can read the full opinion here (PDF, via How Appealing).
Sex with a mannequin? S.D. Supreme Court says keep it behind closed doors [Court TV via Blogonaut]
State v. Plenty Horse [Supreme Court of South Dakota (PDF) via How Appealing]
Okay, not in the centerfold — we wish. But as we recently mentioned, this fine website is featured in the December 2007 issue of Playboy magazine (p. 61). It’s far more thrilling than a shout-out in the New York Times or the Washington Post.
A reader kindly sent the mention our way; it appears to the right. In case you’re curious about what surrounded the item, check out more of the page, after the jump.
Speaking of playboys, check out this article — an oldie, but a goodie — about Germany’s answer to Hugh Hefner. From Spiegel Online:
Aging German playboy Rolf Eden has rarely taken no for an answer. And he’s not about to start. He has filed charges against a 19-year-old for refusing to sleep with him. The complaint? Ageism….
the 77-year-old Eden has filed suit against a 19-year-old Berlin woman for the following reason: Despite a night on the town with Eden, which ended back at his place, she refused to have sex with him, saying the he was too old for her.
“That was shattering. No woman has ever said that to me before,” Eden told the tabloid. “I was crushed.” He has filed charges with the prosecutors’ office, he said. “After all, there are laws against discrimination.”
It seems like you can’t throw a web cam these days without hitting a lawyer trying to use the internet to sexually prey on our kids. Reference recent lawyers of the day here and here, for just a couple of examples. And remember that prosecutor in Texas that blew his head off because To Catch a Predator was coming? Well, here’s another one:
An attorney arrested in an Internet child-sex sting in the basement of the Ohio Statehouse thought he was going to meet a 15-year-old girl he had met online, authorities said.
Barry Mentser, 48, a former children’s services lawyer, was taken into custody Wednesday moments after the police officer who conducted the sting testified two floors above in favor of a bill that would increase penalties for such offenses.
Lt. Jeff Braley, a detective from Hamilton Township in Warren County in southwest Ohio, said he posed as the girl to set up a Statehouse meeting with the man.
Wow, the Statehouse, really? Is that the hot hangout spot for the teenagers in Columbus? Perhaps Mentser should have been a little suspicious.
What’s the deal with all these lawyers getting busted for this? Is there something about the legal profession that drives lawyers to this in higher than usual numbers? Or do we just hear about all the lawyers that get busted because everybody hates lawyers and is looking for any excuse to ridicule them? We suspect it’s the latter, but we’re still given a little pause by it all.
A little more discussion after the jump.
Attorney Seeking 15-Year-Old Girl He Met Online Arrested in Sex Sting at Ohio Statehouse [FOX News]
You can find the weirdest s**t on Craigslist:
I’m creating a proposal for a downtown performance art show based on US sex laws – the quirkier the better. There are many lists online of these laws, but it’s really hard to find the actual statute or case number. In some cases, they either don’t exist or are changed to sound funny but the actual law is not so strange. Like, if its illegal to bring an animal into a public space, you could say that porcupines are not allowed at the opera but then neither is a dog. So much for your funny porcupine law.
The strength of the show is based on the truth – like the real Texas law where having 7 or more sex toys in your possession is “intent to distribute”. I’m looking to see if some defunct laws ever existed – like the supposed Florida law that banned unmarried women from parachuting on Sundays.
If you even understand what I’m going for and have access to a law library (online or brick&mortar), please contact me.
Our tipster writes: “I’d take it on myself, but I’m not sure how I’d bill it. I know Loyola 2L is pretty hard up; perhaps he could use the extra bucks. Plus, something tells me Gabrielle’s gotta be hot (Roissy would surely agree).”
Gabrielle: you might want to drop Howard Bashman a line. He is a recognized authority on sex toys (as a legal if not practical matter).
Update: A diligent associate at a bonus-bestowing firm recommends A Guide to America’s Sex Laws, by no less an authority than the eminent Judge Richard Posner.
But this sex law compendium might come with a big red flag over it, in the wake of Lawrence v. Texas. The diligent associate points out: “Note that it’s out of date, coming as it did in the Bowers era.”
RESEARCH – Strange Laws for Performance Piece (Lower East Side) [Craigslist]
This “news” is from last week. But we did want to mention it briefly, just for the record, since ATL strives to be a fairly comprehensive compilation of lawyer misbehavior. From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Robin Meredith “Robbie” Levin, 36, of Jonesboro is charged with felony sexual exploitation of children and misdemeanor criminal attempt to contribute to the delinquency of a minor and electronically furnishing obscene materials to a minor. He faces 10 years in prison and disbarment if convicted of the felony….
Clayton County police Chief Jeff Turner said the alleged victim is the 16-year-old daughter of an employee in the county’s Indigent Defense Administration which has assigned court-appointed cases to Levin. The girl told her mother that she’d been having sexually-explicit conversations with Levin through the Internet. Turner said the girl reported the contact because she was afraid of where it was leading.
An undercover officer took on the identity of the girl to continue conversations with Levin, Turner said. The Internet contact soon included Levin performing a sexual act through a Web cam, Turner said. Levin was arrested Tuesday when he showed up at the Steak and Shake [sic] on Mt. Zion Road in Morrow to meet the officer posing as the girl, Turner said.
It’s a surprising turn of events, considering that Levin is described as a “good guy and a great lawyer” who has “represented several high-profile cases, including a gang member accused in the July 2004 shooting death of 4-year-old Travon Wilson.” Then again, it’s not inconsistent with other alleged actions of lawyers in the news lately.
(Also surprising: that Levin looks much better in a prison jumpsuit. Who would have thought that orange could be so flattering?)
Lawyer charged with sexual exploitation of colleague’s daughter [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]
Attorney Arrested for E-Mails to Teen [11Alive.com]
Attorney Held in Internet Sex Case [11Alive.com]