Food for thought tonight; the John Edwards case may not be as slam dunk as we were led to believe. We know we don’t like the guy, but this isn’t about how we feel about him, it’s about the law. Melanie Sloan, CREW’s Executive Director, joins CNN’s Piers Morgan and attorney Alan Dershowitz to discuss the federal indictment of former Senator and presidential candidate John Edwards.
“I think [the case is] a huge stretch, and there is literally no precedent in the law.”
It’s being suggested that this could be a witch hunt by holdover Bush appointees in the DoJ. Many of the careerists were appointed by Bush for their politics instead of their competence (this was a violation of the rules), but we are stuck with them now. It’s vastly frustrating because in the end, what kind of justice department can we have when we have political prosecutors?
If John Edwards is guilty of criminal behavior, he should be punished. If he is guilty of the same criminal behavior as others who were not punished, what’s the reasoning behind this case?
“It is surprising that the Department of Justice (DOJ) is following the bungled prosecution of now-deceased Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) with this remarkably weak case against former Sen. John Edwards. Like the Stevens case, the Edwards matter is likely to leave DOJ with egg on its face.
While CREW has long been critical of DOJ for failing to aggressively pursue cases against high-level government officials, the indictment of Sen. Edwards is a strange place to start. DOJ declined to prosecute former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) or former Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT) for selling their influence to lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Similarly, the department passed on prosecuting former Sen. John Ensign (R-NV), who conspired with his aide to violate the post-employment lobbying restrictions and failed to report a $96,000 severance payment made to his mistress to the Federal Election Commission (FEC). Prosecution of any of those cases would have rested on solid court precedent. Mr. Abramoff was found guilty of conspiracy to bribe public officials, and Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) was found guilty of conspiracy to violate the lobbying laws.
Although DOJ has argued it did not have the evidence to bring any of those cases to trial, the department nevertheless has indicted Sen. Edwards on strikingly flimsy charges. The government’s entire case rests on finding that the payments made by Bunny Mellon and Fred Baron to Andrew Young to support Rielle Hunter were in fact campaign contributions. But no court has ever interpreted the definition of campaign contribution this broadly. Further, in his book, Mr. Young claimed that those payments were entirely proper gifts.
Read more on the Department of Justice’s indictment here.
Liberals are often the first to jump on the prosecute bandwagon particularly when it is their own who are found guilty (Blago, etc) – a position they justify by claiming it as a moral high ground “we are better than them”. Is it better to be just as blind to truth in the name of a moral code or should we strive for justice and facts to prevail?
This isn’t about John Edward’s morally despicable behavior, it’s about the law. The question is, is the law being applied equally?
Update: Friday 1:35 PM I wrote this last night not knowing that the Bush appointed prosecutor of this case would resign today, effective July 8, 2011. Ring those bells.