Tariq El Shabazz

Tariq El Shabazz Threatens Newspaper/Reporter With Libel Claim

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This morning a story popped up at City and State PA by Ryan Briggs describing some unhappy past clients of Tariq El Shabazz.  The story obviously has El Shabazz quite unhappy.

Tariq posted a very long screed to Twitter, which I have re-typed by hand since El Shabazz doesn’t seem to know how to use the multiple-image post feature of the platform, making the text quite small and nearly impossible to see.

Here’s the freakout to the editor

 

Via email to Editor@cityandstatepa.com

Mr. Gregory Salisbury

Editor of City and State PA

325 Chestnut Street

Suite 1110

Philadelphia, PA 19106

 

Dear Mr. Salisbury:

Sadly, Cityandstatepa.com and particularly “journalist” Ryan Briggs published a false and defamatory piece about the front runner in the race to be Philadelphia’s next District Attorney, Tariq El Shabazz.  The motives for his blatant lies are as clear as they are racist.  It is widely known that Mr. Briggs is in the pocket of those in our community who seek to inject their racist views into this important race.

The lies begin in the headline accompanying Mr. Briggs’ article which suggests that I faced professional discipline with the Disciplinary Board of Pennsylvania. I have never been cited for a single disciplinary infraction during the tens of thousands of cases that I handled. Moreover, my reputation in the legal community is stellar and I proudly place it against any lawyer in this city.

Mr. Briggs blatantly lied in stating that I was held in contempt for misleading the court about the reasons for failing to attend a hearing. In the case to which he refers, I sent a letter during business hours on Friday explaining that my jury trial would proceed into Monday. Later, the Delaware County jury elected to stay until close to 8pm and reach a verdict. When I attended an emergency hearing on Monday in Montgomery County before heading to Philadelphia, the Philadelphia [J]udge called Delaware County based upon my letter. When the judge questioned my veracity, I rightfully defended my character. I was fined for arguing with the court but I stand by this as necessary to defend my good name. I would stand by one of my assistant district attorneys in the same situation.

The lies by Mr. Briggs and the completely unprofessional journalistic behavior by cityandstate.com are nothing short of shocking. Mr. Briggs sent numerous inquiries to me and my campaign. Because Mr. Brown was a client of mine, I will always honor his rights under the attorney client privilege unless he unequivocally waives them which he was unwilling to do. I requested numerous times that Mr. Briggs submit his questions to the campaign so that I may answer those that I can without violating Mr. Brown’s rights.  Each and every time Mr. Briggs refused to do so.  Mr. Briggs[‘] article fails to mention a single such request by me.

In fact, yesterday, Mr. Briggs sent a threat via text in which he stated that if I did not violate my client’s rights and submit to an interview that he would refuse to run my complete statement.

Moreover, I am proud that as both a private citizen and during my time as first assistant district attorney I have volunteered countless hours meeting with those serving life sentences at SCI Graterford. I will continue this practice as Philadelphia’s next District Attorney. Spending time with lifers offers me understanding and empathy for a former client who hopes to gain freedom with misstatements to the press. For those individuals, I have grace and compassion. For a fake news reporter like Mr. Briggs who allows himself to be used by racist and evil forces, I have no compassion and can find no grace.

I will not trash Mr. Brown or the other former clients for the benefit of a political campaign.

However, I must note that the evidence against Mr. Brown was strong and complex. Any lawyer who has ever put on an alibi defense knows how risky a proposition that is. As a trial lawyer, I was confronted with a client who had a clear motive and was known by the victim and his family. While Mr. Briggs frames the case as an alibi defense, the witnesses for Mr. Brown sometimes presented conflicts with one another. Further, there were significant questions about whether a jury could believe that Mr. Brown was creating a false alibi. Mr. Briggs utilizes the self-serving quotes of an investigator who is personal friend of Mr. Brown to question my strategic decisions. Putting on an alibi defense that is subject to question is a difficult task. In Mr. Brown’s case, the risk was extremely high in that it did not clearly show Mr. Brown at [an] alternat[ive] location when the crime was committed. Moreover, as Mr. Brown’s family feuded with the victim and his family, the evidence placed Mr. Brown near hte victim’s home earlier that day in what was described as identifying the house. Each court that has reviewed Mr. Brown’s case, including two federal judges, has been comfortable upholding Mr. Brown’s conviction and sentence.

