Help Ted Rall Fight the LA Times
I'm Ted Rall. I'm a 55-year-old syndicated political cartoonist, columnist and occasional war correspondent in New York.
This is your chance to help defend free speech and freedom of the press against the police.
About Rall v. LA Times:
Did you know it's legal for a police department to buy stock in a newspaper? It shouldn't be, but it is. Ted Rall was the cartoonist at the LA Times between 2009 and 2015. During that time Rall did what cartoonists do: he made fun of and criticized those in power, including America's most militarized and corrupt big-city police department, the LAPD.
Unbeknownst to Rall, in 2014 the LAPD pension fund became the #1 shareholder of Tribune Publishing, parent company of the Times. Midwifing the deal was Austin Beutner: vulture capitalist in post-Soviet Russia, billionaire hedge fund guy, Times publisher, and a man with political ambitions to become either mayor of LA or governor of California. Beutner wasn't popular with voters but he had a powerful political ally: Charlie Beck, Chief of the LAPD.
In July 2015 Charlie Beck, then-Chief of the Los Angeles Police Department (subsequently forced out as the result of scandals), visited the office of Austin Beutner (subsequently fired for boardroom skullduggery) to ask his friend for a favor. Beck asked Beutner to fire award-winning artist Ted Rall from his position as Editorial Cartoonist at the LA Times to put an end to Rall's consistent, principled criticism of police brutality and corruption and of Beck's corrupt rule over the department.
Charlie Beck, Chief, LAPD
A Rall cartoon mocking Chief Beck.
The LAPD and specifically Beck were the target of numerous critical Rall cartoons since 2009. To nail Rall, Beck illegally passed unofficial documents, including a secret audio recording, to the LA Times that supposedly proved that Rall had lied about a police encounter (an arrest for jaywalking) from 2001. He hadn't. These documents were carefully cherry-picked in order to misrepresent the truth and smear Rall.
The audio, made by the arresting officer way back in 2001 (!), was mostly static and noise. The Times said it didn't back Ted's account. But Ted paid to have it "enhanced" (cleaned up). Guess what? It proved Ted had told the truth .
The Times didn't bother to check if the documents or the audio were legitimate. Rall was nevertheless fired within less than a day, without an investigation, without consulting his editors, without even being brought into the office to discuss what actually happened in 2001.
What did they do after they learned they'd screwed up? Most papers would have apologized and Ted would have gone back to work drawing cartoons.
Not the Times.
They forbid their editors from talking to reporters, shut down their website's section for reader comments, censored letters to the editor and refused to discuss the matter with Ted — because the LAPD wouldn't let them. At a court hearing, a Times reporter confessed to Rall that "I am not allowed to talk to you." This is mafia behavior, not journalism.
The May 2015 cartoon by Ted Rall in the LA Times that prompted LAPD Chief Beck to demand Rall's firing.
The Times brazenly violated its own Ethical Guidelines, which state: "People who will be shown in an adverse light must be given a meaningful opportunity to defend themselves. This means making a good-faith effort to give the subject of allegations or criticism sufficient time and information to respond substantively. Whenever possible, the reporter should meet directly with the subject in a sincere effort to understand his or her best arguments."
Austin Beutner, billionaire, ex-publisher, LA Times
Smoking gun: Deposition that reveals the secret meeting between Beutner and Beck, where they conspired to fire Rall as a favor to Beck. Violating its own Ethical Guidelines, the Times continues to protect Beck as an anonymous source.
There is a history of Southern California newspapers colluding with police to fire critical journalists. At the San Diego Union-Tribune in 2009, "anti-cop" members of the editorial board were targeted for dismissal after the LAPPL police union bought stock in the company. At the time of Rall's firing, the LAPD union was the #1 shareholder of Tribune Publishing , the parent company of the Los Angeles Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune . (The police union even gloated over Rall's firing on their blog.)
The Los Angeles Police Protective League's blog gloating over Rall's firing. The LAPPL has since taken it down.
