Monthly Archives: August 2016

How Will It End?

If you were writing the Trump campaign, how would you end it?

At this juncture, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has a commanding lead in the polls and the betting markets have her as a virtual shoo-in to become the 45th president of the United States.  Barring some external event like a terror attack or some jarring new political development, she will almost certainly win this year’s presidential contest, but Donald J. Trump will not “lose.”  Even if he does not contest the outcome, he will undoubtedly claim the election was “rigged.”

Mr. Trump previously claimed that Barack Obama was a secret Kenyan and not a natural-born citizen of the United States, denying the legitimacy of our first African-American president — a man elected by the highest popular vote total in American history. Trump has never flatly repudiated “birtherism”:  As he told Chris Mathews in December, “I [just] don’t talk about it anymore.”

According to an NBC News/Survey Monkey poll in June, 72% of registered Republicans still harbor doubts that Barack Obama was born in the United States.

Mr. Trump also doesn’t talk about the 1993 death of White House attorney Vince Foster, which he once described as “very fishy.”

Many Trump supporters agree — half according to a PPP poll of Georgia voters backing the New York businessman.

PPP also found that 30% of Republican voters nationally supported the bombing of Agrabah, a country that doesn’t exist anywhere except in the imagination of the screenwriters who wrote the Disney movie Aladdin.

Intellectual flat-Earthers in the Republican Party think that JFK, Jr., DNC staffer Seth Richards, and scores of others were murdered by the Clintons.  They think that Hillary is hiding physical and mental illness, that longtime aide Huma Abedin once edited a Muslim journal that blamed the US for 9/11, and that, if elected, Hillary Clinton will gut the Second Amendment and take away everybody’s guns.

People who believe these kind of things will have no difficulty believing that the 2016 presidential election was fixed.

Who knows where that will lead or how it will end.

An attorney-author, Michael Zimecki was selected to Pennsylvania Super Lawyers in 2016.  A graduate of the Duquesne University School of Law, he specializes in personal injury litigation.  He is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, whose membership is limited to attorneys who have won million and multi-million dollar verdicts, awards and settlements.  Mr. Zimecki has achieved Thomson Reuters’ prestigious Lead Counsel rating in Personal Injury Law and also has been honored with Martindale-Hubbell’s highest possible peer review rating.  

His novel, Death Sentences, was published by Crime Wave Press.








A Knife Through The Heart

The United States Supreme Court recently stuck it to one of our most cherished institutions – the American jury system.

In McDonnell v. United States, the Court overturned a unanimous jury verdict in the corruption trial of former Virginia governor Bob McDonnell.  Twelve Virginian jurors decided that McDonnell broke the law when he accepted $175,000 in gifts and loans from Jonnie Williams, a CEO who sought the governor’s help for his business.  The Supreme Court reversed, holding that McDonnell’s assistance in arranging meetings for Williams, contacting other officials on his behalf, and including him in events did not necessarily constitute an illegal quid pro quo.

Writing for the Court (whose decision, like the jury verdict, was unanimous), Chief Justice John J. Roberts allowed that McDonnell’s actions were, at the very least, “distasteful,” maybe “even worse.”  However, “our concern is not with tawdry tales of Ferraris, Rolexes and ball gowns.”  The Court’s concern was with prosecutorial overreach and the fear that jurors might interpret anything a public official accepts — from a contribution to lunch — as a quid, and anything a public official does — from arranging a meeting to inviting a guest to an event — as a quo.

The late Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart once remarked that even if he couldn’t define hard-core pornography, “I know it when I see it.”  What was good for Stewart wasn’t good for the McDonnell Court, which did not trust jurors to recognize public corruption when they see it.

In his blog, Jost on Justice, Kenneth Jost, adjunct professor at the Georgetown University Legal Center, cited McDonnell v. United States as the latest evidence “juries are an endangered species …”  In her book, The Missing American Jury, Suja A. Thomas notes that juries decide only 1 to 4% of criminal cases and less than 1% of civil cases.  Plea bargaining, summary judgment, mediation and arbitration have largely replaced the American jury trial.  According to Jost, “the McDonnell case shows that the [Supreme] court has created and applied a body of law that relegates the jury to a second-fiddle role even in those cases that go to trial.”



Skulduggery at Yale?

Last month, the George W. Bush Presidential Library released over one thousand pages of documents related to the Yale secret society, Skull and Bones.

The elite society’s members include some of the 20th century’s most powerful men (women could not join Skull and Bones prior to 1992) and the society figures prominently in conspiracy theories viewing its well-connected members as architects of the New World Order.

Like his father and his grandfather before him, George W. Bush was a member of Skull and Bones, joining the secret society during his senior year at Yale.  He apparently declined to choose a secret name, and was called “Temporary” by his fellow Skull and Bones members.

Prescott Bush, George W’s grandfather, was the most notorious of the family Bonesmen.  Prescott and eight society confederates were reputed to have stolen Geronimo’s skull from the Apache chief’s resting place at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma, whisking it off to the Tomb, the Skull and Bones clubhouse on the Yale campus, where it was put on display in a glass case (or so it is alleged).  In 2009, former attorney general Ramsey Clark filed a suit on behalf of some of Geronimo’s descendants, seeking the return of the chief’s skull.  The suit was subsequently dismissed, and it is uncertain whether Geronimo’s skull was actually dug up and transported to Yale or whether the Prescott Bush story is merely apocryphal.

Alas, anyone expecting answers to this mystery will not find them in the trove of documents released by the George W. Bush Presidential Library.  The Bush Library documents do not appear to contain any great revelations about Skull and Bones or the Bushes’ role in it, and the secret society remains as secret as ever.