Attorneys for Minor co-defendant John Whitfield write Attorney General Holder

We tell this to go beyond our lawyer’s talk of Brady violations and honest services statutes and quidpro quo and to put a human face on the victims of the corruption of the Department of Justice and the Public Integrity Section under the previous administration— to put a human face on this victim of a baseless, legally void political prosecution.

Whitfield Appeal provides timely review of law re: judicial bribery, USA v Minor, a late July SLABBED post, reported Mr. Whitfield’s Appeal to the 5th Circuit.  One man’s convicted felon is another’s father, son followed in early August.

Some roll their eyes at the mention of a politically motivated prosecution of Whitfield, Minor and Teel.  Others are more adamant in their believe politics was not involved. Drew Martin and David McCarty, Mr. Whitfield’s new counsel, took the issue head-on in their recent letter to Attorney General Holder

Mr. Lampton actually said to Mr. Whitfield and his previous counsel before the first
indictment was returned, “[y]ou wouldn’t be a target of this investigation if it wasn’t for your politics.” This statement, combined with the curious removal of Mr. Lampton’s name from the second list of U.S. Attorneys slated for firing by the Bush Justice Department, raise serious questions as to the propriety of Mr. Whitfield’s prosecution from its inception.

I’m uncertain how long Mr. Whitfield was without counsel; however, his current attorneys point out he filed his first Appeal with the Fifth pro se over a year ago. Continue reading “Attorneys for Minor co-defendant John Whitfield write Attorney General Holder”

SLABBED Daily: July 30 all politics is local

With the Washington Post reporting Rove Had Heavier Hand in Prosecutor Firings Than Previously Known, today’s SLABBED Daily looks at the firing of federal prosecutors from the perspective of all politics is local.

…Rove described himself as merely passing along complaints by senators and state party officials to White House lawyers…

The story focuses on three of the nine U.S. Attorneys fired in 2006 – a group that includes Missouri’s Todd Graves, known to SLABBED readers as counsel for Zach Scruggs in the case that became USA v Scruggs, Scruggs, and Backstrom.

Graves, the U.S. attorney in Missouri, was removed after staff members of Sen. Christopher S. “Kit” Bond (R) repeatedly complained to political aides and lawyers in the White House, according to interviews and the inspector general. Rove, who had done political consulting work for Bond earlier in their careers, said in the interview that he had become aware of the turmoil on the eve of President Bush’s visit to the state.

Graves brings the story home; but Dunn Lampton actually brought it closer.  Lampton, who until his recent resignation had been U.S. Attorney for Mississippi’s Southern District  since 2000, was once slated for a pink slip – and that brings us full circle to Rove’s testimony suggesting all politics is local. Continue reading “SLABBED Daily: July 30 all politics is local”

SLABBED exclusive: Eastland to Holder – re: Minor and prosecutor’s duty to refrain from improper methods designed to produce wrongful conviction

Hiram Eastland, counsel for Paul Minor, has written Attorney General Holder a letter requesting …at a minimum… Mr. Minor’s immediate release pending full review of his case. The full text of Eastland’s letter to General Holder, followed by the text of footnotes incorporated into the body of the letter, is below.

I encourage reader’s to consider Minor’s first trial was also before a jury of his peers and the first prosecution of Mr. Minor ended with an acquittal on various charges and a hung jury on other charges. On retrial. after the presiding judge revised his evidentiary rulings and relieved the prosecution of the need to prove certain elements of the alleged [bribery] crime, Mr. Minor was convicted of what have been described as ‘vague’ charges based on alleged efforts to obtain an unfair advantage from the two lower court judges, again through loan guarantees, and again despite the fact that Mississippi law allows such guarantees.”

