Last week, in a unanimous verdict, the U.S. Supreme Court limited the use of "honest services fraud" by federal prosecutors in cases that do not include bribery or kickback as part of that charge. The specific case considered by the court was focused on the convictions of Enron's Jeffrey Skilling, who is likely to see part of his conviction overturned by the decision.
How will that SCOTUS ruling affect the appeals in the cases of Alabama's former Democratic Gov. Don Siegelman and Mississippi's once-powerful Democratic attorney Paul Minor, both of whom were targeted with apparent political prosecution by Karl Rove and the Bush Administration's politicized US Attorneys?
I just spoke with CODE PINK co-founder Jodie Evans who tried again --- as she did last month in Los Angeles --- to file a citizen's arrest against Karl Rove. This time Rove, whom she accuses of war crimes, was at a Barnes & Noble book signing event in Las Vegas. Last time, Rove was forced to cancel his plans to sign books after his speech in L.A.
Evans writes to say that she and several others from CODE PINK, including an army vet who is a member of Military Families Speak Out (MFSO), attempted to hand-cuff Rove at the table where he was signing copies of his new book, while unfurling a "Rove is a War Criminal" banner.
"We get to the table, he looks up to take my book and jumps back against the book shelves," Evans says. He then points to three security guards and says "it's her," before the guards "pile in," according to her account.
One member of the team then takes out the banner --- which had been hidden in her skirt, since purses were confiscated before citizens were allowed in line --- "while I pull out the handcuffs and try to reach for him and then pull the arrest complaint out of the book, trying to argue that he needs to be arrested and I have a right to be there. They argue private property and lead us out."
She went to add that he was "standing freaked against the books" before he was then handed the next book to sign "as we are ushered out. We were physically pushed out the door with our unsigned book."
"The women behind us tell us we are 'rude,' to which I answer not as rude as Rove who has killed over 4,000 of our US Soldiers and hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi," writes Evans.
She indicates there may be video available of the event later. We'll try to update this item with it, if so. [Update: A bit of video from the encounter is now posted at the bottom of this item.]
Evans and the "Pink Tank" crew will be protesting Rove again tonight at the Performing Arts Center at UNLV where he is scheduled to speak.
She'll also be joining me on the Mike Malloy Show, which I am guest hosting again tonight from 6p-9p PT (9p-Mid ET), just before the event begins. So please tune in! We'll have live listening links posted here before show time, or see Malloy's site above.
CNN's video report of Evans' attempt to arrest Rove last month --- during which Rove ironically (in more ways than we have the time to point out right now) declared "with all due respect, this goes to show the totalitarianism of the Left. They don't believe in dialogue. They don't believe in courtesy. They don't believe in First Amendment rights for anybody but themselves" --- is reposted below...
Simon Worrall's piece from February's Maxim on the mysterious death of Bush/Rove/GOP IT guru Mike Connell is now available online.
As we noted in our detailed exclusive preview of the piece last month, the 3,500-word exposè by the British author and journalist is the closest thing to mainstream corporate media coverage that this story has received since Connell's death. Worrall offers a number of tantalizing facts and fresh interviews about the man whose companies and computers and websites were said to have been near the center of (among other under-investigated crimes) the alleged gaming of the 2004 Presidential Election in Ohio. He has also been posting a series of short "Back Story" pieces on this feature article over on his own blog that you may find interesting as well.
Connell died when the single-engine aircraft he was piloting just prior to Christmas 2008 crashed in flames near Akron. The tragedy came just weeks after he was compelled by a federal judge to give a deposition in a long-standing 2004 federal election fraud lawsuit, on the heels of reports that Connell had been threatened by Rove to "take the fall" for whatever happened in '04. After Worrall's year-long investigation, he believes it's highly likely that Connell was, in fact, murdered.
The BRAD BLOG earned 2010 Project Censored award for "Excellence in Investigative Journalism" for our own coverage of the Connell story. Highlights of that coverage are linked below. (And P.S.: Our own feature article on the formerly-gagged FBI Whistleblower Sibel Edmonds, in the March issue of Hustler, is still currently on the stands!)...
