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November 15, 2007


Well, at least we know the identity of one "in kind" donor: George J. Terwilliger III!

Can we set up a public prosecution fund? We could call it a defend America fund. I'll be it would dwarf anything the goppers could come up with!

That was "I'll BET it would....

I would rather give my funds to supporting EW trial live blogger, the sequel. Or better, like Rocky, the first of many sequels.

EW - I sense the feel of the poke of a sharp stick so early in the morning! :) But having been on the other side of governmental interference in the retainer arrangements of my clients, let me rise to the challenge once again - I suspect that I will get much the same reaction when I condemned bathroom sex stings It is devilishly difficult to separate what constitutes a political contribution, and therefore is open to public scrutiny, and contributions to legal defence costs, which are ostensibly private (but not necessarily "privileged", in the legal sense of the word) and which are inextricably linked with the scope of the solicitor-client relationship. AGAG is facing (hopefully!) serious charges, and the authority pursuing these charges (I hope!) will be the US Government. AGAG has the right to privacy when it comes to his legal arrangments, and in fact, it is arguably better that there be confidentiality, so that there is noone hoping for favoritism for stepping up to help AGAG (although I am not naive enough to think that the usual suspects would not have to be asked, and would know what to do without prodding). I do believe that Terwilliger is not allowed to write off his fees in such circumstances, I seem to recall that this is the rule for campaign finance legal defence, as a payment in kind would be deemed to the campaign for his pro-bone services - quaere if this applies to the defence of a public figure like AGAG? Let's put the shoe on the other foot, and see if people would want to protect their privacy to contribute to a principled but politically unpopular cause like a death penalty defence - would we be so quick to question the right to contribute anonymously/pseudonymously? As long as Terwillieger is of the view that AGAG is his only client (and not Bushco) I do not see how we can compet disclousure in a principled way - he is now a private citizen, with the right to counsel as long as the funds for his legal defence are not the proceeds of crime. Rest assured, the proceeds of crime attack on legitimate legal retainers is a weapon in many prosecutors toolkit!

Have we ever seen a more bold face conspiracy? Not that it matters if no one has the balls to prosecute.

I really wonder what Nanci got for pulling impeachment "off the table." I don't trust any of them any longer.

Bill Maher called for the guillotine on a recent program. I'm becoming increasingly sure that nothing short of it is going to make any difference in Washington.

Can we set up a public prosecution fund? We could call it a defend America fund.
Posted by: JohnJ | November 15, 2007 at 09:45

Our taxes pay to fund the DOJ but that been perveted to represent the interests of the Republican party and the Bush cabal. So in lieu of that, a public prosecution fund is a great idea.

CREW is suing the White House to comply with the law with regard to presidential records. You might consider throwing a few bucks their way.

Will we see an independent counsel appointed to prosecute Gonzo? What do they have on him?

JohnJ - That was kind of my thought as well. You beat me to it. When Bush, Pelosi etc. have gone to fundraise for odious candidates running against BlueAmerica or other laudable progressive candidates, FDL, OpenLeft, Howie Klein, Atrios etc. have recently set up efforts to match or exceed through blogosphere fund donations to counter. As I recall, OSC Bloch was complaining he didn't have adequate funding to do all his investigations (you have to wonder about IG Fine too); maybe we could create a fund to help them. You know the "Citizens Funding The Department of Justice Because Bush Won't Fund". Heh heh.

EW - Back to our gripes with the Legal Defense Funds. As Canuck Stuck in Muck reminds us, Terwilliger is indeed a donor in kind. I still want to know a hell of a lot more about how, when and where Terwilliger started donating to Lil' Albert. For a whole sordid host of reasons (lest we not forget Terwilliger the short list AG potential nominee). And, like Goodling, did the "donating" start while he was still in office? As you know, I wholeheartedly agree that, when the crime is obstruction of justice, the public is entitled to know who is aiding and abetting the obstruction.


I'm glad you rose to the challenge. I actually needed to have the whole thing explained to me, so thanks.

As long as Terwillieger is of the view that AGAG is his only client (and not Bushco) I do not see how we can compet disclousure in a principled way

But this remains the problem. I may be alone here, but I am convinced that some of the Libby team maneuvers served Team Bush, not Libby himself. It would be easy to do that without violating the obligation to their client, since by threatening, then backing off wider exposure, they got a nice commutation and--surely--pardon come next January. I don't think AGAG's defense will be any different, particularly given the weird timing with Terwilliger.

