As previously reported by GamePolitics, Miami attorney and video game industry nemesis Jack Thompson underwent a career-threatening, nine-day trial on Florida Bar misconduct charges late last year.
As might be expected, the proceedings before Judge Dava Tunis produced no small amount of sparks. A ruling on the Bar’s case against Thompson has not yet been issued by the Judge. Her decision is expected next month.
In the meantime, Thompson has filed a suit under Florida’s False Claims Act against Judge Tunis as well as six justices of the Florida Supreme Court, alleging that written loyalty oaths required under state law were not properly completed, thus invalidating any rulings they might make – including, presumably, any ruling in the Thompson Bar trial. The false claims case is pending.
Although GamePolitics was unable to cover the Thompson Bar trial in person, we have obtained transcripts of the testimony provided by five prosecution witnesses, each of whom relates in some way to Thompson’s ongoing crusade against violent video games. Included within the transcripts is Thompson’s cross-examination of the witnesses. Some other prosecution witnesses whose testimony did not relate to video game issues were judged to be outside the scope of this GamePolitics investigative report and their testimony will not be included in these articles.
Aside from his own multiple days of testimony, Thompson presented no additional witnesses. GamePolitics does not have transcripts of Thompson’s testimony, although we are working to acquire his closing argument. Thompson was offered the opportunity to comment on the Bar trial for this series, but declined to do so. He also declined GP’s request to provide the text of his closing argument.
In the first installment of this multi-part series, today’s edition of GamePolitics will examine the dramatic testimony of Clatus Junkin, an attorney and former judge from Fayette, Alabama. Junkin was called as the first witness against Thompson by Florida Bar prosecutor Sheila Tuma on November 26th, 2007.
By way of background, Junkin’s name first surfaced on GamePolitics in November, 2005. At the time, Jack Thompson was representing the families of two police officers and a police dispatcher murdered by 18-year-old Grand Theft Auto player Devin Moore in 2004. Devin Moore was convicted of the rampage killings in August, 2005 and now sits on Death Row in Alabama. Strickland vs. Sony, a wrongful death lawsuit filed byThompson on behalf of the victims’ families seeks $600 million from Take Two, Rockstar, Sony, Wal-Mart and GameStop.
In a surprise decision issued on November 18th, 2005 Alabama Circuit Court Judge James Moore (no relation to Devin Moore) revoked Thompson’s pro hac vice (visiting) right to practice law in Alabama, essentially throwing him off the case. Not long afterward, Thompson sent a letter to Alabama’s Judicial Inquiry Commission in which he suggested that Clatus Junkin had claimed that he could fix cases before Judge Moore:
…We had heard going into this civil case, before it was even filed, that a particular Western Alabama lawyer had to be part of our litigation team or Judge Moore would not give us a fair hearing… This lawyer himself claims, openly, that ‘Judge Moore will not allow you to survive summary judgment if I am not on the case…’
The case-fixing allegation was raised again during Thompson’s Bar trial where Junkin, under oath, denied Thompson’s charge. On cross-examination, Thompson and Junkin sparred over the case-fixing issue. Surprisingly, it appears from the testimony that Thompson and Junkin may have had had some early cooperative discussions in regard to assembling the Strickland vs. Sony legal team. At least, that’s how Junkin portrayed it. He testified that he helped Thompson reach an agreement to represent one of the families involved in the suit.
(GP: The following quotes are excerpted from 43 pages of testimony involving Clatus Junkin which took place in Miami on November 26th, 2007. Junkin "CJ" is under cross-examination by Thompson "JT")
JT: Do you have a personal relationship with Judge Moore?
CJ: In a rural circuit, everyone has a personal relationship with the circuit judge. We don’t live in a large city… everyone will know everybody…
JT: …I encouraged you to file a complaint [against me], didn’t I?
CJ: …I’ve never met you… and yet you created more problems for me probably than any other single individual that I’ve ever known about…
JT: Do you know I represented all three familes [of Devin Moore’s victims]?
CJ: At that time [early 2005], I’m not sure you did because you came to me – you seemed to never have represented the [slain Officer James] Crump family until after I became involved in the case…
JT: Do you know how much money I have earned from all these video games cases?
JT: Would it surprise you to know it’s zero?
CJ: Well… Don’t say you’re doing it for the good of the community.
JT: I shouldn’t say that?
CJ: You were very much interested in the amount of money that was going to be collected… because you did not want to retain me for 10 percent… you thought that was an outrageous sum…
JT: Did you refer in that phone call [with me]… to your relationship with Judge Moore?
CJ: You asked me what my relationship with Judge Moore was… [Judge Moore and I] do not socialize… we are cordial…
(GP: Judge Moore once also worked for Junkin and eventually succeeded him as circuit court judge)
JT: Do you recall my cursing at you?
CJ: I do not recall you cursing…
JT: In fact, I told you to "go fuck yourself," didn’t I?
CJ: You may have…
JT: I can assure you I said that… Do you recall any harsh words or any reason for harsh words between you and me?
CJ: No. I thought you were being right nice that day. You were very solicitous… [Two local attorneys] had the Crump case and you felt a real need to have all three cases. You told me how much more it would mean and you’d be in control of the case. You’d be able to control the media, that you could handle the whole thing…
JT: So your testimony is that you’re the reason why the Crumps joined the case?
CJ: I’m the reason that – yes, at that time…
(GP: Thompson and Junkin also sparred over the wishes of the slain police officers’ families in regard to whether Devin Moore should have gotten the death penalty during his criminal trial. For clarity’s sake we should make it clear that neither Clatus Junkin nor Jack Thompson had any involvement in the criminal trial of Devin Moore.)
CJ: …I guess if [the families] thought they were going to get a billion dollars, maybe they thought… that could salve the wound and maybe the right thing would be done because [the murders were] actually this video’s fault and not this young fella’s fault…
JT: So how –
CJ: So, you’re the man who’s going to punish the video company, put the video company out of business…
(GP: Nearing the end of his testimony, Junkin lashes out at Thompson over the case fixing allegations)
CJ: I despise you… You understand that?
JT: Yes, I understand that. Thank you for admitting that it colors all of your testimony.
CJ: No, it doesn’t color any of my testimony…
GamePolitics will present additional testimony from the Jack Thompson Bar trial in coming days.
Next: Alabama Judge James Moore