Thursday, April 5

The Worst Thing about the Prosecutor Purge

is the likelyhood that current and future prosecutions will be tainted with the stench of partisanship either rightly or wrongly by defense attorneys.

In fact, it's already begun.

A lawyer for former Poway defense contractor Brent Wilkes told a judge yesterday "there is no way" his client will plead guilty to charges stemming from the Randy "Duke" Cunningham bribery scandal.

The lawyer, Mark Geragos, also said he planned to seek dismissal of the case because he has reason to believe former U.S. Attorney Carol Lam may have leaked secret grand jury documents to the media.

Geragos contended that Lam wanted the indictments to happen before she was forced from office by the Bush administration.

Geragos, an alumni of defending Michael Jackson and Scott Peterson, is clearly making an argument that Lam was forced to break the rules (and the law) because of the unjustified prosecutor purge and politic in Washington intended to shield high-profile Republicans under investigation.

Lam was meeting resistance from bosses in the Justice Department, who had rejected drafts of indictments against Wilkes and former CIA official Kyle "Dusty" Foggo, saying they needed revisions.

Lam, Geragos theorized, wanted to force reluctant officials to go along with her plans by leaking details of the indictments before they were officially released.

"These indictments as to my client were returned hours before Ms. Lam was to exit. . . . If it did come back to Carol Lam, it would strike me as the most compelling reason for dismissal," Geragos told the court.

And exactly how does Geragos know that Lam was meeting resistance? The doco and email dumps that have been coming out for the last few weeks of Gonzo-Gate.

Geragos did not specify, either inside or outside of court, what caused him to believe that the Department of Justice had rejected drafts of the indictments. In court he referred to e-mails – unearthed as part of the congressional investigation of the controversial firings of Lam and seven other U.S. attorneys – that supposedly bolster his position. After court, he would not elaborate.

Whether this argument by Geragos is factual or simply yet another one of his famous dramatic ploys currently remains to be seen. Either way it sets a very ugly precedent for the ability of the remaining 93 Federal prosecutors - particularly the 8 replacements - to conduct their duties without suspicion of their motives and tactics.

Exactly how many legitimate cases will be put in jeopardy, and how many bogus ones will be pressed forward without cause - is anyones guess.

How exactly are impartial and fair justice to be implemented with the hobgoblins of paranoia and doubt reining unchecked through our court system?


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