By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: August 26, 2016
According to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for Washington, D.C., it has still not determined a cause of death for Shawn Lucas, the 38-year old process server who delivered the class action lawsuit against the Democratic National Committee and its then Chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, to the DNC headquarters on July 1. One month later, the girlfriend of Lucas came home to find him dead on the bathroom floor.
It has now been more than three weeks since Lucas died with no cause of death announced. We asked the Chief Medical Examiner’s office if the delay was a result of toxicology tests being conducted. We were told it can make no comment beyond the fact that the cause of death is “pending.”
The official report from the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, D.C. indicates that officers Kathryn Fitzgerald and Adam Sotelo responded to a 911 call from the girlfriend of Lucas, Savannah King. The officers arrived “at 1913 hours,” or 7:13 p.m. on the evening of Tuesday, August 2. According to the report, Lucas was “laying unconscious on the bathroom floor” and when “DCFD Engine 9 responded” there were “no signs consistent with life.”
A video of the service of process, which has garnered over 474,000 views as of this morning, shows Shawn Lucas saying he was “excited” and “thrilled” to be the process server on this lawsuit. He comments later in the video that it is like his “birthday and Christmas” rolled into one.
At the time the lawsuit was filed, the attorneys for the Sanders’ plaintiffs already had significant evidence that the DNC and Wasserman Schultz had put their fingers on the scale to tip the primary results in favor of Hillary Clinton while overtly undermining the campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders. (The DNC is prohibited from unfair treatment of Democratic primary candidates under its own bylaws.)
Then on Friday, July 22, 2016 at 10:30 a.m., just as the DNC was set to open its National Convention the following Monday, Wikileaks released 19,252 emails and 8,034 attached documents that had been sent by top DNC officials. The emails left no doubt that there had been a concerted campaign to undermine Sanders while boosting Clinton’s chances to win the primary. Wasserman Schultz had to announce she was stepping down before the DNC convention even began to quiet the outrage.
The Wikileaks emails showed DNC executives plotting to undermine Sanders as an atheist (which Sanders says he is not) and plotting to say that Sanders “never ever had his act together, that his campaign was a mess.” There was also DNC plotting on how to respond to press charges that the joint fundraising committee set up by Clinton’s campaign and the DNC was illegally laundering money to boost Clinton’s chances. (See related article below.)
Prior to Wikileaks releasing its emails, an individual using the name Guccifer 2.0 took credit for a separate hack of the DNC server. One of the documents from the purported hack, posted on a public web site, shows that even after Bernie Sanders had entered the race, the DNC was writing confidential memos on how it could advance Hillary Clinton’s chances. The class action lawsuit on behalf of Sanders’ supporters describe the memo as follows:
“Among the documents released by Guccifer 2.0 on June 15th is a two-page Microsoft Word file with a ‘Confidential’ watermark that appears to be a memorandum written to the Democratic National Committee regarding ‘2016 GOP presidential candidates’ and dated May 26, 2015. A true and correct copy of this document (hereinafter, ‘DNC Memo’) is attached as Exhibit 1. The DNC Memo presents, ‘a suggested strategy for positioning and public messaging around the 2016 Republican presidential field.’ It states that, ‘Our goals in the coming months will be to frame the Republican field and the eventual nominee early and to provide a contrast between the GOP field and HRC.’ [HRC is Hillary Rodham Clinton.]
“The DNC Memo also advises that the DNC, ‘[u]se specific hits to muddy the waters around ethics, transparency and campaign finance attacks on HRC.’ In order to ‘muddy the waters’ around Clinton’s perceived vulnerabilities, the DNC Memo suggests ‘several different methods’ of attack including: (a) ‘[w]orking through the DNC’ to ‘utilize reporters’ and create stories in the media ‘with no fingerprints’; (b) ‘prep[ping]’ reporters for interviews with GOP candidates and having off-the-record conversations with them; (c) making use of social media attacks; and (d) using the DNC to ‘insert our messaging’ into Republican-favorable press.”
The lawsuit (Wilding et al v DNC Services Corporation and Deborah ‘Debbie’ Wasserman Schultz) was filed in the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Florida. The Case Number is 16-cv-61511-WJZ. The complaint makes the following charges: fraud, negligent misrepresentation, deceptive conduct, unjust enrichment, breach of fiduciary duty, and negligence.
Those are extremely serious charges of critical importance to Americans who care deeply about fair elections and changing the climate of unbridled political corruption that has created a pall over America and undermined its prestige around the world. But instead of the lawsuit being fast-tracked to deliver the facts to the American people on these serious charges, a law firm that was implicated in the Wikileaks emails is attempting to drag the case deep into the weeds, judging by the first hearing in the matter that was held this past Tuesday, August 23.
