Beyond the Glitz and Glamour of Trump’s Second Impeachment Trial, Another One Details Just How Serious D.C. is at Protecting American Democracy
WASHINGTON, DC, February 12, 2021 /Neptune100/ — If you listened to the talking points from all the politicians leading up to former President Trump’s second impeachment trial, you’d conclude that their actions were inevitable. Trump did (according to them) threaten to undermine the very foundations under which our democracy is based, and incited a riot which contributed to the deaths of five individuals. They would add that such actions must be not be tolerated, less democracy itself becomes weakened, and that the rule of law must be distributed fairly to all individuals, be it a sitting President or a common, everyday citizen.
Yet, a few years back, another trial took place in the District of Columbia in which that very same “common, everyday citizen” did, in fact, stand up for democracy, but was met with the complete antithesis of these proud, patriotic words. He sought assistance from some of those very same politicians who now purport to be “doing what is necessary to protect America’s democratic system”, but none would come to his aid. He reached out to many of the same regulatory bodies of which those politicians now belong, but none would act in his favor. And he approached many of those very same news outlets who now broadcast the trial in its entirety, but none would cover his story.
These actions (or inactions) provide yet another example of our nations’ biased two-tier judicial system, and highlights just how serious the Washington establishment is at its supposed job of protecting our democracy. The following is a brief synopsis of some of the happenings which transpired within the aforementioned case:
The Defendant (the Federal Bureau of Investigation) did not even bother to answer the Plaintiff’s Complaint, and violated federal statutes by attempting to deceive the Court into believing that it did. The Court Clerk changed the delivery date of important documents to benefit the Defendant, and refused to correct the mistake even when provided with delivery confirmation of the error. A Judge purposefully mis-categorized the case to benefit the Defendant, and refused to change the classification despite numerous notifications by the Plaintiff of the incorrect cataloging. The presiding Judge refused to take any disciplinary measures against the Defendant or the Clerk after being informed of their actions; violating federal, state and industry statutes in the process. Numerous industry watchdog groups refused to perform their duties when notified of the actions of those whom they are supposed to supervise and hold accountable. And the Court ultimately ruling in favor of the Defendant, despite all of these documented actions having taken place.
How these politicians, who now state that Trump’s actions were an assault on our democracy, but turned a blind eye on the actions of this court’s blatant and illegal attacks against the American Constitution, boggles the mind.
The case in question is called Rhodes vs Federal Bureau of Investigation, docket #16-1111, and took place at the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia from June 2016 to July 2018. From its very beginning, the case seemed to be shrouded with biases towards the Defendant.
Judge Christopher Cooper (who was not assigned to the case) took the peculiar step to deny the Plaintiff’s Motion for the Production of a Vaughn Index, (a Vaughn Index would have forced the Defendant to produce records about the Plaintiff which the Defendant has been denying him access to since 2006) while incorrectly stating that the case is categorized as a Freedom of Information Act case, and therefore, beyond the powers of such a motion.
But court documents clearly show that the case was not, in fact, a FOIA case, at all. Judge Cooper apparently used a document filed by the Plaintiff called Complaint for Injunctive Relief as a basis for categorizing the case under FOIA. But this document was an accompanying document to the Plaintiff’s original Complaint. The non-prisoner USC Complaint form (which was on the Court’s official website as the form to use to file a Complaint) states “If you want to make legal arguments or citations, you must file a separate memorandum of law.” The Plaintiff’s original Complaint states as part of its Relief “…the documents which have been repeatedly denied me” and provided the Complaint for Injunctive Relief as a detailed record of such denials. Why Judge Cooper would totally ignore the Plaintiff’s Complaint in lieu of an accompanying document, and choose to categorize the case under the FOIA, (which it clearly was not), remains a mystery.
