Jeff Bezos’s Extortion Claim May Go Nowhere

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Founder of Amazon Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world, entered the political arena about six years ago with his purchase of The Washington Post.

American Media, Inc. (AMI) is the company that owns The National Enquirer, which is the media outlet that recently revealed Bezos was involved in an extramarital affair. The Enquirer story appeared a day after Bezos announced that he and his wife of 25 years were getting a divorce.

The story exposed Bezos’s affair with Lauren Sanchez, who is a former host of Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance.” News of the affair changed public perception of Bezos, particularly with regard to his image as a CEO.

After suffering some embarrassment as a result of the story, Bezos unveiled a surprising blog post, which accused AMI of extortion. According to Bezos, in an email sent by the company’s lawyer, AMI threatened to publish texts and compromising photographs of Bezos, which included pictures of his male anatomy, if he did not publicly state that the tabloid’s reporting on his affair was not motivated by political concerns. Ironically, the lawyer who wrote the email is a former Amazon employee.

David Pecker is the CEO of AMI, and he is known to be an associate and friend of President Donald Trump. In the aforementioned blog post, Bezos made it a point to mention President Trump and cited ways that the president and Pecker had cooperated in the past.

Apparently, Bezos has been stung by the president’s tweets about his newspaper.

“It’s unavoidable that certain powerful people who experience Washington Post news coverage will wrongly conclude I am their enemy,” Bezos wrote. “President Trump is one of those people, obvious by his many tweets.”

Bezos has now put together a team of prominent lawyers and crisis managers to assist him in his public tug-of-war. The team includes high-profile figures such as Hollywood lawyer Martin Singer, who in 2005 represented Bill Cosby over potential Enquirer articles that detailed sexual assault allegations made against Cosby.

Attorney Jonathan Sherman, who previously represented AMI, is part of Bezos’s team and is with the law firm Boies Schiller Flexner. Partner of the firm David Boies defended Harvey Weinstein against sexual harassment and abuse accusations.

An additional team member is security specialist Gavin de Becker, who worked with public figures such as Olivia Newton-John, Cher, and former President Ronald Reagan.

If the email is taken at face value, it appears as though AMI’s lawyer offered to forego the publishing of material that would be embarrassing to Bezos in exchange for a public statement from Bezos that would benefit AMI. Based on a superficial read, the subject of criminal extortion has been repeatedly featured in media discussions.

Citing anonymous sources, reports have surfaced claiming that federal prosecutors are looking into the extortion claim.

The allegation in question is that AMI, via its lawyer, communicated to Bezos during settlement discussions that it possessed embarrassing texts and photographs, and conveying that if Bezos did not settle with AMI the company intended to go forward and publish the material.

The communication was made by a Deputy General Counsel for AMI and purportedly followed an email from AMI’s Chief Content Officer that had described in detail the texts and photographs.

In analyzing this email, it is important to focus on the context within which both parties are seeking to settle a dispute.

In settlement negotiations, it is common practice for the parties to propose that each side will release the other from any potential claims. This is what was communicated through its legal counsel in the subject email by AMI, along with a proposal that Bezos would agree to tell the public that AMI’s coverage of Bezos was not politically motivated. In return, AMI would agree not to publish the texts and photographs.

Outside of the settlement discussion context, criminal extortion would exist in a case such as this if money was demanded as payment for not making public an embarrassing secret. However, in this instance the key difference revolves around the settlement backdrop.

Why would the two sides be negotiating a settlement? It is clear that Bezos has been raising potential civil legal claims against AMI, while AMI has suggested that Bezos’s Washington Post planned to publish a false news story about AMI.

These cross assertions are arguably the basis for both parties to be pursuing a settlement of their respective claims. A settlement agreement would mutually release the claims of both parties.

Typically such agreements contain non-disclosure provisions stipulating that neither side will disparage the other, particularly when both sides are publishers. The argument of AMI as a criminal extortion defendant would be as follows: the texts and emails in question were an essential part of the settlement negotiations and were necessary to establish an incentive for Bezos to negotiate.

