America’s Lawyer E48: George Santos has reached a deal with authorities in Brazil to avoid being prosecuted for fraud, but he is still facing a mountain of legal and political problems here in the US. Schools across the country are turning a blind eye towards bullying, even as more students are turning to self harm to deal with what’s happening to them at school. And Florida Republicans are hellbent on changing slander and libel laws in the state – and Conservative media outlets are warning them that this will kill their businesses. All that, and more is coming up, so don’t go anywhere – America’s Lawyer starts right now.


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Mike Papantonio: Hi, I’m Mike Papantonio and this is America’s Lawyer. George Santos has reached a deal with authorities in Brazil to avoid being prosecuted for fraud, but he’s still facing a mountain of stupid legal, political problems that he’s brought on himself right here in the US. Schools across the country, well, they’re turning a blind eye towards bullying, even as more students are turning to self-harm to deal with what’s happening to them at school. And Florida Republicans, well, they’re hell bent on changing slander and libel laws in the state and conservative media outlets are warning ’em, you’re gonna kill us, you’re gonna kill the conservative voice in this state. All that and more, it’s coming up. Don’t go anywhere. America’s Lawyer starts right now.

Looks like George Santos is not spending any time in prison in Brazil, thanks to an agreement he’s reached with authorities in that country, probably a little money involved. But his problems here at home, well, they still remain and Ring of Fire’s Farron Cousins joins me to talk about what’s happening. Farron, pick this story up. I was like you, I was going. Are we ever gonna stop this little cockroach of a character from running around the kitchen?

Farron Cousins: I know, you know, he’s been so lucky recently with all of the media hyper-focused on Donald Trump that we haven’t seen much from George Santos in the last month. But he did, apparently behind closed doors, they’ve worked out a deal with prosecutors in Brazil. He is going to admit that he defrauded, that he stole the checks and wrote a bad check for $1,300. He’s gonna pay some restitution to the victim, but most importantly, he’s not gonna be extradited and sent to a Brazilian prison to rot for God knows how long. So that is one of the many scandals of George Santos that is actually now able to be put to bed. Again, it’s disappointing because what he did down there was painfully obvious. He even admitted it to police in 2008. He has a sworn statement where he says, yeah, I did it. And they still let him go.

Mike Papantonio: Okay. And then the person that he was in business with in the United States stealing credit cards. I mean, they said, yeah, that Santos was the guy who taught me how to steal credit cards, how to take the information off the credit cards and reuse it. And a matter of fact, that person went to prison. He was caught. Matter of fact, they even caught the machines that they would use to create these fake, inside the Santos car, inside the car that Santos had provided for this guy.

Farron Cousins: Yeah. So, I mean, in my mind, there’s very little doubt that Santos was involved in that scheme. And luckily the police in Seattle, because he went from Orlando to Seattle to pull off the scheme, they never closed the investigation. So they’ve picked it back up. So that may take him down. But the biggest problem I think Santos has right now, one is that the voters in his district hate him.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: And two, he actually has a very strong Republican opponent now.

Mike Papantonio: Oh, this guy’s gonna, this guy is going to trounce, he’s going to trounce Santos. Yeah, he’s a military, very humble beginning, worked in the private sector, did two tours in Afghanistan, worked with JP Morgan as invest. This is the death of DeSantis, don’t you? You know, not DeSantos. Excuse me. I get the two confused sometimes, of Santos. Go ahead.

Farron Cousins: But yeah, it really is. I mean, the guy that’s now running against him in the Republican primary is kind of the real life version of everything George Santos claimed to be, you know, came from virtually nothing, joined the military, served his country, you know, makes it big, goes to JP Morgan. Now he’s gonna run for office, because as he said, you know, I just, I can’t stand to see what’s happening with the, you know, with this office in our district here because it’s a joke. The fact that Santos was not immediately run out of office.

Mike Papantonio: It speaks, it’s such, it’s such a black eye for the Republicans. Okay. I’ve seen the Democrats do the same thing. I mean, you know, you’ve seen them hangers on, you know, we’re not gonna prosecute them. We’re not gonna kick them out. It’s the same thing with Republicans. But this particular story, I mean, everything is right there in the face. He’s a, you know, psychopathic liar. Has made up his life. We know that he’s a thief. We know that he’s committed fraud. But hey, apparently that’s okay with the Republicans today.

