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Is there anybody here who knows why a  grand jury Willacy County, Texas, might see fit to indict the Vice-president of the United States?


WILLACY COUNTY - A Willacy County grand jury has indicted a number of political figures, including Vice President Dick Cheney.

Indictments have not yet been made public and we're told a district judge still has to sign the indictments. Two state district judges are also indicted along with Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr.

NEWSCHANNEL 5 is digging to find out more. Senator Lucio has already issued a statement in response to the indictment. It says a motion will be filed to quash Senator Lucio's indictment this week.

NEWSCHANNEL 5 is working in Willacy County right now and will bring you the latest when it becomes available.

Are there any Rio Grande Valley Kossacks who know what is going on?  Am I being hoaxed?

I'll update as warranted.

UPDATE:  Senator Eddie Lucio is a Democrat and has served in the Texas Senate since 1991.

UPDATE II:  via Big Tex in the comments, from the Houston Chronicle:  

Vice president, former AG, state senator indicted

McALLEN, Texas — A South Texas grand jury has indicted Vice President Dick Cheney and former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on charges related to the alleged abuse of prisoners in Willacy County's federal detention centers.

The indictment criticizes Cheney's investment in the Vanguard Group, which holds interests in the private prison companies running the federal detention centers. It accuses Cheney of a conflict of interest and "at least misdemeanor assaults" on detainees by working through the prison companies.

Gonzales is accused of using his position while in office to stop an investigation into abuses at the federal detention centers.

Another indictment charges state Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. with profiting from his public office by accepting honoraria from prison management companies.

The indictments were first reported by KRGV-TV.

UDDATE III:  Drudge has it at the top of his page.

UPDATE IV:  Thanks! to whoever fixed my pathetic tags.

UPDATE V:  Joy! Joy!  Gloat!  Gloat! Top of the Rec List!

UPDATE VI:  AmericanRiverCanyon suggests this.

UPDATE VII: Updates I - VI have been spruced up with a little bold-face.

UPDATE VIII: Commenter Bob Schact, who is not necessarily a wet blanket, points to this post at Talking Points Memo.

UPDATE IX: The Brownsville Herald reports:

The indictment accuses Cheney and Gonzales of engaging in organized criminal activity. It criticizes Cheney's investment in the Vanguard Group, which holds interests in the private prison companies running the federal detention centers. It accuses Cheney of a conflict of interest and "at least misdemeanor assaults" on detainees by working through the prison companies.

Gonzales is accused of using his position while in office to stop an investigation into abuses at the federal detention centers.

Another indictment charges state Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. with profiting from his public office by accepting honoraria from prison management companies.

UPDATE X: More wet blanket-y stuff from ABC News.

First, Willacy County grand juries are familiar with DA Juan Angel Guerra -- since he himself was indicted by one just last year on felony charges of theft, attempted theft, perjury, abuse of official capacity and tampering with government records. When Guerra was arrested, the publisher of the local papers in the county, Paul Whitworth, told the Brownsville Herald: "It's a great day for Willacy County, and it'll be better when he's convicted." The Herald said Whitworth had said for years that Guerra failed to prosecute crime in the county.

Two weeks ago, a judge threw out the charges against Guerra -- but his prosecuting days soon will be over. He was defeated in the March primary.

So now Guerra is going for the last stand? If so, I'm guessing his Cheney/Gonzales indictment will go the way most last stands go: complete annihilation. First off, it's hard to see from the local reports exactly what the state crime even is. Federal conflicts of interest, for example, are governed by the Ethics in Government Act.

UPDATE XI: The Houston Chronicle story in Update II has been expanded and updated.

Originally posted to bugscuffle on Tue Nov 18, 2008 at 02:18 PM PST.

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