The Obama eligibility case took a nasty turn today. Lawyers for the Obama campaign demanded that videos of a New Jersey administrative-law trial come down. Those same lawyers admitted that they had removed their associate, Alexandra Hill, from the case.
The Obama eligibility case in New Jersey
Last Tuesday, the case of Purpura and Moran v. Obama, STE 4534-12, came to trial before Administrative Law Judge Jeff S. Masin. Nick Purpura of Wall, NJ, and Ted Moran of Toms River, NJ, said that Barack H. Obama should not appear on the ballot of the June 5 New Jersey Democratic Primary. They gave two reasons:
Obama has never shown that he was born in Hawaii, or even who he is.
Obama cannot qualify to be President because his father was a British colonial subject.
CNAV recorded the hearing. So, too, did Dan Haggerty of The Baer-Haggerty Offensive, a radio program that runs each Wednesday afternoon at Re-patriot Radio (WNJC, AM 1360).
Judge Masin concluded that Obama had not “failed in any obligation” to make any showing, either of his identity or that he was a natural-born citizen. Mario Apuzzo, attorney for Purpura and Moran, confirmed to CNAV that they will still appeal that conclusion.
But the part that has excited observers nationwide happened in the second hour of the hearing. Alexandra M. Hill, of Genova, Burns, Giantomasi and Webster, represented the Obama campaign at the hearing. Apuzzo called Brian Wilcox, an Internet document expert, to the stand, to attack the Obama birth certificate document that the White House served to the Internet on April 27, 2011. Ms. Hill then said that the PDF document was irrelevant to the case at hand, and conceded that Obama never once gave his birth certificate, or any good copy of it, hard or soft, to the New Jersey Secretary of State or the Division of Elections. Hill then claimed that New Jersey law did not force Obama to give anything to qualify himself for a primary ballot, and that New Jersey residents could nominate Mickey Mouse if they could get enough signatures to nominate him.
The Tea Party Tribune, and other media organs quoting them, construed this as saying that Alexandra Hill “admitted that the Obama birth certificate is a forgery.” That is not correct. But she clearly did damage enough to the Obama eligibility argument, and embarrassed the Obama campaign. Recent events have made this abundantly clear.
Obama lawyers demand: Take down those videos!
Mario Apuzzo walks toward the Office of Administrative Law with his two clients. Photo: CNAV.
Jerome R. Corsi made the latest Obama eligibility issue famous with this story about the hearing. Then, on Tuesday afternoon, Alexandra Hill’s boss called Mario Apuzzo directly. CNAV heard first from Nick Purpura and then directly from Apuzzo.
Apuzzo received a call from a man identifying himself as Angelo Genova, the lead partner of Genova, Burns, Giantomasi and Webster. Genova was agitated and almost overwrought. He demanded to know why Apuzzo had videotaped the proceedings (a thing Apuzzo did not do), and then said that he would “move to strike the video from the record.” Genova also said that:
Alexandra M. Hill is not working on the case of Purpura and Moran v. Obama any longer. Angelo Genova has taken that case over and is handling it personally.
Death threats have come to the firm. Apuzzo told CNAV that Ms. Hill was the main target of these threats. Billy Baer also talked to Apuzzo, after CNAV called Dan Haggerty for comment. Apuzzo apparently told Baer that Genova never made clear whether the threatening person was threatening Ms. Hill alone or “the firm in general,” whatever that might mean.
Apuzzo offered to Genova to condemn the threats for the record, on his blog. Genova hastily declined. He then dwelt at length on the making of the video or videos and accused Apuzzo of making them without the court’s permission.
For the record
CNAV has long suspected that the Obama eligibility case has stalled because some person or persons is/are applying pressure to witnesses and media organs to keep quiet. Now CNAV finds itself a direct target, as is the Baer-Haggerty Offensive.
CNAV emphasizes that Mario Apuzzo did not commission CNAV to record the video footage of the Obama eligibility hearing. Neither did he so commission Baer or Haggerty, as both men confirmed to CNAV today.
The New Jersey Administrative Code says that anyone may record a public hearing. The judge may restrict such recording so that it does not disrupt the hearing. On April 10, before the hearing began, Judge Masin summoned Apuzzo and Hill to his chambers. There, as Apuzzo said later, the judge asked about persons wanting to record the hearings on video. Apuzzo knew that CNAV and Dan Haggerty had brought cameras. He had also given an interview to Station WHYY-TV (Channel 12, Philadelphia, PA), who told him they would come to the hearing. Judge Masin said that he would allow video cameras, so long as their operators mounted them on fixed tripod stands. Haggerty and CNAV agreed to this. (See also Commander Kerchner’s blog entry.)
CNAV and Haggerty recorded the entire hearing. WHYY-TV came in late, recorded for five minutes, then left.
Thus Judge Masin, acting according to law, let CNAV and Dan Haggerty record the hearing. At least, both our sets of videos are citizen observations of public hearings. They are also work products of the press. Therefore, the US Constitutionand New Jersey law protect this content. For Genova to try to suppress this content a week after the fact is the silliest moment in the entire Obama eligibility saga. No court can “strike the content from the record,” because the content is not part of any court record. Nor can anyone enjoin a citizen journalist, or any other citizen, from recording a public hearing.
CNAV condemns, in the strongest possible terms, any threat that anyone makes against any lawyer, journalist, or other person taking part in the political or legal process, recording it for posterity, or simply watching it. This applies especially to any threats that anyone might or might not have made to Alexandra M. Hill or any member or employee of Genova, Burns, Giantomasi and Webster.
But CNAV also knows its rights under the Constitution and New Jersey law. Therefore, CNAV will not remove any video footage that it took at the New Jersey Obama eligibility hearing. Baer and Haggerty confirmed that they will not remove their footage, either.