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?