The Schmidt v. Krikorian hearing is continuing today before the Ohio Election Commission. This is the case which resulted in FBI translator-turned-whistleblower Sibel Edmonds' stunning sworn deposition in early August, and in "high drama" on the first day of proceedings early last month.
I'll be off the grid for much of today, so allow me to refer to today's live tweeting by Cincinnati Enquirer's Jon Craig, and to Geoffrey "Ohiobama" Sea's live blogging over at Daily Kos. Both come straight from the courtroom as the, apparently equally contentious, second day continues.
There was discussion, after the first day ended last month, of Edmonds testifying in person; she is not currently scheduled to do so, though Krikorian says her deposition transcript and video will be submitted nonetheless. And as Craig's tweets suggest, this thing may go to a third day, in any case.
More later as I'm able to get back and pay attention. For more background on the case for now, see the stories in our Jean Schmidt category...
UPDATE 10/2/09: Here's an excellent, if Armenian-leaning summary/report on the case by Peter Musurlian of Horizon TV, following the September 3rd hearing (in advance of the second day continuation yesterday), including some shoving in the elevator outside the hearing room, for which the filmmaker is said to be considering a lawsuit, a "screw you" comment from Schmidt's Chief of Staff, Barry Bennet, and some forgetful testimony from Schmidt who had twice been found in "reckless disregard for the truth" by the same commission, for having lied about receiving a second college degree:
FURTHER UPDATE 10/2/09: The decisions of the Ohio Election commission are now in, including the decision to allow portions of Edmonds' sworn deposition to be submitted into evidence in the hearing. These are the final updates from Sea's live blogging at dKos yesterday from within the hearing room (his earlier updates are also well worth the read, as it sounds like it was quite a day in that room!)...
UPDATE 17: OEC has accepted excerpts of the Edmonds testimony proffered by the Krikorian team. Now closing arguments on phase II of the hearing, the question of whether the statements made were false. The difference between Mark Geragos and Donald Brey in closing arguments is like the difference between a fish and a philodendron in a swimming contest. Brey was flat and inscrutable. Geragos is Shakespearean, gesticulating with conviction. The commissioners are rapt, watching the best display of lawyering in their lives. Geragos is shrewdly threatening them with the embarrassment of being overturned on appeal, with a reference to the word already getting out --- via this blog and the Twitter reports from the Cincincinnati Enquirer --- that the Krikorian team has proved today that Schmidt was on the take from Turkish agents.
UPDATE 18: The Commission now deliberating on each of five statements alleged by Schmidt to be false. Statement 1 is the "blood money" charge. WOOPS! Some commissioners just remembered that under the "bifurcation" process, both sides were prevented from submitting evidence regarding the use of money, and many other issues. Under the agreed procedure, they can only decide now whether money was taken, but now they can't decide how to decide that. Somehow this has degenerated from the Scopes Trial to Kafka's "The Trial."
UPDATE 19: The astounding fact is that ONLY the three Republicans and one Independent are talking and working out how the Commission will decide. The lone Democrat present, Danielle Blue, is absolutely mum, they haven't said a word all day. It's as if the Democrat is under an order to remain silent and simply ratify whatever decision the Republicans make. Yes, this is the Ohio I know.
UPDATE 20: Republican Commissioners Bryan Felmet and Larry Wolpert are having a little contest over which one can be more insipid, McCarthyesque and vile. And now the votes, with all motions framed by the Repblican Commissioners:
The items are being called out of order with much confusion among the commissioners, so I am reporting as best I can but there may be some confusion between items, many of which are worded similarly (Statements are paraphrased and not precise quotes):
On item 5 (Schmidt has taken $30,000 in blood money from Turkish government-sponsored PACs to deny the slaughter of 1.5 million Armenian men, women, and children by the Ottoman Turkish government during World War I): Unanimous that the statement was false and malicious. The lone Democrat present, Danielle Blue, voting with Republicans with no comment.
On item 7 (Schmidt has taken $30,000 in blood money from Turkish government-sponsored PACs and Turkish people in 2008 in exchange for helping them to cover-up the mass murder of 1.5 million Christians): the vote is 3-2 that it was false and malicious. A majority of the Commission, 4, is required so the motion fails. The Democrat, Danielle Blue, voted along with the Republican plurality in favor of the motion.
On item 8 (This information is public record and can be found on the FEC database): Unanimous that the statement was false and malicious.
On item 1a (I ask the people of Ohio's second district to ask themselves if our Representative should be taking money from a foreign government that is killing our soldiers?) Unanimous that the statement was false and malicious.
On item 1 (Schmidt has taken $30,000 in blood money from Turkish government-sponsored PACs to deny the Genocide of Christian Armenians): Withdrawn at the end by Schmidt before a vote.
Summary: Of five statements alleged to be false and malicious, not counting an additional four already withdrawn by Schmidt from consideration, three were found by the OEC to have been false and malicious.
Armenian Genocide denial has now been officially sanctioned by the State of Ohio. Everyone together now: KANGAROO COURT:
The three remaining counts on which Krikorian was found to be in violation will be appealed, and are by no means settled.
Kafka is tossing in his grave.
UPDATE 20: The Commission now enters Phase 3, deliberation on whether a reprimand should be issued. Motions that there be a reprimand issued but no prosecution for each of the three violations: Unanimously carried.
FINAL(?) UPDATE 10/2/09: Liver twitterer Jon Craig's full article for the Cincy Enquirer, on the hearing verdict, is now published here.