Thursday, April 15, 2010

Racial Mudslinging in Michigan City, Indiana

The Rove Republican Racket does not own or have exclusivity to destroying the reputations of Democrats.

In some cases, a few Democrats have taken a page from the playbook of Karl Rove and the Republicans.

In LaPorte County, Indiana, a nasty, Democratic primary fight for county prosecutor has led to some heated mudslinging. Rob Beckman (pictured) has been the local prosecutor since 1998 and now words he used in the courtroom are being thrown back at him.

The Herald Angus reports:
Prosecuting Attorney Rob Beckman attempted to appeal to the racial bias of a white jury when he called a black defense witness a “big, black buck” during a 2003 murder trial, La Porte prosecuting attorney hopeful Bob Szilagyi claims. “It’s completely inappropriate, just another instance of his temperament not being right for the job,” said Szilagyi, who is challenging Beckman in the May 4 Democratic primary. He issued a press release on the comment this week.

Beckman countered that this was merely another attempt at “character assassination” from his opponent. “I would assume if such a statement were made, there would have been justification for it, some background to it,” Beckman said. “If it was truly inflammatory, the man’s conviction would have been reversed on appeal.”

According to court transcripts, Beckman made the statement during closing arguments for the October 2003 trial of James N. Smith, a Michigan City man who was convicted of shooting and killing his neighbor Lenny Bradley. The comment pertained to a man, referred to only as Howell in the transcript, who the defense used as a witness supporting Smith’s claim that another man shot Bradley. Smith was originally sentenced to 80 years in prison for the crime, but the sentence was reduced to 73 years on appeal.