Cohen sentenced to 3 years in prison for Trump hush money payments

Michael Cohen, ex ‘fixer’ lawyer for Donald Trump, has been sentenced to 3 years in prison in the United States for paying hush money to silence women during the 2016 election campaign.

RNZ: Donald Trump ex-lawyer Michael Cohen sentenced to 3 years prison

He was jailed for his role in the payment of hush money to women who said they had affairs with Mr Trump, and for lying to Congress about a proposed Trump Tower project in Russia discussed during the 2016 election campaign.

Cohen had pleaded guilty in August to charges by federal prosecutors in New York that, just before the election, he paid adult film actress Stormy Daniels $US130,000 and helped arrange a $US150,000 payment to former Playboy model Karen McDougal so the women would keep quiet about their past relationships with Trump, who is married.

Cohen faced sentencing on a separate charge of lying to Congress brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russia’s role in the 2016 election and possible coordination between Trump’s campaign and Moscow. Cohen pleaded guilty to that charge last month.

Prosecutors have said the payments violated campaign finance laws. Cohen told prosecutors the payments were directed by Trump, implicating the president in a possible campaign finance law violation.

Federal law requires that the contribution of “anything of value” to a campaign must be disclosed, and an individual donation cannot exceed $US2700.

Mr Trump denies having the affairs or being involved in the payments.

It’s hard to take any Trump denials seriously given his track record of making false claims and lying. And it seems a real stretch to believe he knew nothing about substantial payments being made on his behalf.

The judge sentenced Cohen to 36 months for the payments, which violated campaign finance law, and to two months for the false statements to Congress. The two terms will run simultaneously.

Three years is a hefty sentence, especially for campaign finance violations.

Theoretically, if Trump was charged for being involved in the same offences he could face that sort of sentence too.


Trump lawyer leaves

Another exit from Donald Trump’s staff, this time his lead lawyer on the Mueller investigation.

NY Times: John Dowd Resigns as Trump’s Lead Lawyer in Special Counsel Inquiry

President Trump’s lead lawyer for the special counsel investigation, John Dowd, resigned on Thursday as his strategy for cooperating with the inquiry grew increasingly at odds with Mr. Trump’s desire for a more aggressive posture.

Mr. Dowd, who took over the president’s legal team last summer andconsidered leaving several times, ultimately concluded that Mr. Trump was ignoring his advice, a person briefed on the matter said.

His departure marked the most significant shake-up for the president’s legal team in months and underscores the president’s growing frustration with the investigation by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, into Russia’s election interference and possible ties to Trump associates as well as whether the president obstructed the inquiry.

The president has in recent days begun publicly assailing Mr. Mueller, a shift in tone that appears to be born of Mr. Trump’s concern that the investigation is bearing down on him more directly. He has also insisted he should sit for an interview with the special counsel’s office, even though Mr. Dowd believed it was a bad idea.

It would be difficult to keep providing legal advice for someone who keeps ignoring it.

It’s highly like that some of Trump’s public statements are going to come back to haunt him legally.

The president was said to be pleased with Mr. Dowd’s resignation, as he had grown frustrated with him, particularly over the weekend when Mr. Dowd called on the Justice Department to end the special counsel investigation. Mr. Dowd, who had forged relationships with the special counsel’s office, said at first that he was speaking for the president, but later backtracked.

The president was angered with Mr. Dowd’s handling of the episode, telling people it was ham-handed and Mr. Dowd should not have backed off his initial statement. Mr. Dowd, a former Marine Corps captain, has told people that the president has recently implored him to stay but was said to be considering quitting on Monday, which he denied in an interview that night.

Now he has quit.

Despite claiming otherwise on Twitter, the president has expressed displeasure with his legal team for weeks. He has met with the veteran Washington lawyer Emmet T. Flood, who represented President Bill Clinton during impeachment, about coming inside the White House to serve as his top lawyer. Neither Mr. Dowd nor Jay Sekulow, the president’s other personal lawyer for the investigation, knew about the meeting at the time, and after The New York Times reported about it, were said to be concerned that their standing with the president had fallen.

