New York Attorney General Lies About Fake Facebook Profile to Spy on Pro-Life Advocates

State   Michelle Piccolo   Feb 23, 2018   |   1:10PM    Albany, New York

Thomas More Law Center Senior Trial Counsel Tyler Brooks appeared on “Fox News at Night” hosted by Shannon Bream to discuss the New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s knowing use of information from a fake Facebook account created by his Office’s star witness under the fictitious name of Shelly Walker. The purpose of this ruse was to collect information on unwary pro-life sidewalk counselors who were the target of a year-long investigation conducted by the Attorney General’s Office.

Watch Shannon Bream’s TV interview of Tyler Brooks and her concise summary of Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s use of the fraudulent Facebook account of his star witness here.

The Thomas More Law Center (“TMLC”), a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, represents two of the fourteen persons who were sued by the NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in June 2017, Angela Braxton and Jasmine LaLande.

The sidewalk counselors routinely appeared in front of the Choices Women’s Medical Center (“Choices”) in New York City’s Jamaica neighborhood. Information gathered through the fake Facebook account was passed on to the Attorney General’s Office. One of TMLC’s clients in this lawsuit, Angela Braxton, accepted a friend request by the fictitious Shelly Walker under the impression that Walker was a fellow pro-life advocate like herself.  She was not aware that Walker was really one of the Choices escorts leaders.

During the courtroom cross-examination by TMLC attorney Tyler Brooks, on February 15, 2018, the Attorney General’s star witness admitted creating the fake Facebook page under the fictitious name of Shelly Walker and passing information she collected from this Facebook account to the Attorney General’s Office.

The Attorney General’s Office provided Fox News with a carefully written statement which stated:

“The account was set up by a third party without our office’s knowledge and before our office began its investigation. Our office did not ask her to share anything from the account with us.(emphasis added)

False.

Sworn Court Testimony Shows Attorney General’s Statement Is False

Read the following courtroom testimony from the Attorney General’s star witness (contained on pages 759 -763 of the official court transcript), and form your own opinion.

Here are some relevant parts of the cross-examination of the star witness by TMLC attorney Tyler Brooks. Federal Judge Carol Bagley Amon is referred to in the transcript as “The Court.”

MR. BROOKS: Now, you told the Office of the Attorney General about that account? [Fake Shelley Walker Facebook]
A    Yes.
Q    And you used that account to obtain information that you then passed to the Office of the Attorney General?

At this point, lawyer for the AG office objects, to which Judge Amon requests Mr. Brooks to clarify his question to the witness:

MR. BROOKS: Okay.
Q    Maybe I’ll just ask at what point in time did you use that account to obtain information that you passed to the Office of the Attorney General?
A    I don’t know.
Q    Okay.
THE COURT:   Did you continue to use that account after you met with the Attorney General?
THE WITNESS:  Yes. (emphasis added)
THE COURT:  And did you then turn over information that you gleaned after that point in time to the Attorney General?
THE WITNESS:  I think I may have mentioned to Ms. Trasande [Attorney General’s Attorney] that I had but I can’t remember a specific thing that I turned over, if anything.
THE COURT: Okay.

Mr. Brooks impeaches the witness’s testimony:

Q    Well, you said you can’t remember anything specific that you turned over from that account?
A    I can’t at this moment, no.
Q    Okay. Well, then let me refresh your recollection by reading your deposition.

“QUESTION: Using the Shelly Walker Facebook page, did you use the Shelly Walker Facebook page to obtain information about Angela Braxton that you subsequently passed on to the New York State Attorney General’s Office?”
“ANSWER: Yes.”

I did read that correctly?
A    Yes.
Q    Was that testimony that you gave in your deposition true?
A    Yes. I told her about photos and posts.
Q    So my next question was:
“QUESTION: What information was that?”
And you answered:
“ANSWER: Photos and videos that she had posted outside Choices. I didn’t quite understand you and you added:
“ANSWER: Also people that she had brought to Choices.”
A    Yes.
Q    I read that correctly?
A    Yes. I told her about Angela’s online organizing.
Q    And that those photos and videos you collected from the website Shelly Walker Facebook page and provided those to the Office of the Attorney General?
A    I think I just told her about it. I don’t remember giving her copies.

Mr. Brooks impeaches the testimony of the Attorney General’s star witness a second time:

     “QUESTION: At the time you took information from the Angela Braxton Facebook page using the Shelly Walker page, and provided that information to the New York Attorney General’s office, did you tell the New York Attorney General’s office that the Shelly Walker page is how you got it?”
“ANSWER: Yes.”  Is that true?
A     Yes.
THE COURT:    Let me ask you this. Did anyone from the Attorney General’s office tell you to stop using that page?
THE WITNESS:   No. They told me not to delete it.
(emphasis added)

Based on the above transcript, it is clear that the Attorney General’s office:

  • Had full knowledge of the fake Facebook in the name Shelly Walker
  • Used the information from the fake Facebook against the sidewalk counselors
  • Never told the witness to cease using the fake Facebook
  • Never told the witness to delete the information.