Saturday, September 09, 2017

Who's More Likely To Face A Prison Term First, Trump, Trump, Jr. Or Crooked Lawyer Jay Sekulow?


-by Valley Girl

I stumbled upon the above YouTube almost by accident. Watching it set me off researching. I knew Jay Sekulow was an attorney for Trump, but there was far more that I didn't know about him that what I did know about him. I still don’t. But I do know more, now. And, about the American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ)-- which I’d never heard of before.

The Washington Post on June 19 had a um… mixed…  article about Jay Sekulow:
Jay Sekulow had a hectic day Sunday (June 18), bouncing from one news show to another to beat back reports that President Trump was under investigation for obstruction of justice.

In a media blitz through four networks, Sekulow, a new member of Trump’s legal team, repeatedly insisted that there was no such probe-- an assertion at odds with stories published last week in the Washington Post and elsewhere-- only to concede later that he doesn’t know for sure. At one point he flatly contradicted himself on Fox News Sunday, in a stumble that host Chris Wallace, a seasoned TV interrogator, seized upon for maximum effect.

All told, Sekulow came off a bit like a Washington novice, which he’s definitely not. His face and his name are well known in the nation’s capital and among conservatives generally-- but not for this kind of work. He’s an experienced litigator on behalf of conservative causes, especially causes dear to the religious right. White-collar defense lawyers, particularly those who defend political figures, form a small community in Washington, and Sekulow is not part of it.

Sekulow made his first big Washington debut in 1987 in the Supreme Court when he helped the evangelical group Jews for Jesus defeat a measure that banned the distribution of religious literature at Los Angeles International Airport. His performance was unimpressive, American Lawyer magazine wrote at the time. Sekulow was “rude and aggressive,” the publication wrote, “so nervous that at times he appeared nearly out of control.”  Fortunately for Sekulow, it was an easy case to win. The ordinance barred “First Amendment activity” at the airport, presenting clear constitutional problems. And win Sekulow did-- in a unanimous decision striking down the measure. “I left the courtroom feeling like the Beatles must have felt leaving Shea Stadium,” he wrote in 2005.

The victory turned Sekulow, a self-described Messianic Jew, into a crusader for religious expression and a celebrity on the Christian right, a status that has only grown since then. Over three decades, he built a legal and media empire by representing religious groups, antiabortion advocates and other conservative organizations in high-profile court battles.

In 1991, he became chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, a conservative group founded by televangelist Pat Robertson to rival the American Civil Liberties Union and advocate for evangelical causes. He has appeared before the Supreme Court on 11 other occasions and has filed numerous amicus briefs in cases related to civil liberties.

Like so many other people in Trump’s orbit, he hosts a widely syndicated daily radio talk show with millions of listeners, and is a regular guest on Fox News Channel, The 700 Club and Sean Hannity’s radio show, where he weighs in on legal issues.

Recently, about 30 years after his humble beginning in the Supreme Court, he agreed to take on the client of a lifetime: the president of the United States.

It was an unusual move for Sekulow, 61.

…The makeup of the Trump team, specifically its inexperience with the unique challenges of high-level Washington probes, became a target of ridicule last week from Trump critics, which only increased with the appearance of Sekulow.

…Few attorneys have ever handled the investigation of a president. What Sekulow-- or anyone, for that matter-- may lack in proven skills tailored to the task at hand, he may make up for in loyalty to Trump. Perhaps that’s among the reasons Trump hired him.

…As accusations against Trump have ballooned over the past few months, Sekulow has stood up for the president and inveighed against the perceived enemies of the White House on his radio show, in television appearances and on his website.

Using language popular on the political far right, he has warned repeatedly of a “deep state bureaucracy” out to sabotage the presidency and a “shadow government” led by none other than former FBI director James B. Comey, whom Trump fired last month.

In May, Sekulow dismissed the Russia scandal as “a fraud on the American people.” He said on his radio show: “The Washington Post and the New York Times love it. There’s only one thing missing: facts.”
Although this article (above) gives some information about Sekulow, other information is missing. 

