Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Professionals, Politicial hacks and Patrick Fitzgerald

The verdict came in this Tuesday afternoon in the trial of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, guilty on 4 out of 5 counts. If you've been living in a cave these last three years and don't know the particulars of the case, go to the following link from the UK Guardian.

The fine folks at Firedoglake did a first rate job blogging the trial, so I will not step on their toes (but I do urge anyone reading this to show them some love with a paypal donation).

Among the most under reported but significant events (IMHO) is the news conference given by the lead investigator Patrick Fitzgerald immediately after the jury's verdict:
    Reporter: Are you going to make public the complete account of your investigation, including the account of the testimony of VP Cheney , Karl Rove and others, whose full accounts were not revealed in this trial
    Fitzgerald: And the short answer is no, I am not an independent council, the independent council statue, which most people do not appreciate does not exist anymore. And what was different from an independent council as oppose to a special prosecutor is an independent council would issue reports, they would file charges or not file charges and then give a lengthy explanation of what they found.
    That is different from what ordinary prosecutors do, we file charges and then we are obliged to prove them, or we don’t file charges. And there has been criticism about whether the independent councils should be filing reports because sometimes you say things about people that you are not prepared to prove in court and I think that was an appropriate criticism of it.
    What ever you think about the independent council, I am not an independent council. I am bound by the laws of grand jury secrecy. I am bound by the laws that we don’t talk abut people who have not been charged, so we are not going to be opening up our file draws, handing them over to you guys to write newspaper articles or magazine articles or books or whatever you want to do, that’s not the system.
    And part of that I think we ought to appreciate as citizens is fair, if you want people to come and tell the truth, and you tell them that if you talk to us there is grand jury secrecy. There are protections for you; we have to live by our word. And we gave our word to have people talk to us, and unless we file charges or it becomes public as it does at a trial, that’s it.
A Pro from Dover, as said by Gould in the original movie version of M*A*S*H. And because the last major use of the independent or special prosecutor was Kenneth Starr, a comparison of the two is not without merit.

What are the differences between Starr and Fitzgerald? Simply put, Fitzgerald was a professional investigator attempting to see if a crime had been committed. Starr was a partisan hack who at the bequest of the Republican Congress attempted to find a crime in order to bring down a popularly elected Chief Executive that the R's could not defeat in an election.

Proof, you may ask? Disregarding the various books on the subject, from Conasons "The Hunting of the President" to Blumenthals "The Clinton Wars", the unprofessional conduct of Mr. Starr is a matter of the Public Record:


    Presently before the Court are three motions requesting that this Court order the Office of the Independent Counsel ("OIC") to show cause why it, or individuals therein, should not be held in contempt for violations of Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 6(e)(2)
Contrast the above order with the statement by Mr. Fitzgerald I am bound by the laws of grand jury secrecy.

Bound by the laws. Mr. Fitzgerald was a professional all during the Libby trial. If my Republican friends were not blinded by the right, Fitzgerald would be embraced as the model of moral and ethical behavior, a tough on crime manly man who takes no sh*t from the liberal, criminal coddling, card carrying members of the ACLU (full disclosure, I am one of them).

And because he was a professional, the perjury trial of I. Lewis Libby ended with guilty on 4 of 5 counts, the exact opposite of Starr's pathetic attempt to convict Susan McDougal and Julie Steele on similar charges.

But in the land of the RWNM, enablers of the Net, the Print, the Radio and the Television believe in politics first and law second. Thomas Sowell's mantra of No one is above the law is replaced by complicated laws regulating too many things. And when you attempt to confront Sowell with such naked hypocrisy, it is like trying to explain sight to a blind man.

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