In case you missed this bit of shame and unsurprising-by-now hypocrisy buried in between the holiday news holes...
[Hat-tip longtime BRAD BLOG toon sherpa Pokey Anderson.]
w/ Brad & Desi
w/ Brad & Desi
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...
|MORE BRAD BLOG 'SPECIAL COVERAGE' PAGES...|
In case you missed this bit of shame and unsurprising-by-now hypocrisy buried in between the holiday news holes...
[Hat-tip longtime BRAD BLOG toon sherpa Pokey Anderson.]
Guest Blogged by Rebecca M. Abrahams
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:
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...
Guest Blogged by Rebecca M. Abrahams
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."
Although mainly un-reported, there's a great deal of controversy surrounding Connell's death - largely in part because he was the architect of many Republican websites including GeorgeWBush.com and GWB43.com, the site Karl Rove used for 95% of his email correspondence. Connell was also considered a key witness in the election fraud lawsuit King Lincoln Bronzeville Neighborhood Association v. Blackwell. The suit implicates Former Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth J. Blackwell, Karl Rove and others of 2004 election night vote rigging.
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."
In addition to our "Excellence in Investigative Journalism" award from PC this year, as highlighted in their annual "Top 25 Censored Stories for 2010," I was also asked to write a chapter on problems faced by voters in Election 2008 for this year's book, Censored 2010: The Top 25 Censored Stories of 2008-09.
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!..."; "
First Worst 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:
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...
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...
[Update 7/24/09: I interviewed Seigelman on Thursday about these matters and the latest status of his case, while Guest Hosting The Mike Malloy Show. Listen to the interview right here. Select Hour 2 audio archive.]
How it's even possible that former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman's bribery case and conviction has not long ago been dropped by the Dept. of Justice is beyond us. There is now so much evidence of clear conflicts of interest, overt partisan political prosecutorial targeting, failures to recuse by at least one conflicted prosecutor as well as the judge in the case, evidence withheld from the defense team, and now evidence of the coaching and strong-arming of witnesses in exchange for a lighter prison sentence and a promise to conceal embarrassing personal information, it all makes the prosecutorial misconduct in the case of former Alaska Senator Ted Stevens --- a Republican whose case was dropped by Obama's Justice Dept. shortly after they came to power --- look like jaywalking.
Official declarations filed along with a recent motion by Siegelman, requesting a new trial in light of the new evidence, reveal what seems just the tip of the iceberg of a flagrant and wholly inappropriate case of wide-spread prosecutorial misconduct. The allegations (with much evidence to back them up) paint a compelling picture of an illegally targeted political prosecution/witch-hunt carried out by Karl Rove and his Alabama-based Dept. of Justice cronies in an attempt to remove Alabama's most popular Democrat from the political grid all together.
The scheme worked, as Siegelman is currently fighting his conviction on appeal and --- now armed with new evidence gathered by the defense team of fellow defendant Richard Scrushy, the man alleged to have "bribed" Siegelman --- is calling for a completely new trial. The government is to answer Siegelman's motion next week, and the decision will be made by the same federal U.S. District Court judge, Mark E. Fuller, reported to have severe conflicts of interest in the entire case, including a specific "grudge" against Siegelman.
The new declarations, believed to be posted here publicly in full for the very first time ( PDF links follow below), reveal a startling case of inappropriate misconduct by federal investigators, as Siegelman's former aide Nick Bailey, the government's star witness against him, is revealed to have been "coached and cajoled and threatened," as Siegelman's late June motion for a new trial describes it, throughout some 70 interviews and phone calls. Bailey, the documents describe, was said to have been frightened for his life and facing a possible years-long sentence in federal prison, if he failed to testify precisely as investigators had required him to.
The investigators went so far as to require Bailey to write down his testimony after he had failed, time and again, to offer the same answers to prosecutors' questions during undisclosed interviews. Yet, evidence of that coaching was allegedly concealed from the defense, according to the new documents and testimony, in violation of federal law, and in what appears to directly parallel the precise reasons for the dismissal of the Stevens case in Alaska.
Siegelman tells The BRAD BLOG that after the years-long prosecution, this is the first time the information has come to light about coached witnesses, and undisclosed documentation of government interviews.
Star witness Bailey, who testified that he saw Siegelman in receipt of a $250,000 check alleged to have been a "bribe" from Scrushy --- a check that was actually dated several days later than the day Bailey testified he saw it in the hands of the Governor --- is said to have been so unable to remember the specific details prosecutors wanted him to testify to, that he was given written questions and instructions to write down his answers to practice for the actual trial. He was, according to the new documents, told quite specifically how to answer questions.
The hand-written notes from Bailey's attempts to memorize his testimony to the satisfaction of prosecutors is said, in the new affidavits, one from Baily himself, to have included a page in which he responded to the government's specific instructions by hand-writing "bullshit," in response, on one of the undisclosed pages.
A complete notebook of those hand-written documents and other records of interviews with Bailey was apparently never given to the defense teams in either the Siegelman case or in Scrushy's, who also filed a motion for a new trail in late June...
Speaking of VR's DisbarTortureLawyers.com campaign, unleashed earlier this week, with quite a bit of fanfare in the corporate media (see our coverage here), VR's previous, and still on-going campaign, launched several weeks earlier, RestoreJusticeAtJustice.com (as originally discussed on The BRAD BLOG here) made the latest cover of Bush's one-time "hometown" newspaper, Crawford's Lonestar Iconoclast.
Yours truly is liberally quoted throughout Nathan Diebenow's fine coverage which is posted in full right here...
