In 2005, Jack Thompson wrote Out of Harm’s Way, an autobiography which detailed his brand of activism. Toward the end of book he lists 25 Culture War Tips From the Trenches.
These include "Be mean" and "Take the Offensive."
Thompson apparently put his philosophy into practice with zest, if one judges by transcripts of his November, 2007 Bar trial. Judge Dava Tunis cites large chunks of those transcripts in her 169-page report to the Florida Supreme Court in which she recommends that Thompson be disbarred for life.
While GamePolitics has already offered exclusive coverage of the transcripts involving Thompson Bar trial witnesses related to video game cases, we had not previously read the testimony of Florida attorneys Larry Kellogg and Al Cardenas (left) of the Tew Cardenas law firm. In 2005 Kellogg was hired by Beasley Communications to deal with Thompson. Beasley owns radio stations and Thompson had targeted some of their shock jock programming. From the transcripts cited by Judge Tunis:
Kellogg: …what [Thompson] does in these situations — is he attacks the lawyers for those he wants to do something with… once he learned that I was involved, he started sending me communications to me about my client and about me to others. He also started copying me with all the communications he was sending to others… the F.C.C., third parties of every sort…
I had another matter out in Denver… So I went out to Denver and I didn’t get back to Mr. Thompson quick enough for him. So I started getting e-mails threatening that he was going to sue me personally if I didn’t arrange a meeting. He sent me an e-mail giving me deadlines. I must have this meeting — agree to this meeting — by a certain date or things were going to happen. I was getting all these e-mails, but I was out on another matter and I didn’t think it was the most important thing in my life was to arrange a meeting with him. So because I didn’t do it fast enough for him, he sent a series of letters… and this was the basis for my initial Bar complaint, why I got involved for the first time in 26 years in a Bar proceeding. I’ve never filed a Bar complaint and I’ve never been involved in one prior to this day. This is what made me do it…
Al Cardenas is my partner. Al Cardenas has never represented Beasley and he had never done anything
personally on behalf of Beasley up to that time and never has since. He’s never billed an hour of time. He’s never talked to them about any legal matter. He’s never represented them in any way. He was simply an innocent bystander, who happens to have been the co-chair of President Bush’s Florida campaign. He is involved in politics. He’s well known as being involved in politics on the Republican side and he knows very well Jeb Bush and he knows George Bush and [Florida Governor] Charlie Crist. He knows them all and they all know who he is…. So Mr. Thompson, because I wouldn’t get a meeting with him fast enough…[made the following statements regarding Mr. Cardenas.]:
From Judge Tunis’ Report: On March 17, 2005, [Thompson] sent a letter to Florida Governor Jeb Bush stating that Al Cardenas, a partner in the Tew Cardenas law firm, “…has been involved in facilitating the commission of criminal activity in violation of 18 USC 1464 and other federal and state criminal statutes.” Respondent further stated: More specifically, Mr. Cardenas personally and his firm collectively have actively protected the distribution of pornographic material to children and helped target me and my family because of my alerting federal authorities to this activity and Mr. Cardenas’s and his firm’s involvement in it… This makes Mr. Cardenas and his firm involved, in my legal opinion, in a statewide racketeering activity…
The next day on March 18, 2005, [Thompson] wrote Mr. Cardenas: "Not having received it [a return telephone call], and [Thompson’s then-attorney] Ray Reiser and I not having heard from your partner Mr. Kellogg about our requested meeting with Caroline Beasley, I alerted the Daily Business Review here in Miami that I have asked Governor Bush to direct the Statewide Prosecutor to investigate your law firm’s receipt of fees from a multi-county criminal activity that violates federal criminal statutes."
Thus, Mr. Thompson explicitly states that the reason he is requesting an investigation by a Statewide Prosecutor from Governor Bush, and simultaneously notifying the primary daily legal newspaper in Miami, is because he did not receive a return telephone call from Mr. Kellogg.
Kellogg: Once he found out about the Bar complaint [that I filed against him]… I knew exactly how he was going to respond. He was going to go after my clients, he was going to go [sic] my partners, he was going to go after my employees, he was going to go after me, and he was going to say Beasley was behind it — not true. I thought hard about whether I should do this, but I tell you. I had seen him do this to so many other people in the short time that I had been exposed to him and I said, "I’m just not going to sit by and let him do it."
