Nifong, Fitzgerald, and Earl: American justice defiled
By Christopher Adamo
web posted January 22, 2007
A pattern of abuse is spreading and escalating throughout America, at the hands of out of control public prosecutors, who are clearly pursuing their "duties" with no intention towards justice, but with personal and political agendas. As such, they undermine hope for justice to result from any situation.
Since the perpetrators of this malignancy work so closely in league with those who must hold them accountable, little has been done to restrain or control them. To date, only cursory efforts are being suggested to address the problem. Clearly, those entrusted to enforce the law must be held to the highest standards of conduct, lest by exceeding the boundaries of that law they become the worst version of the threat they are sworn to avert.
No doubt the loudest and most publicized event of this nature involves Durham County North Carolina prosecutor Michael Nifong and the Lacrosse team from Duke University. Lately, details of Nifong's malfeasance have come to light, representing a degree of injustice and malice so outrageous that Nifong has finally been forced to recuse himself from the case.
Yet in the course of his malevolent pursuit of the Lacrosse players, he engaged in no less a crime than to knowingly suppress vital evidence sufficient to totally vindicate the accused. Had any private citizen (with the possible exception of Sandy Berger) been involved in so extreme of an effort to distort a case through the suppression of highly pertinent evidence, that citizen would surely be on his way to the "big house."
It is noteworthy that in the same week Michael Nifong was forced to abandon the Duke Lacrosse case, the trial of Lewis I. "Scooter" Libby has begun. Libby, who has already been convicted in the court of public opinion (at least within the ranks of the "Drive By" media), is accused of lying during testimony before a grand jury investigation of the Valerie Plame/Joe Wilson "scandal."
During two years of testimony, Libby transposed a couple of dates and events and thus, we are told, for the good of society, he must be put away. Yet recently revealed information inarguably proves that Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald knew from the beginning 1) That no crime had been committed, and 2) The identity of the individual who revealed Valerie Plame's inconsequential employment status to the media.
Nevertheless, Fitzgerald zealously pursued this non-criminal "investigation" as if some dark truth of wrongdoing awaited his expert ability to uncover it. In the end, all he could muster was a comparatively negligible accusation of perjury against Libby, with no possibility of Libby's actions having compromised Plame's position, or national security.
Even Nifong did not engage in such excesses. Had he wanted to, he could have endlessly questioned the Lacrosse players regarding every detail of the evening when the "rape" ostensibly took place, and finding any discrepancy in the testimony, he could have thrown the book at the "offending" player. In the aftermath, he would likewise be able to claim to have heroically protected the rights of "exotic dancers."
Despite having full knowledge that no security breach had been committed by Libby, in the post-indictment press conference, once in front of the cameras, Fitzgerald treated the entire episode as a great and sinister effort to undermine a covert CIA agent. By any intellectually honest standard, Fitzgerald's deceit vastly eclipsed the presumed missteps of Libby.
Ultimately, Fitzgerald perjured himself to a far greater degree than Libby ever could have, though no statute or directive, other than his oath of office, apparently holds him to accountability. Clearly, in Fitzgerald's world such quaint concepts as oaths and honesty are completely situational.
As amazing as it might seem, Fitzgerald's unethical conduct pales in comparison to that of Travis County Texas Prosecuting Attorney Ronnie Earl, who last spring was able to bring then House Majority Leader Tom Delay under indictment. For although it would be difficult to avoid the ugly conclusion that Fitzgerald was motivated by self-serving political concerns, Earl actually went public with an announcement, prior to gaining the Delay indictment, that such was his intended purpose.
Having been unable to convince more than one grand jury of any criminal action by Delay, even after angrily threatening the jurors, Earl engaged in an action that can only be termed "grand jury shopping" whereby he simply moved from one panel to another until he was able to find a grand jury that would uphold his accusations against Delay.
Such a reprehensible abuse of the powers of his office did not represent any departure from Earl's past behavior. As a shameless partisan Democrat, his past track record is one of selective inquiry, based on the political alignment of his intended target. In one particularly despicable case, his hunt was suddenly followed by a complete reversal, once the organization in his "crosshairs" agreed to financially support a cause of his choosing.
Unlike Nifong, or even Fitzgerald, certain fallout from Earl's actions has already adversely affected every American citizen. Abetting Nancy Pelosi's campaign ploy of hanging the "culture of corruption" label on Republicans (an exercise in hypocrisy worthy of its own discussion), Earl's deceit and misuse of his office clearly played a part in the November elections that elevated Pelosi to the position of third in line to the presidency.
The rightful purpose of prison in a just world is twofold. First, it is intended to remove from a healthy society those individuals who would render harm to decent and law-abiding citizens. Secondly, the incarceration of dangerous individuals serves as a warning to any who might be tempted to follow in their footsteps.
For the sake of the good people of this country, those who exploit the law as a weapon with which to bludgeon their fellow citizens ought not to be allowed to escape accountability. Clearly, the unscrupulous actions of such out of control prosecutors as Nifong, Fitzgerald, and Earl exceed any standard warranting removal from decent society.
Christopher G. Adamo is a freelance writer and staff writer for the New Media Alliance. He lives in southeastern Wyoming. He has been active in local and state politics for many years. His contact information and archives can be found at www.chrisadamo.com.