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Via http://malcontends.blogspot.com/...

The conduct of Stephen Biskupic, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin (2002 - present) has generated two prominent reactions.

As arguably the most controversial U.S. Atty in Wisconsin history, Biskupic has drawn both praise and angry denunciation for his prosecutions of:

- The proven-innocent Wisconsin state worker Georgia Thompson

- Several subsequently overturned "voter fraud" cases

- Wisconsin Navy veteran Keith Roberts

The praise for Biskupic is exemplified by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Mike Nichols (Biskupic is antithesis of a politician, May 11, 2007) who applauds the prosecution of the innocent and apolitical state worker Georgia Thompson, writing:

"Granted, the prosecution of Thompson, the purchasing official in the Doyle Administration, was a bust. Being a political creature like Thompson, it turns out, is not a crime."

But you have to admire a prosecutor who starts from the premise that it might be."

Admiration of prosecutors destroying the lives of innocents is far from universal, I'm glad to write.

Biskupic is hardly alone in his using the U.S. Attorney’s office for political prosecutions and retaliation against perceived domestic enemies. The abuse of the Bush Department of Justice to settle political scores and further rightwing ideology is pervasive.

Many Americans have been asking the questions: Is this legal? Can’t we prosecute the prosecutors who have corrupted the judicial process and ruined the lives of innocents?

Scott Horton, a human rights attorney and columnist for Harper’s, has a column today suggestive of a possible answer to these questions.

In his A Political Prosecution Goes Under the Microscope, Horton writes:

As the countdown begins to the end of the Bush Administration, abuse of the criminal justice system is finally coming into focus.

Within the Justice Department itself, the Office of Professional Responsibility and the Inspector General are conducting a joint investigation into the case of the "Gonzales Eight," namely the firing of eight U.S. attorneys on December 7, 2006. Preliminary inquiries by Congress produced the resignation in disgrace of most of the senior leadership of the Justice Department, including Attorney General Gonzales. Now (we) hear that Alberto Gonzales has 'lawyered up' — for good reason. The internal probe will, I am told, demonstrate a stunning pattern of management of political prosecutions out of the White House. Karl Rove himself figures at the center of the process. And George W. Bush will put in more than a couple of key appearances in the process before this drama has been played out. ...

What’s at stake in this case? (The great jurist) Robert H. Jackson reminded us in his speech "The Federal Prosecutor" that our society can never tolerate a situation in which prosecutors investigate individuals rather than crimes. When this occurs, the basic principles of our criminal justice system are subverted and the nation is put on the path toward tyranny. The damage is compounded when a prosecutor uses his vast powers, held under a public trust, to attack his political enemies. But all signs point to this being the case in Michigan, like in others cases in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, and Wisconsin. ...

At this point it is plain that the Justice Department is not guided by policies and principles in its posture, but by an earnest resolve to keep hidden the dark truths that an entire nation now suspects and which will come to the front burner as soon as the results of the Department’s own investigation into the misconduct of Attorney General Gonzales become public. It’s time to shine a bright and sanitizing light down the crevice of these prosecutions and let the truth be known.

Horton recommends that a remedy in the U.S. Code for the situation inflicted on the nation by the DoJ be examined for possible future prosecution by a non-Bush U.S. Department of Justice.

TITLE 18, PART I, CHAPTER 73, § 1505 and TITLE 18, PART I, CHAPTER 73, § 1512

"Now as it turns out, using the office of U.S. attorney to wage a political vendetta is a crime under sections 1505 and 1512 of the (federal) Criminal Code," writes Horton.

Horton refers to TITLE 18, PART I, CHAPTER 73, § 1505 and TITLE 18, PART I, CHAPTER 73, § 1512 of the U.S. Code in discussing the political prosecution of a prominent Democrat by DoJ Republicans.

One hopes that the federal Code would be deemed applicable in the United States v. Keith A. Roberts (07-1546) case in which, as Wisconsin Public Radio reports, Keith Roberts, a Wisconsin Navy veteran, became a political target,

related to (his) Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) diagnosed as occurring because he witnessed and tried to prevent his friend from being crushed to death by a C-54 airplane while stationed at a Naval air base in Naples, Italy 1969, and (an) unrelated assault by the Navy Shore Patrol—granted and then denied, has not yet been decided by the CAVC (U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims).

