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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.

Here is my proof, my website, and a New York Times article.

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.

Q:

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?

A:

How do you feel about being called the Nickelback of EDM?


Q:

Compared to how movies/TV portray huge criminal court cases, is there any part of your job that you feel needs more recognition that the general public doesn't realize?

A:

Deb here: One thing you can do as a city council member is to join Next Century Cities (www.nextcenturycities.org). We are a nonprofit that works specifically with communities and their elected officials to find solutions that can ensure fast, affordable, reliable broadband. And it's free to join.


Q:

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

A:

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.


Q:

Thank you for doing this AMA! I have a question about building networks in poor city neighborhoods. The city itself has broadband access and is in a state with high levels of connectivity. These are good things, but major project funding resources go elsewhere. And even when these resources are available for, say, a pilot project, funders and technical assistance providers tend to drop in and then disappear after the pilot is over and everyone's collected the grant dollars. Building a community network is as much about building a community of practice as it is about standing up hardware. We've had real challenges connecting the hobbyist tech enthusiast who wants to put a node on their roof with a working class resident who just wants reliable internet. So my question: What movement building and training curriculum do you recommend so that community residents are empowered to maintain and troubleshoot their network infrastructure?

A:

Y'all are chill as fuck. Your music isn't really my taste, but you guys seem real despite all the shit that gets thrown your way. Props for that.


Q:

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?

A:

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).

Boston: https://www.boston.gov/departments/innovation-and-technology/wicked-free-wi-fi


Q:

Thanks man

A:

I speak to most of them regularly. John and I are very close as I am with Fat Joe. When you represent someone in a criminal case, you tend to get very close to them -- or if you suck as a lawyer, they tend to hate you very much. So far none of that (fingers crossed).


Q:

Is there anything that we can do in our own homes, with either hardware or software, to help ensure unrestricted internet access?

A:

Hi guys! I went to your show in Des Moines and I loved it. There was a guy next to me with his young sons. He told me (before you came on) that he liked you guys because your lyrics were clean and you guys weren't crass and he felt comfortable letting his sons listen to your music...and then you came out and said "WHAT THE FUCK IS UP DES MOINES!!??" and his face just kinda fell. It was hilarious.

My question is kind of related. Do you have any stories/instances about parents getting mad at you that you're not as squeaky clean in your shows as the radio edits to your songs?

Thank you for your time.


Q:

How did you end up representing El Chapo? I mean, seems like you like the guy as a person now, but how does a case like that come knocking at your door?

A:

Also, these initiatives are taking place across the country - from mid sized cities like Lafayette LA and Chattanooga TN to very rural areas like Leverett Ma to small communities that band together like Mark's RS Fiber project.


Q:

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

A:

I was recommended by his public defenders. He saw dozens of lawyers and ultimately we just clicked


Q:

These networks are happening all over the country (we've mapped them here - https://muninetworks.org/communitymap). There are, however, a number of states that big telecom has influenced in order to pass laws restricting local investment.

Sandy, Oregon has implemented a great network that serves their community (https://muninetworks.org/reports/sandynet-goes-gig-model-anytown-usa ).

Chattanooga, Tennessee has grown their network over time from an electric utility that has consistently increased their speed and kept prices low (https://muninetworks.org/reports/how-chattanooga-bristol-and-lafayette-built-best-broadband-america).

As to your second question, organizing your citizens and your local government and educating them on the benefits is the right way to go.

A:

were you guys really 'hacked' that time you called Halsey a bald bitch on twitter?


Q:

Is bird law in this country governed by reason?

A:

You can also check out where they are happening on this map: https://muninetworks.org/communitymap


Q:

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

A:

Hell no.

What's bird law?


Q:

I am curious about the "Keys to the Internet" and what that means for an open and free internet, can you elucidate and comment?

A:

Do you guys like to fish?


Q:

what are the most stupid things that high-profile clients do to screw up their case that low-profile clients generally don't do, and vice versa?

what are the most interesting consultants you've ever brought on (for example a hairdresser who specializes in coifs that appeal more to juries)?

