Warren and Paul took a deep breath, held the door for Otto Ray (see below) and stepped into the courtroom ready to do their best up against the HSI attorneys who were confident of a slam dunk. We entered the courtroom with no attorney.
MtA have yet to engage an attorney even after interviewing seven. After they run their "conflicts" check and/or investigate the case, they turn away because of the prickly, political and high-profile nature of the case. No mavericks. We continue our search.
The HSI representatives were confident, smiling and joking while waiting for the judge to appear. The Attorney General’s office had two people present, a Deputy and an Assistant Deputy. They sat silently off to the side of the room.
At the 11th hour Roni (Jarnagin) appears from nowhere. She offered to be our legal representative in the courtroom. for that day. (Roni is a probate attorney, but had had another courtroom appearance that day and we weren’t expecting her to be able to be there with us. She had come forward at the HSI annual meeting and with some hard questions for Mr Bolick about the closed process of board appointments), The mood in the court room started to change.
Roni introduces herself to the HSI lawyers, reviews some legal documents and quickly goes over some points of the case with us.
The judge enters the room.
The HSI attorneys ambush mtA's efforts by telling the Judge that we don’t have “standing” and proceed to submit a related case as evidence to the judge asking the case to be dismissed. Roni objects and explains why we need a continuance in order to have time to have legal representation for the case and notes that this issue needs to be decided before the issue of "standing" should be addressed.
The HSI attorneys claimed we had "played games" with last minute continuance filings and they urged the judge to proceed with the hearing as scheduled. Roni quickly points out that HSI is playing the same "last minute fiddle" by filing the objection regarding the issue of mtA“standing” just before the hearing was scheduled to start.
Jab, jab, counter jab, and more jabbing.
The Judge then notices the Attorney General representatives are present. The Deputy tells the court that they have filed to approve the 22nd filing of the Statement of Accounts for the Mary Powell Crume Trust. On the surface that did not appear to be in our favor, but then the Judge asks what role the AG’s office would be playing in the matter. The reply was that the AG’s office would remain neutral since they were continuing discussion with both groups. Neutral is good at this point.
The Judge was clearly in command of the room though he was pensive at times. He articulated his thoughts clearly. He pointed out that if mtA doesn’t have standing, then that would be reason to dismiss the case. He then continued by saying we have a right to argue that issue though. Eyebrows raise all around the room.
Expressions from the HSI corner go from all smiles to sullen dejection when the judge rules for an oral argument on the topic of standing to be scheduled for July 2nd at 2 pm.
HSI team appeared dismayed. A diminutive woman stepping into the courtroom at the last minute and blocking the "slam dunk" of the Goliath.
But we have a ways to go. We are still in search of a litigator to argue this issue of "standing" in the court. And then comes arguing the case itself, but we forge forward. . . for the animals.
The Board of Move to Act