He tried to reassure them on Twitter.

“The Failing New York Times purposely wrote a false story stating that I am unhappy with my legal team on the Russia case and am going to add another lawyer to help out. Wrong. I am VERY happy with my lawyers, John Dowd, Ty Cobb and Jay Sekulow. They are doing a great job.”

Not any more. Not only does Trump continue to lose experienced staff and legal advisers, his impetuous public pronouncements will probably deter others from joining his team – the risks of being ignored or being fired are obvious, and since Trumps campaign many have been reluctant to be associated with the Trump wreck.

Meanwhile the Special Investigation continues: Mueller Examining Cambridge Analytica, Trump Campaign Ties

Special counsel Robert Mueller is scrutinizing the connections between President Donald Trump’s campaign and the data mining firm Cambridge Analytica, which has come under fierce criticism over reports that it swiped the data of more than 50 million Facebook users to sway elections.

Mueller’s investigators have asked former campaign officials about the Trump campaign’s data operations, particularly about how it collected and utilized voter data in battleground states, according to a person with direct knowledge of the line of inquiry but not authorized to discuss it publicly.

The investigators have also asked some of Trump’s data team, which included analysts at the Republican National Committee, about its relationship with Cambridge Analytica, according to two former campaign officials. The campaign paid the firm just under $6 million for its work in 2016, according to federal records.

Authorities in Britain and the United States are investigating whether Cambridge Analytica may have used data improperly obtained from Facebook to try to influence elections, including the 2016 White House race.

Mueller is leading a criminal probe into whether Trump’s Republican presidential campaign had ties to Russia and whether he may have obstructed justice.

The investigation isn’t going away. Trump support is.

Lawyer takes blame for trump tweet

It has often been claimed that Donald Trump tweets against the best advice of those who try to manage his presidency and his PR, so it is unusual to see his personal lawyer take responsibility for a tweet that some say could put Trump at legal risk.

The tweet:

Newshub in Trump denies pressuring FBI director Comey to end Flynn probe:

The tweet raised eyebrows, with some in the legal community saying if Mr Trump knew Flynn lied to the FBI and then pressured Mr Comey not to investigate him, that would be problematic.

Mr Trump’s tweet “absolutely bolsters an obstruction of justice charge”, said Jimmy Gurule, a former federal prosecutor and a law professor at Notre Dame University.

“It is evidence of the crucial question of whether Mr Trump acted with a corrupt intent.

In an unusual move:

Mr Trump’s personal lawyer has since taken responsibility for the tweet.

In an interview on Sunday with news site Axios, John Dowd said the tweet was “my mistake” and that he drafted the tweet that raised more questions about whether there had been attempts to obstruct the Russia investigation.

“I’m out of the tweeting business,” Mr Dowd told Axios. “I did not mean to break news.”

It is unusual that Trumps lawyer is taking responsibility for drafting the tweet, especially given the content of the tweet.

Trump has inevitably responded to the uproar his tweet created with another tweet:

I presume his lawyer did not draft that tweet.

This is a typical Trump denial, claiming anything he doesn’t like as fake news and lies.

He risks, amongst other things, becoming known as the Fake President.

Golriz Ghahraman scrutiny over Rwanda defence

New Green MP  Golriz Ghahraman is under scrutiny again, this time her record as a human rights lawyer is being examined.

David Farrar seems to have kicked this off at Kiwiblog: Ghahraman defended not prosecuted the genociders in Rwanda

There is nothing wrong with being a defence lawyer – even for war criminals.

But the issue here is the way the Greens have selectively published material that makes it looks like she was prosecuting, not defending.

She did later go on to prosecute in Cambodia, and again there is nothing wrong with having started as a defence lawyer so you could gain experience to become a prosecutor.  But this is not the story that we were told.

