The Bar Trial of Jack Thompson (Part 2): Judge Who Removed Thompson From Alabama GTA Case Testifies

This is the second part of an investigative series that Miami attorney Jack Thompson apparently doesn’t want you to read.

The game industry nemesis today threatened GamePolitics and its parent company, the Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) with legal action over GP’s detailed coverage of Thompson’s recent trial on professional misconduct charges by the Florida Bar.

Thompson’s view seems to be that we can’t print selected excerpts from the trial testimony, but rather that we have a legal responsibility to report on the testimony of all witnesses, including Thompson, who himself testified for five days.

That’s nonsense. That would mean that GP’s First Amendment rights are null and void, that we don’t get to determine what we print, but rather that Jack Thompson does.

To put it mildly, that’s not happening.

Besides, there are good reasons to print selected excerpts. Space is obviously a consideration. In addition, some of the witnesses against Thompson don’t have any connection to video game issues. We’re skipping them. The transcripts we’ve obtained from five game-related witnesses run to hundreds of pages. Excerpts are a necessity. What’s more, the excerpts don’t just include allegations against Thompson. They also include some of Thompson’s objections as well as his cross-examination of the witnesses. In addition, we’ve made arrangements to acquire Thompson’s closing argument (although not from him; he has declined to provide it) and will feature that as a stand-alone.

By way of introduction, part one ran yesterday and provides much of the back story of the series. In today’s update, GamePolitics presents excerpts from the testimony of Alabama Circuit Court Judge James Moore. As longtime GamePolitics readers will recall, on November 18th, 2005 Judge Moore revoked Thompson’s pro hac vice (visiting) right to practice law in Alabama. The drastic action by Judge Moore essentially removed Thompson from Strickland vs. Sony, a wrongful death lawsuit seeking $600 million from a variety of video game industry defendants, including Grand Theft Auto publisher Rockstar Games.

Judge Moore began his lengthy testimony on November 26, 2007 and completed it the following day. Indeed, the transcripts of his direct testimony and Thompson’s cross examination exceed 300 pages. The following excerpts represent only a small portion of Moore’s testimony:

(GP: Under questioning by Florida Bar prosecutor Sheila Tuma, Judge Moore detailed his reasons for revoking Thompson’s pro hac vice status. As alleged by Judge Moore, these included: failure to disclose material facts in Thompson’s application; extra-judicial comments made by Thompson; and violating rules of conduct. We note that Thompson disputes these allegations. In the excerpted transcripts, MOORE is Judge James Moore. JT is Thompson, TUMA is prosecutor Sheila Tuma and DT is Judge Dava Tunis, who is presiding over the case)

TUMA: …You indicated to that Mr. Thompson violated various rules in Alabama. Can you explain to the Court what conduct Mr. Thompson engaged in when he violated those rules?

MOORE: (following a lengthy objection from Thompson which was overruled): One was an ex-parte written communication to me in an attempt to interject himself in the Court’s management of [cop killer Devin Moore’s] criminal trial; also his conduct towards opposing counsel… [saying] repeatedly that the corporate defendants and the counsel are lying…

(later Thompson objects that he is being subject to an ex post facto Florida Bar regulation that didn’t exist at the time of his alleged offense; Judge Tuma overrules his objection, however…)

JT: Judge, Judge, for heaven’s sake. They’re citing a rule that didn’t exist and they’re citing that rule as authoritative against me for something I did prior to the rule’s coming into existence… and this Judge [Moore] is not competent to testify as to whether or not I violated any Florida Bar rules. He’s not licensed in Florida…

(After revoking Thompson’s pro hac vice status in 2005, Judge Moore directed Thompson not to contact his Court any further. Thompson allegedly did not comply with the order.)

TUMA: Judge Moore, after you [revoked his pro hac vice], did you indicate to Mr. Thompson not to contact you any further since he was out of the case?

MOORE: Yes… Because he was continuously sending documents to my office; three, four, five times a day, easy… plus, when he would send his media alerts out… when he sends them to these media people, then they call my office. We got calls from all over the world about this, and it was extremely disruptive… my staff is one lady. That’s it. She’s it. We preside over three courts in three counties… it was very disruptive.

TUMA: How would you receive the correspondence?

MOORE: Fax…

TUMA: Can you just maybe try to explain briefly why you determined to file the [Bar] complaint…?

MOORE: Because his actions were outrageous…

JT: Excuse me, Your Honor, I move to strike his answer that I was outrageous. That’s not really responsive.

DT: Overruled.

JT: That’s a characterization.

DT: Overruled…

(later, Judge Moore is asked to discuss a 2005 communication from Thompson…)

TUMA: Can you tell the Court what that is?

MOORE: That is a copy of an e-mail from Mr. Thompson dated November the 7th, 2005… It’s addressed to me….

TUMA: Please slowly read that paragraph.

MOORE: "I was in your courtroom, Judge, and I felt like Alice in Wonderland must have felt. It’s okay for Mr. Smith to act like a Mafia thug, but it’s unethical for me to point out the thuggery. What in hell – literally – is going on here? This is utter, utter nonsense and you’re watching it, Judge… it is open season in your Courthouse and courtroom on Christians who think that there are such things as decency and sexual material harmful to minors and murder simulators and so forth. This has got to stop." 

(Judge Moore is subsequently asked by prosecutor Tuma about Thompson’s case-fixing allegations concerning Alabama lawyer Clatus Junkin…)

TUMA: Can you tell the Court what you understand about Mr. Thompson’s statements about a fixer being involved in this case?

MOORE: Yes… he set out these allegations in there about Clatus Junkin saying that he could fix the case with me, that he had control of me… or something to that effect.

TUMA: And at any time, did you have any discussions with Clatus Junkin that you would allow him to appear in this case and that the case would be fixed because he was appearing?

MOORE: No.

(GP: Judge Moore is then asked to read letters sent by Thompson to high-level officials of the state of Alabama. One letter asks for a criminal investigation of Clatus Junkin regarding the alleged case-fixing before Judge Moore.)

TUMA: Judge Moore… Can you tell the court how the receipt of all the documents you received from Mr. Thompson affected you?

JT: Objection; irrelevant.

DT: Overruled.

MOORE: For one, as I testified, it was really disturbing to the operation of my office. That, I think, is the main thing… You know, the other thing, it’s just terribly frustrating to me as a Judge in this situation that he can publish these things to the press, unfounded, completely untrue, and I believe they are – they are very hurtful and harmful to the Court and the way this Court operates.

I can’t operate or any judge can’t operate until the public has confidence in us and he attacks that confidence and its just absolutely baseless.

NEXT: Jack Thompson cross-examines Judge Moore.

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