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Tag: Andy Pugno

An Explosive Afternoon: LDS Church

By Julia Rosen

The transcripts from this afternoon read like an episode of Law and Order, with the attorneys arguing with the judge over what documents ought to be introduced as evidence. These aren’t just any old documents, they are emails and letters sent back and forth between the Prop 8 campaign and Catholic, LDS, and Evangelical churches.

For example, one letter indicated that the LDS church had identified a volunteer for the campaign in every single zip code. This was a church document that was in the hands of a Prop 8 campaign official, and thus was discoverable. Andy Pugno, the general council for tried his darnedest to get Judge Walker to exclude it, but failed. From Rick’s liveblog:

Pugno: Objects because document will be revealing.

Judge: Not to make light of this, but the reason people want to produce documents is that they are revealing.

Boutrous: It’s from an outsider to the core group. We are attempting to show the level of coordination with groups that Protect Marriage says were not even affiliated with the campaign.

This is perhaps the most explosive bit of all, from a document between the LDS Church and the campaign:

With respect to Prop. 8 campaign, key talking points will come from campaign, but cautious, strategic, not to take the lead so as to provide plausible deniability or respectable distance so as not to show that church is directly involved.

Get that? The LDS Church intentionally worked to hide behind the scenes to disguise their involvement in the public realm. The LDS Church is well aware that the general public does not have the most favorable opinion of them. Attention on their involvement could have hurt their cause, namely passing Prop 8. (more…)

297 Comments January 20, 2010

Your Right Hand is My Left Hand: The LDS Church and the Prop 8 Campaign

by Brian Leubitz

For about half an hour, Boutrous and Pugno were arguing about the admissibility, and then the names of people, in a document from a Mr. Jansson The interesting part of this is just how these two organizations became two sides of the same coin for about six months in 2008.

Going over all these documents, we learned that over 20,000 Mormons were out door-knocking on the final few weekends. We learned that Mr. Jansson was playing a dual role, both as a leader within the Mormon hierarchy as well as in the executive board. We learned that Mormon/LDS Church leaders were powerful in the structure throughout the campaign. Of course, that was no real surprise.

Take the case of Gary Lawrence. He ran a consulting firm that did much of the polling for the Prop 8 campaign, and that role was widely acknowledged. That wasn’t the focus today, but rather the focus was Lawrence’s role of coordinating the entire Mormon effort within Orange County. Here you have a public consultant who is then running the Mormon programs while trying to hide one of these two roles. The line where the LDS Church stopped and the campaign began was so fuzzy as to subsume the distinction.

Of course, campaigns are often fueled by independent interest groups. It is not surprising to see a leader of an organization take leave to lead a campaign. Groups wrangle and cajole volunteers. Yet, rarely do you get word from a prophet ordering volunteers to show up. And rarely do you see a religious organization so completely subsume a campaign. Yet, the orders came in from on high, and that’s the way it was going to be.

105 Comments January 20, 2010

Liveblogging Day 7: Part III Afternoon begins

By Rick Jacobs

1:10PM. We’re baaaaaaaaaack!

[The judge said he’d referred Mr. McCarthy’s motion to quash (the documents that are public by the two pastors) to Magistrate Judge Spiro.]

Back to Boutrous examining Prof. Segura.

B: Asking questions carefully about documents. Wants to be careful not to mention anything that B does not direct him to do.

S: Document subject line: Go to Confession. November 4, 2008 at 9:20AM.

B: I propose that this document be entered into evidence subject to redaction. I still believe this document is not covered by privilege.

Judge: Mr. Pugno? (more…)

110 Comments January 20, 2010

The Road to Perjury

by Brian Leubitz

Yesterday, during the cross examination of plaintiff’s expert Michael Lamb, defense attorney David Thompson had Lamb comment on studies by two “experts” that the plaintiff had planned to call during the trial. It seems now that the two “experts” were, according to Prop 8 counsel Andy Pugno, “fearful of retribution” if they were to testify.  Apparently the mere suggestion that their evidence would be videotaped shocked them into submission. Nothing like confidence in your own work, for you there.  Anyway, that’s Pugno’s story anyway. The real story, as is so often the case with Pugno, is actually far different.

