A woman was bicycling near Pres. Trump’s golf course in New Jersey happened upon the President’s motorcade. She could have swerved to avoid the traffic. But, realizing this was the President’s motorcade, she rode along and flipped off the President. She expressed her views. She engaged in the great American past-time, public protest, if a bit profane. She was then fired from her marketing position at Akima LLC. The employer explained that it is company policy to fire persons who post profane pictures on Facebook. See CNN news report. The picture went viral on social media. Nothing indicates she posted the picture herself. But, Juli Briskman seems to have expected she would likely be fired.

But, wait, isn’t she protected by the First Amendment? No, persons employed in the private sector do not have First Amendment rights. The First Amendment applies to actions taken by state and local governments. Private employers can indeed squash our free speech. But, you get the impression she felt it was worth it.

 

There are reasons why Presidents never comment on pending criminal prosecutions. Anything they say will be amplified across the country and could undermine the prosecution. But, precedent never hinders Pres. Trump. Two days after the attack in New York City, Pres. Trump called for the attacker to be given the death penalty. He called for “strong” justice. Certainly, if anyone deserves “strong” justice, it is Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov. He killed eight people with a rental truck. But, in making those comments, Pres. Trump actually makes it more difficult to achieve those aims. Defense lawyers will not hesitate to ask for a change in venue if the local jury pool is tainted. But, since the publicity about the attacker and the President’s comments are national, there may not be a jury pool that is not tainted.

As one former federal prosecutor said, “Mr. President, your tweet takes it harder for DOJ to impose the death penalty, not easier.” See CNN news report.

But, this is what happens when you have a President who is anxious to change the topic of the news day.

The judge in SGT Bowe Bergdahl’s case will not limit or dismiss the court-martial because of Pres. Trump’s comments about the young sergeant. The judge found Trump’s comments, while inappropriate, would not affect Col. Nance. Col. Nance is the judge. He can judge whether the comments about Bergdahl will affect him. But, he is also implicitly saying he does not believe denial of the motion will provide basis for an appeal for SGT Bergdahl. See Task & Purpose report.

As I mentioned here and here, Pres. Trump has loudly condemned Bergdahl. SGT Bergdahl’s lawyer has claimed those remarks constitute unlawful command influence. COL. nance is set to retire in 2018 and is not eligible for promotion. Yes, that would make him unlikely to be influenced by what the President says or by what others might think of the President’s comments.

Of course, it should not be necessary to say that Pres. Trump and Candidate Trump should not make comments like that. There is no reason to create possible issues for an appeal.

Bowe Bergdahl was supposed to be sentenced on Oct. 23. But, instead, his lawyer renewed a motion he had filed before. Eugene Fidell re-argued a motion alleging there has been unlawful command influence (UCI). Pres. Trump talked about SGT Bergdahl last week, saying he cannot say anything, but he said things earlier. The President, in effect, affirmed his prior comments about that “traitor,” Bergdahl. The judge, Col. Nance, was not impressed by the prosecutor’s argument that Pres. Trump was simply responding to the reporter’s question. He had a “hard time” with that explanation.

So, Col. Nance postponed the hearing for a couple of days, so he can review cases about UCI. The challenge is this UCI is unprecedented. Never before has a president gone after one particular soldier. Pres. Nixon once referred to the My Lai massacre as a “travesty,” But, he did not focus on one specific soldier. Pres. Trump brought up SGT Bergdahl often during his campaign, referring to him as “dirty rotten traitor,” “horrible traitor,” “dirty no-good traitor,” and more. In the military, the President is always spoken of as the top person in the chain of command. Yet, in some ways, the President is removed from the military. So, the judge is being careful with this issue. As he should.

See San Antonio Express News report.

The first business day after being pardoned, the toughest sheriff is on the attack. Sheriff Joe Arpaio filed a motion on Monday seeking to dismiss his conviction. He insists he was found guilty by a biased judge. But, he accused the first judge of being biased, as well. Accusing a federal judge of bias is a dubious claim in any case. But, when you have been there, done that already, it does seem insincere.

In any event, the toughest sheriff says he may run for office again. See CBS news report.

The motion will lead to an interesting legal issue. A pardon does not indicate innocence. It is more of a forgiveness. As far as I know, there is no requirement that the judge now withdraw her conviction of the toughest sheriff. Good luck, Sheriff.

The toughest Sheriff in the country and the President both hinted the President would pardon Sherrif Arpaio and he has indeed done just that. Pres. Trump pardoned Sheriff Joe Arpaio, even though, technically, the toughest sheriff has not yet been sentenced. See CBS news report. The toughest sheriff has been a loyal supporter of the President and that loyalty has now paid off. But, unfortunately, the toughest sheriff in the country is now excused from profiling Hispanics.

First Sheriff Arpaio hinted that he would like a pardon. Then, Pres. Trump said he might pardon the “toughest sheriff” in the country. He has “done a lot” to oppose illegal immigration in this country and is a “great American patriot,” said the President. See CBS news report. I previoulsy wrote about the trial of the toughest sheriff here and here. So, now the toughest sheriff needs a little help…..

The toughest sheriff in America is dropping hints that he would like a pardon from the President. Former Sheriff Joe Arpaio told the Arizona Republic that he would accept a pardon from Pres. Trump. See Politico news report here. I recently wrote about the court finding him guilty of contempt here. He says he talks with the President now and then, but will not brag about it.

So, he does have some self-restraint, after all.

There must be something in the water at Fox News. They keep having issues with sexual harassment. Eroic Bolling, a news host, has been accused by several female co-workers of sending photos of his genitals via text messages. Huffington Post reported that more than a dozen sources said he had sent unsolicited photos of his private parts. Fox News has placed Mr. Bolling on suspension pending an investigation. A lawyer for Mr,. Bolling denies the claims.

See CNN News report. Not surprisingly, Mr. Bolling has been a strong supporter of Pres. Trump. Roger Ailes was accused of sexual harassment and was also a friend of the President. The President seems to favor men who harass women. I previously wrote about Roger Ailes here and here. And, then there were the reports of Bill O’Reilly harassing women and then reaching large settlements with them to keep them quiet. I wrote about Bill O’Reilly here and here. And, of course, Pres. Trump supported Bill O’Reilly when he was accused of sexual harassment, as well.

Donald Trump’s campaign rally in Louisville, Kentucky in 2016 is again in the news. As I have mentioned here previously here and here, the President and his campaign have been sued for roughing up protesters at that rally. One of the defendants with the President is Mathew Heimbach, a white nationalist. He is chairman of the Traditionalist Worker Party in Indiana. He was charged with assault for his actions at that campaign rally. He plead a form of “no contest” to a charge of disorderly conduct. See CBS news report.The Traditionalist Worker Party describes itself as “fighting” to secure the future of white children. As part of his plea deal, Mr. Heimbach was ordered to attend anger management classes, a suspended jail sentence and ordered to pay a fine.

In the civil lawsuit against Mr. trump. Mr. Heimbach has claimed he was indeed encouraged by Mr. Trump to rough protesters up.