EASTLAND LAW OFFICES, PLLC
ATTORNEYS AT LAW

HIRAM C. EASTLAND. JR.
HIRAM C. EASTLAND. III
JACOB K. EASTLAND
VICKI BOBO EASTLAND

June 24, 2009

Honorable Eric Holder
Attorney General
United States Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20530-0001

Dear Attorney General Holder:

I am writing this letter to request that you implement an immediate full review of Paul Minor’s case and whether the Department of Justice complied with Mr. Minor’s Brady requests for government disclosure of all exculpatory or impeaching material in the United States’ possession, custody or control, the existence of which was known or by exercise of due diligence could have become known to the government before the 2005 and 2007 trials of Paul Minor. See Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963); United States v. Agurs, 427 U.S. 97 (1976); Giglio v. United States, 405 U.S. 150 (1972); see also, Exhibits 1 and 2 attached Brady progeny requests for Paul Minor’s 2005 and 2007 trials. Continue reading “SLABBED exclusive: Eastland to Holder – re: Minor and prosecutor’s duty to refrain from improper methods designed to produce wrongful conviction”

Attorney General Holder, Paul Minor and the feather in the cap culture of DOJ

I’m not wild about calling Paul a “political prisoner,” but I do think the Government overreached Federal jurisdiction in prosecuting an alleged State crime, and I also think the evidence of a quid pro quo was entirely speculative.

I’m not wild about calling Paul a political prisoner either but before I go further, I need to stop and  welcome Ipse Blogit to SLABBED with a h/t for the link to Elusive Justice Overdue in the Case of Political Prisoner Paul Minor on the Huffington Post.

Those who see Paul Minor as political prisoner – including Brendan DeMelle who wrote for the Huffington Post – are seeing Paul in his “role as the top funder of Democratic candidates in Mississippi”.

Without adding to or taking anything away from that connection, I see Paul as a feather-in-the-cap prisoner — a highly valued prize in cultural environment of a Justice Department with two measures of success: conviction rates and high-profile convictions.

As Jim Brown’s April 16 column explains, those measures reflect a value contrary to a prosecutor’s duty:

As federal appeals courts have said repeatedly: “A prosecutor has a special duty commensurate with a prosecutor’s unique power, to assure that defendants receive fair trials. Prosecutors sometimes forget that the prosecutor’s special duty is not to convict, but to secure justice.”

Asking General Holder to concede the errors in Paul’s case is asking him to pluck feathers without tossing the caps.

DeMelle’s post is below the jump and you don’t have to believe Paul is a political prisoner to question his conviction or see he has been unlawfully confined while his Appeal is pending. Continue reading “Attorney General Holder, Paul Minor and the feather in the cap culture of DOJ”

SLABBED Daily – April 29 (Politz, O’Keefe, Rigsby, Minor)

Jumping right in to this sea of documents with the Reply to Nationwide’s Response filed by counsel for Mrs. Politz.

Clearly, even Nationwide cannot present any authority to dispute Plaintiffs’ arguments that no corroborating medical testimony is required for Mrs. Politz to testify as to how Nationwide’s conduct made her feel.

Nationwide instead seeks to enflame the Court’s sensibilities by continually mentioning what it refers to as Plaintiff’s “discovery abuses,” referring it its previous Motion to Strike, which the Court has already ruled upon. Primarily, Nationwide contends that Mrs. Politz was somehow being sneaky or acting in bad faith by not divulging to Nationwide that she had been prescribed anti-depressants until her first deposition on November 3, 2008.

Mrs. Politz is an honest and pleasant, sixty-seven year old woman who lost everything she owned, had her claim basically denied in full for two years, had to come out of retirement to go back to work to make ends meet,subsequently lost her husband, and underwent open heart surgery in early 2007. Needless to say, she has been through a lot, and can be absentminded at times. That does not tarnish the fact that she is an honest and intelligent woman…

The only thing that Mrs. Politz failed to divulge until her first deposition in November 2008 is the fact that she had been prescribed anti-depressants. Mrs. Politz did not divulge even to her attorneys that she was taking anti-depressants. Can Nationwide attempt to use that information to impeach her credibility at trial? Certainly it can. However, Mrs. Politz should not be subject to the severe sanctions sought by Nationwide simply because she forgot something in her interrogatory responses and remembered it during her deposition. Nationwide has fully explored the issues at this point, and it has now had this information in hand for almost six months.

As I recall, the question asked Mrs. Politz was had she ever sought treatment for her mental health.  If correct, that explains her response.  The anti-depressants were not prescribed by a mental health professional.

Next up, O’Keefe v State Farm and the Plaintiffs’ Motion to Quash Subpoena Duces Tecum.  The O’Keefes claim State Farm has once again “gone fishing” – this time for information on their insurance policy with USF&G.