But the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) after being accused of fraud in 2003 by Roberts ignored the CAVC process and investigated and asked that Roberts be prosecuted for fraud by the US Attorney’s office.

Section 1505 reads in part: "...Whoever corruptly, or by threats or force, or by any threatening letter or communication influences, obstructs, or impedes or endeavors to influence, obstruct, or impede the due and proper administration of the law under which any pending proceeding is being had before any department or agency of the United States ...," describing a criminal activity consonant with Biskupic's conduct.

A future prosecution would have to make the case that the U.S. Dept of Veterans Affairs (VA) and U.S. Atty Biskupic corruptly obstructed the VA's proceeding of the Roberts' appeal for VA disability benefits.

That should not be exceedingly difficult as there exists at least a prima facie case that this is precisely what did happen to the Wisconsin Navy veteran, Roberts. See Top VA Officials Plotted to Indict Vet in Violation of Federal VA Rules.

The Georgia Thompson and "voter fraud" cases present more clear cases of political corruption. And the Roberts case exhibits a crony's tendency to back the then-head of Bush's VA goal of obstructing vets diagnosed with PTSD.

Let's hope that for the sake of justice that all of these cases are examined thoroughly by the DoJ's Office of Professional Responsibility, the DoJ Inspector General, and the appropriate congressional committees (now being stonewalled) overseeing the judiciary.

Wisconsin citizens deserve and justice demands full confidence in the impartial, politics-free United States Attorney's offices.

Research Project Needed

One cannot realistically expect results from the Bush DoJ, but a public-interest organization, or a pro bono research project flushing out and constructing a hypothetical criminal case under sections 1505 and 1512 begun by a law firm or law school students offers the hope in the restoration of the travesty of justice that today's U.S. Dept of Justice has become.

Prosecutorial Immunity

Prosecutorial Immunity, as Erwin Chemerinsky writes, is not absolute. See also Johns, Margaret Z in Reconsidering Absolute Prosecutorial Immunity.

For more information:

- The proven-innocent Wisconsin state worker Georgia Thompson

- Georgia Thompson Refused to Fabricate under Threat of Jailing

- Several overturned "voter fraud" cases

- "Voter fraud" cases drove US Attys Firings

- Wisconsin Navy veteran Keith Roberts

- Harper's on Keith Roberts and Biskupic

- Biskupic is antithesis of a politician

- Abuse of the Bush Department of Justice

- A Political Prosecution Goes Under the Microscope

- The Federal Prosecutor

- TITLE 18, PART I, CHAPTER 73, § 1505

- Title 18, PART I, CHAPTER 73, § 1512

- United States v. Keith A. Roberts (07-1546)

- Wisconsin Public Radio on Keith Roberts and US Atty Biskupic

- Prosecutorial Immunity, as Erwin Chemerinsky

- Reconsidering Absolute Prosecutorial Immunity

###

Originally posted to MAL Contends on Sat Jan 26, 2008 at 05:34 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Very important diary (7+ / 0-)

    Please rec this up.

    We are just starting to scratch the survace of the malfeasance of the corrupt and morally bankrupt administration.  They are wallowing in sewage and it will take a long time and much resolve to find out what happened and clean it up.

  •  Proving the DOJ guilty of targeting (5+ / 0-)

    certain (Democratic) people deliberately is almost impossible.  In Iowa, in Dec., 2005, a openly gay Democratic state legislator was charged with attempted extortion.  Two years later exactly, the trial was held, the jury deliberated for 11/2 hours during which they jury had lunch.  As one reporter stated, FEDS 0, Carrot Cake Won.  Not Guilty!

    The trial attracted a lot of press attention, and many commenter's in The Des Moines Register questioned the veracity of the AG who is a Bush appointee, belongs to an ultra-conservative sect, and was clearly, with Gonzales' personal help, was out to get someone.  About 90% of the time, it works for them.  

    "Man's life's a vapor Full of woe. He cuts a caper, Down he goes. Down de down de down he goes.

    by JFinNe on Sat Jan 26, 2008 at 06:10:03 AM PST

    •  You're (6+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JVolvo, Snarcalita, DBunn, JFinNe, Empower Ink, BYw

      right.