Ishmael - Yeah. I have had the same pleasure of "governmental interference in the retainer arrangements of my clients". Don't like that one bit. The one situation where I can draw the line, however, is where the crime is an ONGOING obstruction of justice. That really does border on aiding and abetting. Unless it was while Gonzo was still in office, I can't see any (other than my aiding and abetting argument) other reasons Terwilliger can't compromise his fees, even work pro bono for that matter, if he so chooses because AGAG is not a candidate for anything (well, hopefully he is a candidate for a small dark jail cell).

Neil - I absolutely still maintain that the DOJ has a conflict, a big one and on many levels, as to Gonzales; so there should definitely be a special prosecutor. Mukasey made quite clear at his confirmation hearings that he does not agree and that he thinks the DOJ is just fine to do the job. This is absurd, but who is going to force his hand? Pelosi, Hoyer and Rahm? They probably already took it "off the table". Leahy? He makes a lot of wind, but I have seen precious little hit the sails of real accountability.

Ishmael -- I concur with EW here insofar as a legal defense fund can be a front for people other than the specific defendant. How do you know that Terwilliger will represent AG's best interests if the fund is being ponied up by those needing AG to hide their own illegal conduct? I realize that ethical lawyers are supposed to do their utmost to represent their client. But in the case of a legal defense fund, who is the client? I don't think it is a straightforward issue. That said, I agree with you in principle. The problem lies with the fact that you will never find a more unprincipled, unethical group of people than BushCo.

EW - LOL that you would need me to explain anything to you - I assure you, you have explained much more to me than I could ever return to you! :) But I do not see the Team Libby tactic of threatening to call in Big Time as a defence witness at trial (and, even worse, letting him be cross-ex'd by Pat Fitzgerald!) and it's potential application for AGAG as being necessarily connected with legal defence fund disclosure. Sure, sometimes and in many critical ways, AGAG and Bushco have overlapping interests, and Terwilliger is going to have to exploit those overlapping interests. But as Bmaz points out, that is where you get into obstruction of justice territory, like the Watergate burglars being promised pardons/commutations in exchange for quick guilty pleas - this is not an area where Terwilliger could ethically or legally go. The practicalities of breaking the omerta in such a case are huge, but there is a legal remedy (up to and including impeachment, and certainly prosecution for obstruction) if this were to take place, and I don't think that complete transparency or lack thereof in retainer arrangements is a substitute for conduct where there is already a clear legal path.

Bmaz - one thing that I absolutely cannot understand is why Terwilliger is not disqualified from this case because of his consideration for the AG position - does this not compromuise his independence, especially when informed people could easily question who the real "Client" is in this case, as phred points out at 11:31? AGAG has the right to counsel of his choice, but I could see real grounds for an application by DOJ/IG Fine or even the DC Bar to make an application for his disqualification on conflict of interest grounds.

If it is phrased in terms of just being concerned about whether or not Terwilliger, or whoever, is "serving the interest of his client", this is a non-starter. That is Gonzo's concern and problem, not ours. The only way I would ever be comfortable with trying to invade this question is if it is enabling a continuing and ongoing crime, and pretty much limited to obstruction of justice at that.

Ishmael - Yep. Used to file such animals every now and then. Captioned it "Motion for Determination of Counsel (Prosecutorial Conflict)". But that is why (among many other reasons) the DOJ has a conflict; they are an arm of the Bush Administration, which has a putative desire to have Terwilliger represent Gonzales. The DOJ is not likely to file such a motion....

I have another idea:

The government has argued successfully how unfair it was for "drug kingpins" to out lawyer the poor underfunded prosecutors, and developed a system to strip defendants of the funds needed to hire top legal representation. (This was turned immediately into legal theft by local police departments against anyone they didn't like. That subject needs several blogs just to discuss).

Besides the obvious hypocrisy of these people generating super defense funds (emulating their previous boogiemen, "drug kingpins"), why not tie up these funds if they come from people covering their own crimes? Hell, if you look at the overall criminal activities of this "administration" almost every contributor could be shown to be using funds gained from a criminal enterprise.

I know, fat chance; but we can dream.

Mary - By the way, I am forwarding to you any remaining vestiges of good fortune I have left over from my luck in settling yesterday....

Citizens deserve to know if, unless they are brain dead, assume that the President's sugar daddies are paying for a legal firewall to protect the President.

Prediction: most Americans recognize this as confirmation that Bu$hCo syncophants are terrified of being made accountable and brought to justice. People may not have all the legalese and finely diced arguments, but 'secret defense funds' is just one more very large straw on the back of an already broken camel. People can smell the stench of fear.