Donald Trump actually won a legal victory recently when a court ordered adult film star Stormy Daniels to pay the former president more than $120,000. If I look at this story, the number is like almost 600,000 when it’s all over, isn’t it?

Farron Cousins: Yeah. Because she had previous judgements where she had to pay because she filed, in my opinion, a very stupid lawsuit.

Mike Papantonio: it Was a terrible. Whoever advised, the lawyer that filed that should, was that Avenatti?

Farron Cousins: Well, I was gonna say he was her lawyer.

Mike Papantonio: He’s in prison. Right. The guy’s in prison, Avenatti.

Farron Cousins: So, yeah. I mean, and plus we know Avenatti stole tons of money from her as well, not to mention all his disabled clients. But anyway, bad advice because she had claimed that a security guard, I guess at Trump Tower kind of, you know, manhandled her a little bit and Trump called her a liar. So she gets the legal advice to say, oh my God, I’m gonna sue you for defamation because you said I’m lying about this particular story.

Mike Papantonio: All this was about with Avenatti was Avenatti, nobody knew who he was. They, you know, he was, where California, that’s kind of, you know, where they might have known him.

Farron Cousins: Yeah. California and New York.

Mike Papantonio: New York. They kind of, oh yeah, I know this guy. He’s always kind of bottom feeding. So this was his big shot. He was gonna build his name with Stormy Daniels. I’m gonna handle this case. Any idiot lawyer would’ve looked at that case and said, it’s dead on arrival. So when Trump’s, when Trump’s lawyers make the argument to the judge, the judge knows the same thing we’re talking about. This is a ridiculously frivolous lawsuit. First of all, she’s a public figure. Second of all, this does not get to where you need to go on a defamation case. And so now she’s been bombarded with $600,000 in money that she’s had to pay back or gonna have to pay back.

Farron Cousins: Yeah. So, you know, all of the money that she ended up getting paid for the hush money payment is a hundred percent gone.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: So I assume she’s obviously made plenty of other money off of the exposure from this. I don’t know if it rises to the level of what she now owes this buffoon. But to me, this really does all come back to Avenatti.

Mike Papantonio: Oh, it does.

Farron Cousins: He had to have been the only lawyer in the country that would look at this and say, oh, he said you’re lying. Great. Let’s sue him. I’m gonna get to go on MSNBC a hundred times because of this lawsuit. Because that’s what it was.

Mike Papantonio: And the story, this is what really makes me cringe, is the Democrats we’re talking like, this is our Democratic presidential candidate. Remember that?

Farron Cousins: It was gonna be him or Andrew Cuomo.

Mike Papantonio: Him or Cuomo. And so Avenatti we find out, well, yeah, he did all that stuff, but he also stole millions of dollars from his clients. One was paralyzed, you know, paralyzed in a wheelchair, stole their money. Stole money after money from his own clients. And what bothered me is that information was out there at the same time when you had these dopes saying, oh yeah, hell yeah. He’s a Democratic contender.

Farron Cousins: He’s a fighter. Oh, look, we can put him up and against Trump. He’ll win in 2020.

Mike Papantonio: How does that happen, man? Well it happened here, didn’t it? It happened with this numb-nut.

Farron Cousins: And a lot of it, just like Trump was a creation of the media, Avenatti was a creation of the corporate media. How many times did Avenatti get to go on CNN and MSNBC?

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: I mean, it is countless. It dwarfs anything that we’ve every seen.

Mike Papantonio: And not one question from an MSNBC or CNN reporters saying, wait, let’s back up. All this is already existing. We know this history that you have. Not one time did they ask this bottom feeder punk a question about that because it was the sale. We’re gonna sell Avenatti as the answer to Donald Trump. It’s disgusting to me. I mean, it’s almost like, aren’t we always looking for a hero? Isn’t that, I mean, both parties do it. They did it with him. Democrats do, my God, every time that, every time somebody flashes a smile they go crazy. This is the great American hero for the Democrats.

Farron Cousins: Well, that’s, the Democrats will pick anybody that can string a sentence together and say he’s the, it’s the next nominee. You know, it’s been Buttigieg who has just been a disaster in office. It’s been Avenatti. It was Andrew Cuomo.

Mike Papantonio: How about, well, I’ll tell you one thing that’s encouraging. As you know, I practiced law with Bobby Kennedy for a lot of years, and he and I tried cases together. We did television together, we did radio together. But Bobby Kennedy’s been a long, long time friend. He’s gonna run for president. Okay. So there may be, let’s take a look and see what the background is. Let’s see what this guy’s accomplished. It’s remarkable what he’s accomplished. If you’re gonna make a, if you’re gonna make somebody into a hero, take a look at where they come from and what they’ve done.

