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The Associated Press and several local Wisconsin papers continue to explore Wisconsin U.S. Attorney Steve Biskupic’s ill-fated and highly political prosecution of Wisconsin civil servant Georgia Thompson. The case exploded a little more than a month ago when the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, in an opinion authored by one of the judiciary’s most prominent Republican conservatives, concluded that the prosecution was “preposterous.” Documents out of the Judiciary Committee’s investigation of the Justice Department showed that Biskupic was initially slated to be fired and replaced in connection with a Karl Rove-directed shake up. He appears to have redeemed himself through the prosecution of Georgia Thompson. The prosecution was timed to coincide with a tense election campaign, and was heavily hyped to the press. The GOP candidate running for governor appears to have been intimately briefed about the prosecution, and used it for a series of campaign adds.
Now we learn details from Biskupic’s conduct of plea bargaining process. The Associated Press and the Madison newspaper The Isthmus report that Biskupic approached the plea bargain with an idée fixe: he wanted dirt on Wisconsin’s Democratic governor Jim Doyle, and he wanted it before the election.
Gov. Jim Doyle said Thursday he was alarmed by a report that federal prosecutors repeatedly offered a state worker charged with rigging a travel contract leniency if she would testify against others in his administration. Georgia Thompson repeatedly rejected the plea agreements because she said she had no information to tell a grand jury about wrongdoing by her superiors, Isthmus, a Madison weekly newspaper, reported Thursday in a copyrighted story.
Prosecutors even offered a deal after she was sentenced to 18 months in prison even though she had testified at her trial she was not pressured to favor a politically connected firm for a travel contract, the paper reported.
So it now appears that the prosecution of Thompson, later characterized by another judge as “less than thin,” was pursued solely as a fishing expedition to support a Republican election campaign.
Steven Biskupic was able to retain his post by mounting this bogus prosecution. And he remains U.S. Attorney in Milwaukee.
More from Scott Horton:
Conversation — March 30, 2016, 3:44 pm
Joseph Hickman discusses his new book, The Burn Pits, which tells the story of thousands of U.S. soldiers who, after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, have developed rare cancers and respiratory diseases.
Freddie Gray’s relatives arrived for the trial in the afternoon, after the prep-school kids had left. By their dress, they seemed to have just gotten off work in the medical and clerical fields. The family did not appear at ease in the courtroom. They winced and dropped their heads as William Porter and his fellow officer Zachary Novak testified to opening the doors of their police van last April and finding Freddie paralyzed, unresponsive, with mucus pooling at his mouth and nose. Four women and one man mournfully listened as the officers described needing to get gloves before they could touch him.
The first of six Baltimore police officers to be brought before the court for their treatment of Freddie Gray, a black twenty-five-year-old whose death in their custody was the immediate cause of the city’s uprising last spring, William Porter is young, black, and on trial. Here in this courtroom, in this city, in this nation, race and the future seem so intertwined as to be the same thing.
Minimum number of cats fitted with high-tech listening equipment in a 1967 CIA project:
Zoologists suggested that apes and humans share an ancestor who laughed.
A former prison in Philadelphia that has served as a horror-movie set was being prepared as a detention center for protesters arrested at the upcoming Democratic National Convention, and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump fired his campaign manager.
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“Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'”