by Debra Heine
The U.S. District Court judge who sentenced America’s Frontline Doctors (AFLD) founder Simone Gold to serve 60 days in federal prison for the misdemeanor offense of trespassing during the January 6, 2021 Capitol riot is allegedly a former acquaintance of the doctor. The past relationship raises questions about whether the judge should have recused himself.
Gold, an invited guest speaker at the January 6 rally, was scheduled to speak after then-President Trump, but a number of speeches, including her own, were canceled at the last minute without explanation. According to Gold, the change set off a chain of events that resulted in her arrest for trespassing.
Gold reported to federal prison on Tuesday to serve her 60-day sentence.
In a statement obtained by American Greatness on Monday, Gold revealed that she and Judge Christopher R. Cooper attended Stanford University Law School in the class of 1993, and that she had once declined to go on a date with him. (Gold has degrees in medicine and law.) The doctor said she was surprised that Cooper, whom she knew as “Casey,” had not recused himself. But she says she decided, without an attorney present to advise her, that it wouldn’t be a problem.
Dr. Simone Gold send me this statement last night related to the judge in her case.
She reported to prison today: pic.twitter.com/VETLbtUERU
— Julie Kelly 🇺🇸 (@julie_kelly2) July 26, 2022
Gold said she had several amicable social interactions with Cooper while at Stanford, culminating in an invitation to a dinner date, which she respectfully declined. “Just because I wasn’t interested,” she explained, adding that she’d had no further interaction with Cooper until her sentencing last week.
Cooper is the same federal judge who in May turned down a request from Special Counsel John Durham for a ruling in Perkins Coie attorney Michael Sussmann’s case. Durham alleged that Sussmann was part of a wide-ranging “joint venture” involving Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, Democratic operatives, opposition research firm Fusion GPS and various technology researchers.
The decision limited the evidence and testimony prosecutors could offer against Sussmann during the jury trial in Washington D.C., in which he was unanimously acquitted.
In addition to the jail time, Cooper sentenced Gold to one year of supervised release, and ordered her to pay a fine of $9,500 and another $500 to the Capitol architect to compensate for the damage the rioters did to the building.
The Obama-appointed judge said he found it “unseemly” that she and her group, America’s Frontline Doctors, had raised $433,000 from supporters after claiming the charges against her for trespassing were politically motivated.
“Sitting here today, I don’t think you have truly accepted responsibility,” the judge told Gold during the sentencing on Thursday. “Your organization has used your notoriety to raise money to garner support for you in connection with the sentencing and for its general operations by mischaracterizing what this proceeding is all about . . . telling your supporters that this is a political prosecution of a law-abiding physician that’s designed to threaten and intimidate any American who dares to exercise their First Amendment rights.”
The judge went on to dispute Gold’s claim that she was a peaceful bystander, accusing her of being part of an “angry and aggressive” mob.
“It is obvious from the video that we watched today that you were part of an angry and aggressive, I would say mob, crowd of people intent on getting past law enforcement and entering the East Rotunda through those doors,” Cooper said. “Regardless of how the door got opened, the police were obviously trying to keep people out.”
The judge also said he doubted Gold’s claim that she did not see an injured Capitol police officer who was wedged in a door near her.
“As a police officer there was pulled to the ground right in front of you, I find it implausible that you didn’t see that,” he said. “And you used that as an opportunity to get into the building. In the chaos and the broken glass, in the presence of multiple police officers, it is obvious that you knew it was a very dangerous and potentially violent situation as you went in.”
April Ayers-Perez, the U.S. attorney prosecuting the case against Gold, said the situation was exacerbated “by the fact that [Gold] is a medical doctor. She does not stop. She does not help others in the mob help this officer who is in distress.”
Cooper said Gold remained in the building after at least six officers told her to leave, which “diverted them from doing more important things than dealing with you.”
Gold disputed this in an online fundraising appeal #Free Dr. Gold, saying that “when an officer instructed her to move towards an exit, she complied, and shortly after when asked to leave the building entirely, she did so.”
In an interview days after the riot, Gold recounted the events that led up to her foray into the Capitol building.
She explained that after her speaking slot at the rally was cut, there were about 100,000 restless people milling around, and they eventually started moving toward the Capitol steps. The doctor said she followed along with the intention of giving her speech about medical freedom inside the Capitol building.
“The crowd really slowly moved its way up the steps,” she said, before explaining why she followed along. “When you’re crossing the street and the light turns green, you go!” she told KGET News. “You go! There wasn’t anything else to do.”
Once inside the rotunda, Gold said she got “the genius idea to give my speech.” The doctor said she was inside the Capitol building for about 20 minutes.