The story for which The BRAD BLOG was awarded a 2010 Project Censored award for "Excellence in Investigative Journalism" is "censored" no more. From the February 2010 issue of Maxim hitting mag racks this week...
John Michael Farren, who served as deputy counsel to President George W. Bush, has been charged with strangulation and attempted murder after allegedly choking his wife and beating her with a flashlight.
Police told the Associated Press that Farren attacked his wife at their New Canaan home Wednesday night, two days after she served him with divorce papers.
Remember, we must protect traditional marriage at all costs! Even for attempted Republican murderers and the recently twice-divorced Karl Rove, to whom we must give credit for at least having had the decency of not trying to murder either of his former wives (that we know of).
Furthermore, we hope they don't try to disbar Farren over this policy difference between him and his wife. Politicizing his belief that she should no longer be alive would just be wrong, set a very bad precedent for future administration attorneys, and put our nation at even greater danger from terrorism.
The baseball metaphors were theirs. I just thought I'd pick up on them.
Over the holiday weekend, there was a bit of an "academic" tête-à-tête in the upper-blogosphere over President Obama's handling of the arrest, detention and prosecution of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Detroit "Underwear Bomber," as it compared to George W. Bush's almost exactly similar handling of the arrest, detention and prosecution of Richard Reid, the "Shoe Bomber," and other alleged terrorists by the former administration.
While there were swell arguments into which "both" sides could firmly dig their heels, as usual, the conversation that the people of this country really need to be having was shunted far aside in favor of the one Dick Cheney and Karl Rove prefer to be having...
Two weeks ago Washington Post reported that U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan named federal prosecutor Henry Schuelke to investigate whether gross prosecutorial misconduct tainted the government's case against now-former Republican Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska. At issue, whether prosecutors withheld critical evidence from the defense or whether the case was improperly handled under pressure to meet deadlines.
US Attorney General Eric Holder, in a stunning move, threw out the government's corruption case against Stevens last April and issued the following statement:
After careful review, I have concluded that certain information should have been provided to the defense for use at trial. In light of this conclusion, and in consideration of the totality of the circumstances of this particular case, I have determined that it is in the interest of justice to dismiss the indictment and not proceed with a new trial.
Holder also relocated attorneys who worked on the case including William H. Welch II, who ran the Department's public integrity unit.
WaPo failed to report that William Welch is currently under criminal contempt of court for his role in the case against Stevens. Welch was also involved in the prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman. Siegelman was convicted of bribery in 2006 and served nine months in prison before his release was ordered pending appeal.
Despite Welch's pending legal issues, his name continues to be listed on recent filings in Siegelman's case. Siegelman finds this "quite curious as he's been hot after my prosecution for a good long time now."
Aside from alleged governmental misconduct in the Siegelman case, there are paramount legal issues that have been recognized by 91 former State Attorneys General and a group of First Amendment law professors across the country. And yet, while the DOJ is making a point to review Republican cases, not one case against a Democrat has been completely overturned and, as Siegelman told me in a recent interview, he believes very little has changed at the department, other than the names "at the top"...
Guest blogged by Emily Levy of VelvetRevolution.us
[UPDATED by Brad Friedman, 12/12/09, 12:02pm PT]
The federal bribery convictions of Paul Minor, an influential Democratic donor and attorney from Mississippi, and several others have been overturned by the Fifth Circuit of Appeals. Critics of the Bush Administration's Dept. of Justice have long charged that Minor's prosecution, along with those of many other powerful Democrats, such as former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman, were politically motivated and directly manipulated by Bush political operative Karl Rove.
Earlier this year, Velvet Revolution's RestoreJusticeAtJustice.com campaign called on the Obama Administration's Dept. of Justice to review all such prosecutions by their predecessors, and to vacate any that are found to have been politically motivated. [Disclosure: The BRAD BLOG is a co-founder of VR]
The Jackson Free Press has the details on the court's finding overturning the "bribery" counts of Minor and a number of former judges found guilty in the same trial, after improper instructions were found to have been given to the jury by trial Judge Henry Wingate who also sat on Minor's motion to be released during the appeal, even as his wife was dying from terminal cancer...