Prosecutors would have an uphill battle in attempting to use these facts as a basis for a criminal extortion case. Additionally, the First Amendment creates further problems for the prosecution, since Bezos is a very well known influential public figure and a power player in Silicon Valley, Washington, D.C., and Hollywood.

Since Amazon moved forcefully into the entertainment business, Bezos is often seen at award shows and red carpet events. His life choices can have an on one of the largest companies in the world and one of the most influential news outlets in the nation. Despite its inherent unseemly nature, this story is, in fact, a newsworthy one that most current news outlets would run with if given the opportunity.

Furthermore, in the Michael Cohen case AMI entered into a non-prosecution agreement with federal prosecutors from the Southern District of New York, agreeing to cooperate in exchange for not being subjected to prosecution. The agreement was conditioned on the company not getting into trouble legally for a period of three years.

Bezos’s team is well aware that, if it were determined that AMI broke the law, the company would potentially be in violation of the agreement. However, if there is no prosecutable crime, there seemingly would be no impact on the non-prosecution agreement.

Much of the analysis and reporting on the latest chapter in the Bezos saga illustrates the hunger on the part of many in the mainstream press for anything that can be weaponized against the president and used to ratchet down his poll numbers.

Jerry Seinfeld Sued over Sale of Alleged Fake Porsche

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Jerry Seinfeld has just been sued over claims that he sold a company a rare vintage Porsche Carrera sports car that allegedly turned out to be a counterfeit.

The lawsuit against Seinfeld alleges that when the comedian auctioned off the classic car for a winning bid of $1.54 million, he knew that it was “not authentic.”

Seinfeld’s lawyer, Orin Snyder, has denied the claims and called the suit “frivolous.”

An entity called Fica Frio Limited bought the vehicle in March of 2016 at an auction that took place in Amelia Island, Florida. Seinfeld himself was allegedly in attendance at the auction.

In a complaint filed in a Manhattan federal court, the car is identified as a 1958 Porsche 356 A 1500 GS/GT Carrera Speedster, which was sold at an auction that featured the “Jerry Seinfeld Collection” of cars. The lawsuit quoted Spike Feresten, who was the host at the auction.

Feresten also happens to be a former writer-producer for the “Seinfeld” television show and, as host at the auction, used a punch line that referenced the iconic sitcom.

“Jerry has been generous enough to let me drive an awful lot of his collection,” Feresten said. “And I can tell you: They’re real and they’re spectacular.”

Seinfeld’s current hit Internet show, “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee,” displays his passion for classic cars combined with his love of stand-up comedy.

The auction summary of the Porsche indicated that it was “From the Jerry Seinfeld Collection” and was a “stunning example of a rare thoroughbred Porsche.”

The 1958 Porsche was marketed at the auction as “one of 56” with “lightweight aluminum panels,” according to the suit.

“This exceptionally rare 1500 GS/GT Carrera Speedster is surely among the finest restored examples of a highly sought-after four-cam Porsche,” the marketing material indicated.

Between 1955 and 1959, Porsche built 151 Carrera Speedsters, and less than 60 percent of the cars had the GS/GT trim that the plaintiff believed the car possessed.

According to the lawsuit, a year later in March of 2017, Fica Frio had the car evaluated by a Porsche expert who determined that it was “not authentic.”

The suit quotes a voicemail that Seinfeld allegedly left for the buyer in June of 2018.

“[I want to] offer my apology for this nuisance and assure you that you will be completely indemnified in full and not have to keep the car and get all your money back,” Seinfeld purportedly said. “I did want to apologize to you personally for that happening.”

The comedian allegedly added that his experts never suspected there was anything wrong with the car, according to the suit.

Seinfeld also purportedly said that he “would also love to know how your guys figured it out because…my guys did not I guess see anything amiss with the car when I bought it.”