A:

From Mark: Anything that is a monopoly is a gatekeeper by definition. The business models of the large incumbents are focused on maximizing the bottom line (for the shareholders). Our fiber project (rsfiber.coop) is a cooperative. That means we are focused on maximizing benefit to our customers and not the bottom line. Additional profits in a cooperative either go back to the patrons (customers) in the form of an annual dividend or to buy down the cost of service to keep monthly subscribers costs as low as possible. Many think the inability of the large incumbents to make the necessary investment in new technology is a market failure. I'm not sure it's an simple as that, but it's not too far off the mark.


Q:

hahaha this is amazing. Holy crap. Whoever posted this, thank you.

A:

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.


Q:

Yup, the city has to sell it, so we are campaigning for them to sell it to us customers rather than private equity. We need folks to contact their city councilors in support of the co-op bidder and consider making an investment (Vermonters only) in the community investment campaign.

A:

What do you hate the most about each others ?


Q:

has there ever been an instance where a client blabbing to the press (inadvertently) helped the case?

A:

From Mark:Regardless of your motivations or where your project springs from, in the end, if you build a new telecom network you will be operating a serious business that will have to comply with rules and regulations imposed by the government AND the industry. It's no small feat. for example, if you offer phone service (our network does) then you will need to prove five 9's reliability. That means you must prove to regulators your network is capable of operating 99.999% of the time (five nines). The prospect of building a new telecom network is complicated but it can be done. We're proof of that. And there are many other communities who have successfully built and operate new competitive networks. The incumbent provide will lower their prices, up their speeds and not be entirely truthful and honest with their marketing. They have a lot to lose. But you have a lot to gain.


Q:

We both pick our noses

A:

Depends on what they blab.


Q:

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.

A:

Hi guys! I got a few questions

  1. Matoma collab?

  2. Became a fan through a lot of your remixes. Any plans on dropping any new remixes? cough blink 182 cough

  3. 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?


Q:

What does a defense attorney do when a client confesses guilt to the charges against him/her?

A:

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.


Q:
  1. Matoma is one of our best buddies. They should publish a book on him. He's a fascinating man. He came on tour with us as our opener and we became great friends and he happens to be a nationally ranked swimmer in Norway. He was also a snipper in the army and got pneumonia and he decided he wanted to become a musician. He was a classically trained pianist before that. So he's a pretty interesting guy. We worked on a song together while on the Friendzone tour but I dont think we'll be putting it out.

  2. We've actually been talking to blink 182 about doing a song which would be rad since they've been big influences on our lives since we were little. Travis Barker played with us at the AMA's last year which was dope. As far as doing any remixes - we're currently more focused on producing original music. We could do a remix but I feel like you have to be able to add something to the song when you do a remix.

  3. We answered this on a reddit post a couple weeks ago. To name a few: Boombox Cartel Louis the Child K?d illenium Lido (he's well known but doesn't get enough credit) We got known on hypemachine and back then the biggest producers on there were us, kygo, and RAC and now there's such good music coming from so many kids and it's awesome to see.

A:

We aren't required to tell anyone-- the judge, jury, or prosecutor. However, we can't put the client on the stand and knowingly let him lie.


Q:

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.

A:

Hey guys!!! I’m a huge fan!!

Do you think fame has changed you guys personally or your music style?


Q:

How would that work? Someone would ask your client that, right?

A:

Mark here: The simple act of having a serious public discussion about starting a community-based telecom network will get your providers' attention. Some providers will react to a discussion about building a new network to compete with them and take steps to upgrade their network. That's a win of sorts. Community networks give citizens leverage when it comes to how they are served. You can own and operate. You can own and have someone else operate. Or you can convince your current provider to upgrade by providing incentives for them to do so. If you can find a way to buy down the cost of a network upgrade for your local providers the prospect of making that upgrade is less daunting. Investing in rural networks is difficult because there just aren't enough people (in many instances) to allow for that upgrade. Again, cooperatives don't require the return on investment that shareholder driven providers do. CenturyLink, for example, could never invest in a Fiber To the Home network in the community of Gibbon, MN (pop. 800) because there is not a sufficient return on that investment. Their shareholders would not be happy.


