Thursday, April 30, 2009
As we reported earlier, 75 former State Attorney Generals have called on Attorney General Eric Holder to review Siegelman's case. The highly critical editorial page of the newspaper notes that none of the 75 are from Alabama (like that really would make a difference) and says that the Siegelman case should not be treated with political favoritism and must go through the regular legal channels.
No offense but having a review, like Holder did for former U.S. Senator Ted Stevens, is part of the regular legal process, espècially when U.S. Attorney Offices act blatantly wrong.
The Birmingham News is a tiresome Rove Racket mouthpiece that did nothing to protect the legal integrity of Alabama's judicial system and has consistently paid political favorites with the Rove Republican Racket.
A political swine flu appears to have infected their brains.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Minor may finally see freedom after being wrongly sentenced to 11 years in prison by the Rove-Bush-Cheney Administration.
The court has asked all parties to file briefs of no more than 15 pages by May 18th. Here is the exact text from their letter dated April 22, 2009:
The panel requests that the parties provide supplemental briefing on the following issues related to counts 11, 12, 13 and 14 alleging violations of 18 U.S.C. § 666.
The court notes that section 666 provides that an agent of a state or local government or agency receiving federal funds as specified in section 666 – here “the Administrative Office of the Courts” of Mississippi – commits an offense if he “corruptly solicits or demands for the benefit of any person, or accepts or agrees to accept, anything of value from any person, intending to be influenced or rewarded in connection with any business, transaction, or series of transactions of such organization, government, or agency involving any thing of value of $5,000 or more . . . .” Section 666(a)(1)(B) (emphasis added).
Section 666 likewise provides that one commits an offense if he“corruptly gives, offers, or agrees to give anything of value to any person, with intent to influence or reward an agent of an organization or of a State, local or Indian tribal government, or any agency thereof, in connection with any business, transaction, or series of transactions of such organization, government, or agency involving anything of value of $5,000 or more.” Section 666(a)(2) (emphasis added).
1. What evidence shows that the matter or matters respecting which Judge Whitfield or Judge Teel intended to be influenced or rewarded, were a matter or matters in connection with any business or transaction of the Administrative Office of the Courts of Mississippi? Similarly, what evidence shows that anything of value which Minor gave with intent to influence or reward Judge Whitfield or Judge Teel was in respect to any action taken or to be taken in connection with any business or transaction of the Administrative Office of the Courts of Mississippi?
2. Describe the nexus that the “in connection with” clause requires between the relevant governmental agency – here the Administrative Office of the Courts of Mississippi – and the particular matter respecting which the “agent” defendant (here Judge Whitfield or Judge Teel) is intended to be influenced or rewarded.
3. What is the proof of such nexus with respect to the convictions under counts 11, 12, 13 and 14?
4. As to each appellant was a lack of such nexus adequately raised below and on appeal? If not adequately so raised, what authority would allow the court to consider the nexus in the present appeal?
5. If the court determines one or more of counts 11, 12, 13 and 14 should be reversed, what effect, if any, would that have on the proper action to be taken on any of the other counts of conviction, and what effect, if any, would that have with respect to whether there should be resentencing on any of the other counts of conviction even if the convictions on those other counts were not to be reversed?
Each party is to provide a brief not to exceed 15 pages, said brief to be filed by May 18, 2009.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A bipartisan group of 75 former state attorneys general from across the country has asked U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate the prosecution of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman. They want Holder to conduct an investigation similar to the one that led the Justice Department to drop its case against former Republican Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska. Holder asked a judge to toss out Stevens' corruption conviction because prosecutors withheld evidence from his defense team during the trial. The attorneys general say in their letter that if similar misconduct is found in the Siegelman case, the once-popular Democrat's corruption conviction should be dismissed. Siegelman was sentenced to more than seven years in prison and is free on bond while he appeals.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
But the most interesting (and ironic) item in this breaking scandal is the following (from CNN): "CQ.com also reported that after the intercept, the FBI tried to open an investigation of Harman, but then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales pulled the plug because he wanted Harman's help defending the controversial domestic warrantless wiretapping program, which she supported."