Fica Frio claims that Seinfeld has not paid back the money, and the company desires to rescind the sale, giving the car back to Seinfeld, with the purchase price going back to the buyer. Perhaps even more important to settlement discussions, the lawsuit seeks punitive damages from Seinfeld, which in theory may be considerable.

According to Seinfeld’s attorney, “Jerry has been working in good faith to get to the bottom of this matter. He has asked Fica Frio for evidence to substantiate the allegations. Fica Frio ignored Jerry and instead filed this frivolous lawsuit.”

The attorney added, “Jerry consigned the car to Gooding and Company, an auction house, which is responsible for the sale. Nevertheless, Jerry is willing to do what’s right and fair, and we are confident the court will support the need for an outside evaluator to examine the provenance of the car.”

Determining the authenticity of vintage cars is not as cut and dried as it would appear. The vast majority of civil suits end in some sort of settlement between the parties.

In an interesting little twist, one classic episode of “Seinfeld” deals with a plot line that bears a resemblance with regard to the “authenticity” theme.

The George character on the TV show is about to purchase a 1989 Volvo sedan, but the car salesman talks him into buying a 1989 LeBaron convertible instead. The smooth talking salesman is able to get George to believe that the vehicle was previously owned by famed actor Jon Voight.

It turns out that the car was indeed owned by a Mr. Voight, who was not an actor but rather a periodontist, and happened to bear the same first name but with the alternate spelling of “John.”

As Seinfeld, via his attorney, attempts to obtain some leverage for the negotiation process, he might ask Jerry how George handled his bad “Voight” deal.

So-called Trump Campaign Finance Violations Are a Fallacy

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Democrat leaders and their allies in the media have momentarily dropped the Trump-Russia collusion narrative from their playbooks and are instead talking about purported campaign finance violations.

In fact, some Democrats such as Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y. are attempting to characterize their latest campaign finance meme as constituting an impeachable offense.

To claim that the payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels and Playboy playmate Karen McDougal would be impeachable offenses, one would have to ignore both the law and historical practices.

During former President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, some real and arguably more serious violations of campaign finance law were treated as civil matters, resulting only in penalties paid to the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

According to the Washington Post, in 2008 Obama’s campaign allowed donors to use untraceable prepaid credit cards, which are capable of being utilized to evade campaign finance restrictions. Obama’s campaign additionally failed to employ basic verification and security procedures to prevent illegal donations to the campaign.

Years after the 2008 election, the Obama campaign paid a $375,000 fine, one of the largest ever levied against a presidential campaign but otherwise walked away from the violation. Impeachment was never a topic of discussion.

Despite claims by panelists on cable news shows, the current Trump campaign finance narrative contains serious flaws when it comes to the law.

According to the Federal Election Campaign Act, in order to constitute violations the payments to the two women would have to have been implemented “for the purpose of influencing any election for Federal Office” and not for a personal use.

The law stipulates that a personal use, as opposed to a campaign use, occurs when funds are “used to fulfill any commitment, obligation, or expense of a person that would exist irrespective of the candidate’s election campaign.”

President Trump’s company, which is branded with his name, his celebrity status, and his need to protect his family, all point to the personal component of the payments as opposed to a campaign related one. Moreover, the necessity for the payments preceded his announcement to run for president.

Former FEC Commissioner Hans von Spakovsky is in agreement, having told Fox News, “The blackmail threat by Daniels and McDougal to reveal their claims would exist whether or not Trump was running for office.”

Former FEC Chairman Bradley Smith told Fox News, “Even if it [the payment] was intended to have some influence on the campaign, that’s not the standard. The standard is: ‘Does the obligation exist because you’re running for office?’”

Smith wrote in the National Review that the president’s “alleged decade-old affairs occurred long before he became a candidate for president and were not caused by his run for president.”

As Smith noted, engaging in activities such as polling, purchasing ads, and printing bumper stickers are expenditures that seek to influence an election, however “paying hush money to silence allegations of decade-old affairs is not.”

