On today’s Ed Deposition show, MSNBC host Ed Schultz gets blindsided about a domestic violence restraining order that his first wife obtained against him, and quite possibly commits perjury in response.
Schultz repeatedly professed no recollection about the edict issued by a Fargo, North Dakota judge when he and broadcaster Maureen Zimmerman were divorcing in the mid-1990s.
“That is probably perjury,” says Hastings College of the Law professor Geoffrey Hazard, Jr., a renowned expert on civil procedure.
Perjury requires “intentional awareness of what you said is false,” Hazard explains.
Schultz now sounds purposely deceitful during the deposition because he abruptly and conveniently remembered all about the restraining order when it was brought to the attention of MSNBC president Phil Griffin.
He claimed the 1995 edict only concerned a custody dispute with Zimmerman over their son. But, as really shrewd people might be able to deduce from the name, domestic violence temporary restraining orders require allegations of domestic violence.
So either Schultz coincidentally recovered from amnesia right after Phil Griffin, who has his own perjury problems, was contacted about the order or he never really forgot about it.
When Mark Lane, a lawyer for plaintiff Michael Queen, first raised the issue Schultz pleaded the Fifth. Just seconds later Schultz insisted he did not remember the matter about which he had just invoked his constitutional right against self-incrimination.
As Lane plodded along, Schultz’s lawyer, Jeffrey Landa, the lawyer for Schultz, tried to run interference, for his client, saying the matter was irrelevant to Queen’s breach of partnership lawsuit.
The two lawyers interrupted each other repeatedly, with Lane mostly calm and Landa clearly agitated.
Landa got so frazzled that he called Lane, “Mr. Whatever.”
Mark Lane: Has there ever been a restraining order against you filed in any court?
Ed Schultz: I’m going to have to plead a 5th on that. I don’t — I don’t remember.
Mark Lane: Well, those are two different answers.
Ed Schultz: I don’t — I mean, I cannot definitively say if a restraining order has ever 2 been filed against me. I — possibly. I honestly can’t remember.
Jeffrey Landa: I’m also going to object as not calculated to lead to admissible evidence.
Schultz then asked to talk with Landa off the record.
When the video recording resumed Lane plodded along, referring to a hearing about the order listed on the court docket for Schultz’s divorce.
Mark Lane: Did you ever attend a hearing where a protective order was sought against you? You actually can’t consult Mr. Landa.
Jeffrey Landa: Actually, he wasn’t.
Mark Lane: He was looking at you and then shrugging.
Jeffrey Landa: Excuse me. Are you telling him he can’t look at me? He wasn’t consulting me and I’m going to make an objection that it —
Mark Lane: You are entitled to your objection.
Mark Lane: Would you please answer my question, Mr. Schultz?
Jeffrey Landa: It’s not calculated—don’t interrupt me, please. It’s not calculated to lead to admissible evidence.
Mark Lane: Please answer the question.
Ed Schultz: Your question is?
Mark Lane to court reporter: Would you read back the question, please.
Court reporter: Did you ever attend a hearing where a protective order was sought against you?
Schultz then fell back on an ingenious stalling technique he used throughout the deposition: ask Lane to define words in his questions that any fourth-grader would know.
Schultz: What is your definition of a protective order?
Mark Lane: Were you married to a woman who sought an order against you at one point?
Ed Schultz: I went through a divorce almost 20 years ago. I can’t remember ever motion that 5 was in that divorce case.
Jeffrey Landa: We’re going to go off the record. I want to get this cleared up with the judge. We’re not going to talk about —
Mark Lane: We’re not going to trouble —
Jeffrey Landa: I’m going to call the judge right now.
Mark Lane: Call the judge if you want.
Jeffrey Landa: Okay.
Mark Lane: As I said, I’m not asking any more questions. I’ll accept his answer he can’t remember
Jeffrey Landa: Well, we’re not going into things that happened 20 years ago —
Mark Lane: Well —
Jeffrey Landa: — or with his first wife. They have nothing to do with the complaint. It’s just harassment and –
Mark Lane: As I said, I finished the area –
Jeffrey Landa: I’m not done, Mr. Whatever—Mr. Lane
We’re going to go off the record, please, and get this straightened out.
Mark Lane: No. We’re not going off the record because I’m not asking anything more about that. That matter is closed.