To defend his account of events, Rall hired an audio company to analyze the police audio tape used to fire him. Extensive analysis revealed that Rall had been telling the truth about the encounter all along, but the Times provided no comment and no retraction until three weeks later — only after outrage over Rall's firing went viral online — when they provided their own forensic analysis which supposedly found less evidence on the tape. It later turned out that the Times had again lied to their readers about what their experts had discovered — and the fact that they refused to pay their experts to do a real analysis.
The well-respected journalists at the New York Observer — owned by President Trump's brother-in-law, so hardly on the same page politically — agree that Ted, not the LA Times, told the truth. They even published an editorial supporting him.
Famous best-selling independent journalist Greg Palast says Ted is telling the truth and that the Times needs to take him back .
The publisher of the Pasadena Weekly, where Ted used to draw before he went to the Times, confirms that local law enforcement officials repeatedly pressured him to fire Ted.
The Association of American Editorial Cartoonists has issued a formal statement demanding an independent investigation of the Times' actions.
R.C. Harvey of The Comics Journal, which has been critical of Ted in the past, has a detailed account that supports Ted.
Even right-wing bloggers — Ted is progressive — are on Ted's side.
Angry LA Times subscribers' comments supporting Rall.
In the aftermath of the Ted Rall scandal, Beutner was unceremoniously fired and escorted out of the Times building by security guards. He wasn't even allowed to use his latimes.com email account to say goodbye.
Weeks after being named publisher of the LA Times, the LAPPL gave Austin Beutner its 2014 Badge and Eagle Award for "support[ing] the LAPD in all that they do." Beutner is in the photo on the lower right.
After all this, all Rall wanted was his job back, and a retraction. That's standard journalistic practice. Despite Beutner's ouster, however, the Times continues to attack Rall.
Even after Rall provided copious exonerating evidence to the Times, an Editor’s Note remains online that states the Rall falsified his claim, injuring his professional journalistic reputation. So does a second Times screed doubling down on their false claims.
A third article , about Ted suing them, was written without bothering to call or email Ted for his comment.
What's going on?
Times management can't/won't admit they were wrong, because it would hurt their cozy relationship with the Los Angeles Police Department — at the time their de facto corporate owner, and now the source of many of their stories now that they've laid off so many beat reporters.
Now, Ted is suing the LA Times for defamation, wrongful termination, blacklisting and five other counts. As they've tacitly conceded in court, the Times has no legitimate defense, so they're trying to bully their way out of the case by filing stalling and delaying tactics.
Read the entire text of Ted's lawsuit here .
All Ted wants is for a jury of his peers to hear his story. He is confident that they will agree that what the Times did was illegal. Before that can happen, however, Ted has to get past California's notorious "anti-SLAPP" law. According to the LA Times' own editorial board, anti-SLAPP was passed to protect small individuals from big corporations, as when "a deep-pocketed corporation, developer or government official files a lawsuit whose real purpose is to silence a critic, punish a whistleblower or win a commercial dispute."
In this case, however, the Times -- part of a huge $420 million corporation called Tronc (formerly Tribune Publishing) -- is Goliath pretending to be David, turning the statute on its head in order to try to bankrupt Ted into a "pay to play" legal maneuver. Under anti-SLAPP, Rall has to prove that he is likely to prevail in his lawsuit before he begins depositions, discovery, and the actual lawsuit process...which are likely to reveal more skullduggery among corrupt Times officials.
The Times backed away from their assertions that Ted lied, as they realize that they have made a huge mistake. Now, they’re trying to prevail through technicalities. The Times' lawyer Kelli Sager of the pro-corporation law firm Davis Wright Tremaine filed a motion demanding that Rall post a whopping $300,000 bond . This is in case the Times wins their disgusting anti-SLAPP motion, which would allow the Times to be awarded their attorneys' fees...to be paid for by Ted.
Fortunately, the judge ordered the amount reduced to $75,000. Still, that's a lot of money. Most states ask for a few hundred bucks, maybe a thousand. It's a lot more money than Ted, who earned $300/week at the Times, has access to. Which is where you came in. More than 750 supporters came through with $75,000!
