Well. That was interesting.
As the inestimable Eugene Volokh, Bill Torpy and others have now noted, I am a free man, unburdened by the legal menace of Tom Owens and his execrable temporary protective order barring me from within a football field’s length of him. I am now at liberty to stay away from him simply because I want to. God bless America.
My story about court is rapidly growing into another chapter in the book, though this time I think I’ll spare you the full dose. Suffice it to say that the closer I look at the sheer bloody-minded stupidity and perjury committed by Owens and his crew yesterday, the more I think there’s something fundamentally broken with the lot of them.
It’s not that they simply lied in court — and no, I don’t lay that accusation lightly — but that I’m legitimately wondering if they were capable of perceiving reality as most people do, or wish to do.
Tom Owens, his campaign manager Wayne Witter and the genuinely terrible human being Joe Newton walked into court yesterday prepared to testify that I had physically and verbally threatened Owens. In their hands, they carried a digital video recording that showed almost exactly the opposite — me, asking questions, while Newton hurled insults at me about a foot from my face.
It’s one thing when someone misremembers an event. Eye witness testimony is notoriously fraught. But it’s another thing when you have immediate access to a video recording of an event and still get the details radically wrong.
The video made a complete mockery of their case. The word pitiful might be appropriate, were they not such raging mattress stains and the kind of stupid that requires watering twice daily. To the typical observer, three minutes of me explaining why it’s important to ask questions of a political candidate while Newton calls me a violent Muslim and a fool would be quite enough to convince them who is on the right side of the question. A magistrate summarily spanked them yesterday with this approach. We have the video. I’ll post it soon.
Faced with that failure on Tuesday … they took exactly the same approach again yesterday.
They used the same video, only more of it, which made it worse. They made variations and elaborations on their testimony, which caused their statements to deviate even more from their own damned video evidence. They leveled accusations that were directly contravened five flipping minutes later on video.
I didn’t even have to testify.
So … what were they thinking would happen? That a new judge would magically decide to ignore the video evidence that they themselves brought and believe them when they said I was physically threatening? That they had video of my encounters with Owens and the phrase “I will destroy you” just by happenstance is absent?
Their own weird wiring appears to have led them to radically interpret what they saw on the tapes as beneficial to their case. But even during Owens’ ham-handed pro se “questioning” of witnesses — an entirely comic experience I’ll write about at length later — they insisted on describing their experiences in entirely subjective terms, trying every way possible to express their feelings as legally valid submissions of fact.
There’s a deeply troubling psychology at play here, a kind of confirmation bias reinforced by groupthink. The fact that they reinforce each other makes their biases harder to penetrate — even for themselves.
The Peach Pundit community has been unbelievably wonderful throughout this mess. I am in your debt. The outpouring of support from both liberal and conservative readers has bolstered my belief in the essential goodness of people involved in politics. Someone will, of course, disabuse me of that feeling quite soon.
Also, in an entirely unrelated note, I’ve ceased to pretend Harry doesn’t exist.
I sincerely hope, when all of this is over, that it renews interest in the vital discourse that fuels democracy … and that the Georgia First Amendment Foundation outraises Owens for the quarter.