T’was the Night Before Christmas (Legal Version)

A variety of foot apparel, e.g. stocking, socks, etc., had been affixed by
and around the chimney in said House in the hope and/or belief that St. Nick
a/k/a/ St. Nicholas a/k/a/ Santa Claus (hereinafter “Claus”) would arrive at House
sometime thereafter.

The minor residents, i.e. the children, of the aforementioned House were
located in their individual beds and were engaged in nocturnal
hallucinations, i.e. dreams, wherein visions of confectionery treats,
including, but not limited to, candies, nuts and/or sugar plums, did dance,
cavort and otherwise appear in said dreams.

Whereupon the party of the first part (sometimes hereinafter referred to as
“I”), being the joint-owner in fee simple of the House with the party of the
second part (hereinafter “Mamma”), and said Mamma had retired for a
sustained period of sleep. (At such time, the parties were clad in various
forms of headgear, e.g. kerchief and cap.)

Suddenly, and without prior notice or warning, there did occur upon the
unimproved real property adjacent and appurtenant to said House, i.e. the
lawn, a certain disruption of unknown nature, cause and/or circumstance. The
party of the first part did immediately rush to a window in the House to
investigate the cause of such disturbance.

At that time, the party of the first part did observe, with some degree of
wonder and/or disbelief, a miniature sleigh (hereinafter “the Vehicle”)
being pulled and/or drawn very rapidly through the air by approximately
eight (8) reindeer. The driver of the Vehicle appeared to be and in fact
was, the previously referenced Claus.

Said Claus was providing specific direction, instruction and guidance to the
approximately eight (8) reindeer and specifically indentified the animal
co-conspirators by name: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid,
Donner and Blitzen (hereinafter “the Deer”). (Upon information and belief,
it is further asserted an additional co-conspirator named “Rudolph” may have
been involved.)

The party of the first part witnessed Claus, the Vehicle and the Deer
intentionally and willfully trespass upon the roofs of several residences
located adjacent to and in the vicinity of the House, and noted that the
Vehicle was heavily laden with packages, toys and other items of unknown
origin or nature. Suddenly, without prior invitation or permission, either
express or implied, the Vehicle arrived at the House, and Claus entered said
House via the chimney.

Said Claus was clad in a red fur suit, which was partially covered with
residue from the chimney, and he carried a large sack containing a portion
of the aforementioned packages, toys, and other unknown items. He was
smoking what appeared to be tobacco in a small pipe in blatant violation of
local ordinances and health regulations.

Claus did not speak, but immediately began to fill the stocking of the minor
children, which hung adjacent to the chimney, with toys and other small
gifts. (Said items did not, however, constitute “gifts” to said minor
pursuant to the applicable provisions of the U.S. Tax Code.)

Upon completion of such task, Claus touched the side of his nose and flew,
rose and/or ascended up the chimney of the House to the roof where the
Vehicle and Deer waited and/or served as “lookouts.” Claus immediately
departed for an unknown destination.

However, prior to the departure of the Vehicle, Deer and Claus from said
House, the party of the first part did hear Claus state and/or exclaim:

“Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!” Or words to that effect.

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU!

LAWDIVA AKA GEORGIALEE LANG

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Why Would Angelina Jolie Demand Sole Custody?

GeorgiaLeeLang025When I read this morning that Brad and Angie were kaput, I didn’t believe it. After all, every month for the past several years some gossip magazine has splashed this headline across their cover page. Only it was never true.

But today it is, and to my surprise the liberal heroine of human rights, Ms. Jolie,  wants to deprive her children of a basic human right: the right to have a full relationship with their father.  Yes, children have a right to know both their parents, a right so precious that the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child includes this provision in Article 18:

“State parties shall use their best efforts to ensure recognition of the principle that both parents have common responsibilities for the upbringing and development of the child.”

