So it’s April Fools Day, and as soon as we woke up this morning, the joke was on us. Today, the U.S. Department of Justice, more specifically newly appointed Attorney General, Eric Holder, has decided “in the interest of justice to dismiss the indictment” against recent 7-time convicted felon, ex-Senatorial Representative for Alaska, Ted “Tubes” Stevens. (Great nickname! Click to find out where it comes from) Justice? This must be a joke, right?
Apparently, the blame for this falls completely on the backs of the U.S. prosecutors in the case, as constant delays in Stevens’ sentencing were caused by numerous charges of prosecutorial misconduct. The genius prosecutors that were working for the DOJ and won the conviction case, did so by “concealing evidence that would have helped Stevens’ defense team,” according to FBI special agent, Chad Joy, who was also working on the case. This past February, Politico.com reported on this story and the DOJ’s decision to remove this prosecution team, led by chief prosecutor, Brenda Morris, and DOJ head of Public Integrity, William Welch. The two, along with two other lawyers from the Department of Justice, were held in contempt by the judge, Hon. Emmet Sullivan, “for failure to comply with his orders,” John Bresnahan writes.
This clip explains the circumstances of the current situation with the Stevens case, based on a great scene from the movie My Cousin Vinny. When Vincent LaGuardia Gambini (Joe Pesci) learns from his girlfriend, Mona Lisa Vito, (Marisa Tomei) – I love those names! – that although he may think that he convinced the prosecutor to share the files he had about the case, it’s written in a law book (that Vinny apparently neglected to read fully) that it’s illegal for the prosecutor not to share his files about the case. “It’s called disclosure, Dickhead!” Classic movie! I certainly suggest seeing it, if by some crazy circumstance you haven’t already. However, this scene in contrast with the announcement today by A.G. Eric Holder, shows why even though after watching the movie, one may not like the character of the prosecutor, D.A. Jim Trotter, III (Lane Smith,) at least he still has a great amount of integrity due to his unwillingness to use any real lowdown, dirty tactics, so he and Vinny could have a fair fight between litigators. Unfortunately, the government appointed public officials running this real life and very controversial case couldn’t muster up quite as much honor or integrity.
Now the entire case is dismissed, and the 7, count ‘em, 7 felony convictions that “Tubes” should be awaiting sentencing for, are as void as a Wachovia Bank Card. In legal terms, this case is stated as “People v. Stevens,” but that is contrary to the reality of the role of each player. “People” in this phrase, actually refers to “The Government,” and “Tubes” is actually a representative of the masses that make up overall society, also known as “The People,” so the way it’s stated, the names and roles are reversed. In order for the legal terminology to make logical sense, the correct phrasing should really be “Government v. Stevens”. Looking at it this way, would you say that today’s action is a case of “The People,” (Stevens) winning over “The Government,” or did “The Government” win over “The People”?
On the surface it would certainly seem as if the former is true, and “The People” beat “The Government.” But when you get down into the specifics of what make this such a controversial case, Stevens himself is a government official and therefore really a representative of “The Government”, not “The People,” and his actions in this case embody the essence of the very corruption that is currently ravaging our Government from within. His conviction and a harsh sentencing would have been a clear signal to the other crooked, corrupt government officials out there – and they are numerous – that they should probably clean up their acts, or risk the same fate. Now that Stevens went through trial, and was proven guilty, and proven guilty of seven felony counts at that…he’s gonna get off with not even a slap on the wrist!
It is obvious why this will rightfully anger many, but what provokes more anger for me is the lack of a true response from the masses, The People, of this country so loud that our government has no choice but to hold Stevens accountable, despite whatever missteps may have taken place during the trial. Give him his right to a re-trial. At least that way, we would get another shot at doing things right and actually have a chance at making the convictions stick this time around. At least then we wouldn’t be doing what we normally do, which is sweeping the corruption under the rug and trying to hide it as quickly as possible, so as not to awaken the sleeping Giant embodied in the power of the outraged and unified masses. By dismissing the case entirely, the Department of Justice, and Eric Holder, have all but guaranteed that old Teddy “Tubes” may never be held accountable for his crimes. What’s more important, however, is that this dramatically increases the perceived sense of safety from prosecution that government officials may feel if they decide to continue this type of unethical, immoral, illegal activity.
Now, although there seems to be a buzz about it online, (as there is with everything) I feel more of an overwhelming sense of the indifference of The People about not just this, but everything these actions taken by the DOJ represent; Billions of tax-payer dollars going to the very banks and institutions that got us and the rest of the world into this global mess, bailouts for Wall Street but not Main Street, corporate slavery and unequal compensation, one hand washes the other, look-the-other-way, good-old-boy politics as usual no matter how illegal, and all other despicable business and political practices that have gone unchecked and unregulated for too long…And it’s all been coming straight from the top of our society, our own U.S. Government, for years!
“You lead from the front. If [a regulator] is not aggressive and competent [in attacking and investigating violations] the organization cannot succeed. Everything comes from the top.”
-Harry Markopolos, 2/4/09. House Financial Services Subcommittee Hearing on Madoff Investigation (video)
I’m sure that some of the more left-leaning media heads will be ranting and raving along these similar lines as myself on their shows tonight, and I’m sure FixedNews, (as Keith Olbermann likes to say) probably won’t even report on it, or they’ll celebrate it and try to sell it to you as the superficial victory of “The People” winning over “The Government,” mentioned earlier. But at the end of the day, by next week, this whole thing won’t even be an afterthought. And by next month, there won’t even be any sign of it in the headlines. The whole story will be lost to the Black Hole of American Indifference, where United States Representatives who are caught blatantly violating the very laws and ethics they are sworn to uphold, can get off easily and become a celebrity or a columnist, making more money and enjoying more fame than they ever did previously.
I’m sure that even Dick Fuld, especially since it turns out that he didn’t actually get punched in the face, is still living in the lap of luxury right now, when compared to the rest of the country!
Meanwhile, across the pond, “The People” of London have dubbed today “Financial Fools Day”, and have taken to the streets, fucking shit up, to demonstrate their outrage with the current state of their economy and government. Parliament, police officers, and especially bankers out there are all scared to death right now of what “The People” will do next.
“What country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance?”
Viva La Resistance!