Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Ordeal by trial

Attended most of today's Wart-trial proceedings. Yeah, I heard the "howling mob at the gates demanding the big, fat haid of Ward Churchill" line from Lane, which the accounts I've read lead with, but why is that surprising? Here's my scoop: Did you know there's a piece of software called TrialDirector? Blurb:
Imagine your next trial… the jury hangs on your every word. Your organized, insightful presentation has never been better. You confront the opposition's witness with impeaching exhibits. You're using TrialDirector!
Churchill's lawyer David Lane is using TrialDirector 5.

Anyhow, opening statements by Lane and CU lead guy Patrick O'Rourke went about as you'd expect. Lane hammered on the idea that Churchill's dismissal was due to pressure from regents, Rush O'Reilly, Sean Limbaugh, ACTA, Lynne Cheney, Bill Owens and so on (poor David Horowitz got left out) to get rid of the guy because of the "l'il Eichmanns" essay, which CU then accomplished through concocted findings of research misconduct. O'Rourke, on the other hand, pointed out that the findings weren't concocted at all, and that e-mails, letters, smoke signals and semaphores on Churchill's research defugalities had come flooding in after the essay came to light, and that was what ultimately prompted the investigation.


  • As soon as I saw the 6-foot stack of books in front of the jury box I knew: another argument from volume for Churchill's monster research chops. Four thousand pages! Twelve thousand footnotes!
  • Lane: "Who is Ward Churchill? Let me start with this. Ward Churchill is Indian--an enrolled member of the Keetowah Band of Cherokee"--a claim Wart hasn't made for years--"and CU stooped so low they said he wasn't an Indian."

    Actually, I don't believe they ever made that charge.

  • Nobody's mentioned that in his opening statement O'Rourke brought up Jeffries v. Harleston, Waters v. Churchill (a different Churchill), and Connick v. Myers, all of which deal with limitations to First Amendment rights in governmentally "disruptive" speech.

  • O'Rourke also said he's going to spend a lot of time on Churchill's smallpox-bankies story. Heh.

  • Mimi Wesson is going to get major rashers of feces thrown at her when she takes the stand. Several times today Lane brought up how she compared Churchill (in a private e-mail) to O.J. Simpson, Michael Jackson and (horrors!) Bill Clinton before being named to head the Chutch investigating committee.

  • O'Rourke very gently backed former CU history/ethnic studies prof Evelyn Hu-Dehart into a corner, getting her to admit that footnotes should refer to, you know, actual evidence (as, she claimed, hers do), then putting up Churchill's lie that Russell Thornton backed him on the Mandan smallpox story and his claim that there is a "blood quantum" measure in the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990. Hu-Dehart went all pompous-ass, talking about "standpoint theory," facts "widely known in the community of scholars" and the value of "speculation" in scholarship. She also mentioned how even Holocaust deniers are "given space" to make their charges, to which O'Rourke asked if they, too, didn't have to provide evidence.

    Of course, she said.

  • Familiar faces: Natsu Saito, Mike Littwin, Aaron Smith, that huge black guy who acts sometimes as Ward's "bodyguard." No Ben Whitmer.

    Quote of the Day: "I don't understand what you mean by 'plagiarism.' That's a broad term."--Evelyn Hu-Dehart.

  • Update: Forgot to mention, of the eight jurors (including two alternates), one, maybe two look more than 30 years old, and those two not by much. Why does this make me uneasy?

    Update II: It certainly isn't that I'm a believer in the wisdom of age.

    Update III: Also forgot to mention that I had to leave just after Lane made then-interim chancellor Phil DiStefano look fairly bad by pointing out that DiStefano, like so many others, had opened his big yap about wanting to get rid of Ward for the 9/11 essay, before Churchill's scholarship was investigated. DiStefano called it a "stupid mistake." But I missed O'Rourke's rehabilitation job (assuming it wasn't postponed till tomorrow).

    Update IV: One more fond but temporarily misplaced memory:

    Parking lot attendant: Have they reached a verdict yet?

    Me: Nah, it's just gotten started.

    PLA: He (Ward) seems like a pretty nice guy.

    Me: Yeah?

    PLA: I met him last night.

    Me: Yeah?

    PLA: Smoked a joint with him.

    Hey, maybe there really is support for Ward among the baggage-handlers and taxi drivers Natsu dribbles on about--at least, as long as he supplies the weed.

    Update V: Oh, one more: Hu-Dehart called CU's ethnic studies program "world-renowned." She's probably right.

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