TechnologyWe help communities take back their internet from monopolies like Comcast and Verizon, AMA!
Sep 1st 2017 by neweconomy • 51 Questions • 1955 Points
Hi Reddit! I am New York defense attorney Jeffrey Lichtman, the lawyer for alleged Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. Through my career, I have represented a number of other high-profile clients including John Gotti Jr. and rappers The Game and Fat Joe.
Thank you all for spending two hours with me and asking such intelligent questions. If you have any more interest about what I do for a living, I have a pretty informative website as linked above which will give you an idea about the types of cases I have and my results -- and thoughts as contained in my blog.
I live in a rural area where there is no Comcast or Verizon. It's a half-hour drive to the nearest McDonald's or Walmart. We have three options for internet service - satellite, the regional cable company, and the local phone co-op. Satellite has metered data with low caps and the cable company maxes out at 1 mbps, which costs $50 a month plus fees. I have the lowest fiber plan from the phone company - 10 up, 10 down, and it's about $90 a month.
A lot of the people here can't come up with $90 a month. To reference just one metric, the median home value here is far less than half of the median home value for our state.
I agree that internet access is essential, and I can understand concerns about the big players like Comcast and Verizon, but I wish we had the option to use them here. They offer significantly faster internet for significantly less money.
What can be done to change the internet infrastructure in a community like mine, to allow more people the benefits of having an internet connection?
Next year I'm going to run for City Council, and I have a pretty good chance of getting in. As someone involved in local government, what steps could I take to ensure that the internet is accessible to everyone in the community?
How do you feel about being called the Nickelback of EDM?
That was an interesting moment. I don't know the guy that wrote that article and it was a pretty aggressive article. We were in the studio when we read it and were like 'what do we do?' We just decided to poke fun at ourselves and did a mashup with Paris. Horrible mashup but we're self-deprecating and Nickelback rocks
Good question. The public does not see how much work goes into these defenses and the pressure that the public and press can bear on us. I do tire of the "how can you represent him" questions, though.
Do any of your past celebrity clients (The Game, Fat Joe, John Gotti Jr., etc) keep in touch? Any holiday cards or party invites get sent your way?
Debra here: In cities where access is sporadic, for example in low-income neighborhoods, there is an opportunity for the city to step in and provide support. Some support non-profits who build networks (like the mesh network in DC) others build free wifi (like Boston).
hahaha that's really funny. Our parents have been relatively cool about all the F bombs.
I think a lot of it is my fault. I curse the most. My energy is best conveyed through the F word. My sister got her mouth cleaned with a bar of soap once. - ALEX
I had to pay a fee like 50 cents when I cursed growing up - DREW
I was recommended by his public defenders. He saw dozens of lawyers and ultimately we just clicked
I was hacked. I don't even use Twitter that much. We were at a dinner at Sexy Fish in London with our agent and I got a notification or a text and noticed people were freaking out and then I saw a screenshot. I didn't know if I got hacked or if someone used a fake tweet generator but then I realized what had happened. My manager took my phone and deleted everything and got twitter to freeze my account. What sucked about it is that idk if they genuinely believed that I said all of that or if people just wanted to be nasty to someone but it fucked me up for a while. The comments didn't stop for months. Lady Gaga saw the tweet and she wasn't mad at us cuz she knew that we had been hacked but the things the hacker posted were still hurtful. It sucks that my account was involved in making someone feel that way. I get angry sometimes but I definitely don't go on the internet when I do - DREW
What's bird law?
hahaha this is amazing. Holy crap. Whoever posted this, thank you.
Speaking on recorded prison phone lines. Or blabbing to the press.
I don't use jury consultants at all. It's not sincere. If it's not from my heart inside the courtroom, I'm not interested.
1: I'd take a look through this fact sheet ILSR made about speeds in Tennessee's Fiber-to-the-Home communities (https://muninetworks.org/sites/www.muninetworks.org/files/2017-05-31-TN-Muni-Prices-Speeds-FINAL.pdf) you'll see huge speed increases without giant increases in cost to consumers. Whereas Comcast will charge higher amounts for lower service. There are, of course, exceptions, but the way that the municipal network of Chattanooga works is investing in further connectivity or, if you have a cooperative, they will give extra money back to their member-owners.
2: In short, you see many of these ISPs respond by slow-walking court proceedings to even allow communities to invest in networks. These companies also will read the muni networks' pricing and price slightly below or invest in improvements, with seemingly no incentive besides competition. This proves to us and our research that further competition will improve the investment situation in many of these communities.
Hi guys! I got a few questions
Became a fan through a lot of your remixes. Any plans on dropping any new remixes? cough blink 182 cough
I notice you heavily repost a lot of songs from lesser known producers on Soundcloud which is great exposure for them. Who do you think the best producers are right now that aren't very well known?
