A local stalwart of indigent legal defense was honored Saturday at the Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Dan Summer received the 2014 Indigent Defense Award presented by the association to honor Georgia lawyers who make strides in the field.“ He has always been vocally supportive of the formation of the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council and has always stood up for the rights of indigent people to have good legal representation,” said Hall County public defender Nicki Vaughan. Read more....
ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - The chances of the nation’s 45th president ever formally standing trial in Fulton County is about 50-50, according to a former metro Atlanta public defender and assistant district attorney. “They’ve got an indictment; he can be summoned to court and he can be put on trial, but a lot of de-conflictions have to happen,” said Chandelle Summer, a former Fulton County public defender and assistant Hall County district attorney who now practices privately in Gainesville, Georgia. “You have so many duplicitous indictments such as the ones in Washington, D.C., as well as in Fulton County; you have a presidential election coming up. “There are so many things that could derail this process, but at the same time, they seem to be moving full steam ahead.” Former president Donald Trump and 18 others are charged with participating in an alleged criminal conspiracy designed to overturn Georgia’s lawful 2020 presidential election results. The massive, racketeering-related indictment was announced last month by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis. Read more...
An investigator testified Wednesday, Oct. 20, on the text and Snapchat messages discovered in the second day of trial evidence for a former Chestatee High basketball coach.
Webster Daniel has been charged with sexual battery and other offenses involving a 16-year-old student. Daniel was the basketball coach at Chestatee High and was employed as an in-school-suspension teacher for the middle school, Chestatee Academy.
Daniel “engaged in unwanted sexual contact with a juvenile female enrolled as a student” at the high school on Nov. 16, 2017, according to the Hall County Sheriff’s Office. Read more...
Link to article in Gainesville Times
Full article text below:
"...Closing arguments set for Friday in Webster Daniel trial
Attorneys will offer closing arguments Friday, Oct. 22, in the Webster Daniel sexual battery trial, and the jury will likely enter deliberations after that.
Daniel, the former Chestatee High School girls’ basketball coach, was charged with simple battery, simple assault, reckless conduct and sexual battery involving a 16-year-old student in November 2017.
Authorities said the former coach “engaged in unwanted sexual contact” and was accused of touching the girl’s breast and pressing his penis against her body, according to court documents.
The state brought the last of its witnesses Thursday morning, Anjana Freeman, who offered testimony as an expert in fields including sexual predatory behavior and the effects of trauma on victims. Freeman is also the mental health clinician for the Gainesville Police Department.
The state’s case rested around noon Thursday.
During the defense’s case, Daniel did not testify.
Defense attorney Joseph Summer claimed in his opening statement that Daniel and the girl’s mother were having an extramarital affair before the girl made her complaint and that the girl “figured out about this affair” and became angry at Daniel.
The girl’s mother said she disclosed the affair to the girl roughly a week after the allegations against Daniel, Investigator Brett Roach testified Wednesday, Oct. 20.
The jury will return at 8:45 a.m. Friday, Oct. 22, in State Court Judge Larry Baldwin II’s court."
After the release of the Mueller report, for a one brief shining moment that was known as overly optimistic, I imagined a reaction from President Trump wherein he gracefully accepted the findings which cleared him of high crimes against the USA, and used the opportunity to heal the country of the partisan poison that threatens not only our interpersonal relationships but paralyzes our ability to compromise in a spirit of commonality.
But not to be. At first it was just a little gloating – a goal-post dance if you will, but then it began - the seeking of resignations; the threatening of jail; “lock him up” chants reminiscent of the Clinton reckoning; and of course the sound bite of the week, the suggestion that Rep Adam Schiff, was a “pencil-neck,” “sick” and ”not a long ball hitter.” Oy vey. Those kinds of excoriating attacks make my independent blood boil. Classic Trump, going after his challenger’s like some third world despot seeking retribution. One of my greatest fears from the environment surrounding his presidency is the normalization of the idea of the persecution of political enemies and the denigration of the free press. That tends to quell open thought and communication.
I want President Trump to succeed. I really do. He has done more for the Jewish people than any modern sitting president other than possibly Jimmy Carter. Israel is small and isolated in a sea of hostile Arabs. And I appreciate the folksy way that Trump brings us into his world. I like to see his beautiful family and I’m impressed by his success as a real estate developer. I’m just tired of being disappointed that my desire for a political utopia in which he uses his considerable gifts to advance worthy causes, is always thwarted. This was a golden opportunity to show an ounce of humility, maturity and gratitude. He could have been humbled by the outpouring of support, appreciative of our system of justice, and grateful for exoneration by Robert Mueller and the fine work the Special Counsel did. It’s now about “getting” him, whereas it should be about due process.
