The “I Can’t Believe This is Going to Trial” Edition
UPDATE, January 17th 11am: The City Hall security camera footage finally provided by the DA’s office conveniently will not play. While my lawyer and the DA talk to the company that owns the proprietary video software to figure it out, my trial has been postponed until May — with a hearing about the camera footage set for Feb 2. Seeing how the Buffalo Police Department erased my exonerating camera footage, I’d be incredibly surprised if the cameras under their control weren’t mysterious “broken” on the day in question. But we’ll see.
For those of you who’re unfamiliar with the ridiculous legal case against me, you can read Murphy’s Law parts 1, 2, 2.5, 3, 3.5, and 4. Or if you hate lengthy first-person accounts, you can read this succinct report at Raw Story. But, basically, I got arrested for filming a cop while covering a National Organization for Marriage “We Hate teh Gay” rally in Buffalo, New York. And, no, filming cops is not illegal in New York, so they fabricated a bunch of charges to justify my arrest. And then they erased my camera to cover their asses.
Anyway, before I go to court on January 17th, a little update seemed in order…
Who said this about my upcoming court case: “I can’t believe this is going to trial”?
A) Kenny Loggins
B) Jim Messina
C) Oprah Winfrey
D) Erie County Assistant District Attorney Patrick Swanson
If you said Erie County Assistant District Attorney Patrick Swanson, smash your head against a wall because you’re right! My lawyer, and BEAST publisher, Paul Fallon’s been talking to this guy, like lawyers do, and I just ratted him out. Yup. Eat it, man. He’s a former defense attorney out of Memphis, who joined the Erie County DA’s office in October, and he’s the first person we’ve dealt with during this ordeal who hasn’t been a complete knob — meaning, he’s actually complying with the law.
You may remember that, in addition to several counts of disorderly conduct, I’m being charged with “disrupting a religious service,” which is a misdemeanor that carries a potential penalty of a year in jail. The only “evidence” that NOM had a permit to conduct a religious service on the steps of Buffalo City Hall was that the arresting officer — and compulsive liar — Donna Donovan (seen in the clip below), claimed to have seen this permit in the police report.
We were able to recover this clip after it was erased by the Buffalo Police Department. BEAST associate editor Josh Bunting is holding the camera in this one. Later when I filmed Donovan, the same thing happened — except that she actually arrested me. The BPD did a more thorough job of erasing that clip, which begins half way through to the sound of cuffs. But I digress.
Until now, the City of Buffalo has absolutely stonewalled us in terms of complying with Fallon’s discovery motions. Despite repeated requests, they had not produced this supposed permit for a “religious service.” And on a side note, Stephen Webster at Raw Story submitted a Freedom of Information Act request on my behalf, and they completely ignored it. However, Patrick Swanson was just assigned my case and, as I said, he’s not displaying a total disregard for the rule of law. Here’s the permit he provided:
Name of Event: Prayer Intercession Rally
Nature of Activity: Rally
Interesting. How a charge of “disruption of a religious service” can still apply in this case is a total goddamn mystery. Beside the fact that I didn’t disrupt anything, this event is clearly labeled as a “RALLY”.
I’d say that the misdemeanor charge should be immediately dismissed, but that would run contrary to how this has played out so far. In other good news for the defense, Swanson’s turned over City Hall security footage, per Fallon’s request. The tapes will reveal what I’ve been saying for months: Donna Donovan is a lying piece of shit. Juries aren’t the most reliable arbiters of truth, but they’d have be particularly bad to find me guilty here.
The prosecution’s witness list, on the other foot, is a little scary. Two cops, a couple preachers, and some lawyer guy. I understand Donovan and her partner, who will undoubtedly lie his bald head off, but what in the world are these preachers going to say? If they’re to provide damaging testimony, they’re going to have to lie. I’m a little concerned that the jury may be under the false impression that religious types will not lie. Although I have no clue why they would.
Anyway, that’s the deal. If you’re bored or whatever, come down to the courthouse on January 17th at 9:30am. The first bit will be jury selection, so the trial proper may not get going until after lunch — or possibly the next day. This should be really funny, at the very least. I can’t wait to see a preacher squirm on the stand as Fallon asks him a bunch of dildo-related questions.