Zeus News welcomes a variety of opinions and expression of free speech. To submit commentary or opinion please email firstname.lastname@example.org
When the law and courts are wielded as weapons in the hands of disputants and lawyers the reputation of the court is tarnished. Worse, when these groups subvert the legal process and undertake a publicity crusade before the first motion is raised or hearing is held the courts amount to a peripherality. There in particular is an instance where an obvious try for preemptive victory for the claimant and prejudice against the respondent has already started.
Have a tip or want to say hello? Email email@example.com
Whilst this is strictly not illegal in the wide assembly of Western legal canon it is plainly bad judgement. Recently named as a respondent was the famous and celebrated musician Bob Dylan. He was sued on the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour on account of a temporary hiatus in the “statute of limitations” (a time limit for raising legal claims) for civil cases in the US state of New York. Zeus News reported recently on the case along with nearly every mainstream media organisation in the world.
The lawyers for the claimant Joan Carra then started a promotional campaign. That campaign revealed they raised a case without research or diligence. The publicity ultimately gave light to previously unknown details and proved to be an unwise and morally distressing move which eventually backfired. The ethics and conduct of Gleason and Isaacs was called into question. Carra was proved to make attempts to have webmasters caption photographs on websites of Bob Dylan with unidentified women.
The claimant first identified only as “JC” in court documents provided several clues about the woman later revealed as a psychic, one of America’s “top” according to at least one book. She was a woman aged 68 living in Connecticut, city of Greenwich. This was before a Zeus News interview with Carra. Out of bare oversight or an embarrassing laxity Daniel Isaacs and Peter Gleason revealed that Joan Carra’s birthday was in March 1953.
Carra claimed she was abused and forced to drink alcohol and consume drugs under threat of violence in the Chelsea Hotel. Gleason and Isaacs could have raised a motion for the lawsuit to be “sealed” or protected from public view until their client’s identity was ordered to remain private, but they chose not to, instead giving interviews and talking to reporters from around the world.
Joan Carra herself was uncovered to have made a number of pleas to different websites requesting that her name be captioned in photographs of women with Bob Dylan dating back at least a decade. When one photograph turned out to be at odds with common sense because it featured a young Black woman at Manhattan’s Ondine nightclub taken in 1965 when Carra would have been aged 12 in a nightclub, Carra backtracked and said she was in a different photo with Bob Dylan. That second image was later confirmed to be a photo of Dylan and a “Lady Sandra Suffolk” who was visibly not an aged 12 Carra.
Carra’s lawyers Peter Gleason and Dan Issacs have had their own share of publicity-seeking and potentially criminal and unethical acts. Gleason was exposed as wearing his firefighter uniform on 11 September 2001 despite not being a firefighter presumably for a photo opportunity as he stood for election to the New York City Council, a race he lost. He also offered to a criminal court as a bond for a woman accused of directing an underage brothel his Tribeca property, and later withdrew from the case as her lawyer so she could live with him.
Over and above that Gleason collaborated with US president Donald Trump and his former lawyer Michael Cohen to reveal sensitive information about his clients in exchange for Trump promising to raise awareness of those claims against Trump political adversary Eric Schneiderman.
That’s just Gleason. His colleague Dan Isaacs was reported by The New York Post as having accepted a bribe in principle from an FBI agent acting undercover although Isaacs was never charged since he never accepted any money. The acceptance of the bribe in principle happened during Isaacs’ tenure as Manhattan Republican Chairperson. Daniel Isaacs is also a party in lawsuits where he has been court-ordered to pay tens of thousands of dollars. Some of these cases involve child support failure to pay, mortgage failure to pay, and other civil lawsuits.
All of this information about Joan Carra, Daniel Isaacs, and Peter Gleason went unrevealed and without investigation as the worldwide media copied and pasted a harmful news story that “Bob Dylan abused a 12-year-old” without any context or research.
The appetite for illegitimate news is ballooning globally to an unhealthy size. Commonly called “fake news” these stories could also bear the label of clickbait, tabloid journalism, or truthful or untruthful hyperbole. Lawyers prosper and flourish when news about their cases bend towards their victory. They remain careless about the truthfulness of their client as long as their name remains in print. As the hoax grows in scope the harmful emotional toll is heavy. The person’s reputation also suffers as their name and history is no longer their own. In Bob Dylan’s case his 80-plus years which went without any abuse claims is gone and his name was sullied in seconds.
The lawsuit filed by Gleason and Isaacs on behalf of JC or Joan Carra was filed in the New York County Supreme Court. The sole defendant is “Robert Allen Zimmerman a/k/a Bob Dylan” even though Dylan’s legal name is Robert Dylan.
Bob Dylan’s fan base responded to the lawsuit with shock, jeering and counterstatements. Dylan scholars including Clinton Heylin insisted that he was nowhere near the Chelsea Hotel between April and May 1965. Others said that the lawsuit was a simple money grab attempt. When other details surfaced such as Carra’s alleged encounter with angels and aliens further doubt was cast by the Dylan fan base.
From the lacklustre response of Issacs and Gleason which was that their six week timescale was now only two weeks because of the Dylan entourage’s tour schedule, it became apparent that the lawyers were becoming desperate for a settlement which they admitted to seeking in a recorded phone call. Heylin also rebuffed the claims as every movement of Dylan and his team was either recorded (during DA Pennebaker’s documentary) on film or in travel itineraries.
There are many people who suffer abuse and their recourse is the justice system. And in the small amount of cases that result from untrue claims the system loses acceptance and victims become more reluctant to raise their claims.
Gleason and Isaacs have disregarded the flow of information about their client and seem to be more resolved to have their case tried in a court of public opinion, blackening Dylan’s name along the way. In a perfect contradiction they say their case will be proved in a court of law yet made a number of statements to journalists without evidence or proof and refused to provide any details to support any of the JC claims.
Did these journalists or their editors perform background checks about the history of JC, Dan Isaacs, or Peter Gleason? Checks like these are vital to stem the rush to judgement and allow the publication of sham news stories where the past of both the claimant and their lawyers are controversial.
As millions of people continue to work from home and spend time on the internet in response to the COVID-19 lockdown the publisher’s match ignites the wildfire of unchecked stories that blasts across the screens with details and allegations presented as fact when no research or fact-checking, fundamental in previous eras, has been conducted.
In a meaningful turn, The New York Times did not follow suit and has not published a word about the Bob Dylan JC lawsuit (as of 5 September 2021).
Carra, Gleason, and Isaacs knew what they were doing when they told their story without any facts or evidence to the world’s press. The lawsuit which calls for Dylan to pay an unnamed sum of money comes less than a year after he struck a deal to sell his back catalogue publishing rights to Universal. Reports have valued the sale at around the USD$300 million range.
Bob Dylan’s office said that the claims are untrue and will be “vigourously defended” in court.
But does it protect Bob Dylan’s reputation from people who are already calling for him to be taken off the airwaves and his vinyl records pulled from shops? And what if the 2020s joke-“woke” mob call for him to be “cancelled”?
The justice system in the Western world is meant to protect those against false and frivolous claims. But does current law protect against unfounded character assassination where the claimant and their lawyers act as judge, jury and executioner of the accused’s reputation in the press? Will the law be changed?
Perhaps this will be a test case and we will discover the willingness of society to act with decency before ruining the reputation of a successful musician or a common woman or man.
Have a tip or want to say hello? Would you like to join our team? Our email is firstname.lastname@example.org