The other cases cited by Mr. Briggs each involved clients who retained me well after their convictions were final. Mr. Briggs has quite literally lied in his writing. I handled each case zealously and effectively. In two of the cases, the defendants came to me after all their appeals were exhausted and I fought to get them back into court. Although unsuccessful, I fought nonetheless. I understand that many in prison will complain it is sad that a reporter would engage in the reporting of such fake news. The final case cited by Mr. Briggs involved Daniel Marsh who was convicted of a violent rape. After I explained to Mr. Marsh’s family the uphill battle any defendant faces on appeal and particularly in a violent rape case such as his, Mr. Marsh became frustrated and petitioned the court to represent himself.

In closing, I call upon the people of this community to reject the racism and fake news offered by Ryan Briggs and publications such as cityandstatepa.com. Stand up against racism and stand up against those who lie for the benefit of an agenda that does not serve those in need of criminal justice reform, those in need of diversion programs and those most in need of taking violent criminals off our streets.

Tariq Karim El Shabazz

And of course, a more polished version for publication

The full statement I have submitted for publication reads as follows:

“During my career, I have litigated thousands of criminal cases as both a prosecutor and defense attorney. I have appeared in courtrooms across Pennsylvania and throughout the eastern United State[s] trying more jury trials than I can count. I humbly and proudly suggest my experience as a trial lawyer is likely greater than all 6 of my opponents combined. I will use that same experience to make sure that violent criminals are convicted by well-trained prosecutors that work for me. I will use the judgement that I have developed to ensure that those worthy of a second chance get one. Any lawyer with my experience will have moments that can be second guessed and I accept that as it comes with the unique life of a trial lawyer that I have been blessed to lead. I made efforts to inquire of Mr. Brown whether he wished to waive his attorney/client privilege and permit me to speak about our communications and I received no response.”

Mr. Briggs wrote that the courts ruled in Mr. Brown’s favor which is completely false. All courts that have heard Mr. Brown’s appeals have found his conviction supported by the evidence and denied him any relief.

Mr. Briggs used his lies for shock value in an effort to stop the undeniable momentum that this campaign has generated. He went so far as to state that Mr. Brown’s case was a death case and that he is currently on death row. This is false and should shock our community that Mr. Briggs would carry his lies that far. In my 30 year career including dozens of capital cases, not a single client of mine has ever been sentenced to death. For this, I am proud.

Moreover, I am proud that as both a private citizen and during my time as first assistant district attorney I have volunteered countless hours meeting with those serving life sentences at SCI Graterford. I will continue this practice as Philadelphia’s next District Attorney. Spending time with lifers offers me understanding and empathy for a former client who hopes to gain freedom with misstatements to the press. For those individuals, I have grace and compassion. For a fake news reporter like Mr. Briggs who allows himself to be used by racist and evil forces, I have no compassion and can find no grace.

I will not trash Mr. Brown or the other former clients for the benefit of a political campaign.

However, I must note that the evidence against Mr. Brown was strong and complex. Any lawyer who has ever put on an alibi defense knows how risky a proposition that is. As a trial lawyer, I was confronted with a client who had a clear motive and was known by the victim and his family. While Mr. Briggs frames the case as an alibi defense, the witnesses for Mr. Brown sometimes presented conflicts with one another. Further, there were significant questions about whether a jury could believe that Mr. Brown was creating a false alibi. Mr. Briggs utilizes the self-serving quotes of an investigator who is a personal friend of Mr. Brown to question my strategic decisions. Putting on an alibi defense that is subject to question is a difficult task. In Mr. Brown’s case, the risk was extremely high in that it did not clearly show Mr. Brown at [an] alternative location when the crime was committed.  Moreover, as Mr. Brown’s family feuded with the victim and his family, the evidence placed Mr. Brown near the victim’s home earlier that day in what was described as identifying the house. Each court that has reviewed Mr. Brown’s case, including two federal judges, has been comfortable upholding Mr. Brown’s conviction and sentence.

 

Update: Tariq deletes tweet

As you can see, as soon as Philadelinquency put up El Shabazz’s long screed, it has been deleted.  Nonetheless, screenshots of the public postings were made prior to publication.

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