January 24, 2007

Misconduct

I’m not sure which prosecutor has behaved more atrociously, Mike Nifong, who is up on new charges of not releasing potentially exculpatory evidence in the Duke lacrosse rape case, or Patrick Fitzgerald the political witch hunter who is charging Scooter Libby with perjury because he could not recall some information correctly when questioned about the Valerie Plame CIA “leak” case.


Yesterday Patrick Fitzgerald’s first three witnesses could not recall with clarity the details about who told what to whom and when in the convoluted entanglement that was once refered to as "plamegate". The so called leak, as it turns out, was rather innocuous and had very little bearing on national security since it was common knowledge that Valerie Plame, who appeared in a Vanity Fair article, was an employee of the CIA. In fact, Patrick Fitzgerald himself even confused the order of who told who what and when in a press conference when he flubbed on describing who Libby had spoken to first about the identity of democratic operative and political hack Joe Wilson’s wife, Valerie Plame.

The Duke Lacrosse case requires less explanation, for it is clear to any American with a brain that the student athletes are not guilty of the various fabricated charges that the accuser has leveled and the prosecutor Mike Nifong, for political reasons, mishandled.

Both lawyers should be disbarred for prosecutorial misconduct.

3 comments:

Kent said...

Your post reminds me something I forgot to cover on RFL.

An WSJ op-ed last week posed the question of whether or not Fitzgerald is merely exercising a grudge against Libby.

Scooter was the attorney of Marc Rich, the billionaire fugitive whom Clinton pardoned on his way out of office in 2000. Fitzgerald was then a federal prosecutor in New York's southern district.

The WSJ clearly implies this could be the rationale for the seemingly erroneous prosecution of Libby.

Jaz said...

Hmmm...Haven't heard that yet. Did Fitzgerald get a conviction that time I wonder. If Clinton had to pardon Rich I assume he was found guilty of something, so why would fitzgerald hold a grudge? Either way, the 'plamegate' Libby perjury case is the flimsiest of hearsay cases and Fitzgerald should not be holding grudges like a baby or doing the bidding of Democrats who are trying to disgrace the Bush Admininstration over an issue which in reality makes Democrats specifically Joe Wislon look bad.

Kent said...

Here is the January 20, 2007 WSJ editorial.

"As it happens, Messrs. Fitzgerald and Libby had crossed legal paths before. Before he joined the Bush Administration, Mr. Libby had, for a number of years in the 1980s and 1990s, been a lawyer for Marc Rich. Mr. Rich is the oil trader and financier who fled to Switzerland in 1983, just ahead of his indictment for tax-evasion by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Bill Clinton pardoned Mr. Rich in 2001, and so the feds never did get their man. The pardon so infuriated Justice lawyers who had worked on the case that the Southern District promptly launched an investigation into whether the pardon had been "proper." One former prosecutor we spoke to described the Rich case as "the single most rancorous case in the history of the Southern District.

"Two of the prosecutors who worked on the Rich case over the years were none other than Mr. Fitzgerald and James Comey, who while Deputy Attorney General appointed Mr. Fitzgerald to investigate the Plame leak. Mr. Fitzgerald worked in the Southern District for five years starting in 1988, at the same time that Mr. Libby was developing a legal theory of Mr. Rich's innocence in a bid to get the charges dropped. The prosecutors never did accept the argument, but Leonard Garment, who brought Mr. Libby onto the case in 1985, says that he believes Mr. Libby's legal work helped set the stage for Mr. Rich's eventual pardon.

"This was all long ago, it's true. But Mr. Libby and Mr. Comey tangled more recently as well. In 2004, as Mr. Fitzgerald was gearing up his investigation, Mr. Libby was the Administration's point man in trying to get Justice to sign off on the NSA wiretapping program. In early 2004, Mr. Comey was acting Attorney General while John Ashcroft recovered from gall bladder surgery, and Mr. Comey reportedly refused to give the NSA program the greenlight, prompting the White House to seek out Mr. Ashcroft in the hospital in a bid to circumvent Mr. Comey.

"Motive is a difficult thing to gauge. We don't know whether this long personal history played any role either in Mr. Fitzgerald's single-minded pursuit of Mr. Libby, or in Mr. Comey's decision to grant the prosecutor plenary power even though the central mystery of the case had already been resolved. But connecting the dots linking the three men at the heart of this case seems worth doing given the puzzling nature of this prosecution."