But that was just the beginning. The Times' lawyers are aggressive, highly-paid and well-connected — and ruthless. They will do anything they can to stop the Times from being held accountable, including destroying Ted.
The Times filed three anti-SLAPP motions against Ted. On June 21, 2017 a judge heard the one by the individual defendants at the Times (ex-publisher Austin Beutner, editorial page editor Nick Goldberg, reporter Paul Pringle and ombudsman Deirdre Edgar). After a timid and tepid defense by his lawyer during oral arguments, Ted lost that hearing and ordered Ted— the victim— to pay the Times $330,000 for their legal fees!
That loss is automatically appealable. Ted appealed to the California Court of Appeal, which heard Ted's oral arguments December 20, 2018. During the hearing Times/National Enquirer attorney Kelli Sager had the nerve to compare Ted, completely out of thin air, to a "pedophile." The judges did not chastise her.
We are awaiting the court's ruling.
Ted could lose everything. If the Court of Appeals rules against Ted, a judgement awarding the Times' legal fees would be entered in the amount of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
One of Ted's Facebook friends recently posted something that explains what this is all about:
I am speaking out of turn, but having followed Mr. Rall's writings/cartoons for greater than 20 years, I believe Mr. Rall recognizes that the final decision of the court is immaterial. A win would be nice, but the point is to stand up, to fight against injustice. To take a stand, regardless of the cost. I imagine Mr. Rall spoke with several attorneys who advised him to let this go, that even a positive result wouldn't justify the financial costs and emotional toil. (At least I hope someone told him this.)
Mr. Rall is smart enough to realize that the sure path to financial success is to ally one's self with the powers that be, and to gang up on the under-dog. He clearly has eschewed this path.
Ted will continue this fight. But he hasn't gotten this far by himself and he can't keep it going without your help.
This GoFundMe campaign began as an effort to raise funds required by LA Superior Court in response to the LA Times' motion (under something called "Code 1030") that I post a bond in order to be allowed to be allowed to argue my case against the Times in court. Amazing that anyone would need to pay $75K just to begin a lawsuit! But even more amazing that, thanks to more than 750 generous contributors, the LA Times bond got funded on time!
Now the fight is underway.
This fundraiser remains active for those who want to support ongoing expenses in my case, Rall v. LA Times et al.
If you'd like to support my fight against corruption and collusion between the LA Times and the LAPD by contributing to my ongoing legal expenses, including court costs and expenses, cross-country travel to attend hearings and consult with my attorneys in LA, you may do so here.Your pledge helps to keep our fight going. Your pledge tells the LAPD and other police agencies that interfering with the free press and with editorial commentary is not acceptable behavior. Sadly, Ted's case is not unique. In Oregon, police conspired with a hard-hitting reporter's publisher to fire him because he editorialized against their illegal searches of high school kids during a basketball game.
Your pledge tells newspapers that kowtowing to local authorities and law enforcement is a violation of their public trust, and that using a newspaper as a vehicle to stifle legitimate criticism of police misconduct will not be tolerated.
Help Ted get justice and show the media that journalists cannot be bullied!
A cartoon by Ted Rall in the Los Angeles Times making fun of LAPD Chief Charlie Beck.
Breaking precedent where newspapers are usually on the side of free speech, seven First Amendment organizations issued amicus briefs against the Times and its billionaire owner, Dr. Pat Soon-Shiong. These groups are:
Association of American Editorial Cartoonists
Cartoonists Rights Network International
Comic Book Legal Defense Fund
Index on Censorship (UK)
National Coalition Against Censorship National Writers Union
Thank you SO much to these groups and their members for their courageous support in my struggle against censorship by the police.
Both sides will file briefs in preparation for oral arguments.
This is a momentous day. As many of you know, I have been fighting the corrupt LAPD-LA Times alliance, two billionaires (Austin Beutner and Soon-Shiong) and a media establishment that refuses to cover my case for fear of losing anti-SLAPP protections if I prevail. My first attorney bailed on me days before a key hearing and I was forced to represent myself before finding Jeff and Roger. Both lower courts ruled against me, ordering me to pay the Times--the criminals!--hundreds of thousands of dollars. Even the LA Times Newspaper Guild refuses to acknowledge my existence--because they're sucking up to Soon-Shiong.
