News and Commentary

Potential Judicial Conflicts Of Interest Arise In Martin Gottesfeld ‘Guardian Hacktivist’ Case

Anyone who has been following The Daily Wire’s ongoing coverage of the Martin Gottesfeld “guardian hacktivist” story will recall that in January, we published a piece regarding potential conflicts of interest faced by Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler.

In order to understand this piece, it is imperative that one reads The Daily Wire’s previous coverage of the Martin Gottesfeld case, including the story of Justina Pelletier, here.

As the Gottesfeld trial begins in earnest, it is important to set out in detail the potential conflicts of interest that the judges in the Martin Gottesfeld case may have.

Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler

According to her profession biography, which can no longer be found online without the use of document archiving websites, Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler, who signed the search warrant for Martin Gottesfeld’s home, worked as a “research assistant in biochemistry at Harvard Medical School” before beginning her career in law.

Bowler’s husband, Dr. Marc Alan Pfeffer, works at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a “teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School.” Pfeffer is also the Dzau Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Another teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School is Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH), one of the entities against which Martin Gottesfeld allegedly waged a DDoS campaign in April 2014 in order to help shine a light on the so-called medical kidnapping and torture of Justina Pelletier by the hospital.

In 1995, the United States District Court appointed Bowler to the board of The Boston Foundation, according to an affidavit. The Boston Foundation is a charitable organization that has donated money to Wayside Youth and Family Support Network, where Justina Pelletier was detained after leaving BCH. Bowler served as a board member until 2005.

In 2014, The Boston Foundation donated between $500 and $999 to The Wayside Youth and Family Support Network.

In March 2017, Bowler recused herself from Cabi v. Boston Children’s Hospital, because her impartiality might be questioned given the contents of the case.

In her recusal letter, Bowler stated in part (citations omitted for clarity):

The statute requires disqualification based on an objective appearance of bias…

My spouse, Marc A. Pfeffer, M.D., Ph.D, is the Dzau Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and a senior cardiologist at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, which is a Harvard Medical School affiliated hospital. As discovery has progressed, it has become apparent that the connection of this action to the Harvard Medical School is more direct than originally anticipated. For example, plaintiffs are seeking documents directly from Harvard Medical School which defendants move to quash. Mindful that “doubts ordinarily ought to be resolved in favor of recusal” … I recuse myself from presiding over this case.

However, Bowler didn’t recuse herself from the Martin Gottesfeld case despite her tangential connections to Boston Children’s Hospital.

Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton

Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton, who is currently presiding over the Gottesfeld case, also appears to have tangential ties to The Boston Foundation and Boston Children’s Hospital. In a 2005 report, Gorton was listed as a member of the board of advisors for The Home for Little Wanderers, a charitable organization that in 2004/2005 received between $50,000 and $99,999 from The Boston Foundation.

A 2012 financial disclosure listed Gorton as a “member of the corporation” for The Home for Little Wanderers. Finally, in August of 2015, Boston Children’s Hospital, the organization against which a DDoS campaign was allegedly waged by Martin Gottesfeld, chose The Home for Little Wanderers as the recipient of a $50,000 donation.

Additionally, three financial disclosures show that The Boston Foundation donated just over $1.2 million in “cash grant” form to Boston Children’s Hospital between 2014 and 2016.

These connections don’t necessarily mean anything; they don’t mean that Bowler or Gorton are compromised, or unable to be objective — but they do raise a series of critical questions.

Could Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler’s previous position as a board member for The Boston Foundation or her connection via her husband to Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital have affected her ability to rule impartially in the Martin Gottesfeld case? Why did Bowler recuse herself from Cabi v. Boston Children’s but not from the Martin Gottesfeld case?

Could Judge Nathaniel Gorton’s connections to The Home for Little Wanderers, The Boston Foundation, and Boston Children’s Hospital impact his ability to rule impartially in the Martin Gottesfeld case?

These are not questions that can be answered with any certainty by anyone other than Bowler and Gorton. Nevertheless, they are questions that need to be asked.