In this day and age when a mother, like Ms. Jolie, asks a court to award sole custody of the children to her,  it can only be interpreted as a denunciation of the children’s father. In most family courts, a claim for sole custody in favour of one parent usually signals that the other parent is a drunk, an addict, a child molester, is in jail,  or so mentally ill that he or she is incapable of taking care of the children.

Sole custody means that the custodial parent alone will decide where the children live, where they go to school, what kind of school they will attend and what religion will be taught to them.

In Canada a judge of the Supreme Court held that a non-custodial parent has no more rights than an “interested observer”- A shocking pronouncement for a parent who finds him or herself estranged from his children by virtue of relationship breakdown.

If reports that the Jolie-Pitt’s are frequently on different continents is accurate, it will be difficult to craft an equitable parenting schedule. Note that I didn’t say equal. That may be impossible, but children need stability as much as they need both parents in their lives.

Ms. Jolie has a reputation as a compassionate humanitarian and has undertaken massive charitable projects throughout the third world focusing on children’s rights.  I believe that if she understood what her claim for sole custody really meant, she would resile from it.

I hope that for the children’s sake she does and does so very quickly.

The World’s Richest Lawyers: Part 1

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If you think all lawyers are rich, you’d be wrong. Money Inc. reports that the average salary for lawyers in the United States is $133,000 per year. The average for Canadian lawyers is less than that. But there are a group of lawyers worldwide who have made a fortune from practicing law, not from investments or business activities, but just advising and representing clients.  The list includes a few well-known names and several who fly under the radar.

  1. ALAN DERSHOWITZ  $25 million

A graduate of Harvard Law School in 1962, Dershowitz became a faculty member at Harvard in 1964 and a full professor in 1967. While working as a professor he gained a stellar reputation as a criminal lawyer, representing celebrities such as heavyweight champion Mike Tyson, Queen of Mean and New York hotelier Leona Helmsley, OJ Simpson, Patty Hearst, televangelist Jim Bakker, and Claus Van Bulow, acquitted of murdering his wife. He has also written more than a dozen books.

2. MARK GERAGOS $25 million

Mark Geragos is a “celebrity” lawyer who has acted for Michael Jackson in his sexual molestation trial; Winona Ryder for shoplifting; California politician, Gary Condit, who was suspected of murdering his Washington, DC intern; Susan McDougal , partner of the Clinton’s involved in the Whitewater scandal; Scott Ferguson, convicted of murdering his wife Lacey; and Chris Brown, who pleaded guilty to the assault of his girlfriend Rhianna. Named one of the 100 Most Influential Attorneys in California, he also holds the record for one of the top ten jury verdicts in California for a 2008 award of more than $38 million against a pharmaceutical company

3. WILLIAM LERACH $900 Million

William Lerach specialized in corporate law, specifically  private securities class action lawsuits, the largest being the $7.12 billion he obtained as the lead attorney in the action against Enron. Nicknamed the “King of Pain”, he was reputed to be one of the most feared lawyers in the US during his 30-year career. In 2010 Pulitzer Prize winning journalists, Patrick Dillon and Carl Cannon wrote a book about Lerach called “Circle of Greed: The Spectacular Rise and Fall of the Lawyer Who Brought Corporate America to its Knees”. He no longer practices law after pleading guilty  in 2007 for obstruction of justice, related to a kickback scheme,  and serving a two-year prison sentence. He was disbarred in California in 2009.

Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang

Hollywood, Stop Bothering Us With Your Inane Political Prattle

GeorgiaLeeLang009Jennifer Lawrence is the latest pretty face to achieve Hollywood success, scooping up an Academy Award for  Silver Linings Playbook in 2012 and achieving fame for her role in The Hunger Games. She was  first recruited by a modelling agency at the age of 14, when she was vacationing in New York City with her mother.

Recently on The Graham Norton Show, a BBC production hosted by  an Irish  comedian that combines comedy with chat, Ms. Lawrence showed off her class and style when she announced that her message to Donald Trump was that he could “F….Off”. Yet, her friends and fans still maintain that she is still just a Kentucky girl from a nice Christian family. Her family must be terribly embarrassed.

