Cardona's story has a fair amount of detail on the merits of the underlying case for a Denver Post report, but either due to editing or a failure to report in the first place, utterly misses the drama of the hearing itself, which is the actual news that took place yesterday. In fact, once you read the Westword account, one feels like Cardona has been cast in the role of Ford Prefect, whose massive monograph on the planet Earth, compiled after fifteen years of research, is reduced by his editors to just two words in the published edition of the The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, "Mostly harmless." The subplot, in the comic novels by Douglas Adams, was a satire of the editorial practices of his frequently employer, the BBC. But, apparently the Post has a lot in common with its British cousin.
What details were omitted? How about these tidbits from the Westword post:
It began with Presiding Disciplinary Judge William Lucero slapping attorney Mark Brennan with two contempt citations. It ended with Brennan leaning into opposing counsel Kim Ikeler, moving him bodily away from the podium and calling him "a little piece of shit." . . .
For the past three days, Lucero and two other members of a state disciplinary panel have been hearing testimony and considering whether Brennan's license to practice law should be suspended for "conduct intended to disrupt a tribunal" and "prejudicial to the administration of justice." . . .
When Brennan took a cutting and mocking approach to questioning prosecution witnesses, Lucero instructed him to tone it down, then fined him . . . . Testifying in his own defense for more than five hours, Brennan did his best to scandalize the panel with his view of Blackburn's supposed efforts to sabotage his case: "The mere fact someone puts on judicial robes doesn't make them a saint. They get to be judges because they have friends in high places ... a lot of incompetent people get to be federal judges in this country." . . .
The physical confrontation between the two, late in the closing arguments at the end of the hearing, led to sheriff's deputies being summoned to the courtroom. ("This is not trial by combat," Judge Lucero complained.) But Brennan was allowed to finish his final bit of speechifying, during which he called on the panel to merely censure him rather than suspend his license over "nonsense." He argued that witnesses and attorneys who hide evidence and offer perjured testimony -- as, he insisted, happened in more than one instance during the Cadorna trial -- are much more deserving of punishment.
A recent pleading filed by Brennan with the Colorado Supreme Court in the disciplinary case prior to the trial described the federal judge in question as his "nemesis" and the federal court employees he dealt with as the judge's "minions."
The Denver Post story misses all of this drama, although Colorado Law Week managed to get it all on video. The Post story omits the pathos and utter futility of Brennan's effort at his disciplinary trial.
The Brennan trial was the moral equivalent of the terrorist who is brought before a tribunal to be tried for his offenses who cries out "Allahu Akbar," says the United States deserves every misfortune that has ever become it or its citizens and takes credit for the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Rather than merely confessing his guilt, Brennan personally demonstrated his culpability to the Presiding Judge.
Even if the tactics Brennan used in the federal trial weren't culpable enough to warrant his suspension, I'm pretty sure that this became harmless error when he shoved the mild mannered opposing counsel in the attorney discipline case. I'm pretty sure that the presiding judge who had to hold him in contempt multiple times at the disciplinary trial and call in sheriff's deputies for assistance is not going to rule in Brennan's favor, and that the Colorado Supreme Court will back him up on that point.