“The experts they withdrew were ones that [gave deposition statements] that simply disagree with their thesis,” said Boies. He said plaintiffs would introduce evidence later to show that the defense’s own experts have “admitted that they did not have a basis for believing that same-sex marriages would harm heterosexual marriages and no reason for depriving gay and lesbian couples marriage [and doing so is] depriving gay and lesbian couples harm. They admit that,” said Boies, “and it guts the case of defendants.”(Keen News Service 1/15/2010)

For some legal background here, depositions for trial, though not typically held in a court room, are under oath. Such evidence can be admissible to the record on certain occasions. Now, many depositions are taped these days so that the court reporter can verify the testimony and to preserve the record. If that occurred in this instance, it puts the lie to Pugno’s explanation even more clearly. But, even if there is no video of the deposition, the fact that the experts were not willing to testify simply because they might be videotaped should be a big red flag for the court.

In the end, these experts might end  up blowing up in the defense’s face. If Boies and team is able to show what he claims, that their testimony was without basis, the experts  have opened themselves to charges of perjury. Removing the possibility that the defense team knew about the baselessness of the depositions, because such a circumstance would be an egregious violation of professional responsibility, this also has huge implications for the case. If the defense experts admitted that there is no basis to say there is harm to straight marriages, that point becomes a big longshot to recover for the defense.

These two experts and the story surrounding their disappearance should be closely watched as we head into the second week.

71 Comments January 16, 2010

Prop 8’s Andy Pugno Makes the Hard Sell

by Brian Leubitz

First, I want to thank the folks at Courage Campaign for inviting me to blog here at the Prop 8 Trial Tracker.  I regularly blog at, a progressive political blog for California politics.  I’m an attorney who happens to be part of one of the 18,000 couples married in 2008 whose marriages the state officially recognizes. And while I am glad to have “my piece of paper,” until all Californians (and all Americans) share the same rights, privileges, and responsibilities, the piece of paper is just that. As you can guess, this case means a lot to me, and I’ve been watching it closely.

Over at HQ, general counsel Andy Pugno has been working like a dog to make the pitch. Or at least working the press. At this point, I should point out that Pugno is running for state assembly in the Sacramento area.  I won’t link to his website, but I will point to one of the themes you can find there: his fight against what he calls “intrusive and burdensome policies.” Apparently, to Pugno, it is ok for government to heavily regulate the most personal and important relationship in our lives, yet completely inappropriate for the state to protect the economy by regulating business. This is the hypocrisy of Pugno, and of the Yes on 8 campaign and the broader anti-marriage equality movement.  It is ok to regulate the personal lives of our citizens, but not their financial lives.

Now, through the rabbit hole we go to some of Pugno’s arguments from yesterday’s testimony.  (more…)

32 Comments January 14, 2010

Short guide to the names and players

By Julia Rosen

Rick has been posting a fast and furious update to the proceedings, but there is not a lot of time to explain the cast of characters. So, for those who aren’t complete legal nerds and have not been following the case in detail for months, here is a brief breakdown of the major players.

Perry v. Schwarzenegger: the formal name of this case. Perry is one of the plaintiffs. Officially as Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger is the defendant, but he and the Attorney General, Jerry Brown have refused to defend Prop 8. Instead, the Yes on 8 campaign are the main defendants. The trial is being heard in the federal District Court. More background here.

Judge Vaughn Walker: is Chief Judge for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California and is the presiding judge for the trial. He was nominated to the bench by Ronald Regan and has been the chief judge since 2004. More here.

Ted Olson: former solicitor general, who has argued in front of the Supreme Court on a number of occasions, most famously on the winning side of Bush v Gore. He is one of the preeminent conservative lawyers in the country. He will be arguing for the plaintiffs, supporting marriage equality. WikiPedia entry.

David Boies: was on the opposing side of Olson for Bush v. Gore. Much like Olson, though on the opposite side of the ideological spectrum, Boies is an extremely well-respected lawyer with lots of experience arguing in front of the Supreme Court. He and Olson are long time friends.

American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER): The non-profit organization founded by Chad Griffin and Bruce Cohen which filed the lawsuit on behalf of the plaintiffs. Their website can be found here. formerly the “Yes on 8” campaign, the organization has evolved into an advocacy group and are acting as the primary defendants.

Ron Prentice: former Yes on 8 chairman who now serves at the Executive Director for, which is leading the defense.

Paul Katami, Jeffrey Zarillo, Kristin Perry and Sandra Steir: the four plaintiffs, two committed couples who are not permitted to wed under current California law. All of them testified on the first day of the trial.

Andy Pugno: chief legal counsel and current candidate for the Assembly.

19 Comments January 11, 2010

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