On the Graham Norton set she was joined by Johnny Depp, who did a  pitiful imitation of Mr. Trump, but as is usual with “stars”, no one had the nerve to tell him it was worse than  pathetic. Mr. Depp also insulted Mr. Trump…but what would one expect from two Hollywood stars who think a high school diploma and an acting career makes them worthy of our attention.

It always amazes me that Hollywood actors actually think people care about what they think about politics, foreign policy, the environment, or healthcare, among many other heady topics. What skills does an actor have that makes him or her an expert on any of these issues?

The hypocrisy of actors like Leonardo DiCaprio, age 40, who promotes his global warming agenda, nearly as much as he preens for the paparazzi, or dumps a regular succession of  20-something models, while travelling around the world in a private jet.

Remarkably, he flew a private jet from the U.S. to Davos, Switzerland earlier this year to lecture the attendees about climate change. Meanwhile, it was reported that in a six-week period in 2014 Mr. DiCaprio flew six times between Los Angeles and New York, all the while decrying everyone else’s “carbon footprint”.

Not to mention his $200 million, 450 foot super yacht, which can burn thousands of litres of marine diesel every hour, and up to 1,000 additional litres to run the air conditioning and electrical systems, spewing smoke and carbon dioxide as it plys the world’s oceans.

Another high school drop out whose ego is limitless.

I bet Jennifer can’t stand that Donald Trump has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, for producing 14 seasons of  The Apprentice, with Mark Burnett, Hollywood’s most vocal Christian, responsible for the success of Survivor, The Voice, and The Bible, amongst his  dozens of high-quality television and documentary programs.

Hollywood: stop bothering us with your inane political prattle…That includes you, George Clooney!

Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang

The Ghomeshi Verdict: Part 4

GeorgiaLeeLang100Ghomeshi kept trophies to manipulate and prevent women from going to the police.”

You know how some people keep everything they ever got? They call them packrats, and that’s one reason why former CBC golden boy, Jian Ghomeshi, was able to beat the sexual assault charges in late March.

Jesse Brown, the Canadian journalist who first broke the story about Ghomeshi’s dismissal from CBC, has compiled and interviewed an interesting group of additional Ghomeshi victims.

Many of the successful challenges to the alleged victims/witnesses’ evidence at his recent trial were based on Mr. Ghomeshi’s retention of letters and emails from the women in his life.

For example, former actress Lucy DeCoutere’s courtroom downfall was due in part to a letter from her to  Mr. Ghomeshi that he retained for 13 years; a letter that contradicted her evidence at trial. Why would Ghomeshi keep this letter from a woman who was not his girlfriend and whom he had no sexual relationship?

Mr. Brown believes that he kept files on women in case they would later accuse him of violence… a shocking suggestion, but one based on multiple candid interviews conducted by him.

In 2013 Mr. Ghomeshi sent a letter to a woman, 20 years his junior, after she confronted him about non-consensual violence during their sexual tryst. He wrote:

“Dear _______, ….it IS about sex. it WAS…..i have text messages from you saying you want this…the ‘rough sex’…was something you were very interested in…you WANTED it to continue the next day and in subsequent messages and notes…reread our texts and re-examine our conversations if you wish… i wish for good karma into 2013. yours, jian”

When Mr. Brown interviewed the young woman he asked her what had occurred on their date. She described being slammed against a wall, choked from behind, and repeatedly punched in the head. When asked if she expected this behaviour from Ghomeshi she said there had been an online flirtation concerning rough sex and submission, but she had no idea what she was in for. She said, “I didn’t know men hit women like that during sex.”

The pain was so bad she considered going to the hospital, but Mr. Ghomeshi pleaded with her to give him another chance. He also admitted he was raised in a violent family. She spent another evening with him where he “behaved”, but later she accused him of manipulating her. That’s when he aggressively responded “I have text messages…you WANTED it.”

