What are the chances that a lawyer who was found by a court to have "inappropriately touched" children would try to stop the recall of a county sheriff whose agency failed to properly investigate more than 400 sex crimes?
This is quite the, um, coincidence, as we stumbled across a judgment from an Ohio appellate court, in a divorce case involving attorney Larry Klayman.
-Joe Arpaio's Birther Buddies Say They'll Take Recall Effort to Court to Shut It Down
As we reported yesterday, a group calling itself "Citizens to Protect Fair Election Results LLC" claims it will take action against the attempted recall of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
That group was registered by Surprise Tea Party "leaders" Jeff Lichter and James Wise -- the folks credited with getting Arpaio to start the "investigation" into President Obama's birth certificate -- and brought along Klayman to do the legal work.
Klayman, an attorney for Freedom Watch, happens to be friendly with the conspiracy theorists at World Net Daily, and once introduced a "birther" affidavit from Arpaio as evidence in an actual courtroom.
Thanks to our sister paper in Minneapolis, City Pages, we have an appellate court ruling from Ohio in which Klayman was unsuccessful in appealing a ruling about the terms of his parental rights stemming from his divorce, and a ruling that found him in contempt of court.
Part of that appeal was Klayman asking the court to review "the trial court's finding that [Klayman] engaged in inappropriate touching of his child is contrary to the manifest weight of the evidence and an abuse of discretion."
Read the excerpts from the appellate court's ruling below:
The issues raised by Klayman involve credibility assessments made by the magistrate. Klayman challenges these findings. The magistrate heard evidence from the children's pediatrician who reported allegations of sexual abuse to children services, and from a social worker at children services who found that sexual abuse was "indicated." Although the social worker's finding was later changed to "unsubstantiated" when Klayman appealed, the magistrate explained that the supervisor who changed the social worker's finding did not testify. The magistrate pointed out that he was obligated to make his own independent analysis based upon the parties and the evidence before him. In doing so, the magistrate found on more than one occasion [Klayman] act[ed] in a grossly inappropriate manner with the children. His conduct may not have been sexual in the sense that he intended to or did derive any sexual pleasure from it or that he intended his children would. That, however, does not mean that he did not engage in those acts or that his behavior was proper.
The magistrate further found it significant that although Klayman denied any allegations of sexual abuse, he never denied that he did not engage in inappropriate behavior with the children. The magistrate further found it notable that Klayman, "for all his breast beating about his innocence * * * [he] scrupulously avoided being questioned by anyone from [children services] or from the Sheriff's Department about the allegations," and that he refused to answer any questions, repeatedly invoking his Fifth Amendment rights, about whether he inappropriately touched the children. "Even more disturbing" to the magistrate was the fact that Klayman would not even answer the simple question regarding what he thought inappropriate touching was. The magistrate stated that he could draw an adverse inference from Klayman's decision not to testify to these matters because it was a civil proceeding, not criminal.
After reviewing the record, we find no abuse of discretion on the part of the trial court in overruling Klayman's objections regarding the magistrate's finding that Klayman inappropriately touched the children.
Obviously, we're talking about civil court matters here, not criminal court or criminal charges.
However, a magistrate judge weighed the evidence and found that Klayman acted "in a grossly inappropriate manner with the children."
Klayman's challenge to the attempted recall of Arpaio probably won't turn out in his favor, either.