Not all of them, of course. But as a general rule, it’s a good idea to keep in mind that even highly successful lawyers are considerably less intelligent than successful entrepreneurs and even modestly accomplished computer programmers. What compounds their mediocrity is the fact that they are trained to not think, but rather, to do the legal equivalent of “skim until offended”. As one lawyer explained it to me, in law school they are trained to look for “the magic sentence” in the case law upon which the argument depends, then regurgitate it for gold stars and favorable decisions. At no point is any contextual thinking or holistic understanding taught, required, or encouraged.
This is why Patrick Byrne’s account of encountering Rudy Giuliani and his team rings absolutely true, as well as why we were correct to have no faith whatsoever in Team Giuliani’s legal approach to attacking the 2020 election fraud.
I explained to him carefully the outline of what we understood at that point, an outline such as the reader might have after watching this presentation by the MIT Math PhD Dr. Shiva, or the exposition by Seth Keshel, as well as the cascade of stories of porous security in election software all referenced above. I feared overwhelming him, so I tried to simplify. Given that he sat grunting stoically as I spoke, it was difficult to judge what was sinking in. Yet after only 10 minutes I saw Rudy checking his multiple phones for texts, right in front of me as we sat talking. Conversing with one of his assistants, sending someone on a side errand, or receiving a report back. It felt rather strange to be talking to a man who was paying so little attention to me, but the Commish, sitting on the side, motioned for me to continue. After no more than 30 minutes I was ushered out of the office, but told to hang around.
Eventually I was brought back into a smaller room with Mayor Giuliani, and again asked to explain what I think happened. Realizing I may have overwhelmed him with my earlier explanation, gotten him lost in the forest for the trees, I broke it down simply and slowly, like one would for, well, one’s 76 year old Grandfather. Again within 5-10 minutes he was fidgeting, grunting on occasion, sending people on unrelated side errands, checking his multiple phones for texts and typing some people back…. Meanwhile, I tried to stay on track. Yet there was a moment 15 minutes in when I got a whiff of something in that small office…. Medicine? Booze? Just as I was taking a sniff to decide, someone rushed in with something unrelated issue, and I was escorted from the office.
Again I wandered around among the staff, most of whom were professing to know nothing about what was going on, and many others of whom were packing up desks in bankers’ boxes. I was perplexed, and found myself drifting around the convoluted office space. 30 minutes later I was strolling outside some other conference room down the hall, when I heard Rudy’s familiar voice saying, “…don’t understand a fucking thing this guy’s telling me…” drifting out of a doorway. Startled, I looked around the corner, and there was Rudy talking to whatever group of staffers happened to be sitting worshipfully in that conference room to which he had moved.
Several staffers pulled me aside in a hallway. What Mayor Giuliani is going to need, one told me, is a one page summary. Very simplified.
Another added, but with graphs and data.
Another piped up, And bulletpoints. The Mayor likes bulletpoints!
But no more than one page! Repeated the first.
Insulted at Mediocrity and the 20-something staffers who were telling me how to write, and giving such asinine advice in the process, I promised I would get them something by the end of the weekend. 48 hours. I asked them for one favor: any requests that came from them should be orchestrated through one of their people, who would call one person whom I would designate among my cyber-team, and that way we would have some structure, and keep track of deliverables as we sought to accommodate their needs, so that it would not all turn into a shit-show.
Then I left and drove back to DC. By late that evening, I had learned that there were three different open requests from three people on Rudy’s team to various of my colleagues within the Bad News Bears. One was only going to handle passing requests of this type, one only wanted to handle passing on requests of that type… And the shit-show began.
I do not want to claim that everybody in that large but melting office space was incompetent. As I said, there were three competent, skillful lawyers (a fourth if one counted a Constitutional law scholar who was in and out). But the atmosphere was one of despair, there was zero leadership shown, staffers were wondering around in the dark, and the meetings seemed like sophomore bull sessions rather than anything organized and disciplined.
From occasional contacts with several of those solid staffers over the weeks that followed, I learned what had had happened that day just before I arrived. Rudy had declaimed that, “You can never prove election fraud in a courtroom!” and had declared it was not going to be the strategy. The strategy was going to be to challenge things on procedural grounds: “This county in this state had one set of rules, this other county in that same state used a different set of rules, that violates due process and Equal Protection of the 14 Amendment.” So I was correct: just before I arrived there had been a huge blow-up between Rudy and Sidney in front of everyone, with Rudy ending by shouting at Sidney Powell and sending her away, in front of an office of dozens of people. Declaring that none of this was going to be about election fraud, and putting his lawyers to work on their procedural filings.
I don’t think Giuliani was taking a dive. I don’t think he ever had the ability to do any better. My impression is that his legal campaign was little more than a feint to keep the media distracted. Only time will tell.