Her own maiden speech glosses over her work in Rwanda:

It was living in Africa working on genocide trials where I then learned how prejudice turns to atrocity. Politicians scapegoating groups, as a group, for any social ills, dehumanising language in the media, used for political gain-
Every time I see that I think: That’s how is how it starts.

I saw that at the Rwanda Tribunal, at The Hague and when I prosecuted the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia.

Very clever. It doesn’t state she prosecuted in Rwanda but you clearly gain that impression as she lumps it in with prosecuting in Cambodia.

This story has spread. Barry Soper: Greens blurring the lines once again

Politics is most certainly about perception and if you look at the publicity blurb surrounding the first refugee elected to our Parliament you’d come away thinking Golriz Ghahraman who was born in Iran was a human rights battler, pure and simple.

In her maiden speech, she talked about living in Africa, working on genocide trials and learning how prejudice turns into atrocity. She waxed about politicians scapegoating groups for any social ills, using dehumanising language in the media for their own gain.

Ghahraman went on to say she saw that at the Rwanda Tribunal, at The Hague and when she prosecuted the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia.

Now listening to that you’d think she was the battler she’s been painted as.

And that was reinforced by The Greens who are very good at presenting the narrative that suits their purpose, although the narrative surrounding their former co-leader Metiria Turei obviously got out of control and almost led to their undoing.

In their blurb about their new MP, The Greens said her work has focused on enforcing human rights and holding governments to account. Golriz, they tell us, has lived and worked in Africa, The Hague and Cambodia, putting on trial world leaders for abusing their power and restoring communities after war and human rights atrocities.

Now that leaves the clear impression she was the champion of bringing these people to justice.

But in fact, at the Rwandan Tribunal she was representing the war criminals in the genocide of around eight hundred thousand Tutsies. She complained about how poorly resourced the defence was. It was as though the United Nations didn’t really believe in the process, she opined.

She’s now saying she wasn’t responsible for the Greens’ blurb, which may be the case, but it seems she did little to correct it.

She should be responsible for how her bio is presented by her party, but as a new MP she should have been assisted more accurately than this.

The Green Party is unaccustomed to the greater levels of scrutiny imposed on parties in Government. They should be learning fast.

Ghahraman could get worn down by all this scrutiny, as some do in Parliament, or she could learn to weather these storms. She seems to be attracting more attention than any other new MPs – for example has anyone heard anything about scrutiny of new NZ First MPs?

Perhaps because she has a different background Ghahraman stands out as a target.

She is standing up to this latest scrutiny. Some criticisms have seemed fairly extreme.

NZ Herald: Golriz Ghahraman says genocide-denier comments ‘absolutely offensive’

Green MP Golriz Ghahraman says it is “absolutely offensive” to be called a genocide-denier, and insists she has not misled the public over defending people accused of genocide in Rwanda.

But she admits that her profile page on the Green Party website, which states that she has put African leaders on trial for abusing their power, “could be clearer”.

Her profile page on the Green party website says: “Golriz has lived and worked in Africa, The Hague and Cambodia, putting on trial world leaders for abusing their power.”

Ghahraman admitted that her profile page, which she didn’t write, “could be clearer, but it’s certainly not false”.

But she said she has never hid her defence work, that it’s “certainly not something I’m ashamed of”, and that international criminal justice needs both the defence and the prosecution to work well to ensure a robust system.

“It’s absolutely offensive to say that I deny genocide, because there’s nothing that’s been more important to me than to highlight genocide as an international crime.

She said that she worked as an unpaid intern as part of a team that defended Joseph Nzirorera, who died before he could be convicted of genocide, and in a paid position as part of a team representing pop singer Simon Bikindi, who was convicted for incitement to genocide.

She worked on the prosecution at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.

“No one is saying there is no such thing as genocide. It’s like saying a defence lawyer [defending someone charged with murder] in our justice system here is a murder-denier.

