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Thursday, September 30, 2010

When Political Correctness Distorts the Story (Update X4: lots of interesting updates, just scroll down)

So by now you probably know about Meg Whitman having an illegal alien as a maid.  Mind you, no one has credibly proven that she knew she was an illegal alien.  And in fact if you listen to the maid’s story, instead of her lawyer, Gloria Allred the complete fame whore, you realize that she is only saying that when Whitman was told she was illegal, she first sought legal advice seeking to find a way to make her into a legal resident.  And when that failed, she then fired her.  So Whitman was as compassionate as she could be, and then when it was clear she couldn’t legally employ her by any means, she fired her.

But I want to point out to you this hilarious blog entry from the LA times: “Union ad to highlight Whitman’s undocumented former employee.”  Of course we all know that the left has taken to calling an illegal immigrant as an “undocumented immigrant” because it sounds better.  Only there is a problem.  As Whitman has shown, her maid was very well documented.  She had a social security card, and a driver’s license.  The problem was these documents were fraudulent.

So by using the euphemism “undocumented” they are implying that Whitman hired her without proof that she was here legally and eligible to work.  That is simply not true.  I am sure this implication is an oversight, but it shows you just what happens when you start using bullshit euphemisms, instead of just telling it like it is.  She is an illegal immigrant.  You might not like the laws that declare her to be one, but she broke the law by coming and working here.  And it is actually dishonest to call her anything else.

As Michelle Malkin has pointed out, these supposedly undocumented immigrants actually very often have tons of documents, only fraudulent.

And to get to the merits of the discussion, why exactly would anyone believe either this woman or Gloria Allred?

Let’s start with the maid.  She committed fraud by providing those documents.  If I was Whitman I would threaten to sue her for her fraud.  Now you might say, “ah, well, look, she needed a job, she needed the money, and this was the only way to get it.”  Fair enough, but then that means she is willing to be dishonest for the purpose of financial gain.  And what do you know?  She is now threatening a lawsuit by which she hopes to gain financially.  So again, why should we trust her?

As for Allred, well, its worth noting that Allred has done this sort of thing before.  Days before Arnold Schwartzenegger was elected governor, Rhonda Miller announced she was suing that Ahnold had horribly harassed and defamed her, and she was suing.  All with Allred throwing a press conference.  And what ever happened with that suit?  Why, it turns out, it was dismissed.  So Allred has a pattern of doing this kind of crap—of filing a sensational suit, against Republicans running for governor, that turn out to be crap.

Truly, unless Allred has some kind of fabulous physical evidence, this is a stupid suit.  If there is no physical evidence, then it is the word of Whitman v. the maid.  And the maid has already lied.  I can tell you as a lawyer, I would tell a client in that position not to even bother.  She would have little chance of winning, and a real chance of being countersued for fraud and defamation.  She faces a very credible danger of owing Whitman money by the end of it.

Now Allred claims that she has a letter sent by the government saying that the maid’s social security numbers didn’t line up.  Folks, this woman was their maid.  Do you think maybe she got their mail for them?  Remember she already deceived them about her status.  Do you think she would be above hiding a letter from Social Security?  So unless they can prove that the Whitmans actually received that mail, that doesn’t prove a thing.

As for the LA Times, well, they are not the only one to let political correctness harm the pursuit of the truth.

Update:  Well I barely finish writing on the subject, when Allred produces more alleged evidence.  This time she shows the social security letter and allegedly it has handwriting on it:

But the copy of the April 22, 2003, letter produced by Allred had a handwritten note on it. It said, "Nicky please check this. Thanks." Diaz Santillan claims the handwriting is that of Whitman's husband, Griff Harsh.

Allred said that if Whitman and Harsh deny the handwriting is his, she is prepared to present evidence proving otherwise.

"Meg Whitman is exposed as a liar and a hypocrite," Allred said after reading several quotes in newspapers in which Whitman denied receiving any letter from the Social Security Administration. "She should now apologize to Nicky and the press and the public."

Well, right now Gloria, you only have the word of your client, who has been known to lie when it was in her financial interest.  So, unless Whitman concedes it is her husband’s handwriting, you will have to do better than that.

