Dan Choi’s Lawyers Are Not So Skilled At Courtroom Procedure

When Obama filed unusually harsh federal charges against “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” protester Dan Choi for chaining himself to the White House fence, Choi’s lawyers argued that the president sought to make an example of Choi by singling him out for “vindictive prosecution.” But they made this argument during the trial rather than before it like they should have.

So while the prosecution filed a “Writ of Mandamus” urging to court to deny the tardy defense, Choi’s lawyer’s tried making their case by comparing Obama to Richard Nixon. Turns out that strategy didn’t work so well.

Judge Royce C. Lamberth denied the late entry of a “vindictive prosecution” defense, effectively removing one Choi’s strongest defenses against Obama’s denying Choi’s right to free speech.

Ominously, at least one LGBT journalist has suggested that Obama’s charges against Choi may be part of a larger government move to gradually increase harsher penalties against all peaceful protesters in an attempt to silence dissidence against other unpopular government policies.

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  • Michael

    I respect that Choi continually tries to make a difference.But constantly chaining himself to things is not the answer.I think he goes about it in the wrong but anything that can bring about change in this world is worth it ultimately in the end.

  • Jack E. Jett

    legal ranglings do not make obama less of a shit in this case.

    and chicken dinner gay organizations have been less supportive of this man…..
    perhaps if he had charlize theron on his arm they would pay more attention.

    hrc much prefers a starlet in a gown versus a man with balls.

  • Mark

    Actually, I have to agree that this was a vindictive prosecution. Whatever people think of Choi, the Obama Administration has engaged in a brutal assault on government whistleblowers. Obama has shown he possess many of the same misguided, petty instincts for which liberals rightfully denounced George W. Bush.

    Here’s an article from the Huffingtonpost:

    Why are we always stuck voting for the lesser of two evils in elections?

  • GayGOP

    I do think this was a vindictive prosecution. That being said, I think Choi rightfully lost this battle. His lawyers, apparently not that bright, forgot to plead a defense. The Prosecution simply outmaneuvered Choi’s lawyers because Choi’s lawyers screwed up in a way that they could be defeated by even the average first-year law student.

  • NG

    @Mark: It’s only vindictive prosecution if you mean that prosecutors are notoriously overzealous. Otherwise, it becomes obvious with each
    passing day, Choi is picking up where Orly Taitz left off.

    Before anyone gets on my case, I will remind you all I supported Choi’s right to go to trial and criticized those (Autumn Sandeen) who opposed it. But that was when DADT appeared it would stay law and after Choi proved, and by his own admission, to be a media whore.

  • Spike

    Just one more thing for Miss Choi to bitch and whine about. Always the victim.

  • orpheus_lost

    Choi’s a media whore. He’s a victim. He’s the new Orly Taitz.

    Maybe he really is all of those things, but more importantly, he’s an example of how the Obama administration deals with people who exert their right to speak freely. Add him to the list of those who are being crushed by an authoritarian executive office that exercises fewer restraints than even the Bush administration.

    Julian Assange
    Bradley Manning
    Dan Choi

    All being destroyed for going up against Obama. How many others will there be before the end of his reign?

  • Nelson G

    @orpheus_lost: Bradley Manning and Dan Choi broke the law. They need to accept responsibility for their actions and do the time for the crime.

    Just like everyone who have had their own failings.

  • Red Meat

    @orpheus_lost: Julian Assange? Bradley Manning? LOL

  • Mark


    What American law did Julian Assange break? None. He’s a journalist. Journalist get secret info and release it. The NY Times published the Pentagon Papers in the 1970s.

    Just because someone is a “media whore” doesn’t mean that those in power have a right to destroy their lives.

  • Cam

    How weird…

    A friend of mine who is big into the HRC thing started saying that Choi was “Orly Taitz” a few days ago. And now suddenly I’m seeing that exact same wording here.

    Looks like the memo went out. HRC doesn’t like it when other people don’t just sit back, shut up and let them get money for not doing much.