Let's hope Jon Stewart does a splendid little ridicule of this issue when he's back on the air. Oh, man... thinking about what Colbert or Maher could do with this makes me giggle ;-)

Lately, I feel like I have been living among "pod people" and want to "escape from the body snatchers" as I witness gross conflict of interest just about everywhere. Honestly, did Websters change the definition when Bush was elected? In all my life, I have never seen so many slimmy manipulations of media and the law due to efforts to hide conflict of interest practices. Defense funds of public officials should be made public. Especially, when the charges relate to when they were in office and that others have much to gain from a well funded defense. The tax dollars of the People paid his salary while in office. He messed up on our dimes so he is accountable to us! Sunshine, transparency...anything please. What a paradigm shift we live in now... I want to believe Patrick Fitzgerald's quote of late, "Honest government is not a dream!"

Wake me up Pat Fitz with "that" reality coming to fruition again. I'll contibute to fund to defend the People's right to know! I'll pay to fight for transparency...

Rant done...heavy sigh...

yo Dismayed

can't we try some defenestrations first

the guillotine is kinda "final" an shit ...

and messy

think of the dry cleaning bills

I say we chuck these suckers out a window

(then we go get them, bring them back, and throw them out the window again. wash rinse repeat

The legal fund committee has become a staple of elective office; think Rostenkowski; WJClinton. One initial investigative concept for me was the early Bush-2 first term Republican effort to begin redefining the bureaucracy by closing doors to whistleblowers, leading to an interesting brief speech posted by HI Sen. DKAkaka which traces the longtime involvement of Levin and Grassley in the issue. We know the rhetoric was more protections, but I still can hear the leading the witness at the SJC hearing when republicans were decrying leaks of state secrets averring IGs are in place for whistleblower recital. Another interesting production of records fiasco already brewed likely on the right was a recent article cautioning HilaryC could do like Bush2 and ban publication of Clinton-1 terms1 and 2 presidential documents if she takes office; rationale, family affairs overlay on basic regs about presidential papers. It seems to me that what happens is more perforations are built into the laws each time congress deliberates, such being one of the exigencies of compromse. Yet, I think there is a linkage, though more investigation would be useful, in looking at the openness concept as applied to the DefenseOf former publicServant officeholder committee constructs. I agree with a lot of the comments above. Akaka mentions the exception for state secrets. I see the CIPA hearing process looming; heck, even Nacchio's defense has glommed onto graymail. And I could envision Gonzales trying to justify all by state secrets, but that would be somewhat tangential and a windmill that just might be joustable. I like what Crew is doing with the public records act, targeting areas that are on the fringes of these clusters of ingenious corruptions which have characterized the past two terms of the presidency. But I have a perhaps too academic idea of even plea bargains, which I think invert the principles of jurisprudence. Yet, it would make a nice ancillary study, to look at the defense committee as a public construct in the same way as some of the two decades of argument for whistleblowerprotections have become sufficiently mainstream for democrats to find republicans to cosponsor bills, even when the final legislation actually renders the process yet more byzantine. The Akaka speech from 2001 when the Whistle rewrite was underway. Hil.

Come on people.

Many here complain about someone else reading their mail, listening to their phone conversations, knowing who they are meeting or seeing, their agendas,

and then...

these same people feel like they have a right to other people's emails, their phone calls, their meetings, and agendas, the people that help out with lawyers fees, etc.

Jodi, Jodi, Jodi! Tell me, how many "here" engaged in criminal behavior by politicizing DOJ, lying to congress, etc., etc.? Come on. Get real.

Jodi -- Our complaints about being spied on are in reference to UNWARRANTED spying. If there is cause, a warrant may be obtained and then, have it. In this case, your boy Gonzo is justifiably being investigated for criminal conduct. Where there's a warrant there's a way.


that was neat quip. "Where there's a warrant there's a way.

But as we have noted already, there might be and usually are several ways.

By the way, did you find your "Bemish Stout.?"

Jodi -- I did find the Beamish -- thanks :) So are you a BU alum or simply psychic?

Psychotic. Phred, you must have been typing very fast. You appear to have inadvertently left out the "ot" in the middle. Patience with the typing; preview is your friend.....


neither, but I was institutionalized (making bmaz happy) for a while across the river from BU. Had friends there.

Sorry bmaz, didn't have time to preview, I had to dash off to meet EW to make sure she was properly fed and watered. Must have been a slip of the fingers ;)

Jodi, institutionalized in Cambridge? That's worse than I thought ;) I really do appreciate your suggesting Cornwalls, we had dinner with EW, then popped over for pints of Beamish and really had a nice time. So even though it pains me to say it, thanks. ;)

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