On December 18, 2008, Bush IT expert Mike Connell, a highly skilled pilot, was killed in a sudden crash while flying his small aircraft from Washington DC to his Akron/Canton home airport. The cause of the crash is still unknown and under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board.
For more than ten months, Connell's family has been coping with feelings of disbelief, anger and confusion and has many unanswered questions about the man they knew and loved.
For Connell's widow Heather, holding her husband's New Media consulting firm together is a daily struggle.
"The more I learn about the crash the more sick it makes me - the destruction of the plane. I found a pack of the I-pod ear buds in a tree. I'm obsessed with the Blackberry. I don't have the Blackberry. I have his backpack. I have his paperwork, his schedule. None of his paperwork is burned up. One of his prayer books burned on the outside. I think there was a lot thrown from the plane."
Attorneys in the case believe that Connell, who had not been accused of any wrongdoing, had firsthand knowledge about the missing White House emails and Rove's alleged wrongdoing with respect to the 2004 Presidential election.
His wife, and those attorneys, are not the only ones still focused on questions about what actually happened to Mike Connell nearly one year ago, and in the years prior...
For various reasons, now seems a good moment to mention that The BRAD BLOG was honored this year with a prestigious Project Censored 2010 award for our coverage of the mysterious death of the GOP's IT guru Mike Connell. Connell, for those unfamiliar with the story (see background links at bottom of this article) was in the process of testifying about his rumored role in helping the GOP carry out fraud in Ohio's '04 Presidential Election when he was then reportedly threatened by Karl Rove. Weeks later he suddenly plunged to his death in a single-engine plane crash just before Christmas last year as he was preparing to land near Akron, on his way home from one of his frequent trips to D.C..
Project Censored, based out of Sonoma State University, has been highlighting overlooked stories each year since 1976, and was recognized by Walter Cronkite as "one of the organizations that we should listen to, to be assured our newspaper and our broadcasting outlets are practicing thorough and ethical journalism."
Co-Editors Peter Phillips and Mickey Huff have been kind enough to offer us a number of signed copies at a reduced rate so that we can offer them as premiums to readers of The BRAD BLOG to help continue our work here.
The 9,000 word chapter I wrote for the book is titled "Election 2008: Vanishing Votes, Disappearing Democracy and Media Misdirection" and includes sections named "And You Lose Your Vote! And You Lose Your Vote! And You Lose Your Vote!..."; "FirstWorst in the Nation"; "America Flips Out, Media Barely Notices, Parties Barely Care"; "Democrats Nowhere to be Found"; and "Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain."
If you'd like a copy of this great book (Makes a great holiday gift! I'll sign it as well, if you wish!), chocked full of important, overlooked stories from the last year or so, along with follow-ups to them --- and a lot of real information on the story of Election 2008 seen here for the first time in print --- please do one of the following:
Alternately (and even preferably!) sign up for a monthly sustaining donation of $15 or more in the blue box in the right sidebar on this page, or
Send a check for $50 or more via snail mail, (note when sending that it's for "Censored 2010"), to: Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594, Los Angeles, CA 90028
Your support is greatly appreciated, and tremendously needed, as we receive no foundational or corporate support for our work here! Your contributions are largely the only thing that keep us going! So thank you in advance for any help here!
* * *
Links to The BRAD BLOG's most recent coverage of the Mike Connell story follows below...
[Updated 8/3/09: Republican attorney and whistleblower Jill Simpson says Rove broke the law in given his interviews to to WaPo and NYTimes. See update at bottom of article for details.]
Well, this is interesting...Seems Rove has now met a second time behind closed doors with the U.S. House Judiciary Committee today, according to this breaking report from Washington Post which also includes a review of newly disclosed email showing he "and other high-ranking figures in the Bush White House played a greater role than previously understood" in the U.S. Attorney Purge.
