We were back in court yesterday — crossing swords, or in their case, clubs, with the deeply corrupt clique of rich fixers: Judge John Koeltl, Victor Kovner, now lead attorney for the MTA, and smoking his fat cigar behind closed doors libeler Charles Moerdler, the MTA board member, who led the ban against free speech in order to protect their friends from our anti-BDS campaign (see ads here). Moerdler as much as said so in his libelous attack on us before the MTA board. On a side note, when Charles Moerdler was boasting about and flaunting being a Holocaust survivor (which was simply evil), he neglected to mention that he was the lead lawyer for the Austrian banks that aided the Nazi war machine and profited by selling Jewish assets during World War II. These descendants of Tammany Hall remind me of the deceptions of the ferocious tiger that was killing democracy. In those days, the media went after these destroyers (see cartoon below). Today, the media wipes their boots.
The bottom line is that we are not close to settling this case. While we won the substantive claim—that the MTA’s refusal to run the ad under the older policy was illegal and unconstitutional (which is why we seek judgment for nominal damages), the court dissolved the injunctive relief that would have required the MTA to run the ad after the MTA changed the policy. We have appealed that decision to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, because we still want the MTA to run the ad.
The parties and the court agreed that the court would grant our judgment on the constitutional violation when the MTA denied our right to run the ad. Our complaint sought “nominal damages” (typically $1). Under federal civil rights statute, that entitles us to get an award of attorney’s fees and costs as the prevailing party. Those fees and costs are today in excess of $107,000 (not to mention the cost of the distress and damage to our reputations).
We will challenge the new policy regarding no “political” ads, defined by the new MTA policy as no “disputed” social issue ads. The MTA will be hearing from us on that, too.
It’s important to point out how close the political players are. The Judge should have recused himself, but he was put there for a reason. Victor Kovner and Judge Koetl are very good friends — and their conduct during these proceedings deserves closer scrutiny. They were practically telegraphing each other and disallowing many of our standard requests, Kovner machinating to rule on the side of Kovner and Moerdler and co.
Victor A. Kovner, once NYC’s chief lawyer, is now, ironically enough, Victor A. Kovner, a partner in the media and First Amendment practice at Davis Wright Tremaine, one of New York’s most powerful law firms. That he should represent a First Amendment practice while working to successfully shut down the First Amendment in NYC is pretty rich. Kovner has been quietly working behind the scenes to shut our ads down long before this case. Back in September, Obama fundraiser Kovner (now representing the MTA) called for Red Bill Blasio to “do more” in response to our “anti-Muslim ads.”
A graduate of Yale and Columbia Law School, Mr. Kovner was once president of Planned Parenthood of New York City. He served for years on the board of the New York Chapter of the American Jewish Committee and the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue.
Kovner is extreme left-wing.
Kovner left the Dinkins administration (arguably NYC’s worst mayor) when, according to the NY Times, he was “frustrated by the budget cuts that put a progressive City Hall agenda on hold.”
Well, deBlasio fixed all that. These power-brokers are running roughshod over our basic freedoms.
You can just see these greasy, country clubby, cigar chomping, brandy-drinking 1%-ers patting themselves on the back — “job well-done, friends.” To hell with the First Amendment and rights of all men.
Judge Koeltl had previously assured us during proceedings that despite these close friendships, he could and would be impartial. And I said at the time that I would reserve judgement. Well, the verdict is in: the corrupt judge lied. He’s just another corrupt, compromised cog in the liberal-fascist Democrat political machine, otherwise known as NY politics.
The New York Daily News headline blares, “MTA, Pamela Geller mull deal tied to anti-Islam ads on NYC buses.” It’s an anti-jihad ad. If you oppose jihad, the media calls you anti-Islam. It shows not-so-subtle support of jihad.
“MTA, Pamela Geller mull deal tied to anti-Islam ads on NYC buses,” BY Chris Sommerfeldt , Stephen Rex Brown, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS, July 10, 2015
Pamela Geller told the Daily News she seeks an award of only $1 — setting the stage for her to seek more money for legal fees.
State taxpayers could be on the hook for a six-figure award to Pamela Geller for her ongoing legal fight to post Islamophobic posters on city buses.
Lawyers for the MTA and Geller’s American Freedom Defense Initiative said in Manhattan Federal Court Thursday they’d agreed to an award of “nominal damages” to the conservative provocateur.
Geller told the Daily News she seeks an award of only $1 — setting the stage for her to seek more money for legal fees.
The $1 award “opens the door to an award of attorney’s fees, which in this case will be north of $100K (not to mention distress and damage to our reputations),” Geller said.
Her latest maneuver comes after Judge John Koeltl ruled in April that the MTA had violated the First Amendment by refusing to accept Geller’s posters showing a menacing man with his face masked in a Middle Eastern-style scarf next to the quote “Killing Jews is worship that draws us close to Allah.”
Before the posters went up, the MTA hastily changed its policy to ban all political speech in ads.
Judge John Koeltl ruled in April that the MTA had violated the First Amendment by refusing to accept Geller’s posters.
Koeltl then issued a ruling saying that the change in policy had rendered his previous order moot.
But Geller hasn’t given up, and is appealing Koeltl’s decision.
“The plan was and is to defend the freedom of speech. If they continue to try to make an end run around the First Amendment, we will continue to challenge them,” Geller said.
A source said that Geller has agreed to not seek legal fees until the 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals rules on the case.
“AFDI and MTA are working on language summing up this agreement, but it’s not finished and hasn’t been submitted to Judge Koeltl so we cannot comment further,” MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz said.
Koeltl said in court he looked forward to the appeals ruling, which he hoped would be expedited.
Floyd Abrams, a lawyer with expertise in the First Amendment, said Geller had certainly succeeded in one aspect of her controversial campaign: getting publicity and provoking discussion.
But now the case had entered a new phase.
“A good part of the strategy is to cut her losses . . . and see if in having an earlier victory she can have some element of that recognized by the court,” said Abrams, who made an application to the MTA to hang posters on behalf of an animal rights group.
The posters were denied as a result of the MTA’s post-Geller policy.
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