And I will note that even if it is what she alleges, it only proves that the husband knew.  It doesn’t prove that Whitman knew.  Do you think maybe he decided to look the other way and decided it was best not to involve his wife in that?  Why, gosh, that might even be the act of a man who loved his wife, and we all know it would be downright scandalous if a man in politics actually loved his wife.

As for the credibility of her client, Allred gives us this whopper:

Whitman said this morning that she would be willing to take a polygraph test to demonstrate she did not know Diaz Santillan was in the country illegally. Asked if Diaz Santillan would do so, Allred said she does not need to.

Honestly, I about fell out of my chair with that one.  Sure, fame whore, why would anyone question the credibility of an established fraud?

Update II: And here is a link to the letter.  Anyone else notice the part where the SSA tells the husband that this is not proof she is illegal, that they are not required to fire her, and in fact if they do, they might be sued?

We’ll see what Whitman’s response is.

Update III: Here’s the full statement from Whitman’s husband:

While I honestly do not recall receiving this letter as it was sent to me seven years ago, I can say it is possible that I would've scratched a follow up note on a letter like this, which is a request for information to make certain Nikki received her Social Security benefits and W-2 tax refund for withheld wages. Since we believed her to be legal, I would have had no reason to suspect that she would not have filled it in and done what was needed to secure her benefits.

It is important to note what this letter actually says: 'this letter makes no statement about your employee's immigration status.'

The essential fact remains the same, neither Meg nor I believed there was a problem with Nicky's legal status and I certainly don't recall ever discussing it with my wife, nor did I ever show her any letter about it. The facts of this matter are very clear: Ms. Diaz broke the law and lied to us and to the employment agency. When she confessed her deception to us last year, we ended her employment immediately. Meg and I played by the rules and followed the law. Ms. Diaz did not. If as she claims she received this letter and note of inquiry from me, she never answered my request to look into this. Instead, she choose to continue her deception. This entire matter is a sad one and it's timing is clearly the result of a calculated and cynical political smear by Meg's opponents."

I would like them to answer one simple question: do you believe that this is his handwriting?  Or even could be?

And I would note that Allred is unlikely to be able to prove it now.  Now she might be able to require him to provide samples sufficient to prove it if a lawsuit ensues.  But right now, she probably doesn’t have enough of a sample from him.

But ultimately the letter is immaterial.  She wants to claim that a reasonably prudent person would have known based on this letter that the maid was an illegal immigrant.  But here’s what the letter says:

This letter does not imply that you or your employee intentionally provided incorrect information about the employee's name or SSN. It is not a basis, in and of itself, for you to take any adverse action against the employee, such as laying off, suspending, firing, or discriminating against the individual. Any employer that use. The information in this letter to justify taking adverse action against an employee may violate state or federal law and be subject to legal consequences. Moreover, this letter makes no statement about your employee's immigration status.

So it specifically disavows that it is even evidence of her immigration status.  Further, it is written to scare a person into not taking any action, lest you be found to be in violation of federal law.

Update IV: Via Dustin commenting at Patterico, we get Hugh Hewitt making Allred look very, very bad.  I will quibble with Hewitt on one point.  Very often I do start with the facts and figure out if I "smell" an injustice, and then research how I can translate that sense of moral outrage into a legal cause of action.   But that is a quibble, because regardless, you have to eventually know what the law is.  And if you are going to say this person acted illegally, you have to know enough about the law to know whether it was actually illegal.

I would add that if she files a case she better know the law by then, and if she doesn't seem to, then if I was opposing counsel, I would use the Hewitt interview as exhibit A in seeking sanctions for filing a frivolous case.

Meanwhile, Mike K. makes an astute observation.  If Whitman's husband really thought this meant she was an illegal immigrant, why would he ask her of all people to "look into it?"  The message of the note was that he didn't seem to believe at this point that the maid was the fraud she turned out to be, in fact he didn't even suspect anything.

And in any case, that goes against the husband.  I mean if Barney Frank can claim he didn't know about the prostitution ring run out of his own house, or that his boyfriend was growing pot, aren't the Democrats being hypocritical about something that Whitman's husband would have a much easier time concealing?

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