“My CV is on LinkedIn. It’s certainly not something I’m ashamed of. It’s the human rights model. We have to work on both sides.”

It’s been a tough start as an MP for Ghahraman.

Slater implications on Peters Super leak

Cameron Slater continues to make vague accusations and implications about who leaked information about Winston Peters’ superannuation overpayments, claiming to know who leaked but also saying he is unable to say who it was. Given his changing claims in reaction to news it sounds most likely to be bluster and bull.

But yesterday Slater went further with another implication, this time of his source of information.

He posted So, if it wasn’t IRD then who was the leaker

If not IRD then who?

I’ll bet MSD has the same result. That then leaves Anne Tolley, Paula Bennett, Wayne Eagleson and several staffers on the hook. If it wasn’t the civil servants then it has to be one of that lot.

That sounds like spraying around accusations without having any idea who leaked.

It isn’t that anonymous…everyone knows who did it.

If ‘everyone’ includes Slater, if he knows who did it, why is he spreading the mud around so much?

They might be able to hide behind the OIA but they won’t be able to hide behind court discovery. National are just being cute. They leaked it and that will come out. If it wasn’t IRD or MSD then it can only be ministers or ministerial staff.

Back to vague again.

As is happening more often at Whale Oil, Slater was challenged on this in comments.


So Slater has made vague insinuations against a number of people, claims ‘everyone knows’ who did it, and then says “you don’t know what I know’.

That all sounds very lame.

Not so lame is the implication by Slater that a source of information for him on the leak is Winston Peters’ lawyer, who also represented Slater in his defamation case against Colin Craig.

Slater has often claimed to be hard up, has often asked on Whale Oil for donations to help him pay for legal expenses, has often said how expensive defamation cases are…but that’s another story.

Slater has also been pimping for Peters and for NZ First for months, and has been throwing mud at the National and Bill English and various National Ministers and MPs…but that’s largely another story too.

What is of particular interest here is that Slater has implied that Peters’ lawyer may be providing Slater “what I know” about the Super leak.

Stuff on August 28: Winston Peters has investigators working on who leaked info about his pension overpayment

NZ First leader Winston Peters says he won’t stand by and let someone get away with “blatant dirty politics” after information about his superannuation overpayment was leaked.

“Someone decided they would break the law and leak it in a political way and some of those tweets and other comments point to knowledge out there that it was malicious and politically dirty,” Peters told media following a candidates meeting in Northland on Monday night.

Peters said he had investigators working on uncovering the leak and would let the public know who it was – “I’ve got my deep suspicions”.

Peters had also implied that a number of culprits were responsible for the leak, starting with IRD according to RNZ but that has now been ruled out.

There is no indication here that Peters’ lawyer is involved in the investigation. I think it would be extraordinary that he would give details to Slater at all, and especially knowing how loose with his fingers Slater is on Whale Oil.

Would Peters himself pass on information to Slater? I think that’s doubtful too.

Peters has a history of spraying around accusations, claiming to know who is responsible for things, claiming to have facts, but often failing to front up with any evidence.

In that regard Slater is very much the same. I don’t think his implication to fact ratio is very high. He is high on dirt and innuendo, and low on credibility.

I doubt that any lawyer will appreciate being name dropped by Slater trying to sound credible.

I think it’s most likely that Slater is guessing, he has no real idea who leaked, but he is trying to sound like he’s in the know to defend his accusations to readers who challenge him on “making accusations here based on nothing substantive”.

If the leaker is revealed then both Peters and Slater will probably claim to have been right – given the number of accusation’s they make the chances are one of their targets could be close to the mark.


Craig v Slater – witness revelations

The new witness has been allowed to give evidence in Craig v Slater – it is a lawyer who was acting for Craig on a separate matter, but who was also a friend of Slater’s.

Slater used information given to him in confidence by the lawyer to attack Craig, based on incorrect assumptions.

