Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Yet another political show trial crashes and burns

Posted by Charles II on June 1, 2012

Michael Biesecker, HuffPo:

A jury’s refusal to convict John Edwards was less a redemption of the former White House hopeful than a rejection of the Justice Department’s boldest attempt to make an example of someone in the name of enforcing campaign finance laws.

“As noted by nearly every campaign finance lawyer who considered the matter, this was a lousy case,” said Melanie Sloan, executive director for the campaign finance watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. “All the salacious details prosecutors offered up to prove that Edwards is, indeed, despicable, were not enough to persuade the jury to convict him.”

Several jurors said there just wasn’t enough evidence. On network talk shows Friday, even jurors who thought Edwards was guilty on at least some counts said the prosecution wasn’t able to prove it.

Being a scoundrel is not a crime. Sometimes one wishes it were, but not enough to waste a lot of money on it.

9 Responses to “Yet another political show trial crashes and burns”

  1. Phoenix Woman said

    This was a pure political show trial, and if by some miracle the prosecution had succeeded it would have been overturned on appeal. As it is, even the prosecutors admit that they won’t be trying this again.

    • Stormcrow said

      Which means that during the next iteration, it won’t be tried before a jury.

      • Charles II said

        Jury or no jury is Edwards’ choice. If it were tried by a fair judge with no jury, he would probably have thrown it out just on the basis that a prosecution of this kind is unprecedented, despite the fact that many candidates have accepted gifts off the books (see Aqua-Leisureff). These offenses are dealt with using fines, not jail time.

  2. MarkH said

    What gift did Edwards receive? I thought the money went to Hunter and some was skimmed by the bag man (isn’t that a crime too?).

    I remember after 2000 they tried to hurt Lieberman. It’s pretty clear they want to make it harder for anyone to make the choice to run for high office, knowing there will be retribution afterward. Of course, Lieberman may have dealt his own weird retribution by supporting McCain. Heh.

    It certainly shows our justice system is abused and abusive. The penalty Edwards faced was way out of line with the charges. We need to improve sentencing guidelines to bring it more into line with what the ordinary person would think is fair and useful.

    • Charles II said

      MarkH says, “I remember after 2000 they tried to hurt Lieberman.”

      If by “they” you mean the Democrats who saw his disgraceful performance in Florida which made it far more difficult to challenge the election theft, yeah, “they” did run a challenger to replace him, and a majority of Connecticut Democrats agreed that he should move on. But that was in 2006.

      Prior to then, I don’t recall Lieberman getting hurt in any way. I remember him pontificating, acting self-righteously, and pushing horrific legislation. Hurt, no.

  3. Stormcrow said

    Jury or no jury is Edwards’ choice.

    Yes, and that’s why this scheme miscarried.

    This also makes trial by jury the next piece of the Constitution which Obama’s Justice Department will want to “streamline” away.

    You can’t really depend on a show trial to accomplish its design intent if the jury balks, now can you?

    • Charles II said

      Well, failing getting rid of the jury system, there’s always drone strikes.

      I don’t see the DoJ as Obama’s so much as a train running out of control. Replacing the career attorneys with Regent University graduates made it very awkward for political appointees to stop the train. Not that Holder seems to have any stomach for a fight.

      • Stormcrow said

        I don’t see the DoJ as Obama’s so much as a train running out of control. Replacing the career attorneys with Regent University graduates made it very awkward for political appointees to stop the train. Not that Holder seems to have any stomach for a fight.

        Sorry, but DoJ IS Obama’s department.

        Obama has had four years as President, thus both ability and opportunity to prune and tune the management of DoJ to his heart’s content.

        No excuses.

        If he hasn’t done that job by now, then there are only two conclusions this admits:
        (1) Either he’s incompetent,
        (2) or else DoJ now reflects Obama’s will.

        I think, given virtually everything else he has actually done in the last 4 years, and what he’s left undone, that Door Number 2 is by far the likeliest one.

      • Charles II said

        You may be right, Stormcrow, but bureaucracies do have a mind of their own. Do you have any explanation of why Clinton’s Justice Department didn’t do anything about the Florida purge of 2009? I certainly don’t. I’m pretty sure that Janet Reno is not happy with having on her record the fact that she let the second election in American history be stolen through racial profiling.

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