Obviously, Gonzales' decision was pure politics. The Rove Racket successfully turned the U.S. Department of Justice into a branch of its political army.
CQ.com broke the story and here is the link. CNN did a follow up interview and the story is here. Harman has called on Attorney General Eric Holder to release any and all transcripts immediately.
Monday, April 20, 2009
The Rove Republican Racket that targeted the Democratic fundraiser changed jury instructions on a re-trial after losing round one.
The same three-judge panel that deferred the furlough decisions [about Minor] to the Bureau of Prisons is currently reviewing Minor’s appeal, and voicing doubts about irregular jury instructions granted by ...U.S. District Judge Henry Wingate during Minor’s 2007 trial. Wingate had presided over the prosecution’s failure to convict Minor and three other judges in 2005. Wingate removed the necessity of quid pro quo proof of bribery in the 2007 re-trial, however, and instructed the jury that they did not have to find any proof of bribery, or even find that the judges’ rulings were illogical. U.S. Department of Justice attorney Elizabeth Collery recently informed the panel that prosecutors settled for a vague corruption arrangement. “The agreement,” Collery affirmed, “was you will take this money and in some future case you will rule dishonestly for me,” even though there was apparently no guarantee that the candidate would win the election or even preside over a Minor case.The lack of detail made convicting Minor a cinch, although [Minor's attorney]—who helped devise modern U.S. corruption laws—argued that the same argument could be fashioned to convict just about anyone who donates money to a judge’s campaign. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, for example, donates millions of dollars to judicial candidates who favor plaintiffs and corporations, making the supreme courts of many southern
states a suit-free haven for businesses.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
There is quite an interesting passage inside the article:
"People, including those watching the case of former Gov. Don Siegelman, know that there are laws against quid pro quo, exchanging something of value for an official action. They argue prosecutors did not prove quid pro quo against Siegelman, but he was convicted of appointing Richard Scrushy to a state board in exchange for a large donation to a failed lottery campaign."
The governor's spokesperson then "asked who is supposed to determine whether a gift was given to influence."
A very good question, indeed! Maybe he and his boss should look in the mirror.
Riley's friends at the Rove Republican Racket targeted Siegelman. The Rove Republican Racket "determined"by their almighty wisdom that Siegelman was being influenced by a gift.
The Rove Racket now acts like the Puritans of Clean Politics when the whole case was nothing more than a political prosecution by the U.S. Attorneys Office used to destabilize the Democratic Party in Alabama.
Saturday, April 18, 2009
A San Antonio federal judge expressed similar feelings about Morris and her team seven years ago. The feds had obtained a search warrant to search the office and home of criminal defense attorney Alan Brown for evidence of tax cheating and money laundering, but U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia ruled the search to be unconstitutional and barred prosecutors from using what they had collected. In seeking the search warrant, Garcia ruled, investigators misled a U.S. magistrate by failing to disclose that their primary source, a former office manager for Brown named Kelly Houston, had fallen in love with one of Brown’s clients, a drug trafficker whose 18-year federal sentence she hoped to get reduced by turning on Brown. Finding that an agent told the magistrate Houston was truthful even when he knew she had lied about some key financial documents, Garcia called the government’s conduct “reprehensible.” Morris appealed the ruling and, meanwhile, used a technicality to move the case to Austin. The 5th Circuit reversed Garcia’s ruling but ordered Austin federal Judge Lee Yeakel to address the issue. Yeakel’s rhetoric wasn’t as rough, but in 2005 he also found the search to be unconstitutional. Brown was tried in Austin on accusations of hiding more than $500,000 of income over four years. Morris put on 86 witnesses over 29 days of testimony. Witnesses for the defense included two former federal prosecutors and the former first assistant district attorney for Bexar County. It took the jury less than an hour and a half to find Brown innocent. One of the jurors, the wife of an evangelical pastor, held a party at her home for Brown, his wife and the other jurors. Charges against Brown’s wife, Jean, a family lawyer, were dropped. Unlike most defendants, however, the Browns weren’t content to give praise and try to rebuild their lives. They sued the federal government. One of the fine things about filing a lawsuit is that you get to subpoena all sorts of documents. “And the thing is, because I had been acquitted they couldn’t claim that the documents were part of an ongoing investigation,” said Brown on Friday. Among the e-mails he says he recalls was one in which an agent discussed indicting his wife without sufficient evidence because it would get Brown to accept a plea bargain. What else was in the mounds of papers? We will likely never know. Rather than go to trial, the government in 2007 settled the case for $1.34 million. Brown says he was required to return all the papers he had obtained.