Farron Cousins: Right. And I will say, you know, look, I mean, I disagree with Bobby on the vaccine stuff, on the medical side of all of that.

Mike Papantonio: Well, I do too. I do too.

Farron Cousins: But obviously his environmental record, that’s impeccable.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: You can’t, you can’t touch that. So, you know, it’s, the one part for me is insanely disappointing.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah, it is me too. But the point I’m trying to make is do your homework.

Farron Cousins: Yeah.

Mike Papantonio: Don’t have this nut job show up day one and all of a sudden he’s the Republican hero.

Farron Cousins: Right.

Mike Papantonio: Or Avenatti show up day two and he’s the Democratic. This search for a hero is killing us.

Farron Cousins: It is.

Mike Papantonio: Children across the country are being subjected to bullying at school and many have decided that harming themselves is the only option that they have in a setting like that where they commit suicide. This case infuriates me. Okay. It infuriates me on so many levels. First of all, it is that nobody was in charge. Nobody was in charge at this school. They knew that these kids had a history of bullying this girl. This young woman had lost her father just two weeks before, her father dies of cancer. Okay. And these little bottom sociopath, freakish girls, four of them start humiliating her. They actually attack her and she ends up committing suicide. Now, all that was, all of that was preventable.

Farron Cousins: It was. The mother had alerted the school to the, while the mother and daughter are still grieving the loss of the father, alerts the school to what’s happening, gives the names, you know, provides all of the evidence. This is what is happening. These are the perpetrators. My daughter’s already suffering enough. Can you do something to stop this? And the school simply says, no.

Mike Papantonio: No.

Farron Cousins: No, we can’t. We’re not gonna do anything.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah. So these kids, three of ’em are being prosecuted. And I hope this prosecutor holds these little sociopathic freaks, you know, to the fire. But it’s, it comes down to leadership around the school, doesn’t it?

Farron Cousins: Yeah.

Mike Papantonio: I mean, don’t you meet with these parents ahead of time and you see this pattern going on, and you have a frank discussion with these three little oddball sociopathic girls. Right. And you say, you know what, if you can’t parent your child, right, they can’t come to this. We’re not gonna be the parent. That’s not our job to be the parent. If you can’t teach this child some decency, then they’re, you’re gonna have to find another place for ’em. There’s nothing wrong with doing that. And if you have a special school that they gotta be sent to because they’re maladjusted, send ’em to the school. But don’t make these children victims to this kind of bullying.

Farron Cousins: I know. And what’s going to have to happen here is that we’re going to have to open it up so that the schools can be held liable when they ignore these threats.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: It’s the same situation, you know, with the six-year-old who shot the teacher. She’s suing the administration. But this mother, in this instance, she should be able to sue the administration.

Mike Papantonio: Oh yeah. No, she’s going to. They’re gonna win this case. They will win this case.

Farron Cousins: And it’s not enough for them to, oh, I’m sorry. But it’s not enough for them to, you know, oh, well we fired one administrator, we moved another one to a different school. Lawsuits will shut this down.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah. Well, the kids, the little bully freaks had a problem to begin with, you know, they obviously they had some kind of. The superintendent resigned. Well, he should have resigned and he oughta be part of the lawsuit. They need to sue him. They need to see the school board. They need to sue anybody who touches this idea that we, by God, should be able to talk to a parent and say, you don’t know how to parent. It’s not our job to parent. And until you get this kid right, there’s zero tolerance. They’re not coming here. I don’t know why we won’t pull that trigger.

Farron Cousins: It’s disgusting. It’s disturbing. I mean, I’ve got an 11 year old daughter as well. And this story is, it’s horrific. Just thinking about what’s happening to her at school, you know, what could be happening, you know, on either side of it.

Mike Papantonio: Well, here’s the choice. Here’s the choice. Either the superintendent and the school board gets sued for not letting the little freak in school, or they get sued when the conduct of the little freak causes the death of another child. I’d take the, I take part A, you know, if you’re gonna take a risk, do it with part A. You run the risk. Say, you know, I don’t care if you sue us. Your little freak is not going to be involved in being in this school. I mean, that sounds like a simple solution.

Farron Cousins: Yep.