Stuff: Colin Craig’s lawyer was source for Cameron Slater

Cameron Slater used a lawyer acting for Colin Craig as a source for publishing allegations Craig was in an improper relationship with more than one woman.

Madeleine Flannagan was an Auckland lawyer working on an application by Craig and his wife to adopt a child in 2015.

She had also been friends with Cameron Slater for around 11 years.

Flannagan said she became concerned about allegations in the media, driven by Slater, that Craig had sexually harassed his former press secretary Rachel MacGregor. She was worried about how it would affect the Craigs’ adoption application.

In June 2015, Flannagan phoned Slater asking him what other information he had, saying she could not disclose who her client was and the conversation must remain confidential.

However, Slater inferred from the phone call that Flannagan was a lawyer acting on behalf of a victim of Craig’s, and then used her as the source for allegations he published on Whaleoil that Craig had a “second victim”.

Slater’s lawyer Brian Henry argued Craig was using Flanagan to find out how much information Slater had.

“Do you agree that Mr Craig was using you to try and find out what Mr Slater knew?” he asked.

“Well it was my idea to ring Cameron,” Flannagan said. “I don’t think Mr Craig even knew I had that relationship.”

Subsequently both parties tried to rope her into defamation proceedings.

When Slater was recalled to the witness box by Henry, he said he found it difficult to describe his current relationship with Flannagan.

“I’m just lost for words at the betrayal of someone I considered a friend.

“If I knew she was a lawyer for Mr Craig I would have never spoken to her. This entire allegation would never have come out but for the deception placed upon me.”

Justice Kit Toogood asked Slater: “You say you felt betrayed, but did you not betray her express injunction that this [conversation] cannot go anywhere else?”

“I did dance around on that but I guess technically I did,” Slater said.

There could be a bit more dancing around of different kinds now this has come out.

Other reports:

RNZ:  Craig’s lawyer used as source for Whale Oil blog, court told

NZ Herald: Colin Craig’s lawyer and friend of Cameron Slater gives evidence

Lawyers for Labour

There are already a few lawyers in Parliament. That must be a good thing in a place that writes new laws and amends or discards existing laws.

Attorney General Chris Finlayson is not just a lawyer, he is a Queen’s Counsel.

Minister of Justice and Minister of Courts Amy Adams is a lawyer.

Minister of Revenue Judith Collins is a lawyer who before becoming an MP specialised in employment, property, commercial, and tax law.

This all sounds like appropriate experience for the positions.

Winston Peters was a lawyer before becoming an MP.

Andrew Little started his first career as a lawyer with the Engineers’ Union. That seems appropriate enough for the leader of the Labour Party.

I have noticed that there seems to be quite a few lawyers standing as candidates in this year’s election.

For National: Former navy officer to replace John Key

A property lawyer and former naval officer has been chosen to fill former Prime Minister John Key’s big shoes in Helensville.

Chris Penk was last night announced as National’s nomination for the safe seat, which has held by the party since it was established in 1978.

National could do with some expertise in property in Auckland.

For Greens: No Green deal for Labour Party in Hutt South battle

Labour will have to win Hutt South without help from the Green Party in the September election.

Constitutional lawyer and Green Party candidate Susanne Ruthven  said the situation in Hutt South was different.

For Labour: Lewis selected as Labour’s 2017 candidate for Whanganui

Steph Lewis selected as Labour’s 2017 candidate for Whanganui

She currently works as an lawyer/investigator, resolving disputes between large organisations and members of the public.

For Labour: Auckland central’s new Labour candidate to take on Nikki Kaye

Labour has put forward Helen White as its new candidate standing in the Auckland central electorate after Labour MP Jacinda Ardern left the area to campaign in the Mt Albert by-election.

White, an employment lawyer, wants to return the seat to Labour.

For Labour: Labour’s Whangarei Candidate

Tony Savage has been selected as the Labour Party candidate for Whangarei for the 2017 General Election.