Now all that may be about to change. No one knows how the California Supreme will rule, but generally speaking they don't agree to hear appeals from the Court of Appeal unless they believe something has gone seriously wrong and needs to be addressed. I have gone from believing that my case was almost lost to believing that we will probably win, and then go to trial where I will finally have my case heard by a jury. Thank you so much to those of you who always stuck by me and believed in my case. I will never forget you; I will always be there for you. Thank you.
Freedom of the press is at stake.
The subtle yet fundamental question here is: who needs freedom of the press? The obvious answer is journalists: reporters and pundits. But journalists’ freedom to report and editorialize is in grave danger from a surprising enemy: their employers.
Once was, reporters like Woodward and Bernstein were on the same side as their employers. In this age of corporate aggregation of newspapers and other media outlets by publicly-traded media corporations and individual billionaires, however, newspapers and other media outlets are often compromised by their quest for profits, as the LA Times’ parent company was when it allowed its stock to be sold to the LAPD pension fund. In this struggle the media companies have framed themselves as guardians of press freedom at the expense of journalists, ironically securing the power to screw journalists in the guise of First Amendment protections.
If the California Supreme Court refuses to hear my case — which is probably what will happen — or hears it and rules for the Times’ anti-SLAPP motion against me, the court will send a chilling message to journalists and pundits across the country. Most Americans, and most reporters, live in states with anti-SLAPP statutes modeled on California’s.
The threat to journalists is unmistakable: rock the boat and you risk being destroyed.
Write an article critical of a powerful institution like the LAPD, the nation’s highly militarized, largest and most brutal police forces, controlling a $16 billion pension fund, and they can pull strings to get you fired. It can also happen in a tiny town like Baker City, Oregon.
Even worse, you can’t find another job because they use falsified “evidence” to smear your reputation for honesty. Even if you can prove that it’s BS — as I did — media companies use their editorial endorsements of jurists and politicians to rig the courts with their allies so you, the victim, get dunned hundreds of thousands of dollars for the villainous media company’s legal fees!
I have advice for journalists thinking about covering police abuse: don’t. The price for doing your job — termination, defamation and bankruptcy — isn’t worth it.
If I could go back to 2015 when the LAPD-owned LA Times trashed my reputation in service to a thin-skinned police chief, I would not draw or write anything about the cops. It’s too dangerous.
I have learned how big media companies have stacked the bench with sympathetic judges, lobbied for laws that protect them from accountability for breaking the law and used their influence to crush individual journalists for such crimes as reporting the news or having worked long enough to earn a high salary. The system doesn’t even pretend to be fair. Many judges are former prosecutors; how can they justify not recusing themselves from cases involving the cops?
Now there is a $330,000 judgment against me for having the gall to defend my reputation in court. Unless the California Supreme Court overrules it, that judgment will be final and will grow bigger. Journalists and pundits aren’t covering my case — they’re afraid, as they ought to be — but they are watching. If the judgment stands, who will be stupid enough to take on the LAPD or similar institution?
As if the chilling effect on journalists wasn’t enough reason to watch my case, the Times is arguing (so far, successfully) that media companies should no longer extend protections against discrimination by gender, age and sexual orientation to their workers. Unless the court overturns the lower court rulings against me, the door will be pushed open for the Times and other California media corporations to fire, say, its African-American or transgender employees without redress in the courts.
Then there’s the damage to defamation law. For hundreds of years it has been possible for a person wrongfully slimed by a news publication to go to court to try to clear their name. Abusive anti-SLAPP motions have made a mockery of libel law to the point that the National Enquirer, represented by the same lawyer as the Times, falsely claimed Richard Simmons had become a transsexual woman and Simmons was ordered to pay $130,000 to the Enquirer!
It should be challenging to sue for libel, not impossible.
