By Ryan Miner
Karen Harshman’s unscrupulously notorious attorney, Ira Cooke, represented his client today during a pre-hearing conference who, last October, falsely and belligerently accused, via Facebook, innocent teachers as being sexual predators who currently roam the halls of Washington County Public Schools preying on students.
Harshman’s allegations turned out to be indisputable lies.
Soon after Harshman’s social media allegations went viral, Dr. Justin Hartings, a former Board of Education member, introduced a resolution to remove Harshman from the Washington County Board of Education. Subsequently, the Board voted unanimously on Hartings’ resolution last November that, in effect, began the process of removing Harshman from the Board. From there, Harshman’s case was sent to the Maryland State Board of Education for review.
According to Herald-Mail Media reporter CJ Lovelace, who today attended Harshman’s first public hearing, reported that Administrative Law Judge Michael Wallace ordered Harshman’s hearing to be held on February 10 at the Washington County Public School’s Center for Education Services building on Downsville Pike.
Lovelace wrote in his story,
Initially, Wallace ordered both attorneys to submit all discovery materials and statements to the Office of Administrative Hearings by Feb. 3, but decided to push that back until Feb. 8. Information to issue subpoenas should be submitted as soon as possible, he told the attorneys.
Additional dates to hear more testimony in the case are preliminarily set for Feb. 15, Feb. 27, Feb. 28 and March 3, all to be held in Washington County, Wallace said.
I managed to obtain a copy of the prehearing statement that was written and filed by attorney Cooke. The document, as seen below for your extreme viewing pleasure, is, unequivocally, one of the greatest (and by greatest I mean hilarious – hilariously sad) legal documents ever audaciously filed on behalf of a civil defendant.
If the witness list holds until Harshman’s scheduled public hearing in Washington County, this means the following individuals should expect to be subpoenaed by Cooke to testify at Harshman’s public hearing next month:
Here’s a question on the minds of many concerned citizens in the community: How is Karen Harshman possibly paying for Ira Cooke’s legal services? Unless Cooke is on some Don Quixote mission for whatever imaginary version of justice he’s seeking and not charging Harshman, I’d imagine the time and commitment Cooke’s putting into defending Harshman would cost a pretty penny – one more penny she doesn’t have.
Harshman’s attorney is actually bold enough to subpoena a well-respected newspaper journalist, a popular Herald-Mail columnist and a local blogger/citizen journalist (me) and do what, exactly?
Does Mr. Cooke intend to bulldoze over the First Amendment? Subpoenaing journalists and bloggers is nothing short of egregious. I would hope that Mr. Cooke respects the Bill of Rights and our individual liberties if he endeavors to question Mr. Lovelace, Mr. Rowland and myself.
And why am I even being subpoenaed? How does this help her case? This seems like a last-ditch effort and a colossal waste of time. What testimony could I give that would benefit his client?
Go back and read Cooke’s filed prehearing statement again – over and over. If nothing else, for a laugh or two.
See you soon, Mr. Cooke.