Q:

Fame has changed us personally but not in the way you'd think. It's a weird thing to deal with. When you have people talking about the things you do, what you wear, what you say, etc you lose control of how you present your life. Everyone has something to say about one side of you and it may be right or it may not be right but it's out of your control. Our families have to deal with it. We learn to deal with it and we're lucky to have each other and we have a really dope team that help.

A:

I would do his direct examination. I would ensure that he not lie based on my own knowledge. Hasn't happened yet.


Q:

Chicago: other good solutions than comcast or att?

A:

Hey guys! How was collabing with Coldplay? Chris Martin seems to do the best Collabs!


Q:

So what if he's being cross-examined and lies and you know it's a lie? Are you required to inform the court of his perjury?

A:

From Debra: There are good providers out there, the big question is if they will share a territory - they often do not. No competition means that there are no real incentives to improve service or to increase speeds or to make the service affordable or to provide good customer service.


Q:

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.

A:

There is a mechanism to handle that with the judge. Never has happened to me.


Q:

Our simple answer to this would be that: Your community can make as much of a commitment as it feels comfortable with, from a full retail model (such as Chattanooga, Tenn.) to an institutional network that begins by connecting city services and schools. Essentially, you have options to improve your situation - https://muninetworks.org/sites/www.muninetworks.org/files/2017-07-Muni-Fiber-Models-Fact-Sheet-FINAL.pdf.

A:

What do you think of Rezz's music? Alison Wonderland's music?


Q:

So is that a yes or a no? Are you required to inform the court if you know your client is committing perjury?

A:

From Debra: I would add that having community broadband gives the local community ownership and control - speeds, prices, customer service, service territory, and so forth. Though there are risks, there are also significant rewards.


Q:

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.

A:

It's not as simple as that but yes, we cannot allow perjury to occur. We have to take some remedial step.


Q:

[deleted]

A:

New album in 2018?


Q:

Such as?

A:

1) Mark here: Mounting a project or community effort to build a telecommunications network, whether wired or wireless, is complicated and will always involve securing funds to build and operate the network. Lenders are, by nature, risk averse, and you will need to take multiple steps to mitigate the risk and demonstrate that you know what you are doing, that you have strong local support and that there is a good chance of success.


Q:

I would like to do another album. I really respect artists like Kendrick Lamar and Halsey that have a good overarching concept for an album. Maybe we'll do EPs again or singles. We just want to be able to put out music consistently. We haven't put anything out in like 6 months now which feels weird. We want our music to be a present reflection of who we are.

Thank you to all of you who helped get our album to platinum btw!


Q:

Do you haze Lucas from time to time? -An old fraternity friend of his

A:

Did you watch the tv series El Chapo? What do you think about it, and can you say more about how Chapo is?


Q:

Lol he's here with me right now. Yeah Lucas gets hazed from time to time lol but he's got a good life.

A:

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.


Q:

What do you think of the criticism that your album got from reviewers (i loved it tho 4real) Also, do you have new music soon!! Is there any collab you can tell us about?

A:

The series shows a lot of brutality commited by, or in name of El Chapo, also the corruption of government and other drug dealers.

One more question, what can you tell about this case?


Q:

I think some of the criticism is fair and some of it is not fair. We look to criticism to improve ourselves. It's hard to read the more negative comments. I really liked the New York Times Review which wasn't a necessarily positive review but there were a lot of things I agreed with which is sometimes the hardest review to read where you're like "yeah I could've done that better".

A lot of the criticism sits with you and you have to figure out how to deal with it in your own way. We thought our album was honest and says a lot about who we are and we got to play it for 10,000 people every night on tour. Seeing those people jumping up and down is what made it worth it.

Tyler from 21 pilots sent us a really nice email congratulating us on the new album and said you should really focus on what's right in front of you and the internet isn't real. (ignore the fact that we're doing an AMA on the internet right now lol)

A:

I can tell you that he's picked a great lawyer to defend him.


