CBS News Reaches Out To The Anna Nicole Judge
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel obtained a letter from "Saturday Early Show" senior producer Michael Rosen to Broward Circuit Judge Larry Seidlin, who presided over the Anna Nicole Smith case. In the letter, Rosen expresses interest in having Seidlin join the "Saturday Early Show."
(AP Photo/Lou Touman, Pool)
"I have been extremely impressed by your compassion in the Anna Nicole case and I would love to discuss with you the idea of being our judge on a new segment, `Morning Justice,'" wrote Rosen. "It would be a semi-regular segment in which you would resolve the ethical and legal questions of our viewers who send in the issues troubling them."
Seidlin has reportedly been pushing for his own TV show – according to TMZ.com, he has even made a demo tape of his cases. His wife told ABC News that people regularly say he should have a show.
CBS News Legal Analyst Andrew Cohen has regularly derided Seidlin's work on the bench. "His performance over the past week was so bad, so unseemly, and so inappropriate that the Florida bar ought to immediately launch an investigation into whether he is truly fit to determine the rights and liberties of others," wrote Cohen in a blog post.
He added: "This fool has just had his five minutes of fame. He has had the opportunity to engage in stream-of-consciousness judgeship-- either that or a carefully orchestrated nervous breakdown-- with the whole world watching. Now I hope he gets what's coming to him."
It's safe to say that a job with CBS News is not what Cohen had in mind.
I contacted CBS News Vice President of Morning Broadcasts Steve Friedman, who oversees the "Early Show," to comment on the show's interest in Seidlin. "We make no comments on job offers we may or may not have made," he told me. Seidlin's theatrical style, which has included weeping in court, has certainly made for compelling television – perhaps even more compelling than Jerry Springer. Seidlin has denied that he let the case become a circus, but Cohen is far from the only observer to have derided the judge's performance.
"This may be the most ridiculous legal proceeding I have ever watched," said CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin. "This judge is one of the least competent judges I have ever seen. He is letting this thing meander all over creation, mostly because he seems to enjoy being on television."
I am not a legal expert, and am not qualified to judge Seidlin's competence. But I find it troubling that the "Saturday Early Show" would reach out to a judge whose performance has been so roundly criticized by legal observers. There is something terribly unjust, when it comes right down to it, about rewarding the most blustery of justices instead of the most qualified. I have no doubt that Seidlin would make for good television if he gets the "Saturday Early Show" gig. But there's got to be more to the equation than that.