Some "fast facts" from June 21-- Everything you need to know about Trump's new lawyer Jay Sekulow--The far-right attorney has a history of homophobia and sketchy finances:

Trump's new lawyer Jay Sekulow made an inauspicious debut last Sunday [June 18], defending Trump against something he had admitted to, then admitting it twice himself. Aside from being a less-than-sharp attorney, a profile of the religious conservative Sekulow has begun to emerge, and it ranges from a lack of qualifications to sketchy finances to blatant homophobia. (And the fact that he's the frontman for a rock band that has met with underwhelming reviews.) Here are five fast facts to know.

1) Jay Sekulow made a widely mocked debut as Trump's lawyer this week…

2) Sekulow is chief counsel for the American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ), a Christian legal group founded by evangelist Pat Robertson. He has argued cases before the Supreme Court relating to religious freedom…

3) Jay Sekulow supports Vladimir Putin's anti-gay agenda

The Daily Beast reported that "although ACLJ spars with Putin’s government over Christians’ rights to talk about their faith, it has publicly praised anti-blasphemy laws and laws banning ‘gay propaganda’ targeted at minors."

In fact, he once argued against the legalization of homosexuality after the 2003 Supreme Court ruling that gay sex was not criminal. “By providing constitutional protection to same-sex sodomy, the Supreme Court strikes a damaging blow for the traditional family that will only intensify the legal battle to protect marriage and the traditional family," he wrote.

4) Jay Sekulow hosts a conservative talk show and is a member of the religious right.

His daily radio talk show is broadcast on 850 stations nationwide. He is also a regular guest on the 700 Club, Fox News, Sean Hannity's radio show and the Christian Broadcasting Network.

  5) Jay Sekulow’s finances are sketchy

In 2005, the Legal Times reported that Sekulow had “via interconnected nonprofit and for-profit entities, built an empire that generates millions of dollars a year and supports a lavish lifestyle." Sekulow responded that he had “never had a blip” of financial irregularity.

In 2011, The Tennessean reported that two religious charities Sekulow founded in the '80s paid $33 million to “members of Sekulow’s family and businesses they own or co-own” over the previous 13 years. An ACLJ spokesman said Sekulow was “one of the most successful lawyers in the country whose income is very small and [who] owns a very small home.” One of Sekulow’s nonprofits “paid a total of $2,374,833 to purchase two homes used primarily by Sekulow and his wife,” according to the Legal Times in 2005.

What about the ACLJ? 10 Things You Should Know About the American Center For Law And Justice. Unlike the “five fast list” up above, this numbered document from the Human Rights Campaign International is long (over 11,000 words), well- referenced, and absolutely searing in its detailed indictment of the ACLJ and Jay Sekulow’s involvement.  Below are the headers, plus some, but not all, Jay Sekulow “extras” for their 10 points of discussion:
1.)  ACLJ has raised nearly $75 million in the past five years to fight for anti-LGBT causes, despite not meeting 10 out of 20 of the Better Business Bureau’s standards for charity accountability.

--Since 1998, ACLJ And Another Charity Have Paid More Than $33 Million To Members OF Jay Sekulow’s Family.  “Sekulow is the principal officer of Christian Advocates Serving Evangelism and the American Center for Law and Justice. Since 1998, the two legal charities have paid more than $33 million to members of Sekulow's family and businesses they own or co-own, according to the charities' federal tax returns.”

--The ACLJ Obfuscates How Much Jay Sekulow Earns From The Organization. “The IRS requires nonprofits to disclose the compensation of their leaders. But a donor to ACLJ wouldn't know how much Sekulow is earning from his work with the organization, even though he is described as CEO, chief counsel and board member on its tax forms. ACLJ reports that Sekulow has taken no salary since 2002.  However, ACLJ's 2009 tax form shows it paid $2,382,770 to the law firm 50 percent owned by Sekulow --(AT) Constitutional Litigation and Advocacy Group.” [USA Today, 9/5/11]

2.)  ACLJ suggests the “sin” of homosexuality might be to blame for the death of Tyler Clementi and the rash of teen suicides connected to anti-LGBT bullying.

