Judge Beryl Howell‘s original shrewish personality returned Tuesday fresh for Day 2 of the Ed Schultz trial.
Schultz, an MSNBC TV personality, is being sued by NBC producer and sound engineer Michael Queen for breach of partnership. Queen maintains they were partners in forming his MSNBC political show. Schultz says there was never a partnership of any kind.
Howell, an Obama appointee and donor, has something of a Jekyl-Hyde personality going on. In front of the jury, she’s a real peach. But when they’re not around and it’s just her and the lawyers, she’s like Linda Blair in the classic horror film The Exorcist.
Something to note about Howell: She hates tardiness.
No, strike that.
If she could, she might chop all their balls off for being late to her courtroom, as some of them were Tuesday morning due to a long security line downstairs.
Howell gave the lawyers who were there a stern lecture about being late to her sixth floor courtroom. She also instructed them on how to go through building security.
The Mirror can attest that the line downstairs was long and moving at a turtle’s pace as everyone emptied their pockets of crap and keys, showed the guards their badges and whatnot and removed their belts, heavy bracelets and anything else that might sent the alarm off. And even then, once through the gate, the guard has to wand you down in the front and the back to make sure you’re not hiding something in your armpit.
I stood behind Schultz and his entourage and in front of the plaintiff’s legal team. Needless to say, I was eavesdropping my ass off.
The only interesting thing I heard was Schultz’s longtime lawyer Michael Landa, a short, slight man with gray hair and glasses, scolding a Schultz aficionado, Connie, for discussing the case in the lobby.
Back in Howell’s courtroom, she’s going ballistic about the late lawyers.
“Mr. Whittaker is still no doubt stuck in the security line,” said Schultz attorney John Hayes. “It’s apparently naturalization day your honor.”
That was enough to make the judge go apoplectic.
“If you have your bar card you should be able to walk right through,” she said. “The marshals know judges don’t like to be waiting.”
She snapped, “So speak up. You’re lawyers. You’re supposed to be here.”
Howell said she’d have the court deputy call and get things expedited.
Steven Teppler, one of Queen’s attorneys, tried to smooth things over.
“Your honor, I was stuck in line with Mr. Hayes,” he said, trying to make nice with the opposing attorney. “So we were both stuck.”
Let’s just say Howell was as indifferent to Teppler trying to smooth over their latest as Linda Blair was to the priest trying to exorcise her demons.