Updated: Remarkable testimony from Schmidt's deposition...
And now updated again with followup news...
By Brad Friedman on 8/31/2009, 1:05am PT  

A couple of quick updates, and a few notable developments in the status of the Ohio Election Commission (OEC) case between the Republican 2nd-District U.S. Rep. Jean Schmidt and her independent '08 (and now, Democratic '10 ) challenger David Krikorian.

This is the case which resulted in the recent stunning deposition of FBI translator-turned-whistleblower Sibel Edmonds, as Schmidt has alleged "false statements" by Krikorian when he claimed that she accepted "blood money" from the Turkish Lobby in exchange for opposing a Congressional vote on the "Armenian Genocide" resolution. He says her campaign received more money from that lobby than any other member last year, after which she became the co-chair of the Congressional Turkish Coalition. That, despite the paucity of any actual ethnic Turks in her district.

Krikorian offered a few interesting status updates on the case to The BRAD BLOG, late last week during a phone conversation...

• A FEIN MESS: Schmidt's attorney, Bruce Fein, who, as it came out during the Edmonds deposition, happens to be a member of the "Turkish Lobby" himself, as legal counsel for the Turkish American Legal Defense Fund (TALDF) and for the Turkish Coalition of America (TCA), and, as such, will now be deposed in the case himself. Krikorian recently applied to the OEC for permission to depose Fein, and they have now ruled in his favor and allowed a subpoena to be issued to him.

Fein was a former Reagan Administration official who became a bit of a hero to Progressives over the last several years due to his outspoken criticism of the Bush Administration. As an attorney, however, his work during the deposition, in attempting to impeach the credibility of Edmonds may be seen as, um, somewhat less than effective (and, at times, even quite humorous, in our opinion).

Following the 8/8/09 Edmonds deposition, when asked by an Armenian media outlet if he felt it might be a conflict of interest in representing Schmidt, since he could be called to testify himself, given his position in the Turkish Lobby, Fein didn't believe he would be called to testify, "because this case has nothing to do" with the organizations he's associated with. (Video here, Fein interviewed beginning at appx the 5:30 mark.) However, if called, he said he'd "testify under oath there is nothing that I did that even remotely resembles....any insinuation that [Edmonds] made in regard to this case."

Krikorian tells us he believes Fein is the "archtect of the entire Turkish Lobby's defense in the U.S. ... The guy who travels the country attacking anybody he can attack vis a vis the Armenian Genocide. ... We will now be able to take his testimony, which is highly unusual given that he is the opposing counsel in the case."

• SCHMIDT PLAYS SGT SCHULTZ: Jean Schmidt herself was recently deposed in the matter, though, according to Krikorian, "she would not agree to allowing a video tape of the deposition, unless an agreement was made before hand to not release the video tape into the public domain." The transcript of her deposition (which we haven't yet had time to review, but here's Armenian Weekly's coverage reporting that Schmidt claimed she had no idea why she'd received so much money from the Turkish interests), can be downloaded here [PDF].

• EDMONDS TO TAKE STAND?: Finally, the Krikorian team has petitioned the OEC to postpone the public hearing in the matter, which is currently scheduled for this Thursday, Sept. 3rd, a few days later. The reason: They would like Edmonds to take the stand during the hearing, though she is scheduled to be out of the country until the end of this week. Edmonds tells The BRAD BLOG she'd very much like to appear as a witness, though she seems less than optimistic that Krikorian will be granted the extension he has requested.

* * *

UPDATE 11:15pm PT: Good lord. Get a load of this excerpt from Schmidt's deposition, as quoted today by The News Democrat...

Q. Okay. I'm going to give you something that's been marked as Exhibit A. That is an article from a newspaper called The Daily --- I'm sorry, "Today's Zaman." Do you know what that is? What is "Today's Zaman"?

A. (Perusing document.)

Q. Do you know what Today's Zaman is Mrs. Schmidt?

A. May I please have time to read this, sir.

Q. Oh, I'm sorry. Yes. Sure.


A. (Perusing document.)

Q. Okay. Mrs. Schmidt, what is Today's Zaman?

A. I believe it's a periodical in Turkey.

Q. Okay. It's a --- it's a newspaper in Turkey. That would be your understanding?

A. Periodical, newspaper, something that is read by Turkey's citizens.

Q. Okay. And on June the 4th of this year you - you were published in Today's Zaman in Turkey; is that correct?

A. Yes.

Q. You wrote an editorial?

A. Yes.

Q. And that was to coincide with President Obama's visit to that country; is that correct?

A. Well, it coincided with his visit, yes.

Q. That wasn't the purpose of it to coincide?

A. No. It wasn't the purpose but it did coincide.

Q. Did you write this editorial?

A. Yes.

Q. You did? These are your words?

A. Yes.

Q. Did anyone else help you to write it?

A. I had it edited by my chief of staff.

Q. And did any outside persons, such as Mr. Fein or anyone else, help to write this?

A. No.

Q. You had it edited, but the original draft came off of your word processor or pen; is that right?

A. Well, I don't use a word processor.

Q. Okay. So the original draft was a handwritten version from you?

A. Actually, it was an oral version to my chief of staff.

Q. You dictated this to him?

A. The ideas of it, yes.

Q. Okay. And in this you talk about the Armenian Genocide Resolution, right?

A. Where are you putting this in here so I know what you're referring to.

Q. Well, we could start with the bold headline that says: "US Congress should not debate the Armenian genocide resolution."

A. Okay.

Q. Were those your words or was that something the daily Zaman added?

A. That I'm not sure of.

Q. Okay. Now, in the --- in the very last paragraph of that it says, "What happened in 1915 must never be forgotten." Do you see that?

A. Yes.

Q. What --- what are you referring to that happened in 1915 that must never be forgotten? -

A. Well, there obviously was an incident that happened in 1915.

Q. And what was that incident?

A. Well, there was something that went on in Turkey that involved Turks and Armenians.

Q. Okay. And what is it that you remember about or that you know or have an understanding of about those events?

A. Well, I don't remember them because I wasn't there.

Q. Right.

A. And I'm still trying to have a complete understanding of those events.

Q. I understand that. But you told all the people of Turkey that we shouldn't forget these events. I'm asking you: What is it that we're supposed to remember?

A. Well we shouldn't forget the past.

Q. And what is it about the events of 1915 that we're supposed to remember.

A. When I become a scholar of this, I'll let you know.

Q. Okay. But when you wrote this on June the 4th of 2009, you had no understanding at all of what happened in Turkey in 1915; is that right?

A. I said I had limited understanding.

Q. Okay. And I've asked you four times this morning to tell us what that limited understanding is, and you've told me nothing.

Q. Events happened. And what were those events?

A. People got killed on both sides. How many people? I don't know.

Q. And that's your total sum and substance of your understanding of that event?

A. That's about the basic understanding, yes.

Um, perhaps the above offers just one good reason why the Krikorian camp wants to depose Fein?

UPDATE 9/1/09: Krikorian reports that the deposition of Fein was completed yesterday by attorney Mark Geragos himself. Geragos' firm has been representing Krikorian, though this is the first time, to our knowledge, that he himself has led a deposition in the case. Krikorian reports he "was brilliant". When we can get a copy of the deposition, we'll let you know.

Also, the OEC turned down the request to move Thursday's hearing date back so that Sibel Edmonds could appear as a witness in person. So the hearing will have to go on without her. They do, however, have a pretty stunning deposition from her to work with in the hearing as needed.

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