What does a defense attorney do when a client confesses guilt to the charges against him/her?
Debra here: Remember that 20 states have barriers or limits on the ability of a community to build its own network, so this option is not available everywhere. Local broadband tends to be faster and symmetrical (same download speeds as upload), but it does vary. Many ISPs have not responded favorably, and in fact, have been pretty difficult for local communities to deal with. For example, Lexington Ky was sued by its local provider.
Hey! We grew up listening to Coldplay. They've been great at writing great songs and never thought working with Coldplay would even be a possibility. Their manager told Adam, our manager, that the band listens to our songs before they go on stage. We reached out and one day we heard back that Chris was available and we of course dropped everything and went to hang out at his studio. He's such a cool guy. We ended up playing a couple chords not knowing if he'd like them and he was like "this is the song" and we plugged in a mic and he started dancing around the studio and mumbled out the song. It was a rad moment to watch his process in the studio. Chris is like a spiritual being sent down from the Heavens to bring people good music.
There is a mechanism to handle that with the judge. Never has happened to me.
I think they're both incredible producers. Both awesome chicks. Rezz just does her own thing and has fun and the stuff she makes is super creative and out there. Alison Wonderland and Rezz are two of the most exciting dance artists. They both have a sound that's specific to each of them.
It's not as simple as that but yes, we cannot allow perjury to occur. We have to take some remedial step.
Do you haze Lucas from time to time? -An old fraternity friend of his
Did you watch the tv series El Chapo? What do you think about it, and can you say more about how Chapo is?
Lol he's here with me right now. Yeah Lucas gets hazed from time to time lol but he's got a good life.
I have never watched it. I watch zero TV other than sports.
He's engaging, he's curious, he's funny, he's strong as hell mentally and he laughs at my shitty Spanish.
Hi Drew and Alex,
If you can include the following links in your post as proof of who you are, that would be greatly appreciated!
In the meantime I'll leave this comment stickied for visitors so they can see you're legitimate.
What was one of the biggest mistakes you ever made in the courtroom and what did you learn from it?
I don't mean to sound like an arrogant jerk, but I have never made a big mistake during a trial. Lesson learned: work hard and overprepare and you can eliminate surprises.
What does your studio setup look like from a software/synth/midi controller standpoint? Any must-have sample packs? What do you use to isolate vocals for remixes?
What is your general strategy in drawing publicity prior to high profile trials? As an example, you're conducting this AMA where you call your client an alleged "drug lord", but I feel like that could be a negative descriptor, especially at this point in time. How do you balance self-promotion with the best interests of your client?
We work out of Abelton. We have pretty much every plug in known to man and midi controllers. We use a prophet 6 on tour because it sounds better than a lot of the soft synths. I've been plugging it into a guitar or vox amp and record with a vocal mic. We ask artists for their vocals and they send it thinking we might do a remix sometimes lol
I don't. The best interests of my client is my self-promotion. Winning the case is my best self-promotion.
I definitely agree with the idea that winning is the best form of self-promotion, but could you expand on the idea that the best interests of your client are your self-promotion?
I love Jessie Reyez, SZA, Khalid, Dua Lipa... all incredible.
His winning is my payoff too. So all I want to do is win the case. All the great publicity will come after a win. Lawyers who are only concerned about getting their names in the paper don't last long. Winning is all that matters.
Hey guys, thanks for doing this AMA!! I firstly wanted to say how proud I am of both of you. I went to high school just a year behind Drew, and have been watching his career since his senior project, what a fucking way you've come man! I remember you being the only drummer in the elementary school band and thinking how cool that was. It's been a joy to watch you conquer the world and I still jam to Elodie today!!
I've got a million and one questions for you guys, but I'll settle with one.
What's the best "fuck the haters" story you have? I can only the imagine the shitstorm you guys have gotten. People thought you were done after the American Idol shit but you guys pulled it out!
Thanks again for the AMA and keep fucking doing you!
I totally agree, which is why I said that winning the case if the best form of self-promotion. However, you chose to conduct this public AMA with an inherent focus on the case. To reframe my question, why do you feel that it's a good thing for your client to draw attention to yourself and the case at this point in time?
Haha I don't think it's ever like "FUCK THE HATERS"
You wake up to a beautiful day, nice cup of coffee, then you go to twitter and read "Eat shit" "Alex, your the ugly one" lol and all these billion comments. Initially it sucks but you just have to brush it off and remember that there's so much more positivity out there from great fans and focus on that. You're never going to be able to please everybody.