On August 24, 2016 the Court received the Plaintiff’s Motion to Compel, at 9:09 am, which was signed for by A. Jones. The reception of this document by the Court is indisputable, and is clearly confirmed by the delivery receipt. This document was sent to the Court because the Defendant had not responded to the Plaintiff’s Complaint, which is required by law, but instead provided commentary on the previously mentioned Complaint for Injunctive Relief, which is in direct violation of Rule 37(4) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which states “…an evasive or incomplete disclosure, response or answer must be treated as a failure to disclose, respond or answer.”, Rule 55(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which states “When a party against whom a judgment for affirmative relief is sought has failed to plead or otherwise defend, and that failure is shown by affidavit or otherwise, the clerk must enter the parties’ default.”., and Rule 8.4 of the American Bar Association’s Rules of Professional Conduct, which states “It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to (c) Engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation, and (d) Engage in conduct that seriously interferes with the administration of justice.” But strangely, not only did the Clerk not enter the required default, but provided the date of September 14, 2016 to the docket report as the date in which the document was received.
This date may seem innocuous until you realize that the Defendant filed a Motion for Summary Judgment on September 8, 2016 which the presiding Judge, Ketanji Brown, insisted to be honored, even though it was quite clear that the Plaintiff’s Motion to Compel was received by the Court first (the Plaintiff also provided documented emails which was sent to the court with copies of the delivery confirmation).
These unusual events were not only dishonest, but were in clear violation of Rule 2.12(a) of the District of Columbia’s very own Code of Judicial Conduct, which states “A judge shall require court staff, court officials, and others subject to the judge’s direction and control to act in a manner consistent with the judge’s obligations under this Code.”, and Rule 2.15 of the District of Columbia’s Code of Judicial Conduct, which states “A judge having knowledge that a lawyer has committed a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct that raises a substantial question regarding the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer in other respects shall inform the appropriate authority.”
But oddly, no actions were taken by the judge against the Defendant or the Clerk for these obvious violations, and the Plaintiff’s Motion to Compel was dismissed.
As a result of the apparent favoritism from the Court for the Defendant, the Plaintiff filed a Complaint of Judicial Conduct with the Judicial Council for the District of Columbia on December 18, 2016, where all of these actions were explained in detail, as well as the receipt detailing the correct delivery of the Motion to Compel was attached. But oddly, the Council dismissed the complaint due to insufficient evidence. How the Council arrived at this conclusion despite all substantiation to the contrary, also remains a mystery.
Stranger still is the fact that Judge Ketanji Brown was removed from the case on November 2, 2017 after the Plaintiff refused her directive to respond to the Defendant’s motion for Summary Judgment, and was replaced by Judge Timothy McFadden. The Plaintiff then filed a Motion for Default Judgment, where he again stated that the Defendant failed to respond the Plaintiff’s Complaint, and was, in fact, legally in Default. But on January 22, 2018, Judge McFadden denied the Plaintiff’s motion on the grounds that the Defendant had already responded to the Complaint, despite his very own words to the contrary in the Order denying the motion which stated “…upon reviewing the Defendant’s motion for Summary Judgment, this Court discovered that the Defendant had not addressed the actual Complaint…”.
Whether these incidents rise to the level of importance of those charged against former President Trump is not even debatable, and represents a far more serious assault against our democracy. But without all the pomp and circumstances surrounding it, like many other cases which take place in our country, it is easily swept under the rug and forgotten, as those who purport to be defenders of liberty do all in their power to make sure that it remains that way.
This case originated because a law abiding citizen took the bold step to stand up against an appendage of the government, which was (and still is) invading his privacy and breaking the very same laws that they were sworn to uphold. This statement is not hyperbole, but is authenticated by the fact that the Defendant refused to respond to the legal document which accused them of doing so.
The Plaintiff filed the case and acted as his own attorney because he could not find a lawyer who had the courage to take on the Federal Bureau of Investigation on his behalf. He relentlessly studied the laws of our land and prepared himself as best as he could, to face an opponent with more powerful allies and greater financial resources, armored solely with a belief that in this country, such assaults on our Constitutional rights must not go unpunished.
If there is a better example of what it means to be stand up for America, I don’t know what it is. And neither do our politicians.