No, Washington Post, This Isn’t The Unethical Lawyer’s Statement You Falsely Suggested It Was


Lyle Jeffs, the polygamist religious leader indicted in a huge food stamp fraud, violated his house arrest this summer by coating his ankle monitor in olive oil, sliding it off, and vanishing. As his lawyer, Jeffs’s  public defender attorney cannot help authorities find her missing client (nor can she assist Jeffs in eluding the police). Thus Kathryn Nester filed court documents last week asking for a continuance, writing,

“As this Court is well aware, Mr. Jeffs is currently not available to inform his counsel whether or not he agrees to the Continuance. Whether his absence is based on absconding, as oft alleged by the Government in their filings, or whether he was taken and secreted against his will, or whether he experienced the miracle of rapture is unknown to counsel.”

Washington Post reporter Cleve R. Wootson Jr. describes this development as follows:

“Jeffs’s attorney has put forth a divine reason for his disappearance — the miracle of rapture..”

If  Nester really did claim that the Rapture was the reason Jeffs vanished, she would be engaging in sanctionable dishonesty and a misrepresentation to the court. The one who is lying, however, is Wootson and, as his editors let him do it, the Post. All Nester said was that she did not know why Jeffs was missing, and mentioned three of many alternative fates that she had no knowledge of whatsoever. Her job is to try to defend him from additional criminal charges, and at this point, that means arguing that nobody can say with certainly that he is a fugitive from justice. That is the opposite of saying “one of these things happened.” It is saying “I don’t know what is behind his disappearance, and neither does the FBI. Here are three of many explanation that I cannot, based on my knowledge, rule out.”

She could, with equal honesty and accuracy, have added, “or whether he spontaneously combusted, or whether he died of sudden heart attack and his body was stolen by a mad scientist trying to create a zombie army, or whether aliens from outer space used a transporter to send him to their ship, where he is now being subject to anal probes.” She put forth no “divine reason” for her client’s disappearance. She said, quite clearly and unambiguously, that she doesn’t know what happened or why he’s missing. She did not, as the Post’s click-bait headline suggests ( “Where is fugitive polygamist Lyle Jeffs? Possibly swept away in the rapture, his lawyer says”) posit the Rapture as the reason by simply listing it as one of many alternatives she can’t vouch for. She chose her language  properly and carefully.

Nevertheless, the Post intentionally implied that Nester was proposing an absurd alibi for her client, mocking her and religious faith for a cheap shot at the legal profession.

Meanwhile, numerous publications are using the Post’s false characterization to provoke guffaws, such as..

…the Denver Post: “Lawyer: Fugitive polygamist Lyle Jeffs may have been swept away in the rapture”

…Fox News: “Did fugitive FLDS leader Lyle Jeffs get swept up in the Rapture?”

…the Keyser MineralNews Tribune: “Lawyer says fugitive polygamist Lyle Jeffs may have been swept away in the Rapture”

…and others.

What a biased, lazy, inept, juvenile, nasty, untrustworthy enterprise U.S. journalism has become. Its bias is only exceeded by the pervasive stupidity of its practitioners.


Pointer: Greg Wiggins

32 thoughts on “No, Washington Post, This Isn’t The Unethical Lawyer’s Statement You Falsely Suggested It Was

  1. This is pretty funny. The lawyer has hutzpah to claim the poligamist Jeffs might have been swept up by the Rapture. I don’t know of any judge that will buy that.

  2. Progressives know that a high percentage of people just believe whatever they read as long as it falls within their perceived reality and don’t bother to verify anything in articles or even think critically about what they read. There are also those that read what they wanna read regardless of the actual words in the piece.

    I see this kind of stuff all the time; it’s another example of Progressive Magical Thinking (PMT); once it’s been put to print it can’t be “unsaid” and therefore it’s considered “fact” and is referenced or linked to as fact. Even after some things have been debunked, they will still present the original source as fact without referencing that it’s been debunked.

    • Except this isn’t the “progressive” media spouting this, it’s the “stupid” media. One of the sources quoted above is Fox News.

      • Beth,
        That’s a decent point; however, please consider this – that’s actually the local FOX 13 out of Salt Lake City reporting that not “Fox News”; I can’t find any reference to the story on lots of other stuff on FLDS and Lyle Jeffs but nothing related to this recent rapture stuff.

        Maybe you consider your local ABS station to only produce things approved by the ABC Evening News or but I don’t.

    • I’ve seen dozens of conservatives share articles over the past few days accusing Hillary Clinton of hypocrisy for being influenced by Robert Byrd. None of those articles saw fit to mention that Byrd renounced the KKK and spent the last several decades of his life supporting black civil rights, to the point where he recieved 100% ratings from the NAACP–they only saw fit to mention he was a former KKK member. And none of those articles were from the “progressive media.”

      You’re not describing progressives, you’re describing human beings.

      • Chris,
        Your Robert Byrd example is not equivalent; Robert Byrd was a former KKK member, that has never been debunked, it’s a fact; that’s not to to say that saying he was a former KKK member isn’t meant to attack his character and anyone who has ever been associated with him, but being debunked is different.

    • To be fair; after rereading my comment above I pushed my comment above a bit to far, it implied more of a blanket smear when it would have been more honest to imply a segment of Progressives, even if it was a large segment, it’s still a segment.

  3. “Which is why the statement was obviously tongue in cheek.”

    If Mr. Jeffs’ lawyer had left her tongue in the middle of her mouth (where it should be kept when drafting a pleading) none of this would have ever come up. Litigators can’t have their cake and eat it too. They can’t act as if the courthouse is a frat house and then be shocked and amazed when the public assumes they’re a bunch of ninnies based on how they actually conduct business..

    • There is nothing wrong at all with wit, sarcasm, irony or any other device as long as the judges understand and the lawyer gets what his or her clients need. Nobody reading that fairly could think it seriously suggests that the plaintiff was carried off to heaven. The statement says, “I know my client’s a whacko, just so you don’t think I’m one too, but he still has rights.

      I’d write that, and be proud of it.

  4. Journalism is a dying breed. It’s now only about being “media”, first to broadcast, best at ‘man bites dog’ headlines, and only concerned with the ratings or click numbers.

    I’ve gotten to the point that I really don’t believe any media’s recounting of an event, I prefer to see the original video and draw my own conclusions (and hopefully the video is an unedited version).

    What absolutely scares me is how few people understand this about the media. Anything in print just must be true. Argh!

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