Many of these communications were copied to every person in my firm. I made the decision to block Mr. Thompson’s e-mails from everyone in my firm except for me; and the reason I didn’t block them from me is because I was still representing a client, Beasley, and I had to read the garbage that he was sending me to make sure it didn’t impact Beasley, but everyone else, I’d would [sic] block it. I had to block it. Occasionally, he would change his e-mail address and some would get through and now I’d have to deal with the reaction. You can imagine. I’ve got a 50 lawyer law firm that everybody in it — including lots of secretaries — would get stuff about me and Al Cardenas being pornographers or mentally molesting children and that sort of thing…
Jack Thompson: In fact, go to Exhibit 39, if you would. [Florida Bar prosector] Miss [Sheila] Tuma had you read from just a small portion of this letter, I believe, Exhibit 39. It’s my letter to the president of
Florida A & M University.
Kellogg: Oh, I remember it.
Thompson: Okay. Why don’t you read starting at the last paragraph on the first page and read through the in bold type at the top of page two. This is a letter, so that record is clear, to the president of Florida A & M. which is predominantly an African- American student body.
Kellogg: (After examining document) Yes. You said: "In February, 2004, I was successful in getting the Howard Stern show off all Clear Channel radio stations in America, including the one in South Florida, because Stern aired the following comment while interviewing the man who had sexual intercourse with Paris Hilton and streamed the audio and ran video of it on the Internet: "Ever bang any famous [n-word]chicks? What do they smell like? Watermelon?" Is that where you want me to stop or should I keep reading?
Thompson: Yes. You can stop there.
Kellogg: That’s what you said to the president of Florida A & M.
Kellogg: The African-American school, yes.
Thompson: And that was — I’m sorry, Mr. Kellogg. Do you have a problem with my telling that to this African-American gentleman whose law firm is representing the company that has that on the air?
Kellogg: For one thing, it’s not his law firm. It’s a member of his Board of Trustees. I don’t know whether Howard Stern…
Thompson: Whose law firm?
Kellogg: We were not representing Florida A & M…
Thompson: Do you have a problem with me telling the president of Florida A & M about this, the fact that Al Cardenas is in the law firm that bears his name that is representing this programming?
Kellogg: Well, I do because — for a number of reasons. One is, you’re trying to get Al Cardenas thrown off the Board because I won’t drop my Bar complaint.
Thompson: Where do I —
Kellogg: Second is — let me finish. Second is, we never represented Howard Stern programming; and even if we did, Al Cardenas never did. Third is, I have no idea if Howard Stern actually said this or if he didn’t. I have no idea if you actually got him off the station. I have no idea. You say it all the time. I don’t know if it’s —
Thompson: Well, never —
Kellogg: But to go to an African-American school and paint this picture of Al Cardenas who is a member of the Board a racist because we’re somehow affiliated with Howard Stern when you know we’re not? Yes. I’ve got a problem with that, Mr. Thompson…
Thompson: Where do I say Mr. Cardenas is a racist?…
Kellogg: You think you’re cute by calling him a racist, in a way, saying he’s a white politician who puts
profits ahead of race relations. To me, that’s calling him a racist. I think you can understand why someone might take that as meaning that Al Cardenas is a racist, and it’s certainly the way I took it.
Thompson: Is it possible Mr. Cardenas is insensitive to matters of race in this regard?
From Judge Tunis’s Report: On May 1, 2005 at 7:33 A.M., Mr. Thompson sent an e-mail to various people including President Bush, Governor Bush, Al Cardenas and numerous Tew Cardenas employees and media. This letter included “John B. Thompson, Attorney at Law” letterhead and was also addressed to U.S. Congressman Fred Upton. Notably, below the top page margin and above the letterhead Mr. Thompson wrote: “Dear Al: Bar complaints are dangerous things, si?”
Kellogg: Exhibit 44 is a letter that he sends to the President and C.E.O. of Martindale-Hubbell. Now, Martindale-Hubbell, as you know, is the rating agency for lawyers and it rates lawyers based upon the opinions of their peers. They do surveys. Al Cardenas and I are both AV rated lawyers, meaning that we have the highest rating both as to skill and ethics that Martindale-Hubbell can award. It’s a very important — you know, it’s an important thing to be rated AV in the Martindale-Hubbell.
From Judge Tunis’s Report: On May 7, 2005 at 10:12 A.M. and 3:34 P.M., Mr. Thompson sent two emails to Larry Kellogg which included letters to John A. Lawler, President and CEO of Martindale-Hubbell, stating that, Larry Kellogg, Al Cardenas and [another attorney]…“do not deserve the high dual rating from Martindale-Hubbell. It is my opinion that this firm has engaged in criminal conduct.”
Kellogg: You’ve skipped one that’s really important to me and I’d like to talk about it, if possible, and that’s May 8th, on Mother’s Day… I have it right here… This is a letter to Mrs. Lawrence A. Kellogg and Mrs. Al Cardenas care of Al and I, which is copied to every female lawyer in my firm and some other
lawyers as well regarding "Hypocrisy at Tew Cardenas on Mother’s Day, 2005," and in it he says that — Well, I have a lot of young female lawyers working in my law firm and he sends them an e-mail and to my wife and to Al’s wife in care of us. I shared it with her because I said, "I want you to see what I’m dealing with."