During the sentencing hearing, Gold pointed out that she had been aggressively arrested in her California home and apparently put on a no-fly list, and that she had lost her job and had to move to Naples, Florida. The judge shot down Gold’s arguments about the way in which she had been treated, suggesting that she was being selfish.
“What I haven’t heard is anything about the five people who died that day. Of the four people who committed suicide because of the trauma that they suffered that day at the hands of the mob,” he said. “Or the members of Congress or the 20-year-old or 25-year-old staffers who were behind those doors when chaos was breaking out all around them and not knowing whether they would be able to go home with their families.”
Cooper told Gold she is “obviously very bright and professionally accomplished, and clearly take great pride in that as you rightfully should,” adding that her accomplishments actually count against her “because you should have known what you were doing.”
“You’re unlike many of the other defendants I see who were misled or hoodwinked into coming to D.C. that day,” he said. “I think you well knew what you were doing.”
In response, Gold said she was “shocked that the government thinks I’m not remorseful. I did everything within my power, as I perceived it, to show that I regretted being inside the Capitol.”
She added that she became an emergency room doctor to help people and that the “only thing that matters is love and being good to people.”
“I did not intend to become involved in a situation that is so destructive to our nation,” the doctor told the judge.
In her statement to American Greatness, Gold said that “what unfolded in the Courtroom during sentencing was shocking.”
The doctor chronicled several examples of what she perceived to be personal animus on the part of the judge, based on his words and actions.
“I know what proper judicial temperament is, and this was not that,” she wrote. “I also am able to assess mood quickly based upon my years in the emergency department. This Judge was filled with so much animus it qualified as rage. The nonverbal messaging (which is 80% of communication) was borne out by many of his words and actions.”
First is that during sentencing he repeatedly referenced tangential matters. He spent almost all of his words attacking my nonprofit health freedom organization (free speech), accused me of “financial profiting” with no proof, was infuriated by the letters that he had received from countless supporters across the nation. His fury and continuous reference and reliance on matters that were not relevant was bizarre.
Second, while the Judge was holding in his hands one letter and looking on his monitor at another letter, confirming what my lawyer was saying—that my medical license was being threatened by the government—the Judge literally said ‘I do not believe her licenses are under threat.’ Literally while holding the letters containing words directly threatening my license – these are the words he said. It was bizarre. Like he was so biased he could not think properly.
Third, and perhaps most telling, the Judge stated a factually untrue but flagrantly revealing prejudicial comment. He stated that I ‘showed no remorse for the five people who died that day.’ This statement is well documented to be false, it is well known to be a talking point of a certain political bias, and it is irrelevant to me. It was bizarre.
Fourth example, in addition to the Judge’s words are his actions. The sentence the Judge handed down was extreme. While he was careful to stay within the guidelines, even the most cursory review supports the extremity of his sentence. I have never been involved in the criminal justice system, there is no allegation of violence past, present, or future, this was a sentencing for a first-time misdemeanor trespass, I am 55+ female, and I have spent my entire life working for the most downtrodden members of society as an emergency physician in the inner city.
California medical board president Kristina Lawson, an attorney, contributed to the case against Gold, submitting a four-page letter to the court saying that the doctor “is dangerous and must be stopped.”
In the letter, Lawson claimed she was targeted first at her home and later in her law firm’s parking garage by members of Gold’s group, AFLD, last December, which “terrified” her.
Later, she wrote, she learned that the confrontation was to be used in a video titled “Lawson’s Hunt,” which “dangerously and falsely implied that I have committed crimes against my fellow citizens” and “dangerously and falsely accuses me of crimes, corruption, tyranny, and lying to the public.”
Lawson went on to claim that she receives “threatening emails” from Gold’s supporters accusing her of corruption, and alleging that state board investigators attacked and threatened to revoke the licenses of doctors who prescribed hydroxychloroquine to COVID patients.
An AFLD video shows Lawson being confronted in the parking garage about her office’s attacks on hydroxychloroquine or threats to revoke doctors’ licenses for prescribing it.
Gold still has a California license to practice medicine from the Medical Board of California, but she is reportedly under investigation by the board.
In a strange turn of events on Tuesday, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed Cooper’s 22-year sentence for a Libyan terrorist, ruling that the sentence was too light.
Ahmed Abu Khatallah, 51, was originally convicted in 2018 on several counts for his involvement in the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on U.S. intelligence and diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya—where armed militants overwhelmed security at the U.S. mission and killed four Americans.
Khatallah appealed his conviction, but the government cross-appealed—arguing the 22-year sentence a judge imposed was unreasonably low.
The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday reversed the district court’s sentence, agreeing with the government that “Khatallah’s sentence is substantively unreasonably low in light of the gravity of his crimes of terrorism.”
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Debra Heine reports for American Greatness.
Photo “Simone Gold” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0.