Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Brett Kavanaugh is on the U.S. Supreme Court, but a number of land mines still could blow him to smithereens and inflict pain on complicit GOPers

U.S. Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY)

Is Brett Kavanaugh safely ensconced on the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS), where he can conduct dirty work to support Donald Trump and the lifting of sanctions against Russia that would allow a $500 Arctic oil-drilling project to move forward? Not necessarily.

The whole Kavanaugh house of cards could crumble under any number of scenarios. If Democrats win one or both houses of Congress in the November midterms, that could spell major trouble for the newest member of SCOTUS, including possible impeachment. Any cooperation former Trump attorney Michael Cohen provides to the Robert Mueller investigation could lay bare the role of Russian-mafia interests in pushing for Kavanaugh on the court. And there is always the possibility Kavanaugh could face criminal indictment related to allegations raised against him during the confirmation process -- including possible charges for rape, sexual assault, kidnapping, and perjury.

If voters make the GOP pay at the polls in November for the Kavanaugh mess, two words -- "Jerry Nadler" -- could become prominent on the political scene. Reporter Matthew Miller explains in a piece at Politico:

First, the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Jerry Nadler, could make clear that, should he become a subpoena-wielding chairman in January, he will aggressively investigate the FBI’s conduct in the Kavanaugh investigation. Notifying the FBI and DOJ that he will subpoena documents, demand interviews with officials at every level, and ultimately hold a hearing will have a dramatic impact on an agency that rightly worries about its public standing—and where key officials worry about their personal reputations—after several years of GOP attacks.

This comes under the heading of "political hardball," a sport where Democrats tend to consistently lose to Republicans. But Nadler has promised a Kavanaugh investigation if his party gains control of the House. Also, The Washington Post explains how Kavanaugh could be impeached:

“Much of Washington has spent the week focusing on whether Judge Brett Kavanaugh should be confirmed to the Supreme Court,” Lisa Graves wrote in a Slate column on Sept. 7, more than a week before the New Yorker published the then-anonymous sexual assault claims of Christine Blasey Ford. “After the revelations of his confirmation hearings, the better question is whether he should be impeached from the federal judiciary. I do not raise that question lightly, but I am certain it must be raised.”

Graves wrote that Kavanaugh had misled the Judiciary Committee about the stolen documents that Graves had written as chief counsel for nominations for Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) when he was the chairman of the committee.

Kavanaugh, she wrote, “lied. Under oath. And he did so repeatedly.”

Therefore, she concluded, “he should not be confirmed. In fact, by his own standard, he should clearly be impeached.”

Michael Cohen could provide another arrow in the Democrats' quiver. From a January 2018 report by Kevin G. Hall at McClatchy:

The mysterious Russian businessman who went by the name Sergei Millian claimed last year to have long helped Donald Trump pursue Russian investors, a claim the president’s team flatly denied.

The claim is again under scrutiny with the sudden release late Thursday of closed-door congressional testimony.

A Washington intelligence consultant whose reports are at the center of probes into possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign told lawmakers that Millian organized a trip for Trump representatives to promote the billionaire’s vodka brand in Russia.

The testimony of Glenn Simpson drew a sharp denial from Michael Cohen, Trump’s personal lawyer, and only added to the shroud of mystery hanging over Millian, who was a visible figure early in the investigations into Trump’s ties with Russia but since had disappeared from view.

Since that report, Cohen's office and homes have been raided, he has pleaded guilty to making hush payments to women who claimed to have extramarital affairs with Trump, and Cohen has indicated he will cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Muller.  The McClatchy report, noting Millian's ties to the Russian-American Chamber of Commerce (based in Atlanta), indicates Cohen's cooperation could prove fruitful for the Mueller team:

Simpson, according to the 165-page transcript, alleged that Millian came to the United States under his real name of Siarhei Kukuts. After becoming Sergei Millian, he helped run a group with little Internet footprint called the Russian-American Chamber of Commerce. Millian has said on resumes that he is from Belarus and from Russia, Simpson said. . . .

Sergei Millian
Simpson appeared to suggest in his testimony that Millian was working with Michael D. Cohen, Trump’s personal lawyer. Cohen led the Trump Organization’s push into Russia and Kazakhstan.

