Susan Handelsman was in the courtroom taking notes Friday at the trial in which McHenry County Clerk Joe Tirio was seeking to discover who was responsible for the numerous hit pieces aimed at ruining his reputation.
This morning she wrote them up and posted them as comments under the story, “Jack Franks’ 2000 Campaign Manager Revealed as Researcher for Joe Tirio Smear Pieces.”
Here is what she saw:
As the 4 hour hearing progressed, atty [Natalie] Harris and a partner at her firm who also attended hearing made offers meant to forestall contempt ruling.
She first told the court that she now also represented IIF [Illinois Integrity Fund], and that she would vouch for that client being a known person or persons.
(Later the judge cautioned defendant Breaker Press that he should consider obtaining independent counsel, due to potential conflicts of interest.)
Judge rejected argument that this would preserve plaintiff rights to toll statute of limitations.
Next, Harris offered a tolling agreement signed by her firm on behalf of John Doe IIF.
Tirio attorney rejected offer, stating that unknown defendants could change counsel, disagree amongst themselves, or claim any number of arguments to invalidate such a contract.
Judge also rejected Harris’ repeated arguments that waiting for an appellate court ruling would not harm the plaintiff (appeals as to the defamation per se leading to the court order to reveal IIF identification, and subsequent contempt ruling) (which would not possibly arrive until after the presumed deadline for filing defamation suit).
Next offer by defendants’ and now attorney of record for john doe IIF was that she would give the court the names and addresses in camera, not to be revealed until appeals court ruling.
Later, an offer to reveal the names to plaintiff attorney, but he could not reveal names nor begin discovery until after appeals ran.
Offers were rejected, and judge was set to rule on contempt of court.
Attorney Harris then offered an affidavit by Janice Dalton in order to purge her contempt status.
Janice Dalton affidavit stated she had no knowledge of who created the mailers or paid for their creation and mailing.
She took the stand and under oath repeated those claims.
Dalton stated that her friend Marita Buss gave her the mailer, and that was how Dalton robocalls contained language closely matching that on the mailers.
She stated that she had no contact with anyone involved with the mailers in context of creating or disseminating her robocalls.
She was then dismissed as a defendant by the judge.
Finally the remaining defendant on contempt of court charge was found guilty of indirect contempt and before penalties were declared he apologized to the court.
Judge sentenced President of Breaker Press [Richard Lewandowski] to be incarcerated until he cured the contempt of court by complying with court order to reveal identities of those who designed and paid for the defamatory mailers.
The judge stayed his own sentence until December 28, after Christmas.
After a recess, attorney Harris declared that defendant was ready to cure contempt and name the John Does.
- Michael Noonan, Roosevelt Group
328 S. Jefferson, Chicago, and
- Sean Tenner, KNI Communications
4807 N. Broadway, Chicago
Plaintiff attorney [Phil Prossnitz] questioned defendant about contact with any other parties (than those named) in relation to creation, payment for defamatory mailers.
He stated that he heard from someone that Jack Franks may have had something to do with it.
Attorney Harris objected that was hearsay and judge sustained objection.