But the department's own probe was thwarted in part because the inspector general's agents did not have the authority to compel testimony from Bush White House advisers and lawmakers.
They also add, for those keeping track...
UPDATE 5/15/09: RAW STORY's Larisa Alexandrovna has a number of questions she'd like to see asked of Rove, in regard to the Siegelman case.
At right is the video from Rove's appearance at his attorney's office this morning to meet federal prosecutors for his questioning (via RAW).
Incredibly, the Bush-appointed prosecutors in the Siegelman case (who are, inexplicably, still on the job!) have now requested an even longer sentence for the former Democratic Gov. of Alabama who was railroaded as part of a Rove-led political prosecution.
RAW STORY offers the amazing details on the twenty-year sentence now being sought by the federal prosecutors to replace the seven years he was originally screwed with. The entire prosecution needs to be entirely thrown out, just as the case against Republican Sen. Ted Stevens was.
And where is AG Eric Holder in all of this? I'd sure as hell love to know, as I asked in my April 13th letter to him on behalf of VR's Restore Justice at Justice campaign requesting an investigation of all illegal, Bush-era political prosecutions. (If you haven't yet, please sign on to that letter, to add your voice!)
My brief interview with Siegelman at last Summer's Democratic National Convention in Denver (originally posted here), is re-posted at left, wherein he warned, if action wasn't taken "Karl Rove is simply going to get in his get-away car and thumb his nose at the Constitution, the Congress and the American People."
A few quick-hit gems worth noting from Josh Marshall and David Kurtz at TPM over the last day or two...
Anticipate Karl Rove's long-awaited testimony before Congress about the US Attorney firings sometime in early June, Rove's lawyer tells TPMmuckraker.
Not to be outdone in an effort to eke out a few more minutes in the spotlight, Joe The Plumber announces he too has had enough and is leaving the Republican party.
Of course, in Joe's case, it does raise the question of what party or militia he's leaving the GOP to join. Any ideas?
Number of Gitmo detainees that the GOP hopes to keep off mainland U.S. soil with its "Keep Terrorists Out Of America Act": roughly 250.
Number of Axis POWs detained in camps on the U.S. mainland at the end of WWII: roughly 425,000.
Can it really be true that the list of Americans who will appear on the Sunday shows this weekend is David Petraeus, Dick Cheney, Newt Gingrich and John McCain?
I guess it really is a center-right nation.
Our observation on the final item above: Looks like those old "Liberal Media" are still partying like it's
1999 2007. Color us shocked. Shocked!
A few developments this week in the case of Mike Connell, the GOP IT guru who died in a single-engine plane craft last December, just after being forced to testify in a long-standing OH 2004 voting rights case, but before the case could come to trial. As The BRAD BLOG has long covered both the lawsuit, and Connell's central role, I wanted to make sure the new developments were noted here. Forgive my quick copy and paste, necessarily, given the circumstances of the week which still have me otherwise distracted in many ways. Background links on the entire Connell story are included at the end of this item...
“Shannon Connell of Madison says her brother Michael rarely talked about work,” a local Wisconsin paper reported Thursday. “She knew he ran an Ohio company called New Media Communications that set up websites for Republicans including former President George H.W. Bush and Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. But it wasn’t until after he died last December, when the small plane he was piloting crashed, that she learned via the Internet of his tie to a voter fraud case and to allegations that presidential adviser Karl Rove had made threats against him.
“‘At first, it was really hard for me to believe Mike was dead because somebody wanted him dead,” the paper quoted Shannon as saying. “But as time goes on, it’s hard for me not to believe there was something deliberate about it.”
“A native of Illinois, Shannon moved to Madison in 2002,” the paper adds, “the same year as her sister, Mary Jo Walker. Walker, a former Dane County Humane Society employee, has similar concerns about their brother’s death: ‘It doesn’t seem right to me at all.’”
There were a few other notable tidbits from Bill Lueders' original report in Wisconsin's The Daily Page...
Late this week, Politico's Anne Schroeder ran details of a purported public showdown, in a D.C. steakhouse, between Karl Rove and Jason Roe, the former Chief of Staff to FL's former Republican U.S. House Rep (and alleged vote-rigging conspirator) Tom Feeney.
During the exchange between Rove and Roe, as reported by Schroeder, Rove tells Roe that he has a file on Feeney, and Roe, who was angry with Rove for cracks he'd made on Fox "News" at Feeney's expense just after the extremely corrupt FL Republican had lost his 2008 election, says angrily to Rove: "You guys wouldn't be in the White House without Tom."
Given the coverage we've offered over the years on Feeney, and former Republican computer programmer Clint Curtis' allegations against him, several folks --- including our friends Marcy Wheeler of emptywheel and Patty Sharaf, filmmaker of Murder, Spies & Voting Lies: The Clint Curtis Story --- sent us the link to the Politico article, asking our opinion on what Roe may have meant by that crack.
In the interest of keeping links to that story from continuing to pile up in our Inbox, here's our take on Roe's purported comment to Rove...
[See update at bottom of article, for response from whistleblower in Don Siegelman case.]
Given the questions concerning whether or not Karl Rove and Harriet Miers will be required to testify under oath as part of their agreement to give "transcribed depositions under penalty of perjury" concerning the U.S. Attorney purge scandal, as announced yesterday by House Judiciary chairman John Conyers, we thought we'd seek some clarification.
We asked a senior source on the U.S. House Judiciary team whether or not taking an oath before testifying would be required, or whether the agreement requires Rove and Miers not be placed under oath. Writes our source in reply:
See the copy of 18 USC, Sec. 1001, as sent by the House Judiciary source below...
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