Thursday, December 21, 2017

Will Rosie O’Donnell Finally Fulfill Her Promise To Move To Canada To Avoid A Federal Bribery Conviction?

Rosie O’Donnell lives in a unique world, a private world different from the one inhabited and experienced by the rest of humanity.  Her life is submersed in despair and teenaged angst.
On Wednesday as the Senate took up the vote on the tax reform bill approved by the House the day before, the has-been hag and unfunny comedienne took to Twitter to offer what many categorized as a bribe to senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) to change their vote.
Dozens of celebrities, including O’Donnell, vowed to flee America when Donald Trump won the 2016 Presidential Election.  It’s a hackneyed line─an easy threat to make in a divisive political climate.  We’re still waiting for them to make good on their promise.
Michelle Fabio at Forbes provides some clarity on bribing a member of Congress:
Under 18 U.S. Code § 201, bribing a member of Congress is, indeed, a crime. The statute prohibits anyone from "corruptly" offering "anything of value to any public official" with the intent to influence the official or an official act.
The word "corruptly" is key, because in this context it means the accused must have the "intent to influence" a public official. In a hypothetical bribery case against O'Donnell over her tweets, the prosecution would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that O'Donnell acted "corruptly," with "intent to influence" the senators.
This would be a tough standard to meet, especially because of O'Donnell's status as a comedian and frequent—and quite vocal—political commentator. She could and would likely assert that her tweets were not seriously publicly offering money to senators but were intended to be hyperbole, political commentary and/or performance art illustrating that "there is a price," in reference to her claims that "THEY BRIBED [Tennessee Senator Bob] CORKER AND COLLINS" and that "they have been paid obviously."
In other words, O'Donnell could argue she didn't tweet "corruptly" but rather tweeted to point out what she perceived to be corruption involved with GOP tax bill votes.
O'Donnell is well known for tweeting controversial, arguably hyperbolic statements in the current political atmosphere, including declaring President Donald Trump "MENTALLY UNSTABLE," "MENTALLY ILL" and "A CRIMINAL," which would further make convincing a jury that O'Donnell actually had the intent to influence senators through cash offers via tweets extremely difficult.
And then there are the optics. Despite direct pleas to Attorney General Jeff Sessions to intervene, the concept of "felony by tweet" probably isn't a fight this administration would be interested in pursuing—at least not in a courtroom.
The public forum of Twitter, however, is always open.
UPDATE:  Welcome readers of The Briefing Room.  We thank Pookie for linking to this post.

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