Greek Billionaire Alki David brought the hurt to The Bloom Firm in an unprecedented trial in which he represented himself against the disgraced Harvey Weinstein lieutenant; Facebook was slammed around the world, and the other top legal stories of the year
Legal news consumption is on the rise–no doubt driven by the urgency of the legal storm surrounding Donald Trump at all times, but also by sea change-type stories of the era such as the data privacy emergency and the global change in cannabis acceptance. Cable news legal experts like CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin are leading broadcasts, new legal blogs are launching every day, and legal stories top web traffic everyday according to ComScore. (Sadly subscriptions are down at our favorite legal news site, Law360, perhaps because they’re keeping their rates–and paywall–too high). Our top legal stories of the year, match MSNBC’s picks–especially in designating an example of MeToo and a celebrity lawyer gone too far.
Lisa Bloom’s Very Bad Year
In a case that fascinated lawyers in California, and across the entertainment and tech communities worldwide, a Greek billionaire representing himself for the first time in L.A. Superior Court was able to get a mistrial against famed TV lawyer Lisa Bloom. The jury sided with Alki David 8-4, despite him having been led out by sheriff’s deputies numerous times and being admonished, and fined, by Judge Jonathan Liu. It was a shocking blow for Bloom–who even had to endure the judge and jury snickering when David pretended she had farted in the courtroom. “Lisa, Please!” David shouted. Los Angeles magazine called it, “The Most Insane Me Too Trial Ever,” and memorialized it with an illustration by superstar artist Edel Rodriguez.
(Though Bloom is not known to have any abs at all).
This was also the year Bloom became the villain in two best selling books surrounding Harvey Weinstein’s alleged decades long spree of rape and other harassment. Both She Said, and Ronan Farrow’s book Catch and Kill, put Bloom at the center of efforts to not only protect Weinstein, but also to actively harass, intimidate and gaslight his accusers. She also lied to Farrow–a supposed friend–about working for Weinstein and set the decidedly terrifying Israeli spy firm Black Cube on him. Many clients of Bloom and her mother Gloria Allred have said signing with them was the worst decision they ever made, including Summer Zervos, a Trump accuser who says Allred’s representation was disastrous for her.
In the trial between Bloom and David, Elizabeth Taylor was proven to be lying in several cases, and her witnesses such as Chasity Jones, gave stories that didn’t line up at all with her account. The jury told reporters afterwards, including the Los Angeles Magazine, that they found Taylor to not be credible. The mistrial, was eseentially a “win” for David and his team, since in California, “It’s impossible to get a fair trial in this kind of matter,” as Venable LLC attorney Ellyn Garofolo told Law360 after the trial.
Facebook Under Fire
Good thing Facebook added sad and angry emojis for users to use in reacting to posts on their timeline. Founder Mark Zuckerberg could use either to describe the year Facebook has had. In July, Facebook was hit with a $5 billion fine from the FTC over its privacy practices, relating to its association with Cambridge Analytica, according to the ABA Journal. In October, Zuckerberg was grilled by Congress, including Facebook’s planned cryptocurrency, Libra, as well as to defend its stance against fact-checking political ads. While Facebook’s stock price remains healthy, the social media company has lost nearly 15 million users over the past two years, according to reports. Law Firms in particular are jumping ship quick. According to a November report from Good2BeSocial, lingering concerns over privacy have caused large firms to turn to other social media platforms.
Weed Goes Wide
The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act of 2019 passed a vote by the U.S. House Judiciary Committee in November. If adopted into law, the measure could open up huge business opportunities for legal marijuana nationwide, similar to the federal legalization of hemp, according to Marijuana Biz Daily. This could open even more avenues for business for leading cannabis companies such as Swissx Labs to get products to consumers.
“If the MORE Act does pass the full House in the 2020 election year, it still faces the huge obstacle represented by the Republican-controlled Senate,” MJB Daily writes.
Screw Prom, I’m Going to Law School
16-year-old Haley Taylor Schlitz of Dallas is headed to start law school. Having graduated both high school and college early, Schlitz was accepted into all five law schools to which she applied. She picked Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law partly so she could keep living with her parents, according to Texas Lawyer.
British Lawyer Knocked Up By Celebrity Big Brother Star
Katie McCreath, a lawyer at Crown Defence Solicitors, is said to have acted for model and reality TV personality Jeremy McConnell after he was arrested for assaulting his then on-off girlfriend Stephanie Davis, who he met while the pair were on CBB, according to top British law site Legal Cheek.
McConnell, 29, is already a father to two-year-old Caben-Albi with his ex-girlfriend Davis. He has limited contact with both his son and Davis after being found guilty of assaulting the Hollyoaks actress. McConnell was handed a 20-week sentence, suspended for a year, but later spent 34 days behind bars after he missed court-ordered community service to get a beard and hair transplant in Turkey. He was released in December 2017.
The Irish model who has appeared on This Morning, Beauty School Cop Outs and The Jeremy Kyle Show, revealed he is 18-months sober after becoming hooked on class A drug cocaine after leaving the CBB house. “I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. I wake up happy and I radiate happiness,” McConnell told The Sun. “I can count friends and family on two hands now. I don’t want to associate with anybody that’s negative, that brings toxic energy to my life. I’m proud to where I’ve got to now.”
What stories will dominate the news in 2020? All of the above no doubt. There is talk that we’ll see the long awaited offensive against Bloom and Allred from Alki David
and his expanded legal team–the beginning of the end for greedy lawyers who would exploit the cause of “MeToo” and harm their own clients in the process.
Facebook will no doubt continue to be under fire during the election year–and play a pivotal part in Donald Trump’s reelection bid.
And, thank goodness, everyone will be able to stay high as they watch it all unfold.