--Sekulow Said School Policies Protecting LGBT Students From Harassment Went Too Far, “There Is A Line Between Sensitivity And Indoctrination.” The Los Angeles Times, in an article about school districts improving their anti-gay harassment programs, reported, “Others say school districts are going too far. "There is a line between sensitivity and indoctrination," said Jay Sekulow… Sekulow said schools should treat all students with dignity and respect, but they shouldn't promote one lifestyle over another. If districts are going to offer extra protections for gay and lesbian students, they should do the same for students who want to express their religious beliefs, he said.”

3.)  ACLJ goes after cities and municipalities, simply for protecting employees against anti-LGBT discrimination. They even call workplace diversity training “offensive.”

4.)  ACLJ defended the Boy Scouts of America in their fight to prevent LGBT scouts and scout leaders, with the group’s founder warning of “predators as Boy Scouts, pedophiles who will come in as Scoutmasters."

--Sekulow Warned That Allowing Gay Boy Scout Leaders Would Lead To Targeting Of Religious Schools.

--Sekulow Called 1999 New Jersey Ruling That LGBT Scout Leaders Must Be Accepted “A Very Dangerous Precedent” And Vowed To Continue Fight Supreme Court.

--ACLJ Amicus Brief To Supreme Court On Behalf Of Boy Scouts Of America Said “Men Who By Word Or Deed Condone Homosexuality Cannot, Therefore, Be Good Role Models.” According to Political Research, “Sekulow has championed the Boy Scouts of America’s ban on openly gay scoutmasters for years, telling donors in March 2000 that the Scouts have ‘come under attack from homosexual activists–who may well set their sights on your church next.’ In an amicus brief to the Supreme Court, the ACLJ defended the Boy Scout’s finding that homosexuals are not morally ‘clean,’ writing, ‘Men who by word or deed condone homosexuality cannot, therefore, be good role models.’”

5.)  ACLJ defends criminal punishments for consensual, adult same-sex behavior, saying homosexuality is destructive to society.

--Sekulow Said Lawrence v. Texas Ruling “Reflect A Political Approach To The Law That We Deplore.”  ..The court's decision infuriated conservatives. ‘Both the affirmative action and the gay rights decision reflect a political approach to the law that we deplore,’ Jay A. Sekulow …said following the decisions.”

--Sekulow Said Supreme Court Ruling in Lawrence v. Texas “Strikes A Damaging Blow For the Traditional Family.” … Sekulow said, “By providing constitutional protection to same-sex sodomy, the Supreme Court strikes a damaging blow for the traditional family that will only intensify the legal battle to protect marriage and the traditional family.”

--Sekulow Defended Rick Santorum’s Controversial Comments Saying Sodomy Protections Could Cover Bigamy, Polygamy, Incest, And Adultery As “Out Of Context.”

--Sekulow Called Reaction To Alabama Attorney General And Rick Santorum’s Equating Homosexual Acts To Necrophilia, Bestiality, And Pedophilia “Overblown.” …“A nominee for a federal judgeship filed a Supreme Court brief that compares homosexual acts to ‘prostitution, adultery, necrophilia, bestiality, possession of child pornography and even incest and pedophilia.’ The brief by Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor, nominated by President Bush to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, resembles comments about the same Texas sodomy case by Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum…. Pryor declined comment Thursday and referred questions about the case to Jay Sekulow…

6.)  ACLJ literally helped write the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), parts of which were deemed unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court last year in United States v. Windsor.

--ACLJ Helped Draft Language For the Defense Of Marriage Act And Jay Sekulow Testified For Its Passage. According to Jay Sekulow on ACLJ’s website, “There were also concerns among many that the same-sex marriage proponents would be successful in having declared the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional.  Our office helped draft DOMA and I even testified before the United States House of Representatives for its passage almost ten years ago… [, A Legal Grand Slam]

--Sekulow Was “Delighted” With Bush Push For Federal Marriage Amendment. ‘We are delighted the president has stepped forward on this issue and his announcement serves as a critical catalyst to energize and organize those who will work diligently to ensure that marriage remains an institution between one man and one woman,’ said Jay Sekulow…

--Sekulow Said Judges Who Uphold Same-Sex Marriage Laws Were “Flouting The Laws Of Our Country, And Condescending To Every Major Religious Tradition In The World.” According to Mother Jones, “Evangelical values undergird ACLJ's legal work,… and so it's no surprise the Sekulows have fought efforts to legalize same-sex marriage… Judges who uphold same-sex marriage laws, Sekulow told Congress in 2004, ‘have simply ignored the custom and experience of recorded Western history, flouting the laws of our country, and condescending to every major religious tradition in the world.’”