In a somewhat similar but stronger case, which involved former presidential candidate and Democratic vice presidential nominee John Edwards, prosecutors attempted to prove that payments made during a presidential run were intended to assist Edwards’s electoral chances, claiming that they were made to protect his public image. Yet, in that case the prosecution could not persuade a jury that Edwards had made campaign related payments. After an acquittal of the main charge and a mistrial on other charges, the case was not pursued by the Justice Department, and Edwards was never retried.

Seeing a similar result with the case against President Trump, von Spakovsky wrote in a Fox News editorial, “Convicting Donald Trump of a criminal campaign finance violation will be extremely difficult, if not impossible. Just as Edwards was found not guilty, the same is likely to happen to President Trump if he is charged while he is president or after he leaves the White House.”

In a potential prosecution of the president, an additional problem involves evidence of the president’s mindset at the time the payments were made. The level of intent that must be proved in a campaign finance prosecution is that the alleged misconduct is committed knowingly and willfully, which is an extremely challenging element of the case for prosecutors, who must prove that a defendant intended to violate the law.

Because the Federal Election Commission does not consider payments made to a mistress to be an expenditure covered by the federal campaign law, it is not possible for a defendant to have made such a payment with knowledge that it was an unlawful violation.

In other words, the president cannot be charged with a knowing and willful violation of the law under these facts, since the Federal Election Commission and legal experts who served on the commission determined that such payments are not campaign finance violations in the first place.

 

Christmas Past, Present, and Future

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For centuries Christmastime in America was widely recognized as a special season of joy, filled with festive celebrations, heartfelt gift-giving, and, of course, transcendent music that conveyed the faith of so many of our nation’s people.

Unfortunately, what has transpired over the last few decades is a rise of suppression of Christian expression, which has become most evident during the time leading up to this brightest of holidays.

In the not-so-distant past, some institutions of higher learning have seen fit to ban from college campuses Christmas decorations, Christmas gifts, Christmas trees, and even the word “Christmas” itself, according to Campus Reform.

Some vexing seasonal disharmony recently arrived courtesy of the Huffington Post. The publication featured a piece that encouraged parents to prevent their children from saying “Merry Christmas” and to replace the phrase instead with “Happy Holidays.”

Other signs of the country’s divide and the tangential erosion of attitudes toward Christian expression can be found in the results of a telephone poll. The poll, which was conducted in English and Spanish by the Public Religion Research Institute and took place from Dec. 7 to Dec. 11, 2016, with 1,004 adults participating, found that Democrats oppose the use of the phrase “Merry Christmas” more than 2-1 over Republicans.

Something that happened recently in Midlothian, Virginia, though, is particularly emblematic of the situation in which Christ Child well-wishers find themselves. The Robious Middle School banned any carols that make mention of the reason for the season for Christian believers, i.e., Jesus.

School administrators reportedly said that the decision had been made to “avoid singing anything of a direct sacred nature” in order to be “more sensitive to the increasing diverse population at the school.”

The problem with the school’s approach appears to center upon the word “sacred.” The end result at Robious Middle School, and at so many other similar public institutions and venues, is that concerts and festivities will be required to celebrate the season without any mention or even a veiled reference to the birth event of the principal character for whom, according to Gallup, 74 percent of the country’s population joyfully awaits.

Despite public disinformation over the subject, public schools are not legally required to remove the name of Christ from Christmas pageants, concerts, and the like. Also, Christmas carols that use his name are not necessarily considered “sacred,” as the Robious Middle School has characterized them. Christmas is part of the cultural and religious heritage of our country, and the national holiday’s songbook is allowed to be presented as such.

The American culture at large has for years simply allowed the secular and the spiritual to peacefully reside, especially within the music realm, through a seamless tapestry of secular and religious beliefs. A beautiful tapestry, when you think of it, which reflects true diversity and authentic tolerance, encompassing respect and understanding of our fellow neighbors’ identities and belief systems.