    Perhaps instead of constantly figuring out ways to attack Choi they should spend their time worrying about DOMA, ENDA, and gay rights. But then again, why should they start now.

  • Riker

    @Mark: Assange in’t even American. Also, Pfc. Manning ALLEGEDLY broke the law. The evidence is underwhelming.

  • Kurt


    ” he’s an example of how the Obama administration deals with people who exert their right to speak freely.”

    PLEEZE! There is no right to chain yourself to the White House security fence. In fact Choi did it specifically because he had no right to do it, so he could be a media whore and be arrested and get press. Now, having done something he had no legal right to do for the purpose of the publicity of an arrest, he is crying like a little baby.

  • the crustybastard

    There is a difference between selective prosecution and vindictive prosecution. Vindictive prosecution is not a defense on the merits. Selective prosecution is. True, federal rules require the defense to raise the issues in a pretrial motion, but the defense is also not allowed discovery on the matter.

    During the trial, the testimony of the government’s own witnesses evinced a concerted effort on the part of the White House to target Choi for this particular protest. In other words, the government tried to bar Choi from raising the defense of selective prosecution, then presented an assload of evidence they HAD specially targeted Choi. The government should not be permitted to have it both ways. That said, having vindictive prosecution disallowed shouldn’t affect their selective prosecution defense.

    Finally, let’s not lose sight of the fact Choi was a citizen engaged in his First Amendment right to engage in peaceful protest. Let’s also not lose sight of the fact Obama is prosecuting Choi for making his “enemies list.”

  • Riker

    @the crustybastard: His first amendment right to chain himself to a fence that doesn’t belong to him?

  • orpheus_lost

    @Kurt: Yes, he broke the law, just like the Occupy Wallstreet protesters are breaking the law. Am I correct in assuming that you don’t support the 99%ers, either? I suppose you also thought that Martin Luther King, Jr. was a whiner and cry baby as well. There’s no “right” to take over any public space for a prolonged period of time but some people feel that civil disobedience has a necessary function in our society. We believe that it can effectively highlight gross injustice and the plight of oppressed groups. It’s your right to complain about “media whores” because of all the cry babies who have stood up against authority in the past.

    Some people stand up for human rights while others sit and bitch. I side with those willing to stand.

  • Kurt

    First, you don’t know alot about my background. I’ve paid my dues.

    Second, I appreciate the concession this is not a First Amendment/Free Speech right. I accept your retraction.

    Dr. King broke laws that were unjust like segregation on buses and lunch counters. Gandhi believed in the same. Breaking an unjust law is different from breaking a just law (the security of the White House) even if it is to draw attention to an unjust law (or in this case, attention to a person protesting an unjust law whose repeal was being blocked by a GOP fillibuster).

  • jeff4justice

    @Mark: Amen. We’re not. If we can elect a black President who speaks for equal rights then we can start electing altenrtive parties by now.

    A black person can never be President

    An openly-gay person can never be elected

    An alternative party Canaanite can never be elected

  • jeff4justice

    Who cares if Dan Choi is a media whore or you don’t agree with his tactics? Do you call celebs or politicians media whores when they make pro-LGBT statements? Of course not. What’s with the double standard for grassroots activists?

    If you don’t like the way a certain LGBT person tries to make things better shut the fuck up and try something yourself.

    Had Frank Kameny been alive and active in today’s online age ya’ll would probably nitpicking him too. If LGBTs directed the energy they spend bitching about their activist brothers and sisters towards the anti-LGBTs instead then maybe we’d be more productive.

    LGBTs Persecuting LGBT Activists: STOP IT!

  • Adman

    Well, you keep conservative company, you get conservative ideas. Too bad Dan wasn’t trying to win incremental culture wars in church and PR circles, he might’ve “kicked a little ass” there. The concept of equality for all Americans is a foreign one to those in the positions of power, what is it about chaining yourself to the fence in front of the White House that prevented you from understanding that Dan?