What he said is: "These two men, along with the entire firm in which they practice law, have actively facilitated distribution of criminally indecent material to other mothers’ children in violation of [federal law]. In addition, they have committed perjury in a sworn Bar complaint… They have threatened a critic of what they have done, all the while claiming the First Amendment protects the distribution of porn to children."
Then he goes on to say: "The problem, your men, Mrs. Kellogg and Mrs. Cardenas, seem to have it is
that they care about some women, but not all women. They certainly don’t care about my wife and our 12 year old son." Then he says: "They –" meaning Al and I "- – facilitate the objectification of all women and the mental molestation of minors for money… All the women who work at Tew Cardenas, along with the
wives of the men who work there, ought to be ashamed of what Tew Cardenas is doing. You are all
hypocrites who care only about yourselves and not about others."
A very Happy Mother’s Day greeting copied to female lawyers in my firm saying that I objectify women, that I mentally molest minors for money, and that I’m a porn lawyer who should be criminally prosecuted. I’ve got to tell you, you know, there is no line that he wouldn’t cross at this point… I will say that this went on and went on and went on and went on for two full years.
From Judge Tunis’s Report: On June 16, 2005, [Thompson] sent an e-mail to various individuals,
including the Tew Cardenas law firm and the media. This letter included “John B. Thompson, Attorney at Law” letterhead and was also addressed to the members of the Board of Pasco County Commissioners, a Tew Cardenas client.
Therein, Mr. Thompson wrote: "Tew Cardenas has been involved, for quite some time, in efforts to facilitate the illegal broadcasts of Naples-based Beasley Broadcast Group, Inc., in violation of [federal law]… I am not quite sure why Pasco County would want to hire a firm that is a front for a portion of the pornography industry…two of Tew Cardenas’ equity partners, Larry Kellogg and Al Cardenas…have committed perjury (not yet convicted), in stating under oath that Beasley has ‘no links to the porn industry.’…Tew Cardenas’ lawyers have been involved for quite sometime in efforts to silence, with intimidation, harassment, and threats, an individual who has gone to state and federal law
enforcement officials about the aforementioned criminal activity… If the Commission should like me to journey to Pasco County to explain further why Tew Cardenas should be dumped as its lobbyist, please let me know…
Kellogg: …Pasco County Commissioners, they receive a letter. They don’t know who Jack Thompson is. They don’t live in this community. They don’t see what he’s made of and what he does. They say a lawyer has sent us this letter and they make inquiries. Now, I had to go explain to the Commissioners of Pasco County the background of all this and why it was happening and why it is we’re not pornographers or we’re not a front for the porn industry and all these other things he said. I had to respond to that
client’s concerns based upon his communication, in response to my Bar complaint…
Bar prosecutor (to Al Cardenas): Can you tell the Court what effect Mr. Thompson’s conduct towards you has had on you?
Thompson: Objection, Your Honor. I think that’s irrelevant.
Judge Tunis: Overruled.
Cardenas: Well, you know, by now it’s been a period of almost four years, I would presume. We filed this complaint – this grievance — with the Bar in March of ’05 at a time when we thought there was ample
information to justify it, but it didn’t stop then… but it got to the point where we had to ask our IT Supervisor to block spam e-mails because frankly they were of an emotionally hurtful and distracting fashion, and this went on and on and on.
I mean, there were missives sent to people who are in public office but who are personal friends and acquaintances over many years: The Governor of the state, the President, the Attorney General, the U.S. Attorney, the State Attorney, all people that I have known for decades, literally, and have developed friendships with. Clients received missives. The newspapers have received missives. My wife has received missives. Young lawyers, some of whom I recruited in the firm, received missives. Employees received missives, where basically I was being accused of participating in a criminal enterprise, of indulging in child pornography or supporting child pornography. Frankly, it was the emotional equivalent of stalking. It just wouldn’t stop…
Frankly, Mr. Thompson, I never objected to you representing yourself or a client or a cause. We were representing the other side and I couldn’t care less for how long and with how much zealousness you represented your client or yourself as long as you treated us with the protocol and etiquette that the Florida Bar calls for. It’s that simple. I have never objected to — and wouldn’t intend to — to any cause that you decide to undertake. It’s your methodology that I object to.
From Judge Tunis’s Report: As to this count involving Tew Cardenas, the conduct and motivation of Mr. Thompson as proven by the evidence surpasses the extreme, at the very least. It is almost hard to imagine a lawyer comporting himself in this wholly reckless manner, but the evidence shows beyond any doubt that the Respondent in fact, did so.