President Trump called the Mueller investigation a “witch-hunt.” It’s only a witch-hunt if you are eventually burned at the stake. He was exonerated after a very public exercise in due process. Due process may have been caught up in the muck and mire of partisan politics, and decision-making may have been an exercise in inside baseball - considering that Trump hand-picked the person making the decision to prosecute, but nevertheless, the system worked. It wasn’t played. It played out. It is our great honor to live in a country that allows the greatest amount of freedom, the ability to speak openly about almost anything and the right to vote in a free election.
If President Trump thinks he was unfairly targeted in a way that does not satisfy the constraints of due process, he can avail himself of the judicial system to redress his grievances like any private citizen. As President, attacking anyone who challenges him is a dangerous exercise in political persecution. He should be above that.
The last time I flew, no one suggested that we hop off the plane, trot across the runway and socialize with the passengers on nearby planes. In fact the pilot made it clear we weren’t free to move around the cabin, much less the runway. But a few years back, Bill Clinton, former President and his entourage made their way across a runway to the plane where Loretta Lynch, Attorney General had just taxied in. Never mind that at that very moment in time that same Attorney General was considering the matter of Bill’s wife and former First Lady, Democratic nominee for President of the United States, Hillary Clinton, and whether her use of her private email server to send classified materials was a violation of the Espionage Act. But no worries, Bill and Loretta, they just talked about their grandchildren…and they didn’t inhale.
This incident would have been all but forgotten but for the recent revelations by Lisa Page, the attorney whose job it is to advise the FBI about whether charges are appropriate in their investigations. Just like they explain in the intro to the television show Law and Order… in the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate but yet equally important groups. The FBI, who investigate the crime and the Attorney General’s office, who prosecutes the offenders. Ultimately, the decision rests with the prosecutor, in this case the Attorney General, as to whether to charge a Defendant.
Lisa Page's transcribed testimony suggests Loretta Lynch misrepresented to Congress her office’s involvement in the decision about what charges, if any, were appropriate for Hillary Clinton. Loretta Lynch essentially told Congress that she washed her hands of the matter, testifying that she deferred the decision about whether to charge Hillary Clinton to Director of the FBI James Comey. Congress was not convinced and questioned Lisa Page about whether she would “blow over” the idea of gross negligence on the part of Hillary Clinton. Lisa Page testified that the FBI she did not "blow over gross negligence"(a violation of 18 USC Section 793), that they had multiple discussions with the Justice Dept. about charging "gross negligence", but that "the Justice Department put a stop to that". Page's testimony that the Attorney General’s office put the brakes on any consideration of charging Hillary Clinton with gross negligence seems to suggest that Loretta Lynch lied about her agency's involvement in the charging decision, leaving her open to suggestions that her meeting with Bill Clinton had something to do with the case. As if we didn’t already know.
A few days after that tarmac meeting, then FBI Director James Comey defied protocol by calling a press conference and making the announcement that Clinton's actions constituted "extreme carelessness" but did not rise to the level of “gross negligence” under the statute and therefore no prosecution would be brought. For his efforts, Comey was accused of insubordination by the Inspector General. Seems like a bum rap given that Lynch testified she delegated that authority to Comey.
As a practical matter, James Comey’s determination on charging may be the legally correct standard given that the Supreme Court has interpreted the statute at issue as requiring some general intent to harm the United States. Other’s prosecuted under the same statute include The Rosenberg’s (for selling nuclear secrets to the Soviet Union), and Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden (for providing classified material to Wikileaks). Clearly, those individuals were working against the interests of the United States, rather than simply negligently disseminating classified documents.
Clarence Thomas famously said, “it’s a national disgrace …a high-tech lynching for uppity blacks who in anyway deign to think for themselves…and it is a message that unless you kowtow to an old order, this will happen to you”.
For Loretta Lynch, her meeting on the tarmac was a national disgrace. Her failure to assume responsibility for the very decisions that she is beholden to make suggests complicity, and that is simply kowtowing to the old order of Clinton politics.
By now everyone in the country, provided they are not living under a rock, knows that Michael Cohen appeared before the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday and called the President of the United States a “racist”, “conman” and “cheat.” More than what he said, it’s what Michael Cohen didn’t say that is significant, and maybe should have the President breathing a sigh of relief.
For example, speculation leading up to the testimony of Michael Cohen was that he was going to say that candidate Trump directed him to lie to Congress about the Moscow Trump Tower. The idea being that if candidate Trump was actively negotiating with the Russians over a private real estate transaction he might promise them something in return if he was elected, such as lifting the economic sanctions imposed by the Obama administration.