“The quote/unquote truth doesn’t matter,” Los Angeles Times/National Enquirer lawyer Kelli Sager said in court. So far, she’s been right. Judges have bent over backwards to believe the Times’ many lies and ignore the plain truth right in front of them. Hopefully a court outside LA will let me get my day in court.
by Ted Rall
I was wronged. All I wanted was a trial by jury, a right enshrined in Anglo-Saxon legal tradition in the Magna Carta 803 years ago.
Is this still America? No. America is dead.
Not only have I been denied that fundamental right, I have been punished for having had the temerity to seek redress in the courts.
Justice is when wrongdoers are punished and victims are compensated. Instead, the California court system has provided Anti-Justice. The wrongdoers are getting off scot-free. I, the victim, am not merely being ignored or brushed off. I am being actively punished.
The ruling in Ted Rall v. Los Angeles Times et al. came down last week. The California Court of Appeal ruled in favor of the Times’ “anti-SLAPP” motion against me. Anti-SLAPP law supporters, including the Times, say they’re supposed to be used by poor individuals to defend their First Amendment rights against big companies. But that’s BS. The Times — owned by the $500 million Tronc corporation when I filed suit, now owned by $7 billion biotechnology entrepreneur Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong — abused anti-SLAPP to destroy me.
My case was simple. From 2009 to 2015 I was staff editorial cartoonist for The Los Angeles Times. I drew hundreds of cartoons, some mocking the LAPD and then-Chief Charlie Beck for the Times and criticizing them for abusing people of color and the poor. Not surprisingly, the LAPD hated me. Whatever.
A new publisher, Beck’s pal Austin Beutner, took over in 2014. It was one of the sleaziest political alliances in a city famous for incestuous politics.
Like other newspaper companies, Tronc was desperate for money — so they turned to Beutner. As new publisher Beutner appears to have midwifed the purchase by the LAPD pension fund of millions of dollars of Tronc stock via a Beverly Hills-based investment company called Oaktree Capital, turning the LAPD into the #1 shareholder of Tronc, parent company of the Times. A few months the Los Angeles Police Protective League (LAPPL) gave Beutner its 2014 “Badge and Eagle Award” for supporting the police “in everything they do.” LA Times’ Ethical Guidelines prohibit Times employees from receiving non-journalistic awards or prizes.
One year later in 2015 Beck asked publisher Austin Beutner to fire me because I had annoyed him and the LAPD, and to smear me so I couldn’t work anymore. At this point, of course. the LAPD effectively owned the Times so Beck was Beutner’s boss. Adding to the web of conflict, Beutner wanted (and still wants) to be mayor of LA or governor of California. The problem for Beutner was and is, he has no popular base. Angelenos don’t like him.
The LAPD was Beutner’s only real political ally. So when Beck came calling, Beutner was bound to say “yes” to anything he wanted.
So the Times ran two pieces announcing that I’d been fired, not for offending Beck — violating their own Ethical Guidelines, they kept his identity secret — but for supposedly lying in a blog post discussing a jaywalking arrest in 2001. I hadn’t lied. I told the truth. And I proved it.
The “evidence” that I lied was an audio recording of my 2001 jaywalking stop made secretly by the cop. It was mostly inaudible. But when I had the traffic and wind noise removed professionally, a process called audio enhancement, it revealed that I told the truth when I said I had been handcuffed and that an angry group of onlookers had protested my treatment.
“One hell of a defamation case,” a lawyer told me. Another, a top expert on libel, said: “If you don’t win your case, defamation law in California is dead.”
But as the Times’ lawyer kept saying in court, “the quote/unquote truth doesn’t matter.” She was right. What mattered were power, money and influence. Judges in LA, many of whom are former prosecutors, are loathe to anger either the LAPD or the LA Times.
This ruling means my case will probably never go to trial. The court has already ordered me to pay $330,000 to the Times for their legal fees because hey, a guy with $7 billion obviously needs and deserves to get cash from a cartoonist the Times used to pay $300 a week. That sum will definitely be higher — perhaps double — by the time the Times files the rest of its padded legal fees. (If I had won at this stage, the Times would not have owed me anything and I would have been responsible for my own legal fees. Nice system.)