Friday, April 17, 2009
From the Associated Press story posted last night:
Imprisoned former Mississippi attorney Paul Minor won't be able to attend his wife's funeral Friday in New Orleans. The Federal Bureau of Prisons had denied his request to attend the service, but Minor's attorney had written an urgent letter Thursday to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder asking him to intervene. Holder replied in an e-mail to attorney Hiram Eastland Jr. late Thursday that Minor wouldn't be allowed to go. "I do not in any way fault the attorney general or the Justice Department for this denial," Eastland said. He said Holder and the agency brought "this entire bizarre issue front and center with the Bureau of Prisons. The Bureau of Prisons, however, would not budge and based their denial on an antiquated, Draconian, anti-family policy of forcing a prisoner to choose between being with their wife while they are dying or after they have already passed away," he said. In February, the Bureau of Prisons allowed Minor to have an escorted visit to his wife for a few hours.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
"From the simple dining room of Tony’s Restaurant in Kingston to the academic surrounds of Wilkes University, Republican strategist Karl Rove on Wednesday discussed the art of political campaigning. He discounted the importance of superior fundraising and warned against over-reliance on attacking an opponent....Rove told the students good campaigns are persistent, have lots of good data and achievable goals. He said there is a right way and a wrong way to criticize opponents."
Rove disingenuously discounted the importance of superior fundraising. Both Bush and Obama have broken fundraising records to win the presidency.
It appears now that the "right way" to criticize opponents is to politicize the U.S. Department of Justice and simply prosecute your opponents and their top fundraisers.
The achievable goals have been Siegelman, Minor, Schmitz, etc. So persistent were these prosecutors, that many folks were prosecuted TWICE after the DOJ initially failed to prove their guilt in round one of a bogus political witch hunt.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Today a broad coalition of organizations and individuals dedicated to an honest and accountable government launched "Restore Justice At Justice," www.RestoreJusticeAtJustice.com, a campaign to clean up the Department of Justice's sad record of political prosecutions under the Bush Administration.
These organizations, representing hundreds of thousands of members, have a strong track record of spurring action on crucial issues. The coalition has sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, available on the Restore Justice At Justice website, requesting that he quickly investigate and identify those targeted, and vacate their convictions, beginning with Alabama ex-Governor Don Siegelman and Attorney Paul Minor.