This was again, pure speculation, but the suggestion was that there might be an email or a text or some recording that corroborated the idea that Donald Trump had asked Michael Cohen to lie, and that he was going to bring it to the hearing. On the contrary, Michael Cohen testified that Donald Trump maybe “inferred” in his own special way of inferring that Cohen should not tell the whole truth about Trump’s involvement in the Moscow deal, but no direct evidence that Trump himself suborned perjury.
Which is good for Trump. Even the recently confirmed attorney general William Barr suggested that evidence that the President suborned perjury would be obstruction of justice. And obstruction of justice means criminal charges for the President
Secondly, Michael Cohen testified that Roger Stone informed candidate Trump of the imminent release of emails stolen from the DNC by Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. Purportedly, Trump was gleeful at this news. But again, no smoking gun. Even Stone is not charged with a crime related to the hacking of the DNC server, only lying to Congress about his contacts.
And finally, Cohen testified that he had no evidence of the Trump campaign colluding with the Russian government. Not that we didn’t already suspect that, what with the Mueller investigation coming to a close and any prosecution of crimes by candidate Trump seemingly being shifted to the Southern District of New York.
As I like to say, in any high-profile case there are two courts: the courtroom and the court of public opinion. In this matter, score one for Michael Cohen and zero for those members of Congress tasked with the duty of questioning Cohen. Each series of “questions” by representatives from both political parties was prefaced by a long-winded, self-serving political soliloquy carefully choreographed to avoid duplicity and overlap.
Some members had more venom than others, and to say it was contrived might understate the case. The spectacle of parading a black woman in front of the nation to suggest that if she liked the President it stands to reason that he could not therefore be a racist was maybe the most insulting and embarrassing moment in 21st Century Black History.
Republicans using tokenism as a cheap trick to somehow defend Donald Trump was sophomoric at best, opportunistic at worse. Even though I believe that Donald Trump probably made the remarks attributed to him by Michael Cohen on race, I also believe people are rarely that one dimensional. It’s like lawyers, people despise lawyers as a group but usually like their own. I’ll give Donald Trump the benefit of the doubt and say that he probably only goes into racist rants around his personal lawyer.
Another idiotic moment for the Republican interrogators was their interest in whether Michael Cohen was angling for a book/movie deal. He was pressed to commit to turning over any proceeds from any potential book deal to charity, but flatly refused. One Congressman even went so far as to suggest that spending three years in jail in return for a few million in profits from this phantom “book deal” was well worth the service.
I wondered if that Congressman would trade his liberty for a few million.
President Trump’s proposal to build a wall along the Southern border of Mexico has been called a “4th Century Solution” to a 21st Century problem. Renderings of the proposed wall illustrate a brown stainless steel structure decidedly lacking in architectural creativity.
Other images of existing walls show a concrete structure with abandoned vehicles and accumulated trash dotting the grass along the grounds. Although it may beat out the barbed wire “line of control” between India and Bangladesh, it will not likely be the inspiration for a new verse of Katherine Lee Bates, “America the Beautiful.”
Neither will it be the kind of infrastructure improvement that will inspire developers to build million-dollar homes next door, with thematic subdivision names like “Wall-flowers” or “Windows on the Wall.” Third graders are not likely to take field trips to see this wonder of American ingenuity. One would think that with all the real estate acumen and appreciation for beauty (at least of the opposite sex) that the Trump brand inspires, he could do better than this prison-worthy facade.
Why can’t we have a wall that competes with The Great Wall of China? The really cool thing about the Great Wall of China, every year, they have a marathon that attract participants from all over the world. Plus, it is an aesthetically-pleasing, brick and mortar feat of engineering. It took over 200 years to build and one million workers to construct. Not unlike our struggle to secure the Southern border, the Great Wall of China was built to keep the Mongols out of Northern China. The Mongols needed food and clothing to survive, and the Chinese needed Mongolian horses, but not as much as the Mongols needed food.
The Mongols were a problem for the Chinese and after efforts at appeasement and economic aid became expensive and unsuccessful the Chinese gave up and stopped aiding and trading. The Mongolians united behind a leader named Genghis Khan, and his successor Kublai Khan, capturing the capital of China in 1215. But the Yuan dynasty, as it was known, did not last long. The Ming dynasty took over and in conjunction with other diplomatic and economic maneuvers, embarked on building the Great Wall. And they did.
