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The Bush Justice Department’s efforts to prosecute high-profile Michigan lawyer Geoffrey Fieger ended today when the jury returned a verdict of acquittal on all counts following a twenty-day trial. Fieger was prosecuted for raising funds for Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards. Under the prosecution’s widely-criticized theory, Fieger had offered to reimburse staffers for donations they made to the Edwards campaign.
The case was one of more than a half dozen comparable cases the Bush Justice Department brought against Democratic attorneys who raised funds for Edwards or current Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton. No comparable cases were brought against individuals who raised funds for Republican causes, and the prosecutions were criticized as a scheme designed to stifle Democratic fundraising from trial lawyers.
Former Macomb county prosecutor Carl Marlinga, another Democrat charged in the case, was also acquitted on all counts. Marlinga told the Detroit Free Press that the Bush Administration “had corrupted justice to its own political ends,” and that “this mini reign of terror is probably over.”
I previously discussed the Fieger prosecution and the issues with it in “Another Political Prosecution in Michigan,” and “A Political Prosecution Goes Under the Microscope,”. The open question: how much money did the Justice Department expend on this political campaign, and who authorized it?
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.'”