As a resident of Alabama, I've been operating under the assumption that ours is the only state where the Obama Justice Department has shown utter ineptitude on the appointment of U.S. attorneys. But I was wrong about that.
Leura Canary, the abominable George W. Bush appointee who ramrodded the Don Siegelman prosecution in the Middle District of Alabama, stayed on for more than two years of Obama's term. That allowed her to be at the controls for a federal bingo case that targeted mostly Democrats and produced zero convictions.
I figured the White House let the Canary debacle continue because the president knows he never is going to win a deep red state, and therefore does not care what happens in Alabama. But it turns out that Obama let a similar situation fester in North Carolina, a state that he won in 2008.
And just as in Alabama, it appears that Obama's weakness has allowed a Bushie to launch a politically motivated prosecution--under a Democratic administration. With "friends" like Obama, citizens who take justice seriously do not need enemies.
The target in North Carolina is former presidential candidate John Edwards. And the embedded Bushie was George Holding, who stayed on as U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina until July 8 of this year. Holding announced his resignation roughly one week after an indictment was issued against Edwards. How convenient.
At the heart of the case against Edwards are payments made to his mistress, Rielle Hunter, in an effort to keep the affair secret. Edwards' behavior was disgusting, but was it criminal?
Legal experts say the Edwards case is built on a shaky foundation of weak evidence and untested legal theories. The kind of transaction in question rarely, if ever, has been defined as a political contribution--and that is the legal crux upon which the case rests?
The Edwards case appears to be skimpy on its face, and for some reason, that does not sit well with the former senator's defense team. It claims the Obama DOJ lacked the backbone to stop a bogus prosecution--and that's a familiar story for those of us who live in Alabama. Josh Gerstein, of Politico, explains:
President Barack Obama's appointees at the Justice Department lacked the political courage to stop a Bush-appointed federal prosecutor from indicting former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) on campaign finance-related charges even though the prosecution's theory is completely unprecedented, Edwards's lawyers said in a court filing Tuesday.
Edwards's defense team argued in a motion filed last month that the U.S. Attorney who oversaw the investigation, George Holding, was politically hostile to Edwards. A former aide to Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.), Holding announced his resignation a week after obtaining Edwards's indictment in June on charges that he effectively accepted nearly $1 million in illegal campaign contributions by allowing two wealthy supporters to pay expenses incurred by Edwards's mistress and a daughter the couple conceived.
Holding also worked for Judge Terrence Boyle, whose appeals court nomination Edwards blocked in 2001.
Powerful evidence suggests that Holding was hostile toward Edwards. We also know that Holding had political ambitions. He now is running, as a Republican, for a Congressional seat from North Carolina's 13th District. Here is how one news outlet reported Holding's entrance into the race:
A former federal prosecutor whose office put a series of high-profile North Carolina Democrats in prison wants to replace one in Congress.
George E.B. Holding said Wednesday he will run for the Republican nomination for the 13th District seat now held by U.S. Rep. Brad Miller. . . .
The 43-year-old Republican stayed in his post three years into the Obama administration to avoid disrupting investigations into former presidential candidate John Edwards and former North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley.
Holding's office brought public corruption cases that resulted in convictions against former state House Speaker Jim Black, former state Agriculture Commissioner Meg Scott Phipps and former Rep. Frank Ballance.
It doesn't appear that Holding went after any corrupt Republicans. Hmmm . . . conducting political prosecutions against Democrats pays off in North Carolina? Same thing seems to happen in my state, where Leura Canary is set to accept a cushy legal position with the Retirement Systems of Alabama (RSA).
The criminal case against John Edwards appears to be preposterously weak. So why is it moving forward? Gerstein explains:
The defense motion goes on to argue that Holding stood to benefit politically whether the Obama folks killed the case or let it go forward. If they killed it, he could have claimed they were protecting a fellow Democrat. If it went forward, he would be viewed as wounding a Democrat of national prominence.
"Under the circumstances, it is understandable that the Obama Administration would stay out of this fight," the defense lawyers said.
While we are on the subject of politics, let's consider these questions: How ironic is it that our nation's first black president has shown consistent disdain for the words of the 14th Amendment, the fundamental building block for equal treatment under the law in America? Why would Obama expect Democrats to support him when he has allowed members of his own party to be brutalized in political prosecutions? Assuming that progressives take the 14th Amendment seriously--that they care about issues such as due process and equal protection--why would they show up at the polls for a president who repeatedly has dumped on the U.S. Constitution?
This is one progressive who will not be voting for Obama in 2012. I already had made up my mind on that subject, and the George Holding story only reinforces those feelings.