Tony has an employment background as a CEO, technology adviser, strategy consultant, financial adviser as well as being a successful local lawyer in Whangarei practicing mainly within the commercial and property fields.

For Labour: Labour Bay of Plenty candidate announced

Angie Warren-Clark has been selected as the Labour Party candidate for Bay of Plenty.

Mrs Warren-Clark has worked in the electorate for over 10 years in the field of domestic violence and is a non-practising barrister and solicitor.

For Labour: Candidate for East Coast

Kiri is a commercial lawyer and business consultant based in Whakatane and working all throughout the East Coast electorate.

For Labour: Candidate for Ōtaki

Rob is the manager of White Ribbon, the campaign to end men’s violence towards women, and works to help change attitudes and behaviour, both on the Kapiti Coast and throughout New Zealand.

As well as having a law degree, Rob has previous experience as a Parliamentary press secretary and has an extensive background in events management.

For Labour: Candidate for Christchurch Central

Duncan is a lawyer and professor who has been working since 2010 to help ordinary people in Christchurch get their homes, lives, jobs, and businesses back on track after the earthquakes. As well as practicing, researching, and teaching law, he is an activist and spokesperson for homeowners fighting defective repairs and the failures of insurers, EQC, and others to treat citizens fairly and properly.

There may be more lawyers standing for other parties but I had particularly noticed the number of Labour candidates who were lawyers.

Perhaps lawyers are attracted to politics, and they may be also more inclined to have the  financial resources to be able to campaign. Ordinary workers need to keep working so don’t have the time, even if they had the inclination.

Are there any more lawyers who are MPs or candidates?


Trump versus New York Times

A New York Times story from Wednesday (US time):

Two Women Say Donald Trump Touched Them Inappropriately

Donald J. Trump was emphatic in the second presidential debate: Yes, he had boasted about kissing women without permission and grabbing their genitals. But he had never actually done those things, he said.

“No,” he declared under questioning on Sunday evening, “I have not.”

At that moment, sitting at home in Manhattan, Jessica Leeds, 74, felt he was lying to her face. “I wanted to punch the screen,” she said in an interview in her apartment.

More than three decades ago, when she was a traveling businesswoman at a paper company, Ms. Leeds said, she sat beside Mr. Trump in the first-class cabin of a flight to New York. They had never met before.

About 45 minutes after takeoff, she recalled, Mr. Trump lifted the armrest and began to touch her.

According to Ms. Leeds, Mr. Trump grabbed her breasts and tried to put his hand up her skirt.

Ms. Crooks was a 22-year-old receptionist at Bayrock Group, a real estate investment and development company in Trump Tower in Manhattan, when she encountered Mr. Trump outside an elevator in the building one morning in 2005.

Aware that her company did business with Mr. Trump, she turned and introduced herself. They shook hands, but Mr. Trump would not let go, she said. Instead, he began kissing her cheeks. Then, she said, he “kissed me directly on the mouth.”

It didn’t feel like an accident, she said. It felt like a violation.

Following that a letter from Trump’s lawyer:


The New York Times has responded:


This probably won’t help Trump turn his ailing campaign around, although he try playing the ‘me against the media ‘ card some more.

Lawyer disputes criticism of Delegat sentence

A Dunedin barrister has that the sentence given to Nikolas Delegat for assaulting a police officer was ”entirely consistent” for the type of offence.

ODT: Claim Delegat got rich person’s justice disputed has a mixed response from  New Zealand Police Association president Greg O’Connor who said…

…if Delegat had been from the ”other end of the socio-economic scale”, the sentence would have included jail time, or something closer to it.

A ”high-powered lawyer” could help someone get a lighter sentence, he said.

The sentence had caused ”general disquiet” among some police officers in Dunedin, especially given the severity of injuries sustained by Const Kane.