7.)  ACLJ opened an office in Nairobi, Kenya, where the group promotes discriminatory legal and legislative policies and engages in “civic education to warn people of the dangers of homosexuality.”

8.)  ACLJ-Zimbabwe has organized meetings with the country’s ruthless dictator, Robert Mugabe, and advocated for keeping criminal bans on homosexuality in place as the country reformed its constitution. This is the same Mugabe who threatened to behead gay people in his country.

9.)  ACLJ’s export of hate isn’t limited to Africa. They’ve set up shops in Brazil, Europe, and Russia, all to push their anti-LGBT ends and oppose marriage equality and anti-discrimination measures across the globe.

--Jay Sekulow Claimed The Purpose Of Establishing A Presence In Europe Was To Influence American Courts.  “’The idea [in setting up in Europe] was to establish a critical body of jurisprudence that would have an impact there and also at home [in America],’ says Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the European Center for Law and Justice (ECLJ), an offshoot of the American Center for Law and Justice, where he is also chief counsel.”

10.)  ACLJ founder Pat Robertson thinks that introducing lesbians to your child might make “your children grow up as lesbians.” Robertson actually claimed a gay father given custody of his child over a Christian mother made the child “a flaming homosexual, and if I’m not mistaken, he contracted AIDS.”
You've know doubt notice that Trump, Junior was testifying before the Senate this week in regard to the bullshit letter concoted on Air Force One to deceive the public about Trump, Jr., Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner-in-law meeting with a bevy of Kremlin spies in Trump Tower. Many think Sekulow will need to hire his own lawyer for this case.
On June 12, Sekulow told George Stephanopoulos that the Times' June 11 report was "incorrect," and "the president didn't sign off on anything. He was coming back from the G-20, the statement that was released on Saturday was released by Donald Trump Jr. and, I'm sure, in consultation with his lawyers. The president wasn't involved in that." He then told CNN's New Day that "I wasn't involved in the statement drafting at all, nor was the president." On June 16, he told Chuck Todd on NBC's Meet the Press: "I do want to be clear that the president was not involved in the drafting of the statement and did not issue the statement. It came from Donald Trump Jr."

Sekulow issued the Trump administration's response to the Post's inquiries, too, responding to a detailed list of questions about Trump's involvement in the statement-drafting with one sentence: "Apart from being of no consequence, the characterizations are misinformed, inaccurate, and not pertinent." Norm Ornstein, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, suggests Sekulow's past statements could "be grounds for serious sanctions by the bar," but they could also involve him deeper in the Russia investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

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At 2:15 PM, Blogger Gadfly said...

More here about Sekulow, starting with how he's overrated as a constitutional law scholar:

At 2:52 PM, Blogger Skeptical Partisan said...

A request... please add tags for each guest writer. There are some posts from Valley Girl that I would like to reread; old posts are often difficult to track down. BTW, the monthly archives do not have all the posts from that month - again, difficult to track down older posts.

At 3:09 AM, Blogger VG said...

Gadfly- thanks for that excellent link.

SP- what older posts are you looking for? Specify and I will try to find links.

At 7:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

nobody's going to prison. the orange-utang will pardon anyone in jeopardy as he did arpaio. And if the drumpfsterfire is indicted -- maybe a 1 in a million chance --, he'll resign and pence will pardon him.

it's been done before!

At 8:21 AM, Blogger Skeptical Partisan said...

Valley Girl - the 3 parter you've posted recently. I was waiting to read it in one go... but I didn't bookmark it and now I'm having trouble tracking it down in the archives. Thanks :).

At 2:47 PM, Blogger VG said...



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