Investigative reporter Jesse Brown confirmed that he spoke to 23 victims in total and at least three of them described similar scenarios. Ghomeshi would engage in email conversations with his “dates” about BSM (bondage, sadism and masochism) but suggest it was all fantasy. He told them that sexual experimentation was healthy and when they resisted, taunted them as not being “ready” for a guy like him. He asked for nude photos demanding explicit, pornographic poses.

Mr. Ghomeshi kept emails and photos as “trophies”, evidence he would rely on if needed. Mr. Brown reports that his tactics have effectively muted many of the women who would like to speak out, but will not.

Ghomeshi has another trial in June 2016 with another victim. Let’s hope justice prevails….

Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang

 

 

 

 

 

The Ghomeshi Verdict: Part 3

GeorgiaLeeLang016While some have tried to characterize this decision as gender discrimination, the truth is these witnesses can blame no one but themselves for the Court’s devastating critique of their characters.”

The allegations against Mr. Ghomeshi came from three witnesses, each of whom was thoroughly discredited. That the Crown did not abort their case mid-trial is astonishing to me. I can only imagine the conversations between the Crown lawyers and their embarrassment as they presented their case.

The third witness/victim was referred to as S.D. She was a professional dancer and met Mr. Ghomeshi after a performance in Toronto. They had one dinner date and then met after one of her shows and took a walk to a local park. S.D. told the police that it was after dark when they sat on a park bench and kissed. She said she felt his hands and teeth on her neck. She said it was “not right”, “rough”, and unwelcome. She socialized with Mr. Ghomeshi at public events two or three times after that evening and then had no further relationship with him.

Her evidence at trial was problematic. It was imprecise and inconsistent. An excerpt from the trial illustrates this:

“ He had his hand-it was sort of-it was sort of his hands were on my shoulders, kind of my arms here, and then it was-and then I felt his teeth and his hands around my neck…It was rough but-yeah, it was rough.”

Question: “Were his hands open, were they closed?

Answer: “It’s really hard for me to say, but it was just-I felt his hands around my neck, all around my neck…And I –I think I tried to-I tried to get out of it and then his hand was on my mouth, sort of smothering me.”

When asked about her report to the police and the lack of detail she said she was still “trying to figure it out”. When asked if she had spoken to one of the other witnesses before providing her evidence to the police she said she had not. However, under cross-examination she admitted that she had.

Most damaging to S.D. were the Court’s findings that she and witness Lucy DeCoutere had joined forces to bring Mr. Ghomeshi “down”. S.D. and Ms. DeCoutere had exchanged 5,000 emails in a 12-month period. The Court described the strong bond forged between the two women as they discussed witnesses, court dates, and meetings with the Crown. They initially hired the same lawyer and shared a “publicist”, an unusual professional adjunct for a sexual assault victim.

S.D. was adamant that she cut off all further contact with Mr. Ghomeshi and tried to “keep her distance”. What she failed to disclose until the trial was that she and Mr. Ghomeshi had another date at her home where she admitted they “messed around”, describing the sexual acts she engaged in on that occasion. She was forced to admit she had deliberately lied and tried to conceal her continuing relationship with him.

She explained she didn’t think it was important and invoked the Bill Clinton defence “we did not have sexual relations”.  It didn’t work for Bill and clearly undermined her testimony.

The Court also learned that six months after the alleged assault she sent Mr. Ghomeshi an email inquiring whether he “still wanted to have that drink sometime?” Not exactly the sentiment of someone trying to keep their distance from an alleged sexual offender.

Of course we know that Mr. Ghomeshi was acquitted of all charges, thanks to the tenacity of his lawyer, Marie Henein. The Court commented on her skillful cross-examination of the three witnesses:

“The cross-examination dramatically demonstrated that each complainant was less then full, frank and forthcoming in the information they provided to the media, to the police, to Crown Counsel and to this Court.”

The sad truth is that once a witness perjures her or himself their credibility is lost. The Court said the “volume of serious deficiencies in the evidence left the Court with reasonable doubt.”

