Thursday, April 10, 2008

Words From a Target of Political Prosecution

Many words have been written about the questionable practices of the Bush Justice Department since nine U.S. attorneys were fired in December 2006.

But I know of no story on the emerging scandal quite like the one published yesterday by Larisa Alexandrovna at Raw Story. It's an in-depth interview with Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Oliver Diaz, who was one of the early targets of the Bush DOJ.

Former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman was convicted and immediately sent to federal prison for nine months, and thanks to his recent release pending appeal, is only now beginning to tell his story. Mississippi attorney Paul Minor and former state judges Wes Teel and John Whitfield remain in prison and have been unable to go into detail about their experiences as political prisoners in the Age of Rove.

Oliver Diaz has a unique story in the sordid Bush DOJ tale. The case against him was so preposterously weak that he was acquitted--not once, but twice.

Diaz can not tell us what it is like to be a political prisoner. But he tells us in detail what it is like to be a political target--to have your life, both professionally, personally, and financially--turned upside down because you don't toe the pro-business line desired by the Bushies and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

I'm going to do a detailed analysis of Alexandrovna's piece in the next few days. But in the meantime, I hope Legal Schnauzer readers will go to Raw Story and read the piece from start to finish. It's long, but well worth the effort to read it all.

If you want to understand the Justice Department scandal at its core--the legal, political, and personal issues involved--the Raw Story piece is must reading.

Historians someday will piece together the full ugliness of justice in America at the beginning of the 21st century. It might take 10, 20, or 50 years for the full story to be known. But this interview with Diaz will be one of the first places historians need to turn.

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