Most of those people want to be noticed. When people started shitting on us we used to respond to them to explain ourselves or ask why they feel a certain way. They would DM us and be like "yo dude I'm so sorry". That's very telling of our generation and their misconception of anonymity.
Have I just spoken about myself?
How many hot dogs do you guys think you could eat in 30 minutes? (bun included, no condiments allowed)
I assume you get a lot of hate for representing him, even though you're just doing your job. Still, why did you chose him? If I remember correctly his assets were frozen so your payment wasn't guaranteed. Surely there must be a reasoning behind your choice that makes it worth the hate. Is it the publicity?
No condiments? That's bullshit. If we're talking standard sized hot dogs probably like 4.
His assets have not been frozen but the government has not promised not to seek to grab my fee should he be convicted.
As for the hate mail, sure, I get a lot on a lot of cases. But this is America and everyone deserves a defense and the constitution mandates it. Why should I give in to the mob? I won't and don't. As for why I agreed to represent him, the case is the ultimate challenge for a defense lawyer. If a lawyer told you they would run from that challenge, would you want him representing you?
alleged? lol i'm sure the previous prison breakouts will help prove his innocence?
In America those accused of a crime are not required to prove anything, let alone innocence.
And I sincerely doubt that any evidence alleging prison breakouts in Mexico will make it into the Brooklyn federal courtroom.
How did you decide to go into private criminal defense? If you had to pick a different legal practice, what would it be?
It was the only thing that hit me between the eyes -- and heart. My main skill is beating up bullies on the stand -- perhaps I would sue people for sexual harassment claims or other workplace abuses and civil rights issues. But criminal law is really my true love.
About the El Chapo case: what kinds of things are you allowed to say to the media/public regarding the case and what do you need to keep secret? How do you decided/strategize what you can say and when?
I don't discuss trial strategy with the media unless I want the strategy to be released, obviously. I can discuss the case in general but there are various security measures put into place by the government and ordered by the judge that would prevent me from stating all that much.
As for my ultimate strategy, a lot depends on the evidence in the case. Not sure what I need to do -- until I see all that the government has.
Thanks for doing this. I got two questions:
What are the dirtiest tactics you've seen prosecutors try to pull off (trying to win off really pedantic technicalities, ignore lots of stuff in literature, time bombing, judge-shopping, making things overly convoluted (especially when cross-examining witnesses), etc.)?
How do you successfully fight against these types of things, especially when you feel the judge/jury is leaning towards them and not you?
Putting on witnesses they knew were lying -- happened in Gotti non-stop.
Trying to disqualify me for no good, legal reason.
As for fighting it, you just have to not give in or up and crush their evidence. No matter how hard a judge tries to stop a defense lawyer, we don't give up and roll over. Never.
At what point of legal career, a lawyer can say that, "YES I can stand in this world alone and take on this world head to head"(especially in a career like legal practice) When was ur moment of such feeling?
In every single case I have I get that feeling. It's the government, the FBI, prosecutors, society and even the judge against us sometimes. We're all alone out there, the only thing between our client and doom. It's a pretty sobering feeling.
Your American Greed episode was fantastic. :) Where's Bill Mastro today, and has there been blow back by the baseball card insiders towards your exposing their fraud?
Mastro got out of prison recently; based on his new-found religious zeal, I am guessing he is washing the feet of lepers and figuring out ways to pay back all the people he robbed. (as if)
Many people resented me years ago and now for exposing Mastro's fraud simply because they themselves were profiting from the fraud. The baseball card hobby is filled with degenerates, especially the self-described leaders of the hobby. Numerous auction house owners have criminal records and this is the last refuge for them in order to make -- and steal -- a buck. Fraudsters, drug dealers, you name it, those are the leaders of the hobby.
What is your record as criminal defense attorney? (Ex. 1 for 1, 5 out of 7, etc.) Also are you able to speak with him directly or do you require the need of a translator?
I use a translator, though my Spanish is improving. Only took five years of it in school so it's coming slowly.
I win on average about half my trials.
What's your opinion on Trump's legal team and the future of his Supreme Court picks, also, the courts in general. What hope do we have if the President does not get control of these courts?
Hard to have an idea about Trump's legal team as it changes so frequently. President Trump needs to start filling judicial vacancies asap if he hopes to make true change in America.
Remember, I only judge him by what I see personally, not what is in the media.
He's incredibly smart, great memory, very funny, very curious about the world. You'd like him (for real).
Are there any special precautions or protections offered to you for representing someone who allegedly is the new Pablo Escobar? Or is there any possible danger in the fact that he's connected to an historically extremely violent cartel?
None offered. I don't feel any danger but I wouldn't necessarily know if I was in any I suppose.
I suspect my safety is last on the list of governmental concerns.