Mike Papantonio: Florida Republicans are still moving forward with their attempts to rewrite defamation laws in the state. But their favorite conservative media outlets are telling them, you’re gonna kill us. You’re gonna put us outta business. It is virtually, okay. First of all, this is Andrade. I call him anonymous because most people don’t even know who he is, but Andrade here is, that’s him. Okay. So he’s come up with the bill. Why don’t you talk about what the bill is?

Farron Cousins: Yeah. What this bill would do is it would basically try to rewrite federal law at the state level, which you already can’t do anyway. So it should be dead on arrival. But I guess Andrade and his giant forehead doesn’t care about that. So what he’s done is he’s got this legislation that would basically do away with actual malice, which means in order to prove defamation, you no longer have to have that standard of they did it intentionally. So if you go out there and you accidentally say something, you can be sued for it.

Mike Papantonio: Well, a reporter should be able to project about what they believe is happening. They don’t always get it right. Now that’s different from malice. It’s different from, it’s different from the kind of recklessness that the Sullivan case says, look, if you do this, you’re gonna, defamation is gonna stick even if it’s a public figure. But what they’ve done here is you have what I call, it’s the Grey Poupon politicians, that’s what he is. Grey Poupon politicians that say, well, we want to go to, you know, we want to be involved in politics, but when we do something really stupid, like we’ve seen this Florida legislature do again and again and again, we don’t want you to talk about us. And if you talk about us, we wanna lower the standard that we can sue you. Now, this guy wants to say, well, we’re doing this for the American, we’re doing this for the greater good of the Florida public. This isn’t, this is not targeting reporters. This isn’t, you know, this isn’t to protect politicians. This is for the greater good of the Florida public. You want to tie that up for me, how this is the greater good for the public.

Farron Cousins: For the life of me, I can’t wrap my head around anything that stupid. But that is the reasoning that these folks are using. But people have to understand, and I know these idiot lawmakers know this, we’re not out there talking about Joe Smith on the corner, you know, the average American citizen is not getting slandered by the news media. Who is getting talked about in correct ways are the politicians and the people making the decisions. But what I love about this is that now the conservative media outlets in Florida, and for the record, a lot of them have moved down here. A lot of the big conservative organizations, they’re talking heads have moved to Florida.

Mike Papantonio: Oh, they’re all over Florida. They’re all over Florida. It’s big business.

Farron Cousins: And they’re now begging these politicians saying, you’re gonna get me sued. You’re gonna ruin my career because.

Mike Papantonio: You’re gonna.

Farron Cousins: Listen, they say, why push the tide?

Mike Papantonio: They push the limits and you know, by God, they should be able to push limits. It’s their right to push limits. It’s what we call the First Amendment. As long as they stay within the realm of New York Times v Sullivan. Now I get, I don’t know if you know, but I got email, I got text, I got texts and emails from this guy, from this Andrade, because I did a story one time, called him a manchild, you know, something like that. I don’t know. But anyway, he was upset that I wasn’t able to analyze New York, you know, New York Times v Sullivan, as if he was in some special position to do that. So, trust me, I can analyze the case. But he says, well, gee whiz, Clarence Thomas agrees with me and Gorsuch agrees with me. Therefore, Pap, you’re the dummy and you don’t understand the First Amendment. I’m reading this, I’m going, what the hell? I said, I wrote back and said, get used to it. You know, whatever it is bothering you, kid.

Farron Cousins: Yeah. He, I mean, is he talking about the same Clarance Thomas that was just busted taking yearly luxury trips from a Republican donor and not disclosing? That guy we should be concerned about.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah. That we shouldn’t be able to talk about.

Farron Cousins: Oh, yeah.

Mike Papantonio: We shouldn’t able to talk.

Farron Cousins: And I just got sued now because I’ve mentioned that story.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah. All right, well, I’m gonna have fun with this as it develops and keep the emails coming because they’re just so bizarre. It just makes for a better story. Thanks for joining me. Okay.

Farron Cousins: Thank you.

Mike Papantonio: That’s all for this week, but all these segments will be available throughout the next week. And make sure you follow us at Twitter @AmericasLawyer. I’m Mike Papantonio and this has been America’s Lawyer, where we tell you the stories that corporate media won’t tell you every week, because their advertisers don’t let ’em, they’re too tied into the money or they’re political connections don’t allow for it. They’re too Democrat. They’re too Republican. So they’re afraid to talk about their party, but we’re not. We’ll see you next time.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.