Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Blago and Lying to the FBI

Yesterday's stunning news that former Democratic Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich (pictured right) was not convicted on 23 of the 24 counts he was charged with was a tremendous setback to the Rove Republican Racket, federal prosecutors, and esteemed U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald.

But there's a bigger story to this. In knee-jerk fashion, prosecutors vowed to retry Blagojevich. The Chicago Tribune reported:
Moments after a rare setback, a chastened U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald was acting nothing like the swaggering prosecutor who just 20 months earlier proclaimed he had arrested a sitting governor to stop a political crime spree. He would not take questions from reporters about his office's failure to convict former Gov. Rod Blagojevich on 23 counts against him, winning a guilty verdict only on a single count of lying to the FBI, among the least serious of the charges he faced.  Instead, Fitzgerald vowed to retry the case, then quickly ending his news conference.
The real "political crime spree" and bigger story here is the charge Blago was convicted on: lying to the FBI.

Lying to federal agents, or not telling the whole truth, has been a favorite tool of the federal government to bring in  innocent people, some with no criminal records, and force them to plead out or fry bigger fish.

FBI agents visit and interview people and draft up what are called 302 reports.  A 302 report (sample pictured left) is used to summarize an interview conducted by an FBI agent. Depending on the agent's interpretation, some interviewees may end up as criminal defendants.

Most interviewees believe the FBI is just doing its job and are never told they should have a lawyer present. Their own words, or misinterpretations and misspeak, can be used against them in a court of law.

The Rove Cheney Bush Administration succeeded in using this slight-of-hand tactic. Like the Honest Services Fraud Crime was, lying to the FBI became a stretched-beyond-the-limits weapon to prosecute political targets.

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