It didn’t take long. Three days after The Trenches shed light on some of the ladies involved with Matt Edelstein’s (aka @Shoq) Stop Rush movement, at least one of the ladies is distancing herself from the association. This is perfectly understandable; indeed we applaud such an action considering the incidents of questionable legality we’ve uncovered.
Imani Gandy, known as @AngryBlackLady on twitter, released the following statement in response to The “Ladies” of Stop Rush; The Left’s Effort to Silence Conservatives. I have re-posted it here to add my commentary (in italics); the original can be viewed here.
June 20, 2012
STATEMENT FOR IMANI GANDY IN RESPONSE TO THE SHOQ & STOPRUSH CONTROVERSY
This statement is intended to correct inaccurate statements made about the scope and nature of my involvement in StopRush.net and to lay out my position on various allegations made in recent articles appearing on the conservative blog, TheTrenches.us.
I was never contacted by any representative of the blog for my response about this matter before the authors went forward with this story, thus I feel compelled to come forward to establish my position on the matter and knowledge of the facts, given the allegations that are stated outright or implied in the various blog posts that have appeared on TheTrenches.
Contrary to what has been suggested, I am not now, nor have I ever been, officially involved with the StopRush.net project’s management or development team, nor did I ever serve as the legal counsel for StopRush.net or any of its members in connection with StopRush. As an acquaintance of Shoq’s, I occasionally receive emails from him, and it is in this context that I received some of the emails which have since been published on the blog and circulated by anonymous persons as screen-captures on Twitter. These published emails do not reveal the complete record of correspondence between me and the parties involved regarding this matter.
It was never stated or implied that Gandy served as “legal counsel” for Stop Rush, nor was it stated or implied she gave legal advice in any official capacity. It was merely pointed out that there is a curious ethical question to ponder: Why is an active member of the California Bar sitting on knowledge of illegal wiretapping taking place at the top of an organization she supported and participated in?
Since the original publishing of The “Ladies” of Stop Rush… however, some interesting information has come to light. I may be just a simple writer, but I’m fairly certain that a mere “acquaintance” cannot file law suits on behalf of their fellow “acquaintances”, nor can they intend to depose others on behalf of fellow “acquaintances”.
The following email was sent from Gandy to Jason Leopold’s attorney Phil Brown in December, 2011. It certainly appears as though Matt Edelstein (Shoq) is more than just a mere “acquaintance” here, does it not?
This email provides you with my new contact information. As Mr. Leopold has informed me that your firm is representing him in the defamation matter between him and Truthout.org on the one hand, and Shoq on the other, it is important that you urge your client to cease all contact with me both by email and on Twitter, and to communicate exclusively through you. As you are surely aware, California Rule of Professional Conduct 2-100 prohibits attorney communication with a represented party and I intend not to run afoul of that rule.
Accordingly, I will not respond to the emails Mr. Leopold sent at 1:20 this morning, nor will I respond to the multiple emails and tweets he sent to me yesterday.
Of course the parties themselves are welcome to communicate should they want to come to an amicable resolution of this matter in advance of litigation, and I will relay such to my client.
Imani Gandy, Esq.
The Law Office of Darshann Padilla
XXX West Olympic Blvd., Suite XXX
Los Angeles, CA 90015
Sent from my iPad
As the email records that I have about this matter show, I was not among the recipients of the email Shoq sent containing the link to the recorded conversation between him and the man who, at the time, identified himself as Randy James Taylor-Hahn aka @farleftofright. I recall that I did receive a forwarded copy of that email, and Shoq may have sent me a link to the file separately, but I neither expected nor solicited involvement in the matter, nor did I download or listen to the file. In fact, I repeatedly requested to be removed from any emails about the matter, but nonetheless continued to receive them.
Even if this is indeed the case, the fact remains that Gandy was aware of the illegal activity and continued to participate in Stop Rush activities on twitter and/or on her blog in addition to repeated correspondence with Matt Edelstein specifically about the Stop Rush organization. In fact, in the following email, Edelstein refers to Gandy as part of his “inner circle”. It is to be hoped the reader will forgive my skepticism regarding the claim of mere “acquaintanceship” in light of this development in addition to the tweets and email indicating that Gandy is, or at least was, Edelstein’s attorney.
I did receive the email in which Shoq noted that someone was “talking too much.” My response then and is now, that I did not pass along the recording to anyone, nor did I listen to the recording. Additionally, I expressed my concerns to the other recipients of the email about possible legal ramifications to Shoq and other parties involved, but such concerns were offered not in any official capacity or as legal advice, but merely as my personal opinion. I have assiduously remained focused on my own work with Team Uterati, and hoped that the matter would be resolved privately between Shoq, farleftofright, and anyone else to whom Shoq had forwarded the recorded call or who was included in the email.
If Gandy did not pass the recording on or even listen to it, she was still very much aware of its existence and dubious legality. Yet she did not decide to distance herself from Stop Rush activities at this time. She instead chose to continue to engage in Stop Rush activism until her knowledge of the illegal recordings was made public.
As for the statements made that I am one of the “Ladies of #StopRush” or that I am “doing Shoq’s bidding” or that I am the “token black person” affiliated with StopRush, I take offense to such statements, not only because they are patently false, but because they are racist and sexist in nature. Had Ms. Stevie West contacted me before publishing her article, I could have disabused her of any notion that I was: (1) part of Shoq’s harem; or (2) involved in any conspiracy to record phone calls or cover up facts related to same; or (3) involved with the Stop Rush project in any way aside from occasionally tweeting using the #StopRush hashtag, or writing blog posts to speak out against what I saw and continue to see as the misogynist and otherwise deplorable treatment by Rush Limbaugh and other conservative characters of Sandra Fluke and her family.
Well, it wouldn’t be a rebuttal from a leftist if we didn’t have accusations of racism and sexism, now would it? Here we are lucky enough to get both. Even the least discerning of objective readers can see these accusations have no basis in reality.
Because this may be a legal matter that does not in any way directly concern me and because I find this ongoing partisan fighting to be unproductive and distracting, I have no further comment on this issue, Shoq, farleftofright, or StopRush.net. I am confident that all records which may be produced regarding this issue will corroborate the claims made in this statement. It is unfortunate that the authors of the blog posts did not ever attempt to contact me for a statement prior to publishing their speculation about my purported involvement in this matter, and I respectfully request that the blog posts be updated to reflect the correct information. Should any further private emails sent or received by me appear on the Internet regarding this issue, authors should contact me for clarification prior to speculating any further about the context.
We will continue to shed light on this story and the major players involved.
***Editor’s Note: Multiple attempts to reach out to Gandy on twitter inquiring about her legal representation of Matt Edelstein remain unanswered at the time of this publishing.