Originally published by Aaron Worthing.
[This post is part of a larger series of posts. See here for a fuller explanation.]
So I went to the Montgomery County, Maryland Circuit Court on that morning to address Mr. Kimberlin’s blatantly improper Motion to Withdraw. I hoped to ask for the document to be sealed and for Kimberlin to be sanctioned. I will mostly let the transcript of that day speak for itself, but obviously there are things that do not appear in it, so I will supplement it with my commentary occasionally. For starters, when the court case was called, I immediately stood up at the same time as Kimberlin and came forward about a step behind him.
THE COURT: Civil 339254, Kimberlin versus Seth Allen. And you are?
MR. KIMBERLIN: I’m Brett Kimberlin.
THE COURT: All right.
MR. WALKER: My name is Aaron Walker. I am the blogger known as Aaron Worthing. And I have an emergency motion against Mr. Kimberlin for his gross misconduct in this case, and I’d like to be heard. I know it’s unusual.
THE COURT: It’s not here on your proceeding.
MR. WALKER: I understand, Your Honor.
THE COURT: So I’m not going to hear it.
MR. WALKER: Your Honor, he filed an improper motion before this Court on Friday. I had no notice until Saturday morning that he had done that. He has, in a blatant attempt to stalk and oppress me, he has put —
THE COURT: Hold it. Hold it.
MR. WALKER: Yes. I’m sorry.
THE COURT: First off, you don’t have any right to be saying anything.
Let me break in. At this point, Kimberlin burst out laughing, so the next sentence is directed at him:
THE COURT: And you don’t have a right to be laughing. There’s a motion to withdraw as moot plaintiff’s motion to compel seeking identity of Aaron Worthing.
MR. KIMBERLIN: Yes.
THE COURT: And then there’s a, plaintiff’s response to Aaron Worthing’s motion to quash. And you’re Mr. Worthing?
MR. WALKER: Well, I’m Aaron Walker, and I blog as Mr. Worthing, that’s correct.
THE COURT: Are you requiring that he come to court today?
MR. KIMBERLIN: Judge, initially I, he’s an anonymous blogger who’s been involved with the stalker.
Notice in Kimberlin’s mind it somehow reflects on the lawyer to be “involved with” an alleged “stalker,” meaning Seth Allen. Kimberlin thinks that Seth Allen is so self-evidently evil that he doesn’t deserve even the slight legal help I gave him. On the other hand, do you think Kimberlin has a problem with all the lawyers who represented him, a convicted domestic terrorist and drug dealer?
THE COURT: But why are you, why is he here?
MR. KIMBERLIN: And so, I didn’t ask him to be here. He just foisted himself on this hearing.
THE COURT: Well, he says he’s been summonsed.
MR. KIMBERLIN: No.
MR. WALKER: Well, no, no, no.
MR. KIMBERLIN: He wasn’t summonsed.
MR. WALKER: If I may explain, Your Honor.
THE COURT: All right.
MR. WALKER: He did actually initially ask me to testify today in his initial correspondence with me. If he’s not interested in my testimony today, then I would ask why he has subpoenaed this Court in order to obtain my identity.
MR. KIMBERLIN: I withdrew that.
THE COURT: It’s been withdrawn.
MR. WALKER: Yes. But I understand, but why did he do that in the first place?
THE COURT: Well, it’s been withdrawn, so it’s, he says it’s withdrawn. It’s moot.
MR. WALKER: But Your Honor, if you look at what he has filed today, all he had to do in order to file that motion was to tell the Court that he obtained my information. He did not have to even say my name. Instead, in this public document now, he has put my name, he has put my home address, he has put my birth date, he has put the high school I went to. He put the fact that I dropped out of high school in this. He put the fact that I received a GED. He put the fact that I went to the University of North Texas. He went and put in the fact that I sued the law school admissions council. He put in the fact that I was admitted to Yale Law School and graduated in the class of 2002. He put down my current job with my current employer and their address as well. His intent in doing this was so that it becomes a public record so that him and his friends can put this out into the public so they can stalk and harass me. It is plain on the face of this. And I would ask Your Honor to swear him in and ask why he put all this unnecessary information in this, in this filing.
THE COURT: Well, it’s been withdrawn as moot.
MR. WALKER: Well, I’m talking about the motion to withdraw itself.
THE COURT: Well, it’s done. It’s no longer in effect.