  • orpheus_lost

    @Kurt: I don’t know your background but from your spin it reads like you were probably a very low level PR flack for Walmart. You pack a lot of spin into your comment but none of it very persuasive.

    I guess you didn’t see the quotation marks around the word “right” (see I did it again). Just because a corrupt authority doesn’t believe there’s a right to protest doesn’t mean the right isn’t there (it’s called a human right). As for your acrobatics in trying to suggest that MLK’s protests were legal, I can only laugh. Where do you think he wrote the Letter from Birmingham Jail from? Was he staying at a Holiday Inn at the time? No, he was arrested for an illegal protest, just like Choi. You can try to suggest that Choi’s protest was somehow different but that will just make you sound silly.

    Really, where the Hell did you get the idea that Choi’s methods are any less legal than MLK’s or Gandhi’s? Or do you not believe that LGBT rights are real social justice issues?

    Here’s a little thought to get by on. If you bother to actually read something by MLK you might come across it in the letter I mentioned above.

    “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

    Think on it.

  • Kurt


    yes, I thanked you for putting “right” in quotes on your second post, unlike your first. I appreciate the retraction of your earlier claim.

    I never said what Dr. King and Bayard Rustin (who I knew and worked with) did was legal. I said their method was to violate unjust laws. That is different from violating a reasonable law in order to get your face in the paper about an unjust law. The restriction on chaining oneself to the WH fence is a reasonable law.

    And even violating a reasonable law for publicity purposes is not the worst sin. In some cases it has devolved into a little ritual. But it is not a right and it has a little more meaning when the protester is actually willing to pay the price of breaking the law. Which Dr. King and Bayard Rustin knew.

    But the bottom line is Choi was protesting at the WH at the time when the only thing preventing DADT repeal was the GOP fillibuster. He is a silly little boy.

  • the crustybastard

    Evidently the character assassins have been dispatched against Choi. So predictable, so contemptible.

    Yes, Choi committed the unforgivable sin of botching the DNC’s prized DADT repeal narrative; the one where The Fierce Advocate charged up Capitol Hill ALONE into a hail of gunfire to deliver us poor queer dumbshits from the shackles of our oppressors.

    I guess that shit works for the low-information voters.

    But really — comparing Dan Choi to Orly Taitz? What a remarkably clear illustration of the Democratic party’s contempt for gay activists and our goals.

  • Nelson G

    @the crustybastard: What the fuck are you talking about? I have no contempt and animosity toward Dan Choi. The fact is,no sooner Choi became the poster boy for equality, he started throwing people under the bus… left and right of center.

    So this has nothing to do with one’s political affiliation. This has everything to do with Choi monopolizing the equality movement and reassigning to just those who support his narrowminded view and lifestyle.

    Yes, lifestyle, as in imagining oneself they’re following in the footsteps of Ghandi, and King and then telling people that doing prison time is cool and that one is not truly equal unless they serve in the military and kill minorities.

  • the crustybastard

    @Nelson G:

    Nothing underlines your point, “I have no contempt or animosity for Choi” like your subsequent laundry list of grievances peppered with a few unflattering characterizations.

    LOL. Awesome.

  • Nelson G

    @the crustybastard What do you want then CB? Grace and consistency?

    If we’re going to have these debates, then you and jeff4justice and the others can’t have it both ways. There can’t be an exception for the rule for Choi and another for someone else. By the way, this morning someone else just tipped me off to Robert Feldman’s shirtless pics on FB.

    How professional. What’s that again about me having contempt?

    Bitch, please.

  • the crustybastard

    @Nelson G:

    I just figured out you are convicted pedophile Nelson Garcia, resident of New York.

    Take me off your goddam blogroll NOW, and I don’t want you connected as a “friend” through Google. I have removed the page element where you claimed to be my friend, and it will stay removed until you remedy the situation.

    We are not friends and you are not an LGBT activist. You’re a goddam menace.

    Fuck you. Freak.

Comments are closed.