Cohen acknowledged last year that he and another Trump associate, Russian √©migr√© Felix Sater, had pursued a Moscow hotel deal for the Trump Organization during the presidential campaign. In an email to Cohen made public last year, Sater boasted, “Our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it.”

Asked anew about Millian on Thursday night, Cohen steadfastly denied any connection.

“I have never met Mr. Milian (sic). He e-mailed me several times with various issues,” Cohen said in an email response to McClatchy, adding that by November 2016 he’d “demanded (Millian) cease contacting me.”

Perhaps Cohen's seized documents -- and prompting from Mueller investigators -- will help refresh his memory.

As for possible criminal indictments against Kavanaugh, readers might be surprised to see kidnapping on the list. That generally is seen as a crime where bad guys abduct someone, take them to a remote location, and demand a ransom. But the offense has a broader definition than that in many states, including Maryland, and it seems to apply to Dr. Christine Blasey Flord's description of Kavanaugh's attack on her. An attorney, writing at Daily Kos, wonders why kidnapping and related offenses have taken a backseat to "sexual assault" in the Kavanaugh discussion:

I realize there is no statute of limitation on felony sexual assault in Maryland. I assume there may be statutes of limitation on “false imprisonment” and “kidnapping.” I am NOT suggesting Kavanaugh be charged with these crimes, but I don’t understand why the terms “False Imprisonment” and “Kidnapping” are not mentioned as well as “sexual assault”.

I have never done criminal work (I was a civil litigator for twenty years, including three and a half years as a Trial Attorney with the Department of Justice’s Civil Division in the seventies). Yesterday, as I was reviewing the allegations of the Blasey Ford accusation, it struck me — wait a minute — isn’t that false imprisonment and/or kidnapping???

Kavanaugh allegedly grabbed her in the hall as she was on the way to the bathroom and pushed her into another room, where he then locked the door, turned up the music and covered her mouth. (Mark Judge may have helped with some of those actions).

Once in the room, he assaulted her, with Judge looking on and egging him on, including directing him while giggling maniacally. When Judge joined them by jumping on Kavanaugh’s back (wonder what he had in his mind???? I don’t want to go there), she escaped by “unlocking” the door and going out into the hall and escaped.

To me, it appears that Kavanaugh (and Judge’s actions) provide the elements of the crime and or tort of False imprisonment. The issue with kidnapping is a little less clear, because it varies widely from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In common law it generally included an aspect of sending the person somewhere else, but I also remember issues where just moving the person from where they are to somewhere else against their will could be kidnapping.. . . 
Again, I’m not suggesting legal charges on these two crimes and torts be brought against Kavanaugh and Judge, but I am suggesting that the discussion needs to include a discussion of these two additional aspects of the attack. Adding the totality of the charges that could have been brought underscores the severity of Kavanaugh's actions.

Our research indicates there is no statute of limitations on kidnapping in Maryland.  It also indicates that Dr. Ford's description of events points to kidnapping under Maryland law. From our legal-affairs analyst, a University of Virginia law graduate we call "Ozark Mountain Lawyer":

Here's quick law in Maryland on kidnapping.

Nutshell: kidnapping in Maryland is considered as false imprisonment with any movement or concealing of the victim.

Dr. Ford testified she walked upstairs and used the restroom and then as she was trying to go back downstairs to the living room, she was pushed from behind and forcefully moved into a BEDROOM and then forcefully moved to lay down on a bed and then was jumped on by Kavanaugh (more physical restraint) and the Kavanaugh also allegedly tried to CONCEAL the kidnapped victim by having closed and locked the bedroom door and turning up the music and Kavanaugh putting his hand over her mouth to conceal their having taken control of the victim and hiding her in the room to have their way with her. This is clearly KIDNAPPING and criminal assault and felony attempted rape. See Johnson v. State, 439 A.2d 542 (Md.App. 1982), at pp. 432-33. See other Maryland kidnapping decisions cited on page 433.

Can you imagine a sitting U.S. Supreme Court justice being criminally charged with sexual assault and kidnapping (not to mention perjury and rape.)? It could be right around the corner -- unless, of course, Russians help steal the 2018 election, too.

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