Originally published at Death and Taxes, ed. Brian Abrams, 15 March 2016.
Grateful thanks to the Internet Archive for preserving this work.
On Monday, former Gawker editor-in-chief A.J. Daulerio and former managing editor Emma Carmichael testified on the first day of the defense’s presentation in the Hulk Hogan/Gawker Media trial. Once the lawyers’ interrogations had concluded, a few questions were collected from the jury to ask each of the witnesses. One juror’s question in particular attracted a lot of subsequent comment, asked of the 28-year-old Carmichael.
“Have you ever had intimate relations with Mr. Daulerio or Mr. Denton?”
Keep in mind that Judge Pamela Campbell received the questions from the jurors, as provided by Florida law, and then personally, herself, asked Carmichael this question. She has absolute discretion over whether any question is asked, and in her opinion, it was perfectly reasonable to ask a 28-year-old woman if she’d slept with either of her bosses, in a trial alleging, as a tort, invasion of privacy.
Let that sink in for a minute.
Judge Campbell was under zero obligation to ask that question of Carmichael. According to Hirsch’s Florida Criminal Trial Procedure, a committee appointed by the Florida Supreme Court in 1999 spoke unequivocally on this point: “The judge has the discretion to determine which jury questions are to be asked of witnesses.”
Exactly how, in what possible universe is Carmichael’s sex life relevant to Hogan’s alleged invasion of privacy? Is it in any kind of proximity to the universe in which this judge herself sees fit to make a personal attempt to invade Carmichael’s privacy?!
In a trial full of bizarrely aggressive, irrelevant attacks on Gawker Media by judge and prosecution lawyers alike, this episode really took the biscuit. After days of watching this circus, it couldn’t be more apparent that this conservative lunatic judge has got a giant desire to punish all those abortion-having city slickers for their wicked, fornicating ways.