The Ming structure was vastly more ambitious than any of the previous structures, costing as much as a hundred times more than earlier walls with ornamental gates and forts affixed with views of snow-capped mountains. Problem was, the wall as a barrier to military assault was dubious. Mongolian warriors attacked towers in the middle of the night using grappling hooks to climb the wall. Soldiers stationed along the Great Wall were isolated, lonely and cold. The soldiers experienced low morale and were accused of cowardice when they fled the wall without putting up any resistance to the advances of the Mongolian army.
Not surprisingly, there was a great deal of friendly contact between the border guards and the Mongolians. Chinese soldiers often traded and openly colluded with the trespassers. For all its magnificence as a structure, the Great Wall was not effective because it was manned by human beings. Although a symbol of great pride to the Chinese, it was an imperfect defense in its struggle against its irrepressible neighbor.
Consider the lessons of the Chinese. Building a big, beautiful expensive wall is wonderful if you want to put a few million peasants to work. But this is America, and we don’t have peasants. We have workers who want minimum wage, overtime, benefits, vacations, sick days, Family Leave and so on and so forth. Consider the cost effectiveness of spending decades on an antiquated, ugly solution to an age-old problem. Besides the fact that the wall has become a symbol of the dysfunctional, partisan nature of our government, it’s just stupid. It won’t work and it will cost a fortune.
But, hey, I can’t wait to sign up for the Border Wall 10k.
This week Roger Stone, an advisor to the 2016 Trump presidential campaign, appeared before a federal judge and pled not guilty to seven counts of among other things, lying to Congress and the FBI about communications with individuals interested in the hacking of emails from the Democratic National Committee. Stone is facing an almost certain conviction due to his propensity for bragging about his misdeeds and his misunderstanding of technology.
A review of the timeline provides the most telling indictment of Stone. In October of 2016, Wikileaks released thousands of stolen emails belonging to John Podesta (Hillary Clinton 2016 presidential campaign chair), known in hacking parlance as a “dump”. Six weeks before the dump by Wikileaks, a tweet by Stone, "Trust me, it will soon be the Podesta's time in the barrel" auspiciously forecast the subject matter of the emails. Stone, perhaps sensing that his indiscreet tweet may have implicated him as a participant in the crime of hacking the DNC computers, contacted a Republican operative, Jerome Corsi, and asked for his help in providing an "alternative explanation" for his tweet. Corsi then wrote a memo for Stone detailing the lobbying activities of John Podesta. In the following months, both Stone and Corsi said the memo was the inspiration for Stone's tweet even though it was written weeks after the tweet.
There is a reason Julian Assange, Wikileaks founder is holed up in an Equadorian embassy. Hacking emails of the Democratic Committee, the Pentagon and various other computer servers is a crime. Participating in crime, encouraging, aiding and abetting a crime makes you guilty as well, however, Stone is not charged with hacking or participating in the crime, only lying to Congress about it.
Lying to a Congressional Committee is a violation of 18 USC Sections 1505 and 2 (Obstruction of proceedings before departments, agencies and committees), which is punishable by imprisonment for up to 5 years. In response to a direct inquiry by the Congressional Committee investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election, Stone testified he had not communicated via electronic means with anyone about the dump of emails.
In this day and age, one would have to be living under a rock not to recognize that anything can be subpoenaed by the Office of the Special Counsel. Stone thought he was smarter than that and insisted he communicate with his intermediaries through "WhatsApp", an encrypted messaging service that does not store the content of the messages. Whatsapp, considered an almost foolproof messaging service encrypts messages before sending them, then unencrypts the message upon receipt. Because the application does not store the message there is no record to be subpoenaed. The dirty little secret about Whatsapp - the content of the message can be automatically backed up on “the cloud” by either the sender or the receiver. Likely that either Stone unwittingly downloaded the message on his cloud server or that the recipient did.
It has been said that in the defense of a high profile client, there are two courts: the court where justice is dispensed and the court of public opinion. Interestingly, Stone seems to have a fondness for Richard Nixon, and is known in as the “dirty trickster” in political circles. Stone used the pseudonym “Richard Nixon” to sign off on one of the encrypted messages about the dump, and then flashed the victory sign “a la Nixon” upon his arrest last week in Florida. Not exactly the most endearing historic reference, but fortunately for Stone, President Trump admires those who fall on their sword for the cause. Stone's reliance on a presidential pardon may be his best avenue for avoiding incarceration.
Link to the original blog post: Link
Chandelle Summer appeared on Scripps News on November 5th, 2023
Chandelle Summer appears on a local hall county radio station called WDUN nearly every Friday. A caller wanted her opinion on Fani Willis and the Fulton County District Attorney's RICO prosecution of Donald Trump.
Click the link below to hear the full audio:
WDUN Radio Broadcast with Chandelle Summer