I will never get discovery, which means neither I nor the readers of the Times will ever learn the details about how then-publisher Austin Beutner (now superintendent of LA schools, where teachers are on strike because Beutner doesn’t want to give them a proper raise) arranged for the LAPD pension fund to become #1 shareholder of the Times’ parent company. Neither I nor the readers of the Times will ever know just how deep the corruption between the LA Times and the LAPD went, or to what extent the Times agreed to provide police-friendly coverage.
For me personally the ruling necessarily means bankruptcy and/or being forced to leave the United States so I can continue to earn a living. This is because, as a self-employed cartoonist, the Times can have my bank account frozen so everything I deposit goes to them. I would not be able to eat.
This used to be the kind of thing that happened to journalists in other countries, not the U.S. Unfortunately, I couldn’t even get the ACLU behind me — because they don’t want to be seen as opposing the anti-SLAPP law. Several First Amendment organizations and media outlets told me they were sympathetic to my plight but would not do anything that seemed to oppose anti-SLAPP. I should note, we did not challenge the anti-SLAPP law. We pointed out that it did not apply to me.
I’m much luckier than the murdered Jamal Khashoggi — though the scorched-earth litigation tactics and lies deployed by National Enquirer/LA Times attorney Kelli Sager makes me pretty sure the Times would do the same thing to me if they thought they could get away with it.
But the court’s and the LA Times’ real message isn’t directed toward me. What the court did in brazen deference to the LAPD and the LA Times and in direct opposition of the law was to send a message to journalists in California: do not mess with the cops and do not mess with a newspaper owned by the cops.
If you do your jobs, we will crush you.
At a time when reporters who still get to work are grateful to merely see their salaries slashed rather than join the ranks of the unemployed, you’d have to be a total goddamned idiot to criticize law enforcement.
There is one last slim reed of hope: the California Supreme Court. I am petitioning the high court to reverse the Court of Appeal’s anti-SLAPP ruling. But the odds are long. They hear fewer than five percent of appeals.
That’s what I was thinking last Thursday as I watched oral arguments in the California Court of Appeals in Los Angeles.
Case after case came before a three-judge panel. They concerned a variety of matters. Hundreds of thousands of dollars, perhaps millions, were at stake. More importantly, so were hard-built professional careers and reputations. With so much that mattered hanging in the balance, you’d hope to see these cases handled with sensitivity, decorum and thoughtfulness—and you’d be sorely disappointed.
There was a real estate deal gone wrong that I would have needed to read up on in order to understand. A physician was resisting a subpoena for his patients’ records filed by the state medical board, which suspected him of overprescribing opioids. And there was me, former editorial cartoonist for The Los Angeles Times, defending myself from an “anti-SLAPP” motion that, if successful, would end my lawsuit before it began and bankrupt me with a court order for me—the victim—to pay the Times hundreds of thousands of dollars for their legal fees.
It ought to be illegal for a police department to own a newspaper. But it’s not. In 2015 the LAPD pension fund was a major shareholder of Tribune Publishing, owner of the Times. Annoyed at my cartoons about him, then-LAPD Chief Charlie Beck asked the Times then-publisher Austin Beutner, now LA schools superintendent, to fire me as a political favor. He did. Beck also wanted my reputation destroyed so I could never work again, in order to send a message to journalists: don’t mess with the LAPD. Beutner, Beck’s political ally and a man with ambitions to become mayor or governor, complied by ordering that the paper publish two libelous articles about me portraying me as a liar.
The second one was published after I proved I had told the truth.
I sued for defamation and wrongful termination in 2016.
Since then Times attorney Kelli Sager, who also represents the National Enquirer in its smear of gay icon Richard Simmons, has waged a scorched-earth litigation campaign designed to intimidate, harass and delay my quest to clear my name. Sager filed the anti-SLAPP, a law designed to be used by individuals to defend themselves against powerful corporate entities, against me. She convinced the court to force me to pay $75,000 just to be able to continue my case for something called a “Section 1030”—a law whose intent is to discriminate against out-of-state plaintiffs (I live in New York.) Last week, during oral arguments in open court, she compared me to a “pedophile.”
