Is it ethical for the former prosecutor and millionaire lawyer Ken White, who blogs as @Popehat, to have his readers support a convicted debit card fraud? Because that is exactly what White has asked them to do in the case of Kimberlin vs National Bloggers Club, et al. Defendant Ali Akbar has three of his fellow defendants, R.S. McCain, William Hoge, and Aaron Walker, on payroll, and is closely linked to other defendants in the case as well. But White does not acknowledge any of this while attacking the case in his blog. For White’s benefit, let us briefly recount Akbar’s history:
- During a series of petty thefts, Ali Akbar was caught using a stolen debit card in 2006 and convicted in 2007
- When his convictions were revealed last year, Ali Akbar lied about the circumstances of his crimes and then set his employees McCain and Hoge on a jihad against Bill Schmalfeldt for exposing him
- Court documents indicate Akbar lied in 2012 when he claimed that someone else was primarily responsible for the debit card fraud in 2006
- Convicted debit card fraud Ali Akbar has claimed many times that the National Bloggers Club is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, and still makes that claim, but he has never applied for nonprofit status and the IRS has no record of his organization
- Many of his fellow conservatives have expressed concern that the President of the National Bloggers Club is a convicted debit card fraud, including Ladd Ehlinger. Yet other defendants in this case, especially Michelle Malkin, continue to endorse the National Bloggers Club and ask readers to contribute
White never acknowledges Akbar’s well-documented fraud, or his relationships to other defendants, as he pretends to be a wholly-disinterested party in this matter. We congratulate White for successfully imitating a confident litigator weighing in with an unbiased opinion, but we note that he has still not put any skin in the game himself. That is because motions to dismiss will have to be made in real courtrooms, not a blog court, and we see glaring deficiencies in Popehat’s arguments.
- Regarding Kimberlin v Walker, et al: Popehat never addresses what Ali Akbar’s paid employees actually did, and continue to do even as they are being sued. These men approached a severely depressed woman in the midst of marital turmoil and offered her money for perjury against her husband. Acting as her attorney despite the fact he is not licensed in Maryland, Aaron Walker then submitted that perjury to the court, and then blogged the details of his perjury as breaking news. William Hoge and R.S. McCain reblogged that perjury knowing full well that it was perjury. But this was still not enough for Akbar’s fraud team: Walker called the FBI, telling them to meet Tetyana Kimberlin at her interview with Child Protective Services and pressure her to repeat the perjury to law enforcement. This incident helped snap Tetyana out of her fugue state, whereupon she refused to cooperate any further and withdrew her perjury. The perjured filing was supposed to be expunged, but Hoge ran to the courthouse and got a copy before that happened, whereupon all parties blogged the perjury again in a more complete form. None of them have taken us up on our challenge to quote Tetyana on why she withdrew the charges, and we know they have her phone number. This case is not going away on a motion to dismiss; there is simply too much evidence of malice and misconduct
- White has once again ignored the historical record by pronouncing Kimberlin a vexatious litigant. This is pure projection: so far, Aaron Walker and friends have tried suing Kimberlin in state courts, federal courts, and peace order hearings without winning a single time. Dan Backer, one of the most powerful attorneys in the DC area, saw his federal case dismissed with prejudice and was warned never to return. All of that was before Team Akbar inserted themselves in Tetyana’s life. These are Kimberlin’s first lawsuits against any of these persecutors. So just who is the “vexatious litigant” here again?
- In the case of Kimberlin v National Bloggers Club, et al: White should refrain from adopting the nutty conspiracy theories that “inform” so much of the defendants’ blogging. We note this parenthetical bit: “Kimberlin, through his complaint, has put squarely at issue his reputation and the grounds for it, the financing of his “charities,” and his interactions with his confederates and friends. Those would be some interesting depositions.” But if there is one thing we have noticed completely missing from “Kimberlin coverage,” it is any actual journalism conducted on his organizations’ IRS 990 reports. Justice Through Music Project and Velvet Revolution are in full compliance with federal tax laws, a boast that Ali Akbar’s fraudulent National Bloggers Club cannot make. Furthermore, Mr. Kimberlin is accused of operating a conspiracy to harass right wing bloggers, but so far no one has found any document that shows him employing Neal Rauhauser, Bill Schmalfeldt, Melissa Brewer or any of the people he supposedly pays for this full-time harassment. No such document exists because they are not his employees. So if White thinks that R.S. McCain’s half-baked conspiracy theories will be allowed to turn into fishing expeditions, he is in for a rude shock
- Ken White seems to think that the judge will be unable to read the defendants’ blog posts and see all their insinuations, accusations, and fabrications for themselves. White would love you to believe that no one has accused Kimberlin of SWATings, that he is lying about their blogs. But this will be a really hard sell. In particular, White focuses on defending Los Angeles Assistant District Attorney John Patrick Frey. (White has already spent a lot of money defending his friend Frey from an unrelated suit by Nadia Naffe, so he is hardly a neutral observer.) Frey puts a disclaimer in his blog (“these are just my own opinions”) while continually offering his opinion as an experienced Assistant DA (“this is my informed opinion”). He cannot have it both ways
- Incredibly, White then goes on to try and frame Kimberlin for SWATings all over again in exactly the same mealy-mouthed way: “I don’t know who swatted these people. I don’t know whether it was Kimberlin, or whether it was someone acting at Kimberlin’s behest, or whether it was an admirer or associate of Kimberlin acting with or without his knowledge. I do know that people who write about Brett Kimberlin have soon thereafter gotten swatted.” But this is false: Frey originally claimed it was his blogging about Weinergate that got him SWATed, then later changed his story to an elaborate conspiracy by Kimberlin on behalf of Anthony Weiner. Putative “victim” Mike Stack had never blogged about Kimberlin before he was SWATed — in fact, he did not even have a blog! For White, it is simply not possible that anyone would try to frame Kimberlin for a crime, even though that is exactly what Team Akbar stands accused of doing. No, it must be Kimberlin, or someone close to him, so White uses his name four times in a single parenthetical statement. This is exactly how the defendants convict Kimberlin in their kangaroo “blog court”
- Kimberlin is not suing “the big names” out of pride, but because of their failures at due diligence. For example, Simon and Schuster published James O’Keefe’s book, which makes a bald-faced claim that Kimberlin is responsible for SWATings, without even contacting Kimberlin for comment. The book has not been fact-checked at all. That is no surprise for a right wing screed, but it leaves the publisher vulnerable to litigation. Glenn Beck brought Frey and Walker on his show without contacting Kimberlin for comment or allowing him to respond. Michelle Malkin never vetted their story at all, either. In this sense, the “Kimberlin SWATs bloggers” story has many things in common with “Shirley Sherrod is a racist,” which also resulted in a lawsuit, and “ACORN worker helps pimp,” which has already resulted in James O’Keefe agreeing to a six-figure payout. We expect the “big names” in this suit to settle early, leaving the primary defendants out in the cold with their defamation and conspiracy theories
If Ken White is so confident that Kimberlin’s RICO suit will be dismissed, then surely the millionaire lawyer should be willing to pony up something himself. But this is not what he has done. Instead, White seems to regard the case as another opportunity to give fellow attorneys a payday at someone else’s expense, at no risk to himself, and to the benefit of a convicted debit card fraud. White’s “Popehat Signal” has managed to help the defendants get representation, but what kind? Rest assured that we are already on that story. In the meantime, we wonder how Ken White will explain things to his readers when motions to dismiss are denied and the cases proceed.