This week, EB talks about the cross-examination in the Karen Read trial, Senator Dick Harpootlian’s primary defeat, and the legal implications of cease and desist letters in the Mica Francis case. Finally, in EB’s Law Library, he explores the legal definitions of assault and battery, and the concept of “abeyance”.


Hello Premium Members, True Sunlight listeners, Cup of Justice listeners, EB here giving you the weekly update, here with my slamming and jamming producer Sammy Berlin. She’s unbelievable and keeps me on point. We talked during the week and we came up with a little bit of an agenda for our weekly update. I couldn’t do it without her. I’m really excited because so much has happened on the national level this week with the 100 Biden trial, as well as local state elections that we’ll get into. 

Let’s start with the Karen Read trial because I was just sent by Sammy the cross examination that Karen Read’s attorney did with Officer Proctor who is the lead investigator in the O’Keefe murder case happening in Canton, Massachusetts. And I gotta tell you, it was one of the most devastating cross examinations I have ever seen. Whoever put it onTikTok put the right amount of it, because this officer totally compromised his objectivity in whether he should look at Karen Read as a suspect, or exculpate her, which means maybe search and look for other suspects. He zoned in on her and he had her in his sights that he was going to put this alleged murder on her. And he used pejorative terms describing her in a group chat that were absolutely demeaning and disgusting. He used the c-word, he described her physical anatomy. He said that she should kill herself, that if she was dead, it would be a great day, everything that you would never want the objective investigator to put out there in writing and then have to admit it on the witness stand. And it was devastating, devastating testimony. So if you get a chance, sure it’s out on TikTok or some other different media that you can watch it on. It’s worth watching, I really did enjoy it. And you know, when you do a cross examination, the idea is to, you know, draw some blood, you know, whether you get a good face punch or it’s a couple nicks of blood, and you don’t stop, stand up there a long time. And if you can use the person’s words, that you’re cross examining, to hurt them. There’s nothing better than that. And so you don’t always get those Matlock moments, Ben Matlock was a television lawyer in a series in the 80s and 90s. And, you know, he could get people to admit things and they’re called Matlock moments and that was a Matlock moment. 

We also had our state primary election on Tuesday, and there was a lot of county elections, but I think the shot that was heard around the world is that Dick Harpootlian, Yes, Senator Dick Harpootlian in the name of blast from the past from the murder trial, he got defeated in his primary by a house member, democrat Russell Ott, who is not even from the Richland County area. And I think Harpootlian was surprised. I think what it showed is that there really was a lingering effect, from his performance in the Murdaugh matter. I think Dick, as it turns out, is now on the wrong side of history. In the Murdaugh case, he bet wrong. I’m not sure he went into the case thinking that he was going to win. But I think he went into the case thinking that it’s going to further enhance his reputation and cement his legacy. And I think it’s cemented his legacy in a way that he didn’t want. I think his performance was subpar in that case, and I think some of the positions and statements he made publicly heard him and I’ve heard from people who voted against him, that they voted against him not so much for his senatorial performance that he’s done in the last six years. But from what he did in the Murdaugh case, But at the end of the day, Dick should be lauded and applauded for doing public service for willing to run. You know, it takes a lot of courage to run for office. And whether you disagree with his politics or not, he should be applauded for serving. Seeing the senator serve for less than $10,000 a year, I think they get a $1,000 monthly stipend. Now, you know, we don’t know the advantages that you get, obviously, with clients based on what you find out in the Senate or what different organizations hire you to do some legal work. We don’t know that. But I don’t really begrudge anybody that does public service or runs for office and serve. So have we heard the last of Dick Harpootlian , no, but that capital D is now a small d. And nobody’s going to be worrying that he’s controlling the judiciary. Now, for much of his career, much of what he’s done has been behind the scenes. In fact, I think he’s probably more effective behind the scenes than he is out front. So let’s make sure we always keep our eye on Harpootlian. 

And we, we filed the Michael Skinner case, that’s the treasurer from Jasper County, South Carolina, down in the low country, with the Supreme Court that seeking a mandamus, which is directing the court to direct the County Administrator commanding mandamus, to command for them to give access to the Treasurer, who is duly elected to all of the bank accounts of the county, which he is supposed to supervise. It’s a lawsuit that I can’t imagine I was ever going to have to file that somebody would be elected into the treasurer’s office. And then he would be denied access to bank accounts, which he’s supposed to supervise, monitor and invest. So we’ll see how that takes place. So let’s everybody take a step back and be grateful that we do have a justice system. We have a jury of our peers. That’s why we fought the Revolutionary War, because we didn’t have a jury system. 

