North Carolina Republicans May Have Committed A Wee Spot Of Perjury, OOPSIE!
Okay, POP QUIZ! Ready?
If documentary evidence emerges to prove that your client lied to the court, should you:
A. Attempt to amend your testimony and throw yourself on the mercy of the court?
B. Loudly insist that those documents are PRIVILEGED and accuse your opponent of professional misconduct?
Pencils down! If you are a sane person, the answer is A. But if you and your clients are Republicans, the answer is B, any day of the week and twice on Sundays. And so we find ourselves in yet another day of legal batshittery in the Trump era. TGIF!
As Slate's Mark Joseph Stern reported, the continuing fallout from deceased GOP ratfucker Thomas Hofeller's hard drives has now produced evidence that Republican legislators in North Carolina may have told one or two wee fibbies to the federal judge in North Carolina back in 2017. After a unanimous Supreme Court tossed 28 of North Carolina's districts for being illegal gerrymanders in Covington v. North Carolina -- how racist do you have to be for Thomas and Alito to be like NAH BRAH? -- the defendants told the judge in August 2017 that they could not possibly make a new, not-racist map in time for a special election for the state legislature that year, because these things take time, and, like, they'd been too busy to even think about getting started. In fact, David Lewis, the North Carolina representative responsible for redistricting, specifically told the court, "I have not yet drawn maps nor have I directed that maps be drawn, nor am I aware of any other entity operating in conjunction with the leadership that has drawn maps." And North Carolina State Senator Ralph Hise, Jr., even promised the court that "Race was not part of the database. It could not be calculated on the system[.]"
Except then Thomas Hofeller died in July 2018, and his daughter Stephanie dug up the digital proof that literally none of that was true. In reality, Hofeller had been working on the maps for months, they were substantially complete by June 2017 so that a new special election could have occurred, and Hofeller had the race data and used it to draw the new North Carolina legislative maps.
Mistakes, it seems, were made. Particularly by Messrs. Lewis and Hise, two of the named defendants in this lawsuit.
Luckily these Republican legislators have a very cogent explanation and it is ... all these documents are legally privileged! And if they are not legally privileged, then they contain Mr. Hofeller's sensitive financial information. And if they don't contain sensitive financial information, then Stephanie Hofeller is not the rightful owner of the documents. And if she is the rightful owner, then she conned her mother into giving them to her. And if she didn't con her mother into giving them to her, then her mother is demented and didn't have the capacity to give them away. And if her mother is not demented, then Stephanie Hofeller herself was conned by the voting rights group Common Cause into turning her father's files over to them for the purposes of this litigation. And if Hofeller was not conned, then Common Cause's lawyers did something or other that was unethical, and so they must now destroy all the files. OR ELSE.
(The defendants left out the really ugly part about how Stephanie Hofeller and her parents came to be estranged, but we stumbled upon it after thirty seconds of googling, so it's a safe bet the wingers are going to bring this up by Monday at the latest.)
If you want to see a really good lawyer just kick the other guy in the dick via memo, skip to page 107 of the exhibits. Arnold & Porter's R. Stanton Jones, counsel for Common Cause, points out that the privilege belongs to the party producing the documents, which would be Ms. Hofeller, and not the defendants. And if any documents are privileged, the defendants have to say which ones, not just gesture vaguely with their magic privilege wand over the whole lot. And even if there are some privileged documents among Hofeller's files, the defendants waived it by waiting this long to assert the privilege. And even if they hadn't waited too long, they waived it by insisting that the plaintiffs share the documents with all the parties, including those who are not in a privileged relationship with the named defendants. And even if the privilege wasn't waived by sharing with those parties, it's waived because it's evidence of the defendant's perjurious statements to the court. And even if it wasn't evidence of perjury, these documents were commissioned by a state legislator and are thus public records. And, oh by the way, destroying the files would be illegal since they are EVIDENCE OF A CRIME BY THE DEFENDANTS and also, too GFYS with your nonsense about protecting the Hofellers' privacy.
Go off, R. Stanton Jones!
The good news is the Republicans lost their supermajority in the North Carolina legislature with fairer maps in 2018. The bad news is they got 49 percent of the vote and took 55 percent of the seats. This shit never goes away. But occasionally it does get its comeuppance. We look forward to GOP Rep. Lewis and GOP Sen. Hise 'splaining to the federal judge why they got so confused in their prior testimony. This should be goooooood.
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.