The coalition asserts that under the Bush administration, the Department of Justice was driven by ideology, and prosecutions were often used to settle scores and intimidate the opposition. The GOP, at the direction of Karl Rove, used the DOJ to target political enemies including Democratic contributors and those who were a threat to GOP electoral gains and big business interests. The Department was used as an arm of the White House to destroy these Democrats. This political profiling resulted in the criminal prosecution of many on the GOP list, including Don Siegelman and Paul Minor.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
From today's Jackson Free Press:
The wife of a possibly wrongfully convicted Mississippi attorney has died. Sylvia Minor, the wife of former attorney Paul Minor, died from brain cancer Monday night, former Supreme Court Justice Oliver Diaz told the Jackson Free Press.Minor, who is serving 11 years for judicial corruption, is appealing his conviction, arguing that the U.S. Justice Department under President George Bush pushed prosecutions against Democrat politicians and Democratic fundraisers like himself in an attempt to swing elections toward Republicans. A congressional committee is investigating whether former Bush administration Chief of Staff Karl Rove influenced the Justice Department under former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, but Rove has repeatedly refused to answer questions from the committee under oath. Minor had asked to be released on bond April 9 pending appeal, but 5th Circuit Court Judge Priscilla Owen, who had hired Rove as a campaign manager for $250,000 to help her in her run for Texas Supreme Court in 1994, refused to grant him a bond. The panel later upheld Owen’s decision—despite the fact that she later recused herself from the panel because of conflict-of-interest issues.Minor's father, columnist Bill Minor, called the situation "senseless," because the court may ultimately uphold the appeal—but too late for Minor to be with his dying wife. "He should have been out on bond anyway, pending appeal," Minor said today.
Monday, April 13, 2009
It seems U.S. Attorneys withheld evidence and offered witnesses "sweetheart" deals. With the Stevens case now wide-open, the Rove-Bush-Cheney Administration was more interested in putting political participants away in jail instead of following the proper, ethical, and legal avenues to convict.
Regardless of Ganim's innocence or guilt, the allegations of prosecutorial misconduct are stunning.
In today's Connecticut Post, Michael P. Mayko writes:
Ganim was convicted in March 2003 on 16 federal corruption charges and sentenced to nine years in prison. His scheduled release date is July 11, 2011. The two key witnesses against him were Paul Pinto, his former fundraiser and close friend, and Leonard Grimaldi, his former campaign manager. Both pleaded guilty to charges, testified against Ganim and served federal prison time. In his complaints, Ganim claims [U.S. Attorneys] suppressed "important impeachment evidence" and used "perjured testimony regarding undisclosed benefits to key government witnesses." Ganim claims those benefits included foregoing U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Arterton's sentence ordering Paul Pinto, once Ganim's close friend, to forfeit $400,000 by instead applying the money to other financial obligations. He points out Pinto also was allowed to keep his retirement account and his home at The Circle in Easton. The former five-term mayor claims the prosecution also disregarded...[the] sentence of Grimaldi by cutting a deal in which he paid only $104,895 of the $671,288 owed in federal income taxes for himself and his government relations company. "If the IRS did not approve the actions of the U.S. Attorney's office," Ganim wrote that agency's Office of Professional Responsibility, "I would request that your office conduct an investigation of this egregious conduct on the part of the U.S. Attorney's office. It is apparent Mr. Grimaldi was well motivated to lie in his testimony when the U.S. Attorney's office was both eliminating the Grimaldi forfeiture of $175,000 and the remaining balance of the income taxes owed. Added to this amount are taxes owed on the $40,000 plus profit gained by Grimaldi from the sale of his house which the U.S. Attorney's office allowed him to keep."
Sunday, April 12, 2009
"Is it coincidental that the trial judge (Mark Fuller) who excluded important evidence for the defense and sentenced Siegelman ...so harshly was once a member of the Alabama Republican State Executive Committee?"
The Rove Republican Racket targeted former Governor Don Siegelman after he had left office. It was simply a case of dirty politics.
Although we believe Republican and Democratic appointed justices can be impartial, without a doubt Judge Fuller appears to have a strong history of political activism over judicial or legal leadership.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
From yesterday's Biloxi Sun Herald:
Paul Minor’s attorneys are once again pleading for a compassionate furlough so the federal prisoner can be with his dying wife. Attorney Hiram Eastland Jr. of Greenwood said he sent a letter Friday to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, asking that Minor receive the maximum 30-day prison furlough to spend with his wife, Sylvia, and their children in Baton Rouge. That is where Sylvia Minor is under hospice care at her mother’s home. Minor, a former Biloxi attorney, is serving 11 years in a federal prison in Pensacola for judicial bribery. He has appealed his conviction to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which heard arguments in the case on April 2. The appellate court refused Thursday to release him pending the outcome.
