Tag Archives: Law

Kiss Alaska goodbye. Thank Ted Stevens.

Newly convicted Sen. Ted Stevens is digging in his heels, and this blogger sees no sign of any intent to resign, before or after the election. The man honestly thinks he won’t spend day one in jail; I don’t think he’s capable of envisioning a Senate without him.

National Republicans are abandoning him, the state party is clinging to him, his fellow senators (of both parties) are talking openly about expelling him, and local political experts are still saying he might eke out one final re-election victory.

News developments, analysis, and more wonkery below the break.

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How much more will it take to convince you?

[UPDATE: Welcome, Fox News “Embeds” readers! Feel free to have a look around.]

Joe the Plumber is getting more and more difficult to dismiss as the concoction of Fox News and Karl Rove. (By the way, I’m thinking of starting an informal betting pool on how many years it will take for Democrats to stop blaming their own PR goofs on Karl Rove’s mind control rays.)

With the emergence of a new audio clip from a 2001 radio interview with then-State Sen. Barack Obama, the uncomfortable whiff of socialism rising off Obama’s “spreading the wealth around” gaffe two weeks ago in his exchange with Joe Wurzelbacher is getting tougher to write off as something blown out of proportion by “desperate” McCainiacs.

Details and excerpts below the break. (Miz Michelle points out that a private citizen with no special resources uncovered this clip, scooping all major media organizations in doing so. Aren’t they supposedly paid to do this kind of thing?)

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Welcome to the bighouse, Ted. Now what?

The Congressional Indicted Caucus officially has one fewer member. Senator Ted Stevens has been convicted on all counts. To quote a certain played-out, over-the-hill cartoonist: “Guilty, guilty, guilty!” (More here, here, here, and here.) For his part, Stevens has announced he will appeal, maintaining his innocence and lacerating the prosecutors for what I admit was some pretty messed-up lawyering.

I can’t say I’ll be sorry to see Sen. Stevens go, which will come as no surprise to WitSnapper readers (who may have read my thoughts on the man here, here, here, here, and elsewhere). His Senate seat will likely go to his Democratic opponent, Anchorage mayor Mark Begich, now effectively running unopposed. Republicans now are scrambling to assess their very limited options.

Bunches of scenario-weaving below the break.

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Stevens trial: It’s all over but the sequestering

Testimony ended Monday as the defense rested its case in Sen. Ted Stevens’s corruption trial, apparently back on track after a major snafu by prosecutors led a judge to threaten a mistrial three weeks ago.

Closing arguments were delivered after Sen. Stevens himself was cross-examined, by what must have been a very exasperated prosecutor.  The Los Angeles Times describes a very cagey senator who, though expensive items were left at his house by their owners and never retrieved, somehow didn’t count as “gifts:”

Public integrity attorney Brenda Morris repeatedly challenged Stevens on the witness stand Monday, saying his explanation that the items in question were not gifts, even though they remained at his homes, was not plausible.   

Morris asked Stevens about a $2,700 Brookstone massage chair delivered to his home in Washington in 2001. Stevens has taken the position that the chair was a loan from a friend. But he acknowledged on cross-examination that it remains in his home to this day.

“How is that not a gift?” Morris asked.

“We have lots of things in our house that don’t belong to us, ma’am,” Stevens replied.

I’ll bet you do, Senator.  It’s going to be tough to convince a jury, I think, that you were never billed for any of them.

Stevens is accused of accepting over $200,000 in gifts, including home renovations, furniture, and sculpture, and failing to report it to Congress’s ethics office as required by federal law.

SCOTUS hoses Ohio

Justice John Paul Stevens took Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner’s case to the full Supreme Court.  The Court sided with Brunner.  The temporary restraining order on the early-voting program has been overturned, and Sec. Brunner is not required to check hundreds of thousands of questionable registration forms against state motor vehicle or Social Security databases.

No word as to the Court’s reasoning yet; I’m guessing it’s because they thought there wasn’t time, and the complainants took too long to file their grievance.  Sec. Brunner still has yet to explain why she initiated a program that’s a magnet for fraud, and barred election observers from monitoring the registration.  Peter Bronson said three weeks ago, “If Ohio polling looks like Chicago, thank Brunner.”  The article details Brunner’s long history of stacking the deck of Ohio elections in favor of Democrats since taking office.