However, Judge Kevin Phillips needed to be commended for resisting the ”considerable pressure” to grant name suppression and discharge without conviction, Mr O’Connor said.

But Dunedin barrister Anne Stevens said…

…the claim Delegat had bought justice was ”outrageous”.

She had been a lawyer for 29 years and the sentence was ”entirely consistent” for the type of offence, committed by someone with no previous convictions and otherwise good character, and who had pleaded guilty.

”It’s nothing to do with his parents’ wealth, it’s nothing to do with the colour of his skin; it’s to do with his culpability and his character.”

The conviction was a ”serious outcome”, Mrs Stevens said.

”He wants to sail in other parts of the world and it will be a big burden for him.”

The sentence had nothing to do with Delegat’s choice of lawyer, she said.

”Any number of lawyers in Dunedin would have achieved the same result … some of them, I dare say, would have got a discharge.”

Judges take many things into account when sentencing and they know much more than the average public pundit. I think this case would have been very carefully considered by Judge Phillips given that Delegat was represented by an out of town lawyer (from Auckland).

This sentence may or may not be tested under appeal.

But it’s probably too late to appeal for reasoned and well informed discussion of this case.

Conservatives – Craig and lawyers versus Stringer

Conservative Board member John stringer appeared on The Nation in the weekend and added to some significant accusations about Colin Craig’s behaviour, including the need to have a chaperone with Craig during the election campaign. Craig’s press secretary resigned two days before last year’s election.

Stringer also effective accused Craig of lying (he used the word ‘mistruth’.

3 News and The Nation coverage: Conservative board member slams Craig.

Craig reacted quickly with an implied threat of legal action against Stringer. Radio NZ reported on Saturday:

Craig demands retraction from board member

John Stringer spoke out this morning saying he was sick of a culture of confidentiality being used to cover up what he called abhorrent behaviour.

He also said he wrote a year ago with concerns about Mr Craig’s working relationship with his former press secretary.

Colin Craig said Mr Stringer was wrong with many of the things he said, but could not say what.

“I’ve only seen the interview and there was a lot of content in it, I had not yet had the opportunity to work through piece by piece, but I have listened to it and I’ve taken already some preliminary advice.

“As I say I will be expecting a retraction slash correction of things he has said.”

Mr Craig said he would announce on Monday action he would take against some media, which have reported what he called scurrilous material.

Presumable Whale Oil will be a target of Craig’s attention but Slater is unrepentant and claims to have solid evidence to back his claims.

Radio NZ reports this morning:

Craig takes legal advice over allegations

The former Conservative Party leader, Colin Craig, says he is taking legal advice over accusations made about him

Craig has a history of threatening legal action over what people or publications have said about him.

During the weekend, a party board member, John Stringer, said he was sick of a culture of confidentiality being used to cover up what he called abhorrent behaviour.

Mr Craig said he would be asking for a retraction, as those allegations are untrue.

“Let’s say at this stage it’s really a retraction that makes the most sense, I would not rule out something beyond that, but I think the appropriate place to start is to perhaps get some correction on some of the things that he’s said.”

Mr Craig said he was also not happy with some media articles about him.

I’m sure Craig is not happy with media coverage, but media are well aware of his litigious nature and will presumably have taken care over what they have reported.

Craig may be able to legally bluster some into retracting comments but the horses have well and truly bolted the stable on this.

Perhaps Craig could get a blanket suppression on any accusations. But they are already well circulated.

If Craig wants to effectively deal with what has happened he needs to be upfront and address accusations, not try to use his lawyers to drive them under a carpet.

That will only work if he has been unfairly accused and there is no substance to some or all of the accusations.

But at best that will still leave Craig severely embarrassed. If the poem that has been published is authentic it doesn’t prove harassment or anything illegal but it proves his social and moral hypocrisy and severely damages the Conservative party image.

If Craig continues to deny and attack back via his lawyers he will only increase the damage, to himself and to his party.