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Prosecutors do not go where the evidence leads them … as they like to claim

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Prosecutors do not go where the evidence leads them … as they like to claim

Prosecutors do not go where the evidence leads them … as they like to claim
March 28
14:02 2019

One of the mantras you hear from all those former prosecutors that you see on television and in Congress is that they enforce the rule-of-law – they go where the facts lead them without political or any other bias. In fact, prosecutors are the most political of lawyers. That is why you see so many in public office.

Three recent cases demonstrate just how arbitrary prosecutors can be.

The Trump Collusion Case

The most notable case is the investigation as to whether President Trump or members of his campaign criminally colluded with the Russian government and whether Trump obstructed justice during the investigation.

On the first point, Special Counsel was quite clear. He found no evidence that Trump or any member of his campaign colluded with Russia – and that includes every one of those Americans who have been indicted for process crimes related to the investigation – essentially lying to investigators.

On the question of obstruction of justice, Mueller also determined that there was not sufficient evidence to establish that Trump had obstructed. In fact, according to Attorney General Robert Barr’s summation of the Mueller Report, NO ONE inhibited or limited his investigation in any way.

Mueller did not bring a case against Trump – which he could have despite the current rule that sitting presidents cannot be indicted. He could have cited the rule as the only reason he could not issue an indictment. That would have prevented Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein from making the final judgment. It would have been up to Congress to consider impeachment.

What is peculiar about Mueller’s handling of the facts is that he punted – declaring that there was insufficient evidence that Trump had committed the crime of obstruction. That should have ended the issue. But Mueller added that the evidence did not exonerate the President. That was extremely odd.

First of all, Mueller – a top flight lawyer – misused the word “exonerate” in its legal meaning. A person is exonerated when a conviction is overturned.

Instead, Mueller appears to have used the word in its common misconception. That is not very lawyer-like – just as the word “collusion” has been misused throughout the process.

Mueller seems to have violated the Justice Department rule of not revealing information about a person who is not indicted. As the lawyers call it, “indict or shut up.” In our system where one is presumed innocent until proven guilty Mueller’s action is highly dubious.

The Smollett Case

Then there is the case of Jussie Smollett. A grand jury charged him with 16 counts for staging a fake assault on himself and then reporting it as a homophobic, white supremacy hate crime carried out by followers of President Trump. In fact, he hired friends and work associates to perpetrate the crime. The evidence was overwhelming.

The prosecutors in the case – the Cook County States’ Attorney’s office – suddenly dropped all charges against Smollett in return for some community service and forfeiture of his bond money. Their best explanation is that Smollett is a nice guy and the crime was no big deal.

If the prosecutors dropped ALL charges, why did Smollett have to forfeit his bond money as a form of a fine or be required to do community service? That is because prosecutors remained convinced that Smollett had done the crime but spared him from doing the time.

On the other hand, Smollett walked out of court and immediately declared his innocence – there was none of the sorrow and promise to be a good boy in the future as we usually expect for official leniency.

Clearly, prosecutors did NOT follow where the facts led them. They did not uphold the rule-of-law. They did not follow the mandates of equal justice under the law – that no man is above the law. They made a decision that was based on something else – Smollett’s celebrity? His ethnicity? His politics? Probably a bit of all three.

The Kraft Case.

You do not have to be a football fan to know that the owner of the New England Patriots, Robert Kraft, was arrested and charged with paying for sexual services. According to reports, they have video evidence of the crime. If prosecutors followed the facts and the law, Kraft should be hauled into court for adjudication. Well he will be, but not because of the prosecutors’ dedication to the rule-of-law.

They offered a deal. They would drop all charges IF Kraft would admit to his guilt. If you are scratching your head, you got it. In return for walking away as officially an innocent man with no criminal record, he only needs to confess that he committed the crime. (Apparently, that is something the Chicago prosecutors forget to require of Smollett.)

* * * * *

The common thread in these three cases is the fact that prosecutors have enormous arbitrary power to indict or not indict. They are not servants of the law, but lawyers that make their decisions on a personal basis – often for political reasons. Paul Manafort learned that when they want to “get you,” they have the power and the resources to “throw the book at you.” Or they can shove aside all levels of evidence to “give you a break.” In too many cases, that “break” is for very bad and corrupt reasons.

So, there ‘tis.

About Author

Larry Horist

Larry Horist

Larry Horist is a conservative activist with an extensive background in economics, public policy and politics. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman, as well as the White House. He has testified as an expert witness before legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress, and lectured at major colleges and universities. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He can be reached at lph@thomasandjoyce.com.

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4 Comments

  1. Personofinterest
    Personofinterest March 29, 18:51

    The AG Barr letter does not use the term exonerate. And since we have not seen the Mueller Report, that document cannot be a source for that term, used properly or not.
    No official has yet to be on record as using that term. Only Trump himself, and through his many media proxies, are using that term.
    So, the critique of its use or misuse cannot be placed on Meuller’s shoulder’s. Read the BArr letter for yourselves, ladies and gentelmen, and find the absence of that word for yourselves.
    Don’t take my word for it, as so many other people take so many other people’s word for so many other important things. MBB

    Reply to this comment
  2. UNCLE VLADDI
    UNCLE VLADDI March 30, 04:02

    To professional hypocrites, the rules never apply to them selves. All lawyers are professional hypocrites, and all judges used to be lawyers. Oh, and BTW: all hypocrites are criminals, and all criminals are hypocrites. CAPISCE?

    Reply to this comment
  3. Victoria O'Shea
    Victoria O'Shea March 31, 16:58

    Very helpful article oh, thank you. I did not know about the prosecutors power until it was explained here

    Reply to this comment
  4. Don
    Don April 01, 11:41

    Of course they don’t. They’d rather obfuscate to support their agenda.

    Reply to this comment

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