Perhaps this year Christmas Future could become Christmas Past once again, at least in celebration and song.

Trump Critics Complain over Troops at the Border

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Since the Trump administration authorized the military to use force along the US-Mexico border, many are raising legal challenges to the president’s border policy by invoking a 19th century law, the Posse Comitatus Act, that generally prohibits the federal government from using the military for domestic law enforcement functions unless specifically authorized by the Constitution or Congress.

According to Secretary of Defense James Mattis, over 5,000 active duty troops are now engaged in supporting missions along the border in Texas, Arizona, and California.

The actions authorized by the White House are those the Secretary of Defense “determines are reasonably necessary” including “a show or use of force, crowd control, temporary detention, and cursory search.” The military has also been given the option to use lethal force, if conditions make it necessary to do so.

It is therefore not surprising that the same media panelists who routinely attack President Trump are ranting about the president violating the Posse Comitatus Act, which stops U.S. military from involvement in most civilian law enforcement roles.

Secretary Mattis stressed the need to keep the military away from civilian law enforcement roles.

“We are not doing law enforcement,” Mattis told the press. “We do not have arrest authority.”

Mattis indicated that, because National Guard troops are also present at the border, the governors of affiliated states could give them arrest authority.

“We’ll decide if it’s appropriate for the military, and at that point, things like Posse Comitatus obviously are in play,” Mattis said. “We’ll stay in strict accordance with the law.”

The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 was signed into law by President Rutherford B. Hayes on June 18, 1878. It was passed as an amendment to an army appropriation bill following the end of Reconstruction and was subsequently amended in 1956 and 1981.

The Constitution grants the president the power to utilize the armed forces to defend the nation’s territory, as well as to use the military to support civil authorities in preserving the peace.

The Posse Comitatus Act limits but does not eliminate the power of the president to declare “martial law” when local law enforcement and court systems cannot properly function. In such cases, all civilian police powers are assumed by the military. The president must also be able to deploy the military to counter insurrections, rebellions, or invasions.

In addition to the exceptions to Posse Comitatus, which allow the military to support civilian authorities in instances such as national disasters or terrorist acts, a federal law, Title 10, Chapter 13 of the U.S. code, is particularly pertinent.

When the president determines that unlawful “obstructions, combinations, or assemblages, or rebellion against the authority of the United States, make it impracticable to enforce the laws of the United States in any State by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings,” the president has the power to “use such of the armed forces, as he considers necessary to enforce those laws or to suppress the rebellion.”

Thousands of foreign nationals intend to engage in an unlawful incursion of U.S. territory, and some of them have already demonstrated a willingness to resort to violence in disregard of the laws of Mexico. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen has said that as many as 500 criminals and gang members are within the groups heading towards the border. The territorial protection of the nation gives the president the authority to act as commander-in-chief in the case at hand.

Also contained in Chapter 13 is additional power of the president to use the armed forces. The language further states that the president “shall take such measures as he considers necessary to suppress, in a State, any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy” as long as the insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy “so hinders the execution of the laws of that State, and of the United States within the State, that any part or class of its people is deprived of a right, privilege, immunity, or protection named in the Constitution and secured by law, and the constituted authorities of that State are unable, fail, or refuse to protect that right, privilege, or immunity, or to give that protection…”

If President Trump has reasonable grounds to believe that the thousands of foreign nationals who reportedly intend to “rush the border” would overwhelm the resources of the border states, and moreover pose a security threat to the border patrol, he is empowered to “take such measures as he considers necessary.”

In the executed directive that granted military authority, Chief of Staff Gen. John Kelly wrote that “credible evidence and intelligence” indicated that the thousands of foreign nationals, many of whom are now in Tijuana, Mexico, “may prompt incidents of violence and disorder” that could threaten border officials.

Once again the nation may witness the filing of lawsuits with pre-selected liberal federal district court judges, seeking to have the power of the commander-in-chief curtailed.