MR. WALKER: But this is a public document. And his friends will then take this public document, his motion to withdraw as moved, and they will put it out, and then put out all of my information.
At some point in all of this—and I think it was about now—I saw the judge look through the file and read. I believe he was looking at the document itself, and I could be wrong, but I believe I heard him say, under his breath: “What the…?” And after he was done looking, I sensed a shift in his demeanor.
THE COURT: Are you asking that this be sealed?
MR. WALKER: I would like this to be sealed. I would like –
THE COURT: Any objection to sealing it, Mr. Kimberlin?
MR. KIMBERLIN: Judge, this –
THE COURT: Say yes or no.
Now let me pause here and ask you a question, dear reader. Let’s imagine that Kimberlin cared about my safety. Let’s imagine that he didn’t want to create “the very real probability that Mr. Walker could be subjected to serious harm or death” as he said in that letter to law enforcement. Then wouldn’t he jump at the chance to seal it? If he was acting in good faith, wouldn’t he happily put it under seal?
So why exactly does he object to this?
MR. KIMBERLIN: Yes, I object.
THE COURT: Why?
MR. KIMBERLIN: Why?
THE COURT: Yes, why. Why should all of this be a matter of public record?
MR. KIMBERLIN: This man has engaged in stalking with the defendant in this case.
THE COURT: Well, there’s no order against him in this case.
MR. KIMBERLIN: No, there’s no order against him. But he –
THE COURT: So why is he even a part of this case?
MR. KIMBERLIN: He did it anonymously. Initially, I wanted to call him as a witness. And then when I filed the motions to call him as a witness, he began trying the case in, on his blog. He filed every, he posted every motion on his blog. And he kept accusing me of all kinds of terrible things on his blog. And he ridiculed me. He taunted me. He threatened me. He had people posting on his blog that I was a terrorist and a pedophile and all this other stuff. And he engaged in unethical behavior. He said that he represented the defendant in this case as an anonymous person. He can’t, a lawyer cannot represent someone as an anonymous person. He asked to be identified. I mean, he went on his blog and said I am representing, I entered into an attorney-client privilege relationship with Seth Allen as Aaron Worthing. And he’s not even a lawyer in this jurisdiction. He lives in Virginia. He can’t represent somebody as a fake person, in a pseudonym.
You can search on this blog. I have never threatened him, except to say that if he breaks the law I will ensure that he will face the consequences proscribed by law (which any citizen is allowed to do). And the people “posting” he is referring to are commenters. This blog is a one-man show. Those who call him a “terrorist” are of course, right. And the only commenter talking about his suspected pedophilia, was stating in his opinion that he had an inappropriate relationship with Jessica Barton, which given what I quoted to you from Singer’s book, seems like a pretty reasonable opinion to me if you credit Singer’s reportage. As for his assertions that I have behaved unethically, I have addressed them here
MR. KIMBERLIN: I mean, that’s — and so he put himself out there to be identified. I mean, if he’s a lawyer, fine. I have a right to determine if he’s a lawyer. He can’t say that he’s anonymous and he’s representing Seth Allen. It just, it didn’t make sense. And so I said, well, I need to find out who this guy is. If he’s saying he represents somebody in a case against me, then I need to be able to identify him. And so I identified him. And I didn’t want him to come out and say — the reason I put all that information in the document was because Mr. Worthing has called me a liar over and over and over. And I wanted to, everybody to know –
Notice that part: “I wanted… everybody to know[.]” He was admitting that this was for the world’s consumption.
THE COURT: Why is this even in the court? This is incredible to me.
MR. KIMBERLIN: I know. It’s really incredible.
THE COURT: No. I mean, the whole thing is incredible. I’m going to, there’s a motion that was, to quash that was filed on behalf of, it was filed originally by –
MR. WALKER: If you’re looking, it’s Seth Allen, I suspect.
THE COURT: No. It was filed by Elizabeth –
MR. KIMBERLIN: Kingsley.
THE COURT: — Kingsley.
MR. KIMBERLIN: Yeah.
MR. WALKER: Oh, that would be the attorney who represented me in the past.
I had technically “fired” Ms. Kingsley that morning—not for cause, but because I was representing myself from there on in.
THE COURT: And she filed a motion to file anonymously or to file under seal.
MR. KIMBERLIN: Right.
