Monday, February 8, 2010

Throwing Honest Services Fraud Away

The Rove Republican Racket's favorite legal weapon of choice, the "honest services" fraud law, is being tossed over the side of the bridge by federal prosecutors.

The Chicago Tribune reported last week:
With a U.S. Supreme Court decision looming on the disputed "honest services" fraud law, federal prosecutors Thursday revised their indictment against former [Illinois] Gov. Rod Blagojevich, restructuring the charges without altering the specific allegations against him. Prosecutors added eight counts that mirror other charges in the indictment but that don't rely on honest services fraud. That way, if the Supreme Court limits or tosses the controversial law, prosecutors can simply drop those counts and proceed to trial as scheduled on June 3. The newly added counts, based on other statutes, would ensure Blagojevich would still face the same allegations — that he sought to improperly profit from his office, including by trying to sell a vacated U.S. Senate seat.
As reader's know, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has ripped the dishonest "honest services fraud" law to shreds saying that someone who calls in sick to go to a ball game would be guilty of a crime under this law. Across the country, during the Rove-Bush-Cheney years, Democrats and other political operatives were tossed in jail based on this vague and harmful law. Maybe the dozens of political prisoners sitting in federal prisons around the country will see freedom soon.