The law firm, Perkins Coie, is representing both the DNC and Wasserman Schultz in the matter, despite the fact that the Chair of its Political Law practice, Marc Elias, turns up in the Wikileaks emails giving strategy advice on how to respond to press inquiries about the joint fundraising committee between Hillary Clinton and the DNC. According to Perkins Coie’s web site, Elias serves as “general counsel to Hillary for America,” the main fundraising vehicle for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign as well as being part of a team of lawyers from Perkins Coie providing legal advice to the DNC.
Elias wrote in his leaked email:
“Just as the RNC pushes back directly on Trump over ‘rigged system’, the DNC should push back DIRECTLY at Sanders and say that what he is saying is false and harmful [to] the Democratic party.’ ”
Earlier this month Wall Street On Parade reported that Federal Election Commission records show that “Perkins Coie has received at least $970,000 from the Hillary for America committee since 2015 for legal work while simultaneously receiving more than $500,000 from the DNC, not including reimbursement of its expenses for things like postage, catering and printing. Perkins Coie is also representing a Super Pac that is supporting Hillary Clinton called ‘Correct the Record.’ FEC records show Correct the Record paid Perkins Coie $15,000 for legal services on April 26, 2016.”
In 2014, Politico’s Ken Vogel reported on just how lucrative the Democratic party has been for Perkins Coie. Vogel wrote:
“Perkins Coie’s political law practice, anchored by Elias and former White House Counsel Bob Bauer, has something of a stranglehold on the Democratic Party’s election law business, representing not only the party committees themselves but everyone from [Harry] Reid (whose various committees have paid $317,000 in legal fees to Perkins Coie over the years) to Obama ($7.4 million) to the major Democratic super PACs ($19 million).”
As process server Shawn Lucas was leaving the DNC after handing the complaints to a DNC representative, he happily calls out on the video: “Thank you so much, we’ll see you in court.” Little did he know at the time how prescient he was.
Lucas is now a focal point in the legal proceeding with Marc Elias and his legal team from Perkins Coie asking to have the case dismissed on the basis that Lucas didn’t properly serve the lawsuit. Perkins Coie is not saying that the DNC never got the lawsuit. Instead, it is filing copious legal papers that quibble in a Federal Court funded by the U.S. taxpayer over whether the woman who accepted the lawsuit was authorized to receive it on behalf of the DNC and Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
One might think a law firm as huge as Perkins Coie might use such a line of argument if Shawn Lucas had handed the lawsuit to a clerk from the mail room or a sanitation worker in the building or maybe a deli delivery guy. Perkins Coie concedes that Shawn Lucas handed the lawsuit to Rebecca Herries who, at the time, was the Special Assistant to the then CEO of the DNC, Amy Dacey.
Perhaps the logic by Perkins Coie is based on the fact that Herries refused to accept the service of process or threw the lawsuits on the floor and ran away? No, something quite the opposite happened. Based on her own verbal statements on the video, which has been provided to the Court, this is what transpired between Herries and Lucas:
Shawn Lucas: “You’re with the DNC”
Shaw Lucas: “All right, well this is going to be a service to the DNC”
Herries: “to the DNC- okay”
Shawn Lucas: “And this is for Debbie Wasserman Shultz”
To most rational minds, “okay” and “perfect” sound like an employee of the DNC willingly accepting a lawsuit and representing that she had authority to do so and not the stuff of which to be papering a taxpayer-funded Federal Court with legal memorandums when there are critical issues of law and fact to be determined in this case. Judges have the power to sanction this kind of behavior and to nip it in the bud early on to prevent both the miscarriage of justice and a delay in the important legal proceedings.
On the same day that Lucas was found dead, August 2, Herries’s boss, Amy Dacey, the DNC CEO, stepped down from her job along with Communications Director Luis Miranda and Chief Financial Officer Brad Marshall. All three had been implicated in the Wikileaks emails.
According to a recent court filing made by the attorneys for Sanders’ supporters, “Plaintiffs asked Defendants to produce Ms. Herries at the August 23, 2016 hearing, but they refused to do that. They also refused to produce any of the security guards who witnessed the service of process event and otherwise interfaced with Plaintiffs’ process server.”
The Sanders supporters are being represented in the lawsuit by the following law firms: Beck & Lee Trial Lawyers of Miami, represented by Jared Beck and Elizabeeth Lee Beck; Cullin O’Brien Law, P.A. of Fort Lauderdale, Florida; and Antonino G. Hernandez P.A. of Miami.