I do want to talk about something that is involving Mica Francis and if you listen to the Cup of Justice episode this week, Mandy and David did some reconnaissance work: they went to the church, they went to the gun store where Mica Francis purchased her gun, they went to the state park where it’s alleged that she took her life by suicide. It’s very sad. I think there’s so much more there. But people have been issued and sent cease and desist letters by JP Miller’s lawyer, Russell Long. I do cease and desist letters, as I said in the Cup of Justice episode this week. But when you do them, you have to actually set forth what you claim the person is doing, which would give them legal liability if they don’t stop. Cease and desist means just stop what you’re doing, I’m giving you notice of it. And the reason I send those letters is because if I’m going to end up suing somebody over whether they’re interfering with my use of client’s use of property or they’re defaming my client, or they’re labeling my client. Remember the fact that defamation is the spoken word, libel is the written word. And oftentimes, the judge is going to want to know, did you write them beforehand and ask them to stop that conduct? Well, you just can’t send out a broad cease and desist letter telling people that they have to stop talking about JP Miller, you have to be specific and tell them what is it that they’re saying that crosses the line of their opinion into defamation. 

Remember, you are entitled to your own opinion. But you’re not entitled to your own set of facts. When you do that, then it’s defamation and you can be sued for that. So a cease and desist letter has a chilling effect. I tell people when I write a cease and desist letters that they have a First Amendment right to speak, but they don’t have a First Amendment right to disrupt businesses. They don’t have a First Amendment right to defame somebody. And they certainly don’t have a First Amendment right to harass somebody or do things in that nature. So there is a place for them, I would say 70 to 75 percent of the time, when I send a cease cease and desist letter, it works. They do stop, because they don’t want to end up having to go get a lawyer to get their legal rights explained to them. And certainly they don’t want to be sued. Because litigation is time consuming. It’s protracted, it’s costly. It’s personally invasive. You know, I’m tailor made for this, I’ve been doing this for 36 years. But you know, if you’ve never been involved in litigation, it is, you know, put on your chin strap on your helmet and it’s full contact. And so most people stop their conduct. But there is, you know, 25 percent of the time that people are principled and they believe that they’re right and they’re willing to be sued. And so if you send a cease and desist letter, make sure your lawyer is specific in what they want. Make sure you’re specific in what you want done. Like I asked postings be taken down off the internet. Tell me everybody that you’ve sent this to or said this to. So those are the things that you would deal with.

So with that said, we’re going to put on our legal hats, we’re moving over to the library. And we’re going to talk about assault and battery. And you always hear those terms together assault and battery. He’s charged with assault and battery, or he sued for assault and battery. They’re two different concepts. Assault is a crime in itself, the fear of being battered, the fear of being touched, unlawfully without your consent. So an assault could be, I come running up to you with this mean face. I say, I’m gonna kill you, and I get in your face but I never touch you. That is assault, that could be criminal. If I say it in such a way that I make you fearful for your life, or you can’t leave your house or you can’t work, then it can become not only a criminal claim, but a civil claim. Battery is the unlawful touching of another without their consent. A battery can be I push somebody and they don’t let me. It’s not a battery for boxing, and I hit you. But it is a battery in baseball if I ran the base and I punch you, because it’s not a sport that you’re supposed to hit somebody. But a battery is just simply the unlawful touching, it can be sexual in nature and become a battery. It can be I push you, it can be I poke you in the eye or anything. So that is the difference between assault and battery. They can be used in a criminal context, or in a civil context.

The next term is called Abeyance. Abeyance means to hold off, and I just used that earlier this week. I had a hearing last week, where I represented the county of Lexington. There was another party who represented a developer and the developer was asking for a variance, which is an exception from an existing regulation to develop land in a certain way. And we disagreed. And so we went to court and we made our arguments. And the judge asked us to submit proposed orders. So I submitted an order that he was going to roll in our favor. The other side submitted an order that judge was going to rule in their favor. And he hasn’t made his ruling yet. Well during the time of the hearing. And today, we entered into settlement negotiations. So we immediately notified the judge and said, judge, we’re in settlement discussions. Can you hold your ruling in abeyance, and all that means is everything stops, the judge is not going to read the orders, is not going to make a decision on who wins and who loses until he hears back from us. That one. There couldn’t be a settlement reached we asked you to rule or what did happen is we did reach a settlement. And we notified the court of that settlement and said don’t rule on the motion you had last week. Here’s the settlement document. Here’s the order. We want you to sign an order that will agree to the compromise that we did. So oftentimes when you go to court on a motions hearing and you have the judge rule who doesn’t rule right away and takes it under advisement. You ever hear that term? “Thank you very much for your arguments. I’ll let you know what my decision is I’m taking it under advisement.” Well, then everybody leaves the courtroom and nobody knows who’s going to win, could go one way or the other. And that usually causes the parties to say, well, you know what, I don’t think I want to roll the dice; heads I win, tails I lose. What if we compromise? And that’s how the system works, compromise. So the word abeyance just simply means something is going to stop. It’ll be static, no movement one way or the other until the party says.

So with that said, EB out.

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