Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Justice and Rules Get In BushCo's Way Again

U.S. wants terror convictions overturned

WASHINGTON - In a dramatic reversal, the Justice Department acknowledges its original prosecution of a suspected terror cell in Detroit was filled with a “pattern of mistakes and oversights” that warrant the dismissal of the convictions.

In a 60-page memo that harshly criticizes its own prosecutors’ work, the department told U.S. District Judge Gerald Rosen on Tuesday night it supports the Detroit defendants’ request for a new trial and would no longer pursue terrorism charges against them. The defendants at most would only face fraud charges at a new trial.

...The internal investigation of prosecutorial misconduct found enough problems that there is “no reasonable prospect of winning,” the government conceded, drawing back from a case once hailed by the Bush administration as a major victory in the war on terror.

“In its best light, the record would show that the prosecution committed a pattern of mistakes and oversights that deprived the defendants of discoverable evidence (including impeachment material) and created a record filled with misleading inferences that such material did not exist,” Justice told the court...
This sounds about right in Ashcroft's world. In fact, the errors by the justice department in this case were so damned egregious, that the prosecutor in the case felt moved to file a whistleblower's suit against John Ashcroft. The weakness of this case potentially points to two possible scenarios:

1) DOJ had nothing but a hunch to begin with.

2) DOJ had a big bag of evidence, but chose to trot out the weakest of the evidence to protect either sources or other more sensitive information in a public trial.

3) Justice saw a gang of muslims congregating, and figured something must be up. So by inference, they had to be guilty of some crime.

The accused should thank their lucky stars that they had their day in court under the American justice system, rather than the Gitmo tribunals. It's becoming crystal clear that Joe McCarthy was a piker compared to Ashcroft and crew.