Q:

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.

https://www.facebook.com/thechainsmokers/posts/1620535191312198

https://twitter.com/TheChainsmokers/status/903377911448612864

A:

What was one of the biggest mistakes you ever made in the courtroom and what did you learn from it?


Q:

Done :)

A:

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.


Q:

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?

A:

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?


Q:

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

A:

I don't. The best interests of my client is my self-promotion. Winning the case is my best self-promotion.


Q:

What pop newcomers are you interested in?

A:

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?


Q:

I love Jessie Reyez, SZA, Khalid, Dua Lipa... all incredible.

A:

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.


Q:

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!

A:

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?


Q:

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.

A:

Have I just spoken about myself?


Q:

So what inspired Sick Boy?

A:

I never said that you did. However, you posted an AMA to discuss both yourself and the case. Because of that, I'm curious as to how you feel that doing so is in the best interests of your client. I'm not trying to be hostile, but I'm just curious about your thought process here.


Q:

We're not ready for the Sick Boy conversation yet. Stay tuned!

A:

I think it is important to humanize the man as the press portrays him in just one manner and it's not helpful to his defense.


Q:

How many hot dogs do you guys think you could eat in 30 minutes? (bun included, no condiments allowed)

A:

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?


Q:

No condiments? That's bullshit. If we're talking standard sized hot dogs probably like 4.

A:

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?


Q:

I absolutely agree, everyone deserves a defense. But not everyone gets it, do they? Surely not everyone that contacts you gets this chance. I don't know if just the fact that it's a challenge is enough, as I would think what this would to to my career on long term. It's a very risky choice and I was curious about what motivates you so strongly. I can only believe there's something more than just a challenge.

A:

Every case is a puzzle to unravel. I like that challenge and I like to win. There's nothing like it. And the fear of losing is a hell of a motivator.


Q:

alleged? lol i'm sure the previous prison breakouts will help prove his innocence?

A:

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.


Q:

So what will his trial in america entail? drug trafficking?

A:

Allegations of that, yes.


Q:

sorry for bombardment of questions and i know you will answer this as a glass half full defense attorney but do you really think he stands a chance? isn't the evidence from the prosecution quite heavy?

A:

If I had a dollar for everytime I was asked that question -- and the client walked out of court a free man. He absolutely has a chance.


Q:

so.... assuming he walks a free man would he still be a wanted man in mexico?

A:

He has six cases to deal with here first.


Q:

oh. will you be representing him for each? or is that up to him ultimately to decide?

A:

One at a time. We aren't there yet.


Q:

How did you decide to go into private criminal defense? If you had to pick a different legal practice, what would it be?

A:

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.


Q:

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?

A:

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.


Q:

What is ur most proud moment in legal career?

A:

Hmm. Great question. When I walked outside to face the press after Gotti's verdict -- and after no one believing that I could win but me for over a year -- I had just finished crying inside the courthouse. I knew then that there was nothing I couldn't do in the courtroom. Knowing that I could call my father afterward and make HIM proud was an incredible moment for me.


Q:

Thanks for doing this. I got two questions:

  1. 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.)?

  2. How do you successfully fight against these types of things, especially when you feel the judge/jury is leaning towards them and not you?

A:

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.


Q:

Yeah man, I had that happen to me and I kept appealing. The administrative judge knew she was wrong in what she let them do to me 100% -- I could see it in her eyes, she even didn't let me present my evidence or argue against it. :/

The beef got settled off the books, but it still makes me angry sometimes that the bullshit judge got away with with what she did no reprecussions.

A:

Very frustrating for anyone in the system who has to deal with that kind of garbage.


Q:

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?

A:

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.


Q:

Is your client guilty?

A:

How can he be guilty when he has yet to have his trial? Only a jury can render someone guilty.


Q:

Sure sure, but just between us, did he commit the crimes that he's been charged with?

A:

No.


Q:

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?

A:

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.


Q:

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?

A:

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.


Q:

I have a good number of friends who tried to be defense attorneys, but the pressure got to all of them. The cases were long and complex and one of my buddies cracked.