THE COURT: And she’s filed that. And I’m going to grant the request to file this anonymously or under seal.
You can read that motion, here
. Basically it was asking the court to create a mechanism by which I could challenge Kimberlin’s attempts to out me without outing myself. We presented the court two different alternatives, and with this action, the court basically said, just then, “go ahead, do either approach.” Brett Kimberlin will later read much more into this decision than is actually there.
MR. KIMBERLIN: Okay.
THE COURT: And I’ll grant the request to seal the information that’s contained at Docket Entry 114, which is the motion to withdraw as moot. [To me] All right. Sir, that concludes your –
MR. WALKER: Actually, I would like a little more relief, if you don’t mind me taking a moment.
THE COURT: That’s it. No. I’m done. You’re done.
MR. WALKER: All right. Thank you, Your Honor.
And for the most part that was the end of my involvement in the hearing. The transcript doesn’t quite capture how hostile the judge was to my even being there, and you know what? I completely understand. I think by the end he saw that I was genuinely aggrieved to a degree, but I can understand why he didn’t want me there at all.
Now there is one more part where Kimberlin was being misleading to the court and I attempted to intervene and correct the record. Bear in mind, Seth didn’t show up for this hearing. He lives in the Boston area on a fixed income and couldn’t afford to make the trip. He did file motions to appear telephonically, but apparently they don’t allow that in Maryland (and let me say as a matter of constructive criticism, that this rule should change). So no one was there to defend Seth, and so I attempted to break in to correct the record.
For instance only seconds before I attempted to intervene, Kimberlin said this: “And, you know, he calls me all kinds of things. He calls me a terrorist. He calls me a cyber smearer. He calls me a pedophile. He calls me a perjurer.” Kimberlin was implying that these statements were defamatory—that is untrue and harmful of his reputation. Well, of course two of those terms (“terrorist” and “perjurer”) were absolutely true and I was concerned that the judge didn’t know that. A lawyer has a duty of candor toward the tribunal that I take very seriously. So it was about then that I attempted to intervene, peacefully:
MR. WALKER: Well, Your Honor, if I may, I’m sorry to break in a second time.
THE COURT: You know, I had a sheriff up here, because I didn’t think one would be needed. I’m about to get a sheriff to escort you out of the courtroom.
MR. WALKER: I don’t understand –
THE COURT: You’re not breaking in. Sit down.
MR. WALKER: I felt a need to explain something to the Court, if I could.
And yes, that makes me look a little bad, but that is because I am here to tell you the truth, warts and all.
And that was my last involvement in the hearing at all. But I did stick around, because I wanted to know how things went for Seth. I was considering blogging about it at the time. And listening to it, my fear that the judge didn’t get it—that he didn’t know about Kimberlin’s horrible criminal background—was unfounded. And to be self-critical, I should have figured that out from listening to the other hearings that day. What struck me as I listened to the other cases (Kimberlin’s was the last to be called), was that this judge had clearly done his homework. He knew most of the files back and forth and remembered a great number of details from every case off the top of his head. So I should have known that even though Judge Rupp had not sat in on the whole case, that he would have read the majority of the relevant documents, which would have brought out Kimberlin’s deplorable past. Now in one moment I will share with you an embedded copy of the whole transcript and you can read through it at your leisure, but here’s the moment where it became the most clear that Rupp got it, that he understood exactly who Kimberlin was:
MR. KIMBERLIN: I mean, it’s like I said, this is all since November 14th, this stuff. And it’s all about my business, and it’s all about me. I mean, I was arrested 32 years ago on a case. I got out of jail. I did my time. I run two non-profits in this, in this wonderful city working with kids and congressmembers and community leaders. And you know, I have two kids and a wife. And this guy will not leave me alone. He wants to post stuff that happened 32 years ago. You know, he dug up 32-year-old mug shots of me that I had never even seen before, that had never been posted.
THE COURT: Well, that doesn’t constitute defamation. It’s all true.
So the court went on, looking at post after post at Seth Allen’s blog
and deciding that one post after another didn’t constitute defamation and therefore it didn’t violate the order. I didn’t see which exact posts Rupp was talking about, but you can deduce much of it from reading the transcript. So if you are curious—and in the name of full disclosure—embedded here is a full copy of the transcript of that hearing.
So that takes us through the hearing and it was after that hearing that what I call the January 9 incident occurred.
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