Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

What’s wrong with the Department of Justice?

Posted by Charles II on May 23, 2009

First count, conspiracy to deprive defendant of civil rights. Scott Horton:

U.W. Clemon, formerly Alabama’s most senior federal judge, has written a scorching letter to Attorney General Eric Holder itemizing gross misconduct by federal prosecutors involved in the Siegelman case and demanding that the Justice Department open a full investigation into the matter. “The 2004 prosecution of Mr. Siegelman in the Northern District of Alabama was the most unfounded criminal case over which I presided in my entire judicial career,” he writes. “In my judgment, his prosecution was completely without legal merit; and it could not have been accomplished without the approval of the Department of Justice.” Clemon goes on to note that prosecutors engaged in judicial forum shopping, attempted to poison the jury pool, and filed and pressed bogus charges….

In recent weeks, a panel of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed five of seven counts of the Siegelman conviction in an opinion issued by three Republican judges. The case was referred back to a fourth Republican judge, Mark E. Fuller, for re-sentencing. The ruling prompted further cries for a reexamination of the case, as 75 former attorneys general from 40 states, both Democrats and Republicans, wrote Holder noting gross irregularities in the case and improper conduct by prosecutors who secured the conviction….

Attorney General Holder’s office advised the Huffington Post that notwithstanding the long-standing allegations of prosecutorial misconduct, now amplified by a large group of attorneys general and the state’s former senior federal judge, the Justice Department had no investigation of the accusations underway.

Second count, conspiracy to give aid and support to America’s enemies. Naomi Seligman of CREW:

Earlier today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) learned that the Obama administration is opposing our request that the Supreme Court reconsider the dismissal of the lawsuit, Wilson v. Libby, et al. In that case, the district court had dismissed the claims of Joe and Valerie Wilson against former Vice President Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, Scooter Libby and Richard Armitage for their gross violations of the Wilsons’ constitutional rights. Agreeing with the Bush administration, the Obama Justice Department argues the Wilsons have no legitimate grounds to sue….In fact, the Obama administration has gone one step further, suggesting Mr. Wilson failed to provide any evidence that Mr. Cheney, Mr. Rove or Mr. Libby harmed him.

6 Responses to “What’s wrong with the Department of Justice?”

  1. A couple folks I know think it’s a combination of short-staffedness on DoJ’s part and short-sightedness on Holder’s part, coupled with an unwillingness to appear “partisan”. Remember last month when the media went berzerk and accused Obama of setting up “show trials” of Bush/Cheney people?

  2. Charles II said

    PW, it’s getting really blatant. Scott Horton has some interesting further details on Siegelman here. It gets complicated, but “[Missouri Attorney Paul Benton] Weeks accuses [Judge Craig] Fuller [who sentenced Siegelman] of… perjury, criminal conspiracy, a criminal attempt to defraud the Retirement System of Alabama, misuse of office as a [then-] District Attorney, and an obstruction of his background check by the FBI in connection with the review of his appointment by President Bush to the bench.” The allegations arise out of preferential salary given to then-employees of Fuller, which would have defrauded the Retirement System of Alabama (RSA) of $330,000.

    The Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility has also cleared US Attorney Alice Martin of judge shopping… but did not talk to the principal accuser or include an e-mail that corroborated the charges! Nor will it discuss how it concluded that Martin was not guilty.

    Holder has the power to appoint an outside counsel to clear things up. His failure to do so speaks volumes.

    • Stormcrow said

      This is what I was trying to tell you last time.

      There is a massive and systematic disconnect between President Obama’s words and his actions.

      The destruction of Don Siegelman has clearly gone far beyond “make me do it” territory. I cannot do more than speculate about Obama’s motives, since it is no longer either practical or prudent to believe anything he says. But the possibilities that occur to me aren’t good.

      • Charles II said

        I understand your point of view, Stormcrow. You’re an honorable fellow who sees how dangerous these precedents are.

        But we can choose to either abandon hope or keep working to change things. If we abandon hope and become passive, then there is a certainty that things will get worse. And in any case, if I am a decent person, I must stand against this wrong.

  3. Part of the problem is that the waters are being muddied by questions about Siegelman’s innocence, and whether this is a “framing a guilty man” situation. Sorting that out is taking awhile — Alabama politics (and Southern politics in general) makes what goes down in Chicago seem positively clean in comparison — and in the meantime DoJ while not quite as short-handed as it has been, still has to get its new hires trained.

    • Charles II said

      Like I say, this is a perfect situation for an outside counsel.

      In fact, since OPR seems to be up to its neck in the coverup, I’d say an outside counsel is required.

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