Last summer the lower court in L.A. ruled against me on the anti-SLAPP, saying that even though I showed that I was truthful and the Times was not, I must pay $330,000 (as of then) in legal fees to the Times. I appealed, which is why I was in court last Thursday.
We knew it was going to be tough. Shortly beforehand the court issued a “tentative opinion” that indicated the Court of Appeals planned to buy Sager’s arguments lock, stock and barrel. Those arguments were lengthy and complicated but they could be summarized as: the First Amendment allows newspapers to publish anything they want, the truth doesn’t much matter and if you slap a veneer of officialdom on libel—in this case, the Times claimed, it was merely reporting on what the LAPD said about me—it becomes “privileged,” i.e. inactionable.
My attorney Jeff Lewis emphasized several points.
First, he pointed out, the tentative opinion disregarded California anti-SLAPP case law that requires that I be given the benefit of the doubt, not the Times, when considering their anti-SLAPP motion. In Overstock.com, Inc. v. Gradient Analytics, Inc. (2007), for example, the court ruled that “the plaintiff’s burden of establishing a probability of prevailing is not high: We do not weigh credibility, nor do we evaluate the weight of the evidence. Instead, we accept as true all evidence favorable to the plaintiff and assess the defendant’s evidence only to determine if it defeats the plaintiff’s submission as a matter of law.” The tentative opinion was rife with references to my supposed (in)credibility and purported to evaluate the evidence presented.
The justices seemed surprised by Jeff’s argument. They asked him to cite case law examples. He did. They wrote them down.
I hope they take notice and change tack, still, anti-SLAPP motions are commonplace in California courts. How could any judge be unaware of important cases like Overstock or the standard that plaintiffs get the benefit of the doubt in anti-SLAPP?
Jeff countered the Times’ argument that they were merely passing on what the LAPD records given to them said. It matters because “fair and true” journalistic reports about government records are “privileged.” Much of the Times’ hit pieces against me concerned the Times’ own cursory sham investigation of me. One judge asked Sager whether the Times was arguing that both the LAPD and the Times’ references were privileged. Sager repeated that the LAPD ones were, repeatedly ignoring the Times question until, after being pressed, she played dumb, insulting the court’s intelligence by pretending not to understand the issue.
No one pressed her on that or on her “pedophile” remark. Whereas the judges expressed great concern for the reputation of the doctor in the previous case about overprescribing, none spoke against comparing a cartoonist to a pedophile, further slandering me.
Jeff asked why the court’s tentative ruling ignored our most important anti-SLAPP case law precedent, Wilson v. CNN. There was no clear answer. Whether it was intentional or they forgot, people have been fired from far less prestigious jobs for considerably less shoddy work.
Lewis asked the court to consider the chilling message they would send to journalists at news outlets like the Times if they ruled for the Times against me: if you criticize the LAPD, you can be destroyed even though you did nothing wrong. And you can’t sue. There is no redress. There is no justice.
We await the court’s ruling.
Ya know...Rall is an asshole, there's no doubt about that. But in this case he is definitely getting screwed! When I criticize him, I do it for comments and cartoons he actually writes and draws...I have no problem holding him accountable for that! So go get em' Ted! I look forward to you going back to your job so that I can take pot shots at ya!
From our experience as pro se litigants, the judge saying 'no more continuances' would not apply to a client who has been abandoned by their attorney (in possible breach of ethics) and client needs more time to secure new representation. It's partly because the courts value the contributions of lawyers so highly that they would not want to force you to go pro se unless that was your preference or you had been derelict in seeking new counsel. Be prepared to convey that you wanted to respect the Court's wishes to not continue again but you have been unable to find substitute counsel despite working diligently at it. Bring a clear and concise record of everything you have done to obtain substitute counsel. If you have an atty you are friendly with they might advise you/appear on your behalf on an emergency basis just to get past this step and get more time. But from our experience if you are being respectful and trying your best the Court should grant you more time at their own discretion.