However, as has also been seen before, it is highly likely that the president’s power to use the military to protect the nation’s citizens, the nation’s territory, and the nation’s sovereignty will be held to be lawful.

Megyn Kelly’s Legal Battle Ensnares NBC News Chair Andy Lack

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It looks like Megyn Kelly is playing hardball with the Peacock network.

Her television show “Megyn Kelly Today” was summarily canceled a short two days after a controversial episode of the show aired on NBC.

The episode in question contained an anecdote told by Kelly, which many found offensive and consequently set the social media ablaze.

“What is racist?” Kelly asked a panel. “You truly do get in trouble if you are a white person who puts on blackface at Halloween or a black person who puts on whiteface … That was OK when I was a kid, as long as you were dressing like a character.”

The social media backlash that ensued caused Kelly to be tried and convicted on the Internet of racism.

NBC personality Al Roker made it a point to weigh-in against the former Fox News anchor, saying, “The fact is while she [Kelly] apologized to the staff, she owes a bigger apology to folks of color around the country.”

Possibly believing that she could make things right, at the opening of the subsequent show Kelly offered an emotional apology and received a standing ovation from the in-studio audience. In addition to the public apology, she sent a contrite letter to her colleagues.

The apology and letter were essentially ignored by NBC News brass. NBC News Chairman Andy Lack slammed Kelly’s on-air comments during a town hall event that he held for news division staff.

Various sources told several media outlets that discussions about ending Kelly’s show had taken place prior to the “blackface” remarks. Some of these sources told US Weekly that NBC management had been looking for an opportune excuse to get rid of Kelly, due to her aggressive coverage of the #MeToo movement that included segments dealing with NBC scandals.

Kelly had covered Matt Lauer and Tom Brokaw’s alleged sexual misconduct, giving NBC executives, which included Lack, a motive to want her time at the network to end.

A Lauer accuser, Addie Zinone, appeared as a guest on Kelly’s show. With regard to Brokaw, Kelly was not counted among the women who had pledged to support him after Variety and the Washington Post released reports of his alleged sexual harassment of former NBC and Fox News correspondent Linda Vester. Kelly was also vocal in her call for an independent legal investigation of Lack himself, regarding the alleged spiking of Ronan Farrow’s coverage of Harvey Weinstein.

Kelly has now signaled that she will fully engage in a legal battle with NBC as she negotiates an exit from her contract. Presently, she has left Creative Artists Agency because of a potential conflict, since the agency also represents NBC News President Noah Oppenheim. She has also hired experienced entertainment business trial lawyer Bryan Freedman, one of Hollywood’s top talent-side litigators.

Freedman shrewdly requested that Farrow sit in on the NBC meeting concerning Kelly’s departure. Kelly’s attorney is undoubtedly aware of the fact that Lack’s news division has been under scrutiny for refusing to air Farrow’s reporting on Hollywood producer Weinstein’s sexual misconduct.

Kelly’s negotiating leverage regarding her exit package appears to be enhanced since Lack, who was a major player in Kelly’s firing, is now on the hot seat.

Unfortunately for the chairman and his network, Lack has had a series of problems that have amassed under his leadership, including the following:

-During Lack’s tenure, Farrow left NBC News in the midst of his investigation of Weinstein’s sexual misconduct. The journalist claimed he “was being blocked from further reporting.”

-Lack oversaw the scandal over MSNBC personality Joy Reid’s discredited claim that before she became well known, hackers had planted homophobic slurs on her blog.

-Lack was in charge when NBC News waited almost a month before it finally revealed evidence that discredited allegations made by lawyer Michael Avenatti’s client Julie Swetnick against now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

NBC News knew that a witness, who Avenatti claimed had corroborated Swetnick’s allegations, had accused him of “twisting” her words and in essence recanted her testimony. The network has not put this particular scandal behind it, since Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley has referred both Avenatti and Swetnick to the Department of Justice for criminal investigation relating to the issuing of false statements to the Committee.

