Lt. Dan Choi Subpoenas President Obama in Trial Over White House ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Arrests


Lt. Dan Choi and Captain Jim Pietrangelo have subpoenaed President Obama in their trial on minor civil disobedience charges surrounding their arrests for chaining themselves to the White House fence on March 18, reports Ben Smith at Politico:

The subpoena seeks to compel the testimony of President Barack Obama who has, on several occasions as President and Commander in Chief (and previously as a Senator and Presidential Candidate) called on the LGBT community to "pressure" him to change the DADT law and policy, thus allowing gay service members to serve their country openly and honorably.

The subpoena of the President is necessary for the defense to prove that Defendants were following and obeying lawful orders or directives by their President and Commander in Chief, and were therefore under an obligation and authority to act as they did in order to pressure him – in a non-violent, visible way – on this important public issue. In addition, these statements support the contention that Defendants were acting out of necessity, in order to prevent discrimination and greater harm to gay service members now serving.

For the full background on that day of civil disobedience, click here.

And the full memorandum from their defense counsel here.


  1. E. says

    This is a terrific approach! So smart and completely appropriate. Dan and Jim continue to be awesome and set a real example of how to bring about change.

  2. Michael @ says

    Despite what the Obama Gestapo…clocking in in 10, 9, 8, 7, 6….will try to tell you, because ANY discouraging word uttered about Britney er Barack is sacrilege don’t ja know, there is long precedent for such actions by defendents in political-related trials, particularly during the Vietnam War. Attorneys for former IL Gov. Rod Blagojevich have also fantasized about calling Obama to testify.

    Won’t happen in either case [Presidents have successfully refused to answer even Congressional subpoenas], but there’s nothing wrong with Dan and Jim’s symbolic attempt. After all, it wasn’t the fence around the White House that they were protesting.

    If someone wants to show justified anger about legal tactics, look no further than the shameful tactic by the ODOJ who tried to get co-plaintiff “John Doe” disqualified from the LCR constitutional challenge to DADT insisting that since he is still IN the military, serving in Iraq, he CAN’T claim DADT is hurting him.

    And it’s worth pointing out again that it was a court challenge by Jim Pietrangelo, a former Army captain discharged under the ban, that …. wait for it …. O Solicitor General Elena Kagan got the Supremes to throw out a year ago this month by insisting DADT IS constitutional.

  3. DR says

    I doubt that Obama will be compelled to testify, but I think this is important to do. He did ask to be pressured, and they are only charged with minor charges which could be addressed by this creative defense.

  4. Michael @ says

    @ Derek: Sorry that your attempts to steer the NEM away from any criticism of Your Lord & Savior failed, but if the only defense for him you have left is a puerile-on-its-face charge that there is no substance to any criticism of him, therefore, it must be based on “personal” animosity, then one is justified in questioning what’s behind your “personal” addiction to the man.

  5. Fred says

    I recall there is a law that allows the President to be exempt from subpoena in many/most cases, but I don’t recall the details.

    Lt. Choi, you rock! Best wishes and good luck!

  6. jamal49 says

    Lt. Choi, you’re dangerously close to entering into “kook” territory. While your subpoena is will keep your name in the news, of what worth is it?

    Pres. Obama is immune to any subpoenas while he is the president, so your gesture is at most a symbolic one. But, it is wasted symbolism.

    What you should be doing is petitioning Congress. You should be talking to your congressional representatives, getting petitions to Congress people in general, educating the public. Going after the president will resolve nothing.

    I support up to this point your passionate, courageous and principled opposition to DADT. As a veteran of military service, I know first hand the harsh discrimination gays and lesbians can experience in the Armed Forces.

    However, now is not the time for cheap symbolism.

  7. Michael @ says

    @ Jamal49:

    Have you been in a COMA??? What else can explain [other than blind allegiance to Obama] your failure, despite claiming you really care about the issue, to have missed the fact that it is NOT Congress but the Commander-in-Chief who went from being Missing in Action on ending the ban the enlisted for to aiding and abetting the ENEMIES, no matter what they SAY, of ending the ban.

    After repeatedly promising to fight for passage of the five-year old Military Readiness Enhancement Act bill, when Congress was ready to vote on it after he repeatedly failed to help them as they BEGGED him to do, he took it, wiped the homophobic SECDEF’s ass on it and threw it away, forcing Congress to replace it with a new bill that MIGHT end discharges SOMEDAY.

    Don’t believe me? How about the Speaker of the House:

    “Pelosi said the House weakened its repeal language to mollify the White House. Military leaders refused to accept language that would bar discrimination, so the clause was dropped.” – The Huffington Post, June 3, 2010.

    Finally, OF COURSE, Dan and Jim know they have no chance of getting him in court. They’ve already succeeded at their real intent:

    – getting people talking about his refusal to use his legal powers to freeze discharges in the name of national security even though he said A YEAR AGO YESTERDAY that there is an “URGENCY” to ending such discharges both because they are unjust and because they “WEAKEN national security.”

    – getting people talking about the fact that he is still discharging people, roughly 800 since he was sworn in. As you read this, someone, somewhere, is being shitcanned because of his moral cowardice to stand up to the Pentagon. No wonder McCrystal described him as appearing “intimindated” upon their first meeting.