I bet you have dealt with a good number of big cases, so how/what do you do to manage all the stress and pressure? (nothing incriminating of course, unless you want too vent then go ahead, let it all out)

A:

It's very simple. Do I want to succeed or fail? There's no cracking. Let's make them crack instead.


Q:

How often you come around honest prosecutors or wrongly convicted person?

A:

There are many honest prosecutors. One of the prosecutors in Chapo's case I have known for 25 years and I trust her completely.

Wrongly convicted people: define 'wrongly convicted.' Do you mean actually innocent or denied a fair trial? Less of the former, many of the latter.


Q:

Sorry should have been much more clear..i meant former

A:

It happens, no question. Those are the cases in which I feel the most pressure.


Q:

What was The Game like?

A:

Very laid back, very smart. Encyclopedic knowledge of college basketball.


Q:

How you handle the hatred of people especially who claim to be victims of ur client?

A:

I don't. I ignore it. I obviously have empathy for an victim of a crime but I can't let it take my focus away from what I need to do for my client.


Q:

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?

A:

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.


Q:

Hello. Thanks for this AMA. As a mexican it's quite amazing to be able to ask you questions about him and his process.

How true is it that he is getting mentally ill from being in jail? If he gets declared innocent, is he going to be returned to mexican authorities? It would be really hard to believe that he is a nice guy, seeing the life style of his siblings and himself here in México, but it's also hard to trust the mexican media and goverment. Assuming he es not guilty of whatever he is being charged in the US, do you think he is guilty here in México? I mean, he escaped twice from jail.

Thanks and best regards.

A:

Thank you. His conditions are so extreme he is being worn down mentally, for certain. Anyone would be. He is being tortured and anyone who suggests otherwise should spend 23 hours a day, 7 days a week being denied any human contact except with the occasional attorney visit. No contact with his wife, no permission to make telephone calls.

If he is acquitted in Brooklyn, the feds have 5 other pending indictments against him. As for Mexico, I don't know enough about those cases there.


Q:

He is being tortured and anyone who suggests otherwise should spend 23 hours a day, 7 days a week being denied any human contact except with the occasional attorney visit.

Given that a prison guard was murdered during one of his previous escapes, I'd say that it is perfectly prudent.

A:

No. I'm too busy with pending cases and I wouldn't abandon my clients for anyone.


Q:

What is El Chapo like?

A:

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).


Q:

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?

A:

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.


Q:

I find that kinda interesting. I suppose it makes sense, since your the defense. Conversely do you know if the prosecution has any protections?

Also, thank you for your time with the AMA!

A:

Thank you. Yes, I'm sure prosecutors get protection when required. They have tough jobs too (sometimes).


Q:

(sometimes)

Ha! I like your style

A:

Thank you :)


Q:

Sorry for asking this question..maybe asking for tricks of trade but

What is ur basic strategy whenever you decide to take a case?

Do you adapt yourself according to situation or have a general approach in all criminal cases

Has it ever happened with you that client missed a relevant detail and in later stages of trial it came out and blew up your case..how u handle such situations?

A:

Basic strategy: find out everything that is being alleged against my client and find all the impeachment material on those witnesses. Add some snark. Cross examine until tears start to flow.

Yes, every case is different. As I said, they're all puzzles and each one requires a different key to unlock.

Yes, clients have screwed up cases for me, big time. I handle it by getting pissed and then making the best of it. There's no time to brood inside a trial courtroom.


Q:

What's Chapo like as a person?

A:

Funny, smart, curious, warm (really) with a great memory. Very quick mind. And has a family who really loves him.


Q:

For someone aiming to study law at university, is there anything you recommend doing on top of academic stuff to improve your chances at getting into better universities?

A:

Grades, LSAT scores, and perhaps showing an interest in justice -- go work in a pro bono clinic to help indigent defendants.


Q:

What technicality are you most likely going to use to get him off since it's beyond obvious he's a criminal?

A:

What admissible evidence have you seen with your own eyes that has convinced you his is guilty?