Judicial Notice (01.15.22): Sedition
A Yale Law grad gets indicted, a controversial clerk hire gets clarified, and other legal news from the week that was.
With Martin Luther King Jr. Day this coming Monday, it’s fitting that the New York Times Book Review’s cover essay this Sunday is a review of two books by Black women lawyers that explore racial inequities in the criminal justice system. It was a pleasure for me to review Just Pursuit by Laura Coates of CNN and The Rage of Innocence by Professor Kristin Henning of Georgetown Law. Thanks to the Times for the opportunity, Emily Eakin for excellent editing, and Coates and Henning for their important, timely works. If you’re looking to spend some time reflecting on issues of racial justice and equity this MLK Day weekend, pick up one or both of these books.
Now, on to the news.
Lawyer of the Week: Stewart Rhodes.
It was a busy week in terms of “lawyers behaving (or allegedly behaving) badly”:
Steven Fabrizio, former global general counsel of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), got sentenced to a year in prison for blackmailing and sexually abusing a woman he met through a “Sugar Babies and Sugar Daddies” website.
Tom Girardi, the disgraced trial lawyer accused of stealing from victims he represented in litigation, appears to be on his way to disbarment (and probably also a divorce from Erika Girardi of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, from whom he’s estranged).
Marilyn Mosby, the State’s Attorney for Baltimore who (unsuccessfully) prosecuted the police officers responsible for the death of Freddie Gray, was indicted on charges of perjury and making false statements on loan applications.
But none of these lawyers has been arrested and charged with sedition—which is what just happened to Stewart Rhodes, leader and founder of the far-right Oath Keepers militia. Rhodes and ten others have been indicted on charges of seditious conspiracy and related crimes, in connection with what prosecutors allege was their plot to storm the Capitol on January 6 of last year.
Here’s the fact about Stewart Rhodes that I found most shocking: he’s a Yale Law School graduate, class of 2004, who actually won a prize while at YLS for the best paper on the Bill of Rights. You’d think that a Yale Law alum and student of the Constitution would understand a thing or two about the rule of law….
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