    – getting people talking about the fact that Obama’s DOJ is STILL defending DADT in court in the same homophobic terms used to pass it in the first place.

    It is NOT Congress that is the problem The problem is to be found at the desk where the famous sign owned by Harry Truman once rested:

    “The buck stops here.”

  8. Rann says

    Jamal49- What is to say that these two are not also pressuring their members of Congress and yes they are education the public! You are presuming otherwise because they are pressuring Obama too. Symbolism is hardly ever, in these type of cases, meaningless. Also, I think Choi does enjoy the public eye but that does not mean that is his motive for doing these type of things. I think he has very good motives. If he ends up being “famous” so what? Who does that hurt?

  9. FunMe says

    I love this guy!

    I am totally surprised only a few Obama administration dittoheads are not out in force.

    Makes you “wonder” why some people make it a “career” to say “jam” bs in “washington”, but who cares!

    Lt. Choi ventures on for freedom for GLBT military and the rest of the bozos are left behind.

    I LOVE IT!

    Go Lt. Dan Choi!

  10. FunMe says

    I love this and I love Lt. Dan Choi doing this!

    Makes you “wonder” why only a few “Washington” Obama administration dittoheads are here making a “career” of spilling their usual 49 “jamal” bs.

    I LOVE seeing these queens get all flustered! haha!


    Meanwhile Lt. Dan Choi ventures on and leaves them in the dust on his way to fighting to obtain GLBT equality in the military.


  11. FunMe says

    I love this and I love Lt. Dan Choi doing this!

    Makes you “wonder” why only a few “Washington” Obama administration dittoheads are here making a “career” of spilling their usual 49 “jamal” bs.

    I LOVE seeing these queens get all flustered! haha!


    Meanwhile Lt. Dan Choi ventures on and leaves them in the dust on his way to fighting to obtain GLBT equality in the military.


  12. Michael @ says

    It’s official: “Wonderman” [note unwillingness to even sign his real name let alone go to jail for what he believes like Dan and Jim] has his head so far up Obama’s ass he can probably see Russia out his mouth.

  13. Lovely says

    FUCK of all ya’ll with this Obama bullshit. If your faggot asses would have stood up to a white President (BILL CLINTON) instead worshipping him and Hillary. Maybe it would not be so bad now.

    But since this guy Obama is here. You feel that you’re entitled that he jumps when you want! BITCHES it doesn’t work that way.

    Fishy eyes fags get on my damn nerves especially Miss Michael Meathead. It would not even matter if Obama gave this community everything. Some of you Caucasians and your snow queens lovers will still not support him.

    In fact, it’s been rocky since the kids voted overwhelmingly for Clinton in the primaries. 60% of LGBT’s voted for Clinton during the primary. Not only did they vote for Clinton, they supported her long after it was clear she had lost. So when she finally gave in, and the two campaigns were supposed to merge. It was too late. The entire structure of the campaign was locked in stone. Further, 30% of LGBT voted for McCain. So it hasn’t been a love affair.

    And you know he knows that. Don’t think for one moment he’s not aware of your dislike of him from the jump!

    So BITCHES back down and deal with the slow progress!

    OR SIMPLY FUCK OFF! I appreciated Dan Choi’s courageousness. But right about now he’s simply delirious! If this would have been BUSH they would have shipped him and his family back to ASIA in a New York minute!

  14. Career says

    @LOVELY, Dan Choi is a failure of an officer who never displayed any “courageousness” at all.

    He was commissioned a 2LT (second lieutenant) in 2003. Standard promotion track to CAPT (captain) has been 4 years, but was shortened to 3-1/2 years because of the wartime shortage of junior officers. Choi hadn’t made it further than 1LT (first lieutenant) by 2008. That’s when he left active duty and joined the NY National Guard.

    A year later, having failed to earn a promotion with the NY Guard, Choi came out on Rachel Maddow’s show. This is a West Point grad who failed to make CAPT at a time when the Army promotes more than 95% of 2LTs all the way to MAJ (major, one step higher than CAPT)

    Choi’s failure to make CAPT wasn’t because of his being gay. He never mentioned his being gay until he’d been in service for six years, not counting his time at West Point.

    We don’t have Choi’s personnel file, but I guarantee you that this dude was a fuckup of long standing. Not making CAPT during war time, after spending a year and a half in combat duty, is a double red flag. Dan Choi is a fuck up.

  15. Career says

    p.s.: The only reason Choi has gotten any traction with gay people is that so few gay people have even basic military knowledge. In the military, a 1LT is the equivalent of the night manager of a Burger King. He failed at that job. Wasn’t even promoted to CAPT, which is like being manager of the day shift.

    Right message, wrong guy.

  16. Jerry says

    A special salute to Lt. Dan Choi and Capt. James Pietrangelo: they are the real deal, and are risking much in standing up for what they believe. Obama is still missing in action. He could have easily issued an executive order suspending further dismissals under DADT while Congress considered the time-table on implementation on the repeal of DADT. He has repeatedly refused to do so. Instead, he has actually threatened to veto the bill that mandates changes to DADT (because of other reasons), & once again gays are used as a disposable bargaining chip in the political process. Yesterday’s idiotic speech on illegal immigration (“undocumented future democrats”) is another time-wasting diversion meant to take minds off failures in promised policy changes, like eliminating DADT.

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