The Mirror

Ed Schultz’ Witnesses Cower As Case Nears Trial

The boundaries of NBC’s leper colony, known officially as “The Ed Show,” just jutted out north and west from 30 Rock to CBS News on West 57th St. And way south to George Washington University Law School.

Already, Lawrence O’Donnell assumed a zombie-like trance when asked if he wants to guest host for Ed Schultz when the breach of partnership lawsuit against the behemoth broadcaster goes to trial on May 11. When a similar inquiry was put to special rights leader Al Sharpton, he got unusually camera-shy.

Worse yet, MSNBC analyst Jonathan Alter refuses to admit he is even slated to testify for Schultz, contending that the Fox News wannabe‘s lawyers never even contacted him about the lawsuit. He gets testy when asked about it.

Now, another industry big wig, who Schultz claims is testifying in his defense, is running for the hills. But unlike Alter, former NBC News president Steve Capus is not obtuse enough to dispute official court documents.

Capus, now “CBS Evening News” executive producer, ignored emails and tweets all week. I finally got him on the phone at home Thursday morning.

Evan Gahr: Hi, Steve. This is Evan. Are you testifying at Ed Schultz’s trial?
Steve Capus: Bye–ee

He does not sound like a very enthusiastic witness.

Schultz’s lawyers said in their April 20 pre-trial statement that Capus testifying is “consistent with his declaration of September 11, 2014 that he has no recollection [of] any conversation with the plaintiff about a television show involving Ed Schultz. Direct testimony is expected to take 30 minutes.”

Schultz apparently wants Capus to demonstrate that he got his MSNBC show without any help from the guy now suing him for breach of partnership. NBC producer and sound engineer Michael Queen says in his federal lawsuit that Schultz owes him money for arranging the gig.

That is tricky stuff. So let’s find an objective expert to measure how the case is shaping up for Schultz so far.

Well, down at George Washington University Law School, an administrator and experienced litigator would not even venture an opinion. It is not a good sign when somebody with “trial” in her official title won’t comment on your trial.

The conversation with GWU Law School associate dean for Trial Advocacy Alfreda Robinson went something like this:

Evan Gahr: Schultz’s lawyers put somebody on a witness list three weeks before trial without ever talking to him. Is that unusual?
Alfreda Robinson: I have no view on it.
Evan Gahr: Do you think this could hurt their case?
Alfreda Robinson: I have no view on it.
Evan Gahr: OK. But putting aside your opinion, factually speaking have you ever heard of such a thing?
Alfreda Robinson: I have no view on it.
Evan Gahr: Are you afraid of offending MSNBC [where star GWU professor Jonathan Turley is a regular fixture]?
Alfreda Robinson: I am not afraid of anyone, including you. But I thank you so much for your call. Goodbye.

Well, Robinson clearly knows when to cut her losses.

Not so, Alter.

On Wednesday, Alter doubled down on his claim that black is white and white is black, offering glimpses of his own delusions of grandeur in the process. The trigger point was adding Alter’s little threat to his Wikipedia page.

“I didn’t threaten you, Evan,” he emailed in response. “I simply said that if you wrote that I was ‘scheduled’ to testify you would be printing something false. How can I be scheduled to testify when no one has contacted me? Maybe the dates don’t work. That’s what ‘scheduling’ is, not just something out of a lawyer’s wish list. And no, no one has contacted me, so I’m still not ‘scheduled’. How would you like it if I put stuff on your wiki page about being fired? You’re a prince of a guy.”

Alter gave me some unsolicited advice: “You shouldn’t be gratuitously hostile to people who you want to answer your questions.”

Uh, Jonathan. I am sorry to burst your little bubble. But I don’t really care whether you answer my questions. Do you think I am trying to profile you for Vanity Fair?

The way things are going, the only person on Ed Schultz’s witness list who might actually testify is his wife, Wendy.

But if Schultz is short on defenders, maybe he can recruit his first wife.

She would make an excellent character witness.