No link yet…will update as they trickle in.

UPDATE: Here’s the basic AP wire dispatch; more details likely later.

UPDATE II: Allahpundit is on it.  So is Miz Michelle. Bloomberg.com has a more in-depth news report on top of the wire dispatch.

Murtha grasps at petty little straws UPDATE: “Oh, hey, sorry, just kidding. But not about the murder.”

Rep. John Murtha (D-PA), America’s newest “ex-Marine,” is still living in his own big fat bloated bubble of denial.

The congressman accused eight Marines in 2006 of the murder of Iraqi civilians after a firefight in Haditha, without any evidence to back it up except a sensational story in TIME Magazine.  Today, now that six of the eight have had their charges dropped, one other acquitted of all charges, the last still awaiting court-martial on reduced charges, and two of the Marines filing or preparing to file lawsuits against him for slander and defamation, he is repeating his smear to the Pittsburgh Tribune Review:

U.S. Rep. John Murtha stands by a controversial remark he made previously that U.S. Marines killed women and children “in cold blood” in Haditha, Iraq, in November 2005.

The blunt description changed how American troops engaged Iraqis and improved overall conditions in the war, Murtha, an 18-term Democrat from Johnstown, said today during a wide-ranging interview with Tribune-Review reporters and editors.

“There are all kinds of things that have happened that have made a difference, but one of the big differences is that we are not bullying our way through like we used to,” said Murtha, a former Marine and decorated Vietnam combat veteran. “The rules of engagement are clear — and it’s changed. One of the things that has made it better in Iraq is we are no longer just breaking down doors.”

“It’s my obligation to speak out. I try everything I can to get things done,” Murtha said.

Right.  He’s a real prince, that Jack Murtha.  See you in court, pal.  Here’s hoping you graduate to Citizen Murtha real quick, courtesy of the targets of your other bizarre smear:  your own constituents, whom you tarred today as racists for not uniformly supporting Barack Obama (Allahpundit and Miz Michelle have more).

Tool.

UPDATE: Murtha apologizes a day later in a media release for calling Western Pennsylvanians racists.  No apology to be found about sliming the Haditha Marines (twice now).  And Murtha’s Iraq vet opponent Bill Russell gets a neat new campaign ad out of it.

Too bad he can’t get in Murtha’s face about it now, because Murtha has suddenly cancelled their debate tonight. Reminds me of that video of Murtha running for the elevator, no?  Hopefully Russell can put together a nice little ad slamming him for that.

Frog-marching ACORNers in Michigan now

A 23-year-old convicted felon and field operative for ACORN in Michigan is being charged with six counts of forging a public document, says the Detroit News.  He faces a maximum of 14 years on each charge.

The charges against Antonio Johnson, now held on a parole violation are summed up as follows by Republican state attorney general Mike Cox:

Johnson was working for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now between May and June of this year when he filled out, signed and submitted six voter registration applications, using two Jackson residents’ names, without their knowledge, Cox said.

“This is an obvious case of forgery and that is why I am taking action today,” said Cox. “This office will not stand by while criminals interfere with the voting rights of Michigan citizens.”

My take?  This may be a sign that AG Cox may be contemplating a criminal RICO investigation against the larger ACORN group.  Antonio Johnson is way-small potatoes, certainly not worth this kind of publicity.  That’s why I don’t think this ends with him.

As with most corrupt organizations, it’s nearly impossible to go after the organization heads directly; you have to establish leverage over small fish and trade leniency for further information leading up the food chain.  Since the state is confronting Johnson with a parole violation plus as much as 84 years on top of it for the forgery counts, they’ve got lots to bargain with.  If he turns state’s evidence, and the state can come up with others like him (hardly a stretch of the imagination), the ACORN brass could be next.

Incidentally, I don’t know what the law is in Michigan regarding hiring convicted felons in the first place for gathering registration signatures, but in some other states such as Nevada it’s definitely frowned upon.  Michigan may be closing in; there’s only so many times the higher-ups at ACORN can blame illegal tactics on “a few bad apples” out in the field.