While some have tried to characterize this decision as gender discrimination, the truth is these witnesses can blame no one but themselves for the Court’s devastating critique of their characters.

Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang

The Ghomeshi Verdict: Part 2

GeorgiaLeeLang025Mr. Justice Horkins reviewed the definition of “sexual assault” in the Criminal Code, and remarked that it covered a broad spectrum of offensive activity from uninvited sexual touching through to vaginal penetration. The Court acknowledged that based on the descriptions of events recounted by each witness, taken at face value, their circumstances fell within the broad definition of sexual assault.

The second complainant was Lucy DeCoutere, a sometime actress whose credits included episodes of the television series, “Trailer Park Boys”. She met Mr. Ghomeshi in 2003 at the Banff Film Festival. They hit it off and agreed to meet again later in Toronto. Ms. DeCoutere described an enjoyable dinner date that ended at Mr. Ghomeshi’s home. What happened next formed the basis for two charges against Mr. Ghomeshi.

After Mr. Ghomeshi showed Ms. DeCoutere around his pristine apartment he suddenly kissed her, pushed her against the wall, and with his hand around her throat, choked her and then slapped her. She said she was shocked but tried to pretend she was not alarmed or frightened. She stayed a while longer as he played his guitar and they listened to music…. and then he kissed her good night and she left.

They spent more time together that weekend and when she returned home to Halifax she sent him flowers, thanking him for being such a good host. She also sent him a handwritten “love letter” that read, “What on earth could be better than lying with you, listening to music and having peace?” She also said she wished they had spent the night together and that she “loved his hands”, an odd statement from a woman who had had been choked with those hands.

They connected next in June 2004, again at the Banff Film Festival and sang karaoke together, a duet of Britney Spears’ “Hit Me Baby One More Time”. Ms. DeCourtere said it was “hilarious”, but the irony did not escape the Court’s attention. She failed to mention to the police investigators that after the Banff Festival she sent a photograph to Ghomeshi of herself and him singing, with the caption” “Proof that you can’t live without me.”

Curiously, in her police interviews and in the 19 media interviews she did, she never mentioned that she and Ghomeshi had been kissing before and after the alleged assault. The first time she reported this was at the trial. She was adamant in her report to the police that she had no further relationship with Mr. Ghomeshi, admitting that she did see him in “passing” at industry events, but kept her distance.

But there was more… a lot more. Before travelling to Banff in 2004 she emailed Ghomeshi telling him she wanted to “play” with him in Banff and that perhaps they would have a “chance encounter in a broom closet”. Mr. Ghomeshi was decidedly non-committal, responding, “I’d love to hang but can’t promise much.” Ms. DeCoutere was insistent, writing that she would “beat the crap out of him” if they didn’t hang together in Banff.

Ms. DeCoutere only approached the police with her story after she heard that Mr. Ghomeshi had been fired from CBC, but it appeared she was more interested in publicity than justice. She engaged the services of a publicist and the hash tag “ibelievelucy” became very popular, even attracting the attention of actress Mia Farrow. She confided in a friend saying, the trial was going to be “theatre at its best”…”Dude, with my background I literally feel like I was prepped to take this on, no shit”….”this does not freak me out. I invite the media shit.”

She also engaged in a flurry of email traffic with another of the complainants, expressing strong disdain and animosity for Mr. Ghomeshi, stating that she wanted to see him “f______’ decimated and that it was time to “flush him”.

Her deception and suppression of evidence under oath concerned the trial judge who opined, “It is difficult to have trust in a witness who engages in the selective withholding of relevant information.”

Ms. DeCoutere clearly did not expect that 13 years later, Mr. Ghomeshi would produce the “love letter” she wrote him after the allegedly violent encounter of 2003.   Part 3 of the Ghomeshi Verdict will review the evidence of the third victim, while Part 4 will explore why Mr. Ghomeshi retained letters and emails from a dozen or more women who were captivated by his charm…and celebrity.

Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang