Lawyer for Russian Firm Says Judicial Dustup Spurred Threats

Attorneys Eric Dubelier, right, and Katherine Seikaly, left, representing Concord Management and Consulting LLC, walk out of federal court in Washington on May 9, 2018, after pleading not guilty on behalf of the company, which has been charged as part of a conspiracy to meddle in the 2016 US presidential election. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

WASHINGTON (CN) – A lawyer for a Russian company indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller complained Tuesday that his team has received death threats after a federal judge called out his court filings as unprofessional.

Tuesday that his team has received death threats after a federal judge called out his court filings as unprofessional.

“The direct consequence was swift and clear, that is, undersigned counsel have received overnight and continuing today a flow of hatred in the form of voicemail and electronic mail from self-proclaimed patriots containing threats, intimidation and the desire that both undersigned counsel promptly die,” wrote Eric Dubelier of Reed Smith. “One communication specified that the cause of death for [co-counsel Katherine] Seikaly should be by fire.”

For the past several months, Reed Smith has been defending the Russian firm Concord Management and Consulting against claims by Mueller that it funded some of the troll farms that worked to swing the 2016 presidential election for Republican candidate Donald Trump. 

At a hearing on Monday, Dubelier earned rebuke from U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich from peppering his recent court filings with references to “Animal House,” “Looney Tunes” and other pop-culture mainstays.

Ordering Dubelier to “knock it off,” Friedrich called the lawyer’s quips “unprofessional, inappropriate and ineffective.”

Dubelier argued at the hearing that Friedrich’s comments evinced a bias against him, and he followed up on those claims Tuesday in a 4-page filing.

“For a reason unknown to undersigned counsel, the court took it upon itself to defend the special counsel, creating at a minimum an appearance of bias or prejudice in favor of the government,” Dubelier wrote.

Complaining as well about journalists who have repeated Friedrich’s comments “as gospel,” Dubelier pointed to the attention his dustup with Friedrich received Monday night from MSNBC host Rachel Maddow.

Referring to Maddow as a “cable television entertainer unknown to undersigned counsel,” Dubelier said the program quickly spurred death threats to Concord’s legal team.

“So while counsel’s words used in advocacy can hurt, the words of a judge can have devastating consequences,” Dubelier wrote.

Since December, Concord Management’s attorneys have been fighting a protective order in the case that prevents counsel from sharing key information with third parties.

Concord Management has also has asked for discovery to determine whether it was a coincidence that Mueller’s attorneys took action on a piece of information shortly after Dubelier’s team shared it with an attorney specially appointed to handle discovery issues in the case.

Dubelier styled Tuesday’s filing as a response to Friedrich’s scheduling request, but dispatched with the scheduling issue in one paragraph at the end of the filing, saying he and his team of attorneys will be available at “the court’s convenience” for a sealed hearing. Dubelier said it is not clear, however, there is a need for such a hearing.

Dubelier did not immediately return a request for comment on the filing.

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