WaPo reports "The e-mails emerged as Rove finished his second day of closed-door-testimony Thursday about the firings to the House Judiciary Committee." He had previously met with Judiciary Committee members in early July.
Keep in mind, as you read the article, that their piece feeds off of an "hour-long interview with The Post and the New York Times this month", so the piece is likely to offer a Rove-friendly framing to be taken with a grain of salt or three. Eg. "Rove described himself as merely passing along complaints by senators and state party officials to White House lawyers."
Marcy Wheeler at emptywheel concurs there is much "Rove spin" throughout the piece. She also asserts the newly revealed email may well have come from Rove and/or his attorney Robert Luskin who have a habit of leaking friendly documents to media whenever convenient, and in hopes of controlling the public reportage. Papers like WaPo and NYTimes have been historically all too happy to serve them to that end over the years.
The paper also reports the WaPo/NYTimes interview was "conducted on the condition that it not be released until Rove's House testimony concluded." So the release of the piece would seem to signal that the behind-closed-doors testimony --- about which our Judiciary sources have been incredibly tight-lipped --- has now ended. Rove, and Harriet Miers, however, could still be called for public testimony before the committee according to the agreement between Bush Administration attorneys and the Judiciary Committee, as (questionably) brokered by the Obama White House. It also means that Judiciary sources may well begin revealing details and/or transcripts of the interviews soon, now that they've concluded (as per the agreement). So, of course, Rove is trying to get out in front of that with his own spin.
Here's WaPo's lede...
Political adviser Karl Rove and other high-ranking figures in the Bush White House played a greater role than previously understood in the firing of federal prosecutors almost three years ago, according to e-mails obtained by The Washington Post, in a scandal that led to mass Justice Department resignations and an ongoing criminal probe.
The e-mails and new interviews with key participants reflect contacts among Rove, aides in the Bush political affairs office and White House lawyers about the dismissal of three of the nine U.S. attorneys fired in 2006: New Mexico's David C. Iglesias, the focus of ire from GOP lawmakers; Missouri's Todd Graves, who had clashed with one of Rove's former clients; and Arkansas's Bud Cummins, who was pushed out to make way for a Rove protege.
UPDATE: NYTimes' article confirms the emails came from Rove himself. Their lede is even more favorable to him, in his attempt to downplay his role in the firings of 9 Republican U.S. Attorneys who, among other things, were not pursuing phony "voter fraud" investigations enough for the GOP, or otherwise pursuing corruption charges against Republican officials.
As in WaPo's coverage, NYTimes offers Rove's spin that he "did not involve himself in the details of the dismissals" and merely "went along" with the firings (rather than helped orchestrate them).
Here's a particularly fresh spin on the entire affair from Rove, that I don't recall seeing before...
House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers has called on Attorney General Eric Holder to open a criminal investigation into the misdeeds of former president George W. Bush and former vice president Richard B. Cheney.
Holder, in turn, has now called on Conyers to open impeachment proceedings against former head of the Office of Legal Council Jay Bybee, now a judge in the Ninth Circuit.
Conyers, in response, has demanded that Holder open a complete investigation of 14 different areas of criminal enterprise and appoint an independent counsel, offering a list of eight possible candidates.
Holder, in reply, has insisted that Conyers reissue all of the subpoenas his committee has failed to enforce over the past two and a half years and use the Capitol Police to enforce them at once.
In response, Conyers' office has issued a new report on the need to weed out corruption and undo politically motivated prosecutions by the U.S. Department of Justice.
This morning, the attorney general remarked at a televised press conference, "Chairman Conyers proposed five months ago to extend to 10 years the statutes of limitations on crimes allegedly committed under the previous administration. Introducing a bill might be a way to begin making that happen. Just an idea. I'm no expert."
Surprisingly, John Conyers removed a large Easter bonnet that had been disguising him, stood up in the back of the room and shouted...