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Yesterday's TPM Muckraker carried a post and discussion of the May 2007 edition of the Justice Department Guide to prosecuting voting fraud.

Several Senators questioned the Guide's emphasis on prosecuting small cases of fraudulent registration - which a recent study found to be miniscule events. But no one mentioned the possibility that a lot of people in the DoJ could be facing prosecution for crimes that carry 10-year sentences. I am talking about an organized conspiracy to violate Section 241 of Title 18, the civil rights conspiracy statute.

On pages 61 and 62, the Guide describes the kind of criminal conspiracy that seems to be involved here, and the hard time that conviction can bring. I would expect that this, not just the possibility of perjury indictments, is what Gonzales, Schlozman, et al are really afraid of.

Here is what the DoJ itself has to say in another section of its website about Section 241. It looks like a lot of 10-year sentences are on the table for a lot of people, including Gonzo himself. After you read it, ask yourself why haven't the Democrats on the panel pushed this, and why aren't we pushing it?

"Section 241 of Title 18 is the civil rights conspiracy statute. Section 241 makes it unlawful for two or more persons to agree together to injure, threaten, or intimidate a person in any state, territory or district in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him/her by the Constitution or the laws of the Unites States, (or because of his/her having exercised the same).

Unlike most conspiracy statutes, Section 241 does not require that one of the conspirators commit an overt act prior to the conspiracy becoming a crime.

The offense is punishable by a range of imprisonment up to a life term or the death penalty, depending upon the circumstances of the crime, and the resulting injury, if any.

TITLE 18, U.S.C., SECTION 241

If two or more persons conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having so exercised the same;...

They shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, they shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death."

Originally posted to SilentBob on Sun Jul 29, 2007 at 03:41 AM PDT.

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