Scott Pilutik

I am an attorney and consultant living and working in Manhattan, focusing primarily on church/state constitutional law. I'm a recognized expert on the Church of Scientology organization. I also have strong interests in intellectual property law where it intersects with emerging media, and free speech.

I support the efforts of the Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, the National Lawyers Guild, the ACLU, Creative Commons, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. I am a member of the New York County Lawyers Association and the New York State Bar Association. I also enjoy (watching) hockey and (doing) photograhy.

Online I can be found on Facebook, Twitter. My resume can be viewed here. I can be reached by phone at 212.645.6241 or by e-mail at pilutik[at]gmail.com.

taking inventory of the irony

Immediately after every Republican gay sex scandal, we have an opportunity to inventory the irony, which usually involves an excited tromp through Lexis. Most Republicans vote against gay marriage bills, so that’s often the first thing uncovered. Some publicly rail against the evils of gay marriage. Some were apoplectic over Clinton’s indiscretions in the mid-90s. But Republican Senator Larry Craig hits the hypocrisy trifecta:

Voted against gay marriage bills:

Craig voted for the failed measure [a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage] July 14, 2004. He also has opposed allowing gays or lesbians in the military and voted against extending civil rights protections to homosexuals in the workplace.

Railed against gay marriage:

“You can have a civil union, but you can’t commandeer the institution of marriage. That’s very special, religious, culturally, and you can’t go there.”

On Clinton:

MR. RUSSERT: Larry Craig, would you want the last word from the Senate be an acquittal of the president and no censure?

SEN. CRAIG: Well, I don’t know where the Senate’s going to be on that issue of an up or down vote on impeachment, but I will tell you that the Senate certainly can bring about a censure reslution and it’s a slap on the wrist. It’s a, “Bad boy, Bill Clinton. You’re a naughty boy.” The American people already know that Bill Clinton is a bad boy, a naughty boy.

Craig manages to top all this though. In a May interview with the Idaho Statesman (one month before the arrest), Craig was asked to respond to rumors that he was gay (an allegation echoed by a number of accusers, but not enough, apparently for the Idaho Statesman to go on the record). Here’s how he responded:

“I’ve been in this business 27 years in the public eye here. I don’t go around anywhere hitting on men, and by God, if I did, I wouldn’t do it in Boise, Idaho! Jiminy!”

He would do it in Minnesota. Sometimes the specificity of a denial is a clue in itself.

Besides the hypocrisy, two other things interest me here.

I’m a bit creeped out that Minnesota so concerned with the problem of gay public bathroom sex as to organize sting operations to combat it, but even more creeped out that an arrest (and guilty plea) was made from these facts. By ‘these facts’, I mean:

  • Craig placed his bag on the floor of the stall.
  • Craig tapped his foot.
  • Craig reached toward the floor where his hand became visible to the person (the undercover officer) in the next stall.

Does that sound like a crime has been committed? Not unless you rely on a host of inferences, which a good lawyer would have stomped all over. While I assume the undercover probably had it right and is sharply attuned to the secret code of gay public bathroom sex, it seems open to interpretation as a misunderstanding, as Craig now alleges. The prosecution would have its work cut out for it in a courtroom, anyway. It’s not as if Craig admitted to offering the undercover $20 to give him a blowjob.

Of course, Craig mooted any possible ambiguity by pleading guilty. He now hilariously alleges that he made his plea without the advice of counsel. I don’t doubt that that’s true, actually. Any lawyer who advised Craig to plead guilty on those facts should be disbarred. But Craig had two months between the arrest and the plea, which is more than enough time for anyone to get counsel, much less a United States Senator.

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