      But in the US v. Roberts case, there is the simultaneity of Roberts' case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC) and before the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

      And Roberts' atty was able to obtain Dept of VA e-mails pointing to the engineering of the US Atty's prosecution during the investigative phase of the VA proceeding and the resultant DoJ prosecution.
      Very damning, and Renee L. Szybala, then director for operations of VA's Compensation and Pension Service, should lose her license to practice law over her conduct.

      See:

      http://malcontends.blogspot.com/...

      and

      - http://malcontends.blogspot.com/...

      - http://malcontends.blogspot.com/...

      ###

      Michael Leon blogs at http://malcontends.blogspot.com.

      by MAL Contends on Sat Jan 26, 2008 at 06:27:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Evidence (6+ / 0-)

        In the Iowa case, the Feds paid a man to secretly tape record conversations with the accused.  They then cherry picked (out of 11 hours of recordings) sections that made the accused sound guilty.  The woman attorney who was authorized to pay the informer said no money had been exchanged.  When found that this was untrue, she said "I forgot."

        The staggering amount of money spent on worthless, unnecessary cases by the DOJ is enough to make you sick.

        Thanks for the links - enough to make you cry...

        "Man's life's a vapor Full of woe. He cuts a caper, Down he goes. Down de down de down he goes.

        by JFinNe on Sat Jan 26, 2008 at 06:47:40 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I'm sorry this diary didn't get more traction (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MAL Contends

    Maybe if your title was "Why Does Hillary HATE Keith Roberts" it would have.  

    "Man's life's a vapor Full of woe. He cuts a caper, Down he goes. Down de down de down he goes.

    by JFinNe on Sat Jan 26, 2008 at 07:56:45 AM PST

    •  Not (0+ / 0-)

      sure what you mean.

      But the story is out in the veterans' press, and elsewhere.

      I have been writing about it since May 2007.

      I would expect a Hillary, Obama or Edwards administration to reverse the Bush VA and DOJ policies.

      The U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC) appeal has just been assigned to a CAVC judge; and the criminal case is pending before a three-judge panel in the 7th circuit (orals were held Oct. 25, 2007), awaiting a decision.

      Thank you for your comments.

      ###

      Michael Leon blogs at http://malcontends.blogspot.com.

      by MAL Contends on Sat Jan 26, 2008 at 08:24:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for this diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MAL Contends

    It connected the dots for me in another USA corruption scandal.

    The violation of Title 18,chapter 73,75 1505 is not clear t ome as anon-lawyer but the quote from Justice Jackson, the chief Nuremberg trials of 46 47 and agiant among American jurist is the touchstone to examine all these cases. The purpose of trials is to examine and prosecute crimes, not individuals.

    In the Upstate NY region of Syracuse, Dr R. Dhafir was tried in the press extensively before the actual trial, given a nonbailable status with the implication that he was a terrorist and supported terrorism and Saddam Hussein. The accused was an oncologist and many year physician in the upstate NY area. He supported an Islamic charity that with great difficulty(and avoiding contact with SH) did send relief to Iraq prior to the 2003 invasion.

     There were no links to terrorists discovered or proved. But the media hype and the IRS difficulties meant an ill Dhafir in his late 50's got a 22 year term.

     The idea of sentencing somebody for a white collar non violent crime and disrupting (Dhafir is ruined as a physician in America) the lives of patients and fair play to leak lurid and untrue aspersions about him to the press is the basis of a completely corrupt prosecution.  The case was handled and encouraged from Washington with the agreement of Judge Norman Mordue, Prosecutor Glenn Suddaby and a cast of enablers.  The accused was not in a position to flee to Iraq, and there was no ongoing threat to persons or the community.

    His defense was obstructed and hampered in many ways.

     There may have been white collar crimes (tax evasion,rtc) done but the case was a sensation with hints of terror connections that never were actually brought in to it at the end. The case helped foment a climate of fear and selling Bush's war.

    You looking for some respect from me? What have you done to make life around here for others a little better and earn your privileges?

    by Pete Rock on Sun Jan 27, 2008 at 12:05:17 PM PST

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