This kind of lawfare is evil

(AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

In March 1770 John Adams took one of the toughest legal cases of his career.

On March 5th, in a riot that went terribly wrong, 5 colonists were shot by British troops who were protecting another British soldier who was being pelted with rocks and other assorted junk by a crowd. One of the soldiers was struck by a thrown bat and fell. His musket discharged and what occurred next is known to us now as the Boston Massacre. No order to fire had ever been given.

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John Adams was the only lawyer willing to take the case on behalf of the soldiers who were being tried for murder. He did so because he believed that everybody was entitled to representation and that just as nobody was above the law, nobody was below it either.

Eight soldiers, one officer, and four civilians were arrested and charged with murder. Six of the soldiers were acquitted; the other two were convicted of manslaughter and given reduced sentences.

How times have changed. In today’s United States, a lawyer can become a celebrity for representing O.J. Simpson, but if you represent a former President of the United States be prepared to be attacked by your fellow lawyers and be driven out of the profession.

That is the mission of The 65 Project, which is managed by former Perkins Coie attorney Michael Teter.

Perkins Coie is the Democrat Mega law firm that represents everybody who is anybody in Democrat politics: the Democratic National Committee, Democratic Leadership Council, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Other political clients include most Democratic members of the United States Congress. It has also represented several presidential campaigns, including those of John Kerry, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton. The group’s political law practice was founded by Robert Bauer who recruited Marc Elias and made him chair of the group in 2009.

Basically, Perkins Coie IS the legal arm of the Democrat Party. This basically implies that for all intents and purposes, so is the 65 Project.

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 The Washington Post, for example, quoted various anonymous sources who claimed that Trump’s reputation as a “challenging client” caused several prominent lawyers to turn him down. In reality, the problem resulted from an intimidation campaign by a radical pressure group called the 65 Project, whose explicit mission is to ruin any lawyer willing to represent Trump.

According to Influence Watch, the group was founded by former Clinton administration official Melissa Moss and its managing director is former Perkins Coie attorney Michael Teter. It gets worse: “The 65 Project’s Senior Advisor is David Brock, the founder of Media Matters for America and American Bridge 21st Century.” The group initially went after 111 attorneys in 26 states for representing Trump or questioning the irregularities associated with the 2020 election. They included Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, and Harvard Law Professor Emeritus Alan Dershowitz. The latter described how the 65 Project has intimidated potential Trump lawyers in a recent Substack column:

They have threatened to file bar charges against any such lawyers. When these threats first emerged, I wrote an op-ed offering to defend pro bono any lawyers that The 65 Project goes after. So The 65 Project immediately went after me, and contrived a charge based on a case in which I was a constitutional consultant, but designed to send a message to potential Trump lawyers: if you defend Trump or anyone associated with him, we will target you and find something to charge you with. The lawyers to whom I spoke are fully aware of this threat — and they are taking it seriously.

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Think about that for a moment. Already the Democrats have weaponized the Justice Department, the IRS, the Intelligence Community, and the FBI to go after conservatives disproportionately, while obviously laying off investigations that implicate Democrats. It’s pretty hard to even challenge that assertion, given the fact that a conservative showing up to a school board meeting can be labeled a terrorist by the FBI, or a reporter testifying to Congress can have the IRS show up at his door.

Now the Left is trying to strip conservatives of legal representation as well.

Nice legal practice you have there. Shame if we were to strip you of your license to practice law…

A typical example of the group’s tactics can be found in its attack on Georgia attorney Kurt Hilbert. As recently as February of 2023, Teter wrote to the State Bar of Georgia requesting an investigation into Hilbert pursuant to his representation of Trump and other plaintiffs in four lawsuits resulting from the state’s incompetent management of the 2020 election. “We write to request that the Office of General Counsel investigate the actions taken by Kurt Hilbert relating to his effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election.” Such ethics complaints, no matter how spurious, inevitably lead to protracted inquiries that damage the reputations of their targets regardless of whether or not the charges possess any genuine merit.

This is, of course, the point. Many lawyers will think twice before inviting an ethics complaint by representing disfavored clients. The resultant chilling effect has now spread to other GOP candidates in races unrelated to 2020. Kari Lake, for example, had difficulty retaining attorneys when she contested the 2022 Arizona gubernatorial results. Bloomberg quotes her thus: “We had attorneys who did walk away because the left is threatening them with their ability to make a living and practice law.” The 65 Project filed an ethics complaint against Kurt B. Olsen, who represented Lake in two lawsuits pursuant to her 2022 race. The following excerpt is typical of the inflammatory language used in these complaints:

Mr. Olsen attempted to overturn the 2020 election and now seeks to overturn the 2022 Arizona midterm. A full investigation by the Office of Bar Counsel will demonstrate the egregious nature of Mr. Olsen’s actions, especially when considered in light of his purposes, the direct and possible consequences of his behavior, and the serious risk that Mr. Olsen will repeat such conduct unless disciplined. This supplemental complaint demonstrates that Mr. Olsen is already a repeat offender of the Rules of Professional Conduct, and can only be stopped through disciplinary action.

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One can disagree with Trump, even believing he is likely guilty as charged, without working overtime to ensure that his right to counsel is stripped from him or other conservatives.

That is, you can believe that he deserves representation if you believe in the rule of law, which these people clearly do not.

They believe in lawfare, of course, but that is simply using the legal system as a club with which to beat your opponents silly. It is the opposite of what we expect the legal system to be legitimately used for. If the only goal that is worth achieving is total victory over those with whom you disagree, it would simply be easier to cut to the chase and steal what you want and kill who you hate.

But we live in a civilized society with rules, and one of those rules is that everybody gets a fair shake in the legal system. That fair shake is never perfect, but it is our job to make it more rather than less perfect.

Perkins Coie has never seen it that way. They play to win, fair or foul.

Throw in David Brock and you have as much sleaze as you can imagine.

I prefer the old way. The John Adams way. And I prefer to live in an America where John Adams can represent British soldiers hated by the crowd, get them off, and still become President of the United States.

Call me an idealist, but there it is.

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David Strom 8:00 AM | July 25, 2024
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