The subject Subpoena should be quashed because it seeks information not reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of Continue reading “SLABBED Daily – April 29 (Politz, O’Keefe, Rigsby, Minor)”

SLABBED Daily – April 16

An afternoon edition!  The MRGO documents are slow reading; but, I’m almost done.  Plus, we’ll be seeing more of Sop with the 15th deadline behind him.

Daily news has been a little slow – or so it seems with the Daily Journal just now picking up the story of Balducci’s handwritten Answer to Wilson v Scruggs.  Of course, the delay could be the website redesign that has produced urls that could choke tiny url.

Balducci’s most recent admission is that he conspired with Scruggs and others to influence Hinds Circuit Judge Bobby DeLaughter in another legal-fees lawsuit, Wilson v. Scruggs…While DeLaughter denies it’s true, Scruggs admitted his part just a few days before DeLaughter was indicted in the matter. But Balducci takes it a step further…

Doesn’t he always take things a step further?  Speaking of taking things further, Y’all Politics posted a flash on the State’s attempt to claim the legal fees MCI paid to Joey Langston Continue reading “SLABBED Daily – April 16”

Justice is better than chivalry, if we cannot have both – so send Judge Owen some flowers and release Paul Minor

A member of this court has previously denied release pending appeal.

That the gentlemen on the Fifth Circuit Panel denied Paul Minor’s appeal for release as a courtesy is a bit too Middle Ages for my taste – particularly since Judge Patrica Owen is to Minor what her fellow Judge, Edith Jones, is to causation theory – a woman of ill repute.

In Court denies bond for imprisoned attorney, the Sun Herald tells the story.

Paul Minor, one of Mississippi’s most successful civil lawsuit attorneys before being sent to prison for corruption, was denied an emergency request Thursday to be released so he could be with his dying wife…

Minor has asked the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to throw out the conviction, claiming the trial judge allowed improper jury instructions…

The three-judge panel of 5th Circuit judges denied the request for bond, pointing out that another member of the court had rejected a similar request in the past. That judge, Priscilla Owen, has since recused herself from the case.

Obviously, “recusal” means “sit in chair behind Panel and whine”. Continue reading “Justice is better than chivalry, if we cannot have both – so send Judge Owen some flowers and release Paul Minor”

The past that isn’t even past – and the present of Paul Minor

Attorneys for Paul Minor  filed an emergency release motion with the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday seeking his immediate release while the court deliberates his appeal.

It is the last chance Minor will get to see his wife before her imminent death.

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., reported the story on the Huffington Post and, to some, he has become the story.

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Federal troops on patrol in Oxford, Mississippi 1962 "The Ghosts of Mississippi" (Wright Thompson, CNN)

Outraged by his suggestion Minor has committed no crime other than being the number one donor to Democratic candidates in Mississippi, you’d think he was the Kennedy enrolling Meredith in Ole Miss. Faulkner was right, The past isn’t dead, it isn’t even pastContinue reading “The past that isn’t even past – and the present of Paul Minor”

Major issues raised by 5th Circuit Panel hearing Minor Appeal

Hot off the Huffington Post – A Surprise Recusal and Promising Result in Paul Minor Appeal Hearing:

A Quick Update Following Paul Minor’s Appeal Hearing (see here for background)

Paul Minor’s appeal hearing in front of the 5th Circuit court this morning started off with an unexpected surprise. Shortly before the proceedings began, Priscilla Owen, one of the three judges hearing the appeal, announced her recusal.

Owen, whom the New York Times has described as “guided by the hand of Karl Rove,” apparently took to heart Minor attorney Hiram Eastland’s letter [PDF] asking Owen to recuse herself since Rove is being investigated by Congress and the Justice Department for his possible role in targeting Minor for indictment. Owen was replaced immediately by Judge Fortunato Benavides, a Clinton appointee, adding a measure of balance to the panel, which would’ve been an all-Republican panel with Owen present.

The appeal hearing lasted just 30 minutes but produced several key indicators that appeared to favor Paul Minor’s appeal.

It’s important to remember the Fifth Circuit is looking only at issues of law – and without the feelings about Minor personally that, understandably, can color the very real legal issues involved.

Led by Judge Will Garwood, a Reagan appointee, the panel asked very thoughtful questions and seemed very receptive to the arguments raised by Minor’s attorneys and asked repeated, tough questions of the Justice Department Continue reading “Major issues raised by 5th Circuit Panel hearing Minor Appeal”