Friday, April 10, 2009
That's a load of crop dusters!
The only purpose of the Rove Republican Racket's political prosecutions was to cause a "chilling effect" on free speech and political participation. To chastise Attorney General Eric Holder for doing the right thing is unbelievable!
However, Fox News notes the following:
Though Holder has warned his attorneys that misconduct will not be tolerated and told them doing justice is more important to him than winning convictions, he's also tried to nip in the bud any reluctance on behalf of his staff to tackle public corruption.
Holder held a series of private meetings with Justice Department attorneys Thursday to encourage them to keep aggressively pursuing public corruption, despite the unraveling of the Stevens case. A Justice Department official said Holder spoke to lawyers in more than a dozen sections and offices at three different buildings. His message to the prosecutors: Push fraud and corruption cases assertively, and don't feel you need to sit back because of criticism about problems with Stevens' trial and conviction. Holder told reporters Thursday he's taking "a hard look at a variety of things in the department" as a result of the problems with the Stevens case.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
The Rove Republican Racket was kicked in the teeth and knocked out today!
In the case, the defense won 141 "not guilty" verdicts on the entire 141 count indictment against their client last month.
The judge wrote that two Assistant U.S. Attorneys "acted vexatiously and in bad faith."
Gold added, "Initially, it is the responsibility of the United States Attorney and his senior staff to create a culture where 'win-at-any-cost' prosecution is not permitted. Indeed, such a culture must be mandated from the highest levels of the United States Department of Justice and the United States Attorney General. It is equally important that the courts of the United States must let it be known that, when substantial abuses occur, sanctions will be imposed to make the risk of non-compliance too costly."
To read the entire story, click here. To read the opinion by Judge Gold, click here.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
And today U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder took a first step to ending the Rove Republican Racket's grip on the U.S. Department of Justice.
The Washington Post reports: "Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. is preparing to name a new person to lead the Justice Department's internal ethics unit, moving to put his stamp on a department reeling from the dismissal of criminal charges against former senator Ted Stevens and accusations of political motivation during the Bush years. "
Hope is on the horizon for those wrongly prosecuted for political reasons during the Rove-Bush Administration.
Read the full story here.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
This probe may well open a can of worms.
From Mississippi to Puerto Rico, U.S. Attorney Offices are on notice: the distasteful political prosecutions of the Rove-Bush Administration will be closely reviewed.
From today's Reuters Wire:
WASHINGTON, April 7 (Reuters) - A U.S. judge angrily threw out a jury's corruption verdict against former Alaska Senator Ted Stevens on Tuesday and ordered a criminal contempt probe into what he called "shocking" Justice Department misconduct. U.S. District Judge Emmmet Sullivan said prosecutors in the Stevens case had withheld exculpatory evidence, violating their duty to all cases whether they apply to "a public official, a private citizen or a Guantanamo-based detainee." Democratic President Barack Obama's Justice Department decided last week that government prosecutors in the Republican Bush administration had made irreconcilable mistakes in the case against Stevens, the longest serving Republican in the Senate. Stevens, 85, lost his Senate seat in November elections only days after the guilty verdict was reached. He was a powerful Republican whose reputation over a 40-year Senate career became symbolized by a costly "bridge to nowhere" he sought to fund in his home state. Sullivan said he was naming Washington lawyer Henry Schuelke III to begin criminal contempt proceedings against the six-member prosecution team based on the prosecution's failures and "potential obstruction of justice."
Monday, April 6, 2009
Minor, Siegelman, Schmitz and others have a new option, a new path to liberation. Here's a passage from today's news story:
Holder's actions sent a message aimed at fixing more than one bad case, legal analysts say. "The attorney general has sent an unequivocal message that prosecutions of any kind, whether against Republicans, Democrats, independents or others, must be done right," Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said after Holder's announcement. "Public confidence in our justice system and in the Department of Justice can only be preserved when prosecutors adhere to the most stringent legal and ethical standards." Just months ago, Leahy and the committee's ranking Republican, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, were among the Justice Department's harshest critics who, during the waning months of the Bush term, characterized the agency as one of the most damaged institutions in government.
