By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
By Charles Lam
Dornan's legal men weren't fazed--at least not outwardly. Like a punch-drunk boxer losing in the late rounds and hoping for a miracle TKO, his lawyers unveiled--to the disbelieving moans of the audience--that they knew of two other fraudulent voters: Loretta Sanchez and her husband, Stephen Brixey. Both, Dornan's attorneys dramatically claimed, lived outside the district in which they voted.
Mike Schroeder, Dornan's lead attorney and head of the California Republican Party, told reporters afterward that his case was compelling. Walking the circus tightrope, he boldly stated under oath, "We've already documented the most extensive voter fraud in history (my emphasis)." But almost in the next breath, Schroeder made a startlingly contradictory admission, conceding the unspoken: that after six months and hundreds of thousands of dollars in investigations, their conspiracy allegations continue to rest on mere speculation. "Robert K. Dornan needs the opportunity to prove his case," said Schroeder, who pleaded with the other Republicans to withhold naming Dornan the loser.
As Dornan and members of his extended family sat in the front row making snide remarks or contemptuous noises, freshman Congresswoman Sanchez told the panel her opponent's case is "composed primarily of distortions, falsehoods, rumor and innuendo." Then her lawyer, Wylie Aitken--who also heads the local Democratic Foundation--laid out the indisputable facts that completely debunk Dornan's case. Even the Times acknowledged as much. Having advanced Dornan's self-serving claims as fact since November, the Times has only recently told its readers what the paper has known--or should have known--six months ago: that Dornan's claims are "overstated and riddled with inaccuracies." Welcome aboard, Times O.C. Nor is that news to local Republicans, who privately admit that Dornan has no case and that they can milk the controversy politically.
Nevertheless, after the big top closed, Ehlers was surrounded by reporters. He paused momentarily--perhaps to muster up as much sincerity as he could--and reported that Dornan had made a strong enough case to continue his fishing expedition.
Outside amid the protesters were seven white women who had been bussed in by Fuentes and the Orange County Republican Party. While the others looked on, nodding their heads and offering frequent "amens" or "uh-huhs," one of the flock spoke: "I just don't understand why people don't want Dornan as our congressman. He's a God-fearing man. He's an American. I ask people, what did he do that is so wrong? And they say, 'Well, he's a bigot.' But, you know, I don't believe any of their so-called evidence. I think they're mad because Bob speaks his mind, and isn't that just great?" A heavyset women wearing a polyester pantsuit and a construction helmet--and holding a sign that read, "Voter Fraud Sucks"--added: "You're right. This is all about the American way. If they get California and Texas, then they will destroy us."