What follows below is a letter I sent to AG Eric Holder last week, on behalf of VelvetRevolution.us (of which The BRAD BLOG is a co-founder), calling for his immediate investigation of all political prosecutions at the DoJ during the Bush era, including those of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman and Mississippi attorney/Democratic fundraiser Paul Minor. On the heels of the DoJ's dismissal of charges against Republican Sen. Ted Stevens, the DoJ needs to similarly vacate charges against anyone who was specifically targeted, for political reasons, by the Bush Admin's perversion of justice at the DoJ.
There are now well over 700 organizations and individuals, such as Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Ray McGovern and Scott Horton currently signed on to the letter, and you are invited to do so yourself via the campaign's main page at RestoreJusticeAtJustice.com. More details are over there. We hope you'll both sign on, and help spread the word.
Here is the letter to Holder, sent last week just before Minor's wife passed away, and prior to the release of the Bush regime's appalling torture memos which we will, no doubt, be dealing with in a future campaign...
Department of Justice
Washington, DC 20530
April 13, 2009
Dear Attorney General Holder:
Thank you for taking the necessary steps to vacate the conviction of Senator Ted Stevens because of misconduct by federal prosecutors. We now ask that you quickly do the same for all Bush-era politically motivated cases, starting with Don Siegelman and Paul Minor. Such action is necessary to restore public confidence in the rule of law and the Department of Justice (“DOJ”), and to rectify a vast and manifest injustice. You must act soon, because the victims of such prosecutions are now suffering—some of them cruelly. It is unacceptable that any one of them should have to endure imprisonment, financial ruin, and even loss of family while courts ponder whether trial error occurred.
It is well established that the previous DOJ was controlled by partisans who misused their authority by targeting Democrats and others with viewpoints different from their own. As a result, people have been variously wronged, either by (1) rejection for employment at DOJ, (2) dismissal from positions there, or (3) trumped-up and/or partisan-targeted criminal prosecution. Under your leadership, the DOJ has moved toward ending such abuse. With your investigations of the hiring practices at DOJ and the US Attorney firings, you have begun to take concrete steps to deal with Points (1) and (2). As to Point (3), however, not enough has been done. Other than early, still-cursory DOJ investigations of problems with the prosecution of Don Siegelman and Paul Minor, your office has announced no action or intention to redress well-documented instances of selective criminal prosecutions carried out by the Bush administration.
A preponderance of evidence makes clear that zealous partisans in both the Bush White House and DOJ used their positions to protect and/or empower pro-Bush Republicans, while targeting those who disagreed—primarily Democrats—as enemies. Certain politicians, such as Gov. Siegelman, were targeted for threatening hoped-for GOP electoral gains, while certain jurists and attorneys, such as Oliver Diaz and Paul Minor, were punished for obstructing the intentions of the party's allies in big business.
As Bobby Kennedy Jr. and Brendan DeMelle recently reported in an article urging the release of Paul Minor, a study by University of Missouri Professors Donald Shields and John Cragan shows that "eighty percent of the Bush DOJ's political investigations targeted Democrats --- 5.6 Democrats for every Republican investigated by U.S. Attorneys for political misconduct. Shields noted in Congressional testimony that ‘such selective investigation and prosecution rates’ represent a clear bias in the severely disproportionate ‘political profiling’ of Democrats under Bush.”
The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently upheld most charges against Gov. Siegelman, with everyone involved deliberately ignoring the huge elephant in that courtroom—i.e., that post-trial revelations, deemed inadmissible by the appellate judges, pointed to profound political corruption as well as prosecutorial abuse. The governor should not have to wait months or years for a court to address these issues when you have the authority to do so at once.
And then there is Paul Minor, an attorney now in federal prison for a “crime” related to the funding of Democratic candidates and causes. Minor’s wife is dying of cancer in a hospital in Baton Rouge. Last month, he was given a three-hour pass to spend a moment with her (under supervision), but she had no chance to talk to him because she had been given her pain medication and lay fast asleep throughout his visit. Why should this man have to spend another hour away from his wife’s bedside, awaiting the decision of a court, when the flagrant partisan intent behind his prosecution should move the DOJ to withdraw charges, just as you did in Sen. Stevens' case? **
Selective prosecution for political advantage is a prosecutorial abuse at least as troubling as the wrongs in Sen. Stevens' case and, arguably, far more dangerous. We therefore ask that you immediately order the dismissal of charges against Don Siegelman and Paul Minor, and move quickly to investigate and identify other cases mounted by the Bush Administration for political advantage and, where appropriate, vacate them immediately. Only through such righteous action, which is wholly in your power, can we be sure that justice will, at last, be done, and that America's courts may once again deserve the public's confidence.
** On the evening of April 13, 2009, Sylvia Minor died without her husband by her side after the DOJ opposed both bail pending appeal and a compassionate bedside furlough.
UPDATE: I've got a bunch of media appearances scheduled this week to discuss this campaign. Here's one of them I pre-taped this morning on XM ch. 167's Urban Journal w/ Keith Murphy for airing later this evening (8:45pm ET, 5:45pm PT). Thanks to Keith for making it available early to us (appx 10 mins)...