It's great to see Ted's update, but don't forget that we are trying to raise money with another campaign as well, which hasn't yet reached the original goal of $15,000 (although another $23.00 was logged today). 9w3cezxg Ted, I'm still looking to post an update to that campaign.
that's fantastic news! For some reason, this case was on my mind this week and I was feeling totally pessimistic. What a relief.
I'm sorry to hear this, Mr. Rall. While I haven't heard the other sides position as much as yours, it very much sounds like a complete and utter miscarriage of justice in every sense of the term. I can only hope the Court of Appeals sees the merit in your case and takes it up.
I'm delighted that the money happened. I hope it helped that I put a link on facebook, urging donations.
Early on, Rall said something like, "I want the record cleared, my job back and an apology." If Rall's friend is right and (to say it in the worst possible way) Rall wants to make an example of the Times, then the best thing they could do is to apologize and offer to settle. If he really is such an troublemaker, then nothing would toast his cookies more than if everyone started acting like adults. And I don't think he's just a troublemaker.
We did well pro se – and you can as well – but it took us a while to learn that the social cues of the process are at least as important as the logic of applying law to the facts. Lawyers know it is critical to signal respect for judges (e.g., proper 'Your Honor' language; always wearing a suit, which you should do as well even if it's from a thrift store) and the procedures that keep the thousands of cases moving swiftly along (e.g., minimizing requests for special treatment in continuances). See yourself through the judge's eyes as one among thousands of cases, each convinced of their merit and importance, and don't ask for anything that isn't generic to the system. Separate your desire to talk about how just your cause is from respect for The Court, and be sure you grasp and communicate the latter.
It would be great if you could get hooked up with Jared Beck!
Have they brought a motion to withdraw? From CA rules of professional conduct: Rule 3-700. Termination of Employment. (A) In General. (1) If permission for termination of employment is required by the rules of a tribunal, a member shall not withdraw from employment in a proceeding before that tribunal without its permission. (2) A member shall not withdraw from employment until the member has taken reasonable steps to avoid reasonably foreseeable prejudice to the rights of the client, including giving due notice to the client, allowing time for employment of other counsel, complying with rule 3-700(D), and complying with applicable laws and rules. ... (C) Permissive Withdrawal. If rule 3-700(B) is not applicable, a member may not request permission to withdraw in matters pending before a tribunal, and may not withdraw in other matters, unless such request or such withdrawal is because: (1) The client (a) insists upon presenting a claim or defense that is not warranted under existing law and cannot be supported by good faith argument for an extension, modification, or reversal of existing law, or (b) seeks to pursue an illegal course of conduct, or (c) insists that the member pursue a course of conduct that is illegal or that is prohibited under these rules or the State Bar Act, or (d) by other conduct renders it unreasonably difficult for the member to carry out the employment effectively, or (e) insists, in a matter not pending before a tribunal, that the member engage in conduct that is contrary to the judgment and advice of the member but not prohibited under these rules or the State Bar Act, or (f) breaches an agreement or obligation to the member as to expenses or fees. (2) The continued employment is likely to result in a violation of these rules or of the State Bar Act; or (3) The inability to work with co-counsel indicates that the best interests of the client likely will be served by withdrawal; or (4) The member's mental or physical condition renders it difficult for the member to carry out the employment effectively; or (5) The client knowingly and freely assents to termination of the employment; or (6) The member believes in good faith, in a proceeding pending before a tribunal, that the tribunal will find the existence of other good cause for withdrawal.
Did you and/or the judge give permission for the atty withdrawal? Seems like a violation of the code of conduct to leave you at this critical juncture. In any event, did you try the Electronic Frontier Foundation? https://www.eff.org/pages/legal-assistance
Imagine you should be able to get a continuance?
It looks like you got what you needed and then some. Congratulations! WHY CAN'T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG? Good luck to you
no book yet