Sunday, April 5, 2009
Even the Puerto Rican media piled on demanding his resignation before the election. It was a well orchestrated win for the Rove Racket.
After 30 witnesses for the federal prosecution and a month long trial, the jury came back on March 20th and unanimously found the former Governor NOT guilty on all nine counts.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder should now look at the prosecutorial misconduct on that sunny island. Here is the full story.
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Today, the Associated Press reports that the fallout is "far from over....Within the department [of Justice], the Stevens case could have far-ranging implications. The prosecution team, including the top two officials in the public integrity section, faces an internal investigation."
The news story has a great observation: "Joseph diGenova, a former federal prosecutor, said federal prosecutors suffer from 'a lack of supervision....I'm a great fan of prosecutors, but the department and the U.S. attorneys offices in my opinion have been out of control,' diGenova said."
Friday, April 3, 2009
With the Stevens indictment and conviction now tossed aside by the Attorney General, there is now hope that justice will prevail against the Rove Republican Racket's political persecutions of Democratic politicians and fundraising allies.
The cases of Paul Minor, Sue Schmitz, former Gov. Don Siegelman among others should and most likely will be reviewed for prosecutorial misconduct.
Former General Counsel to President Nixon, John Dean gives an inside look at what motivated Holder to move on the Stevens case. His insightful column for findlaw.com focuses on Judge Emmett Sullivan.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
This was a huge and bold political statement by Holder: The U.S. Department of Justice is committed to justice, not politics. Let's see what will happen to the other Rove Racket political convictions.
The Associated Press posts:
The Stevens case, the government's highest-profile attack on congressional corruption in recent years, was plagued by problems that continued to pile up even after a jury found him guilty. The last straw, apparently, was the failure of prosecutors to turn over notes of a crucial interview in which a witness contradicted a statement he made later under oath at trial. "I have determined that it is in the interest of justice to dismiss the indictment and not proceed with a new trial," Attorney General Eric Holder said. He said the department must ensure that all cases are "handled fairly and consistent with its commitment to justice. "The prosecutors who handled the trial have been removed from the case and their conduct is under investigation.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Posted on Wed, Apr. 01, 2009
Minor attorneys optimistic about
By ANITA LEE--Paul Minor’s attorneys were encouraged this morning by the reaction of an appellate court panel to their argument that he was wrongly convicted of judicial bribery. “It went really well this morning,” said Greenwood attorney Hiram Eastland from Austin, who also worked on the appeal of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman.
“We were really encouraged that the panel asked thoughtful questions regarding the issue of required quid pro quo.” In legal terms, quid pro quo is receipt of something valuable in exchange for a bribe. Federal prosecutors were not required during Minor’s 2007 trial to show that he received favorable rulings from two state court judges as a direct result of loan guarantees and cash loan payoffs Minor made for the judges. A 2005 trial ended with a hung jury on bribery charges against Minor and the judges. In the 2005 trial, U.S. District Court Judge Henry T. Wingate did require a finding that the judges ruled in Minor’s favor because he guaranteed and paid off their loans.
Another encouraging sign for Minor’s defense: one member of the three-judge panel recused herself from hearing the case. A Democratic appointee replaced 5th Circuit Judge Priscilla Owen, whose recusal Minor’s legal team sought because of her ties to Republican political operative Karl Rove. Minor has long argued that he was a victim of Rove’s political strategy to undermine Democratic candidates by going after their contributors. Minor, a multi-millionaire, was a major contributor to Democratic candidates before his indictment in 2003. Eastland said Minor’s lead attorney, Abby Lowell, also argued that Minor should be released pending a decision on his appeal. Minor, whose wife is dying of cancer, is serving 11 years in federal prison.