Trials & Litigation

A Reed Smith partner who has filed briefs citing Animal House and Tweety Bird in his defense of a Russian company received a scolding on Monday from a federal judge who told him his latest brief was “unprofessional, inappropriate and ineffective.”

U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich told the lawyer, Eric Dubelier, that he needed to “knock it off” with his colorful briefs attacking the special counsel, report BuzzFeed News, the National Law Journal, Politico, the Associated Press, the Washington Post and NBC News. Friedrich is an appointee of President Donald Trump.

Friedrich told Dubelier his strategy was “undermining your credibility in this courthouse,” leading to what the National Law Journal described as “a tense exchange.”

Dubelier said there “appears to be some bias on the part of the court.” The judge countered there was no bias and Dubelier knew he had made many inappropriate remarks in court filings.

“That’s your opinion,” Dubelier responded.

Dubelier has criticized the special counsel for revealing information to the court that has not been provided to the defense. A firewall counsel is reviewing pretrial evidence before disclosure to the other side, and Dubelier suggested in a Jan. 4 brief that the special counsel had wrongly obtained defense information from the firewall counsel.

The brief by Dubelier said the special counsel had suggested revealing more secret information to the court to back up its statement that it separately obtained the information. That amounted to punishment for questioning the special counsel’s trustworthiness, the brief appeared to assert.

“The special counsel’s argument is reminiscent of Otter’s famous line, ‘Flounder, you can’t spend your whole life worrying about your mistakes! You f**ked up … you trusted us. Hey, make the best of it.’ ” The reference was to the rush chairman at the fraternity in the 1978 movie Animal House.

Dubelier is defending Concord Management and Consulting, one of 13 Russian nationals and three Russian groups accused of trying to influence the 2016 election. Concord is the only defendant among the 16 that is fighting the charges.

In a prior court document, Dubelier criticized the special counsel’s opposition to a defense motion to dismiss the charges. Dubelier said the special counsel initially denied filing charges under federal laws governing campaign expenditures and registration of foreign agents, then acknowledged, “I did, I did, I charged violations” of those laws.

Dubelier added this footnote: “Which sounds a lot like ‘I did, I did, I taw a puddy tat.’ Tweetie (1948).”

In yet another brief, Dubelier belittled the special counsel’s claim that firewall review was needed to protect information for national security reasons. “Could the manner in which he collected a nude selfie really threaten the national security of the United States?” Dubelier said of the special counsel. He did not explain who was in the nude selfie or why the special counsel had the photo.

See also:
: “Did Reed Smith partner hang up on prosecutor for special counsel? Tensions erupt at hearing”

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