|John Gilhooley / OC Weekly|
Midway through the hour-and-change hearing, it became clear that in Taitz's mind, today was going to be a day straight out of a Dean Koontz-Dan Brown mash-up novel. It didn't quite turn out that way.
A few weeks ago, a YouTube video surfaced showing what was purported to be Barack Obama's original birth certificate, obtained in Mombasa, Kenya (this is different from the other Kenyan birth certificate that got so much press last month for being a likely hoax). Just a few days ago, a man named Lucas Smith came forward with an image of that certificate. Taitz got him to submit a declaration into the court's record on Sept. 3 stating how he came to obtain the certificate. She flew him out, picked him up from the airport this morning and took him to the courthouse -- where he would, in her expectation, testify at today's hearing and blow open this whole usurper-president thing.
Judge David Carter, though, didn't seem to want to allow any theatrics in the courtroom other than his own. Today's hearing was largely about procedural matters, not the merits of the case, and Taitz had given zero warning to the defense that she would be attempting to call a witness. Taitz begged with him to overlook that fact. Other people who had the potential to expose Obama had turned up dead, she said. She herself had faced death threats. "If, God forbid, something happen to this witness, we'll have his testimony today," she said.
Carter's got an interesting act going on. He appears extremely sympathetic to the idea that the question of Barack Obama's legitimacy needs to be examined in court. Time and again, he said he want to eventually hear the case on its merits, and even went ahead and set a whole slew of dates into early 2010 for the hypothetical future trial. He stressed that he was taking steps to speed up the process. But, he said, the case had already been swamped in a "procedural quagmire" of Taitz's own making.
Today's hearing was about three issues. The first: service. Taitz and her followers had attempted to "serve" Barack Obama with notice of their suit a number of times, each time legally incorrect. But at today's hearing, the government's attorney said the defendant had been properly served. This elicited a stream of congratulations from Carter, who called the government's cooperation "exemplary."
The second issue was a snit on the plaintiff's side. Taitz had originally worked with attorney Gary Kreep in Wiley Drake's lawsuit against Obama, the case that has since blossomed into Barnett v. Obama. At some point, Kreep, Drake and co-plaintiff Markham Robinson decided to part ways with Taitz. Taitz refused to sign a change-of-attorney form, and then filed a motion stating Drake and Robinson's desire to be removed from the lawsuit. Those two plaintiffs say they authorized Taitz to do no such thing. Carter, very much taking the tone of a teacher scolding children, called a 15-minute recess and told Taitz and Kreep to work it out. When court resumed, Taitz lit into Kreep with a litany of ways that she said he had botched the suit against Obama. Carter wasn't pleased. "I think what I'm going to do is force you two together [in one lawsuit]," Carter said. "I don't know if I can legally do this, you can take it to the 9th Circuit if you like and delay it longer." He then made the two bickering lawyers move their chairs next to one another. "I'm very visual," he said. "I need to see you two as one."
The third issue was Taitz's motion to recuse Magistrate Judge Arthur Nakazato for bias. The reason? Nakazato struck down one of Taitz's actions for largely technical reasons, even though Carter had assured her in court that he didn't want the case to get bogged down in technicalities. Today, Carter didn't oblige, saying that his comments were not intended to provide Taitz a "carte blanche" to ignore legal rules.
On Oct. 5, the court will hear the government's motion to dismiss the case and Taitz's motion for discovery to begin. As World Net Daily quickly began hyping, Carter did set a tentative trial date for Jan. 26, a trial that will only happen in what Carter called "the worst case scenario" for both sides. With about 100 spectators showing up and milling about in the courthouse hallway beforehand for hours to see today's proceedings, Carter didn't provide the thriller-novel witness trial Taitz had seemed to want, but he did provide some nice world-hangs-in-the-balance rhetoric: "It does the country no good to sit in a state of question."
For a blow-by-blow recap, check out this wrap-up from the Orly-watchers at Politijab.