-Perhaps most importantly, Lack is the executive who is responsible for negotiating Kelly’s 3-year $69 million contract.

Crowdfunding and the Hidden Digital Danger

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In a September 2018 appearance on “CBS This Morning,” member of the Senate Judiciary Committee Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) opined that Dr. Christine Blasey Ford had “nothing to gain” in stepping forward with allegations against Supreme Court Justice nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

A few days later in an appearance on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” member of the Senate Judiciary Committee Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) stated in the form of a question to the host a similar opinion.

“What in the h*** did she have to gain by doing this?” Durbin queried.

History suggests that there are a host of significant gains that may indeed be awaiting Ford. One has already surfaced via a digital platform. It arrived in the form of “crowdfunding,” i.e., the practice of financing a venture or cause by raising money from a large number of people utilizing specialized websites on the Internet.

Two crowdfunding accounts on the GoFundMe website, which were made on behalf of Ford, have raised approximately $740,000. For reasons unknown, at present the two GoFundMe accounts are no longer accepting donations.

The first GoFundMe account, labeled “Dr. Blasey’s security costs,” raised $210,000 in ten days. The GoFundMe campaign was created by a third party, a Georgetown law professor named Heidi Feldman, indicating that it was established “on behalf of the Ford family.” The campaign exceeded its initial goal of $175,000.

The account urged that donations be sent because of the following: “Due to death threats, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford (who uses ‘Dr. Blasey’ professionally) and her family have had to leave their residence and arrange for private security.”

Feldman assured donors that she would “make arrangements to transfer funds to Dr. Blasey.”

The second GoFundMe account, labeled “Help Christine Blasey Ford,” was set up by “Team Christine Blasey Ford.” With an initial goal of $150,000, it raised approximately $530,000 in ten days. The GoFundMe description read, “The money raised from this campaign is going directly to the Ford Family.”

The subject of Ford’s crowdfunding came up during the Senate Judicial Committee hearing on Judge Kavanaugh, when Arizona prosecutor Rachel Mitchell questioned Ford about her polygraph and legal fees.

“I’m aware that there’s been several GoFundMe sites that I haven’t had a chance to figure out how to manage those, because I’ve never had one done for me,” Ford stated.

After Mitchell asked for clarification, Ford responded, “GoFundMe sites that have raised money, primarily for our security detail. So I’m not even quite sure how to collect that money or — and how to distribute it yet. I haven’t been able to focus on that.”

Interestingly, after Ford’s mere mention at the hearing of the GoFundMe sites, more than $200,000 in donations flowed in to the “Help Christine Blasey Ford” campaign, which was, according to the New York Times, “more money than it had gained in the past eight days.”

During the questioning regarding funds and fees, Michael Bromwich, one of Ford’s lawyers, interrupted the process and said, “I can help you with that. Both her co-counsel are doing this pro bono. We are not being paid and we have no expectation of being paid.”

Bromwich represented Andrew McCabe and reportedly assisted the former FBI official in using crowdfunding to pay for legal fees.

Soon after McCabe was fired from the FBI for making false statements to investigators about leaking information to the media, a GoFundMe page, titled “Friends of Andrew McCabe,” appeared on the site. In less than one month, approximately $538,000 was raised to help cover McCabe’s legal fees.

Bromwich’s K-Street firm, The Bromwich Group, set up the GoFundMe account. Bromwich served as Director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management under former President Barak Obama. Prior to this position, he served as Inspector General of the Department of Justice under former President Bill Clinton.

George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley recently expressed concern that crowdfunding may be being used in a manner that enables legal testimony to be purchased.

“You can buy a witness effectively by funding them as long as they’re saying the type of thing that you want them to say,” Turley cautioned.

The notion that money could potentially be used to purchase testimony from favorable witnesses poses a threat to a functioning legal system and the fundamental precepts of due process.

In the end, it is not merely about what an individual has to gain, but rather what our country and her people have to lose.