Thursday, April 05, 2007

Biskupic Wimps Out

When the end came for Steve Biskupic’s outrageous political prosecution of Georgia Thompson, he was nowhere to be found. He was elsewhere when three judges for the 7th Circuit ripped his hapless underling a new one, chasing him around the courtroom until he nearly ran out, screaming. Although Biskupic proudly persecuted this dedicated (not "life-long" -- thanks to comment below) civil servant and demanded that she go to prison before her appeal was final, he knew how bad his case and his conviction was. When the time came to fight for what he supposedly believed in, Steve Biskupic wimped out and stayed home.

The end came quickly, but not painlessly. From the comfort of his office, Biskupic sent out a three-sentence press release that announced the decision and Thompson's release and then said: "We commend the work of Thompson’s lawyers."

The 7th Circuit panel released her before the lawyers even left the building – their extremely rare order practically slapping the assistant U.S. attorney on the back on his way out – and this is the best Biskupic can do? No apology for the destruction of Thompson’s life and career, much less the four months she spent in a federal prison? No humility for the abuse of his extraordinary power to prosecute?

It should have been Biskupic there, not his assistant, getting his well-deserved comeuppance from the panel of judges. As an attorney who has been in similar situations, I often wince empathetically at the grilling an experienced panel can give a lawyer with a losing case. But Biskupic or any lawyer in his office who dared to show up to defend this sham of a prosecution deserved everything they got – and worse. All the judges did was ask the government questions they should have been asking themselves before they even thought about prosecuting poor Georgia Thompson.

Did she have any personal gain from the transaction? No. Did she even know Adelman had given money to Doyle? No. Under the government’s theory, if she had pushed for the selection of Adelman just because she liked the hair style of the person who made the presentation, is that criminal, too? Er, no, says the U.S. lawyer. Why is trying to please her boss any different? Um, because it is, I guess. Check out the audio here and skip to the last 15 minutes. Legal spankings are seldom this emphatic.

According to some of the e-mails in the fired U.S. attorney scandal currently boiling in Washington, Biskupic was on the hot seat last year for not being "tough" enough on the GOP’s bogus "voter fraud" agenda. No doubt he saved his job by going after this lowly state employee, giving valuable ammunition to the GOP and its wing-nut surrogates to paint Doyle as somehow ethically challenged in an election year. At this point, he and his handlers probably don’t even care that the conviction was tossed – the case had already served it intended purpose.

The Georgia Thompson case will forever point up the key fact driving Gonzo-Gate – U.S. Attorneys have extraordinary power to investigate, arrest, charge, prosecute and convict. Their appointments are, by nature, political. But the exercise of their duties should not be. Biskupic has prosecuted a lot of Democrats and not one Republican. He has always been a willing bagman for Karl Rove and the state and national GOP. If anyone in the current U.S. attorney corps needs to be relieved of his duties, it is Steve Biskupic.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great post--the only thing is that Thompson wasn't a life-long public servant. She was hired during McCallum's administration.

Anonymous said...

Correct -- her previous careers recently included working in the travel industry, which was exactly why she knew how to read the bids and see that there were differences, hidden costs, that called for the rebidding.

Anonymous said...

Mike,

get off your ass and see the JS editorial on this. On the internet. Where they sell ads to their editorials.

Yes, they sell ads to their editorials.

But even though they contributed to this travesty (isn't the jury getting quite the pass on this, and thereby the media too) they still say somehow Doyle did wrong.

Since this is up your alley I suggest you work these fuckers over.

Mike Plaisted said...

Working them over...yes, if only they would get out their corporate cocoon long enough to do just that. Thanks for thinking I could, anyway.

I will post this weekend on the whole of the MSM and wing-nut reaction to the Biskupic thumping, but the J-S editorial was particularly absurd.

I'm not going to be too hard on the jury, though. They just applied the law as it was given to them. Notice the juror quoted today, saying that it was clear that she "manipulated the process". But that's not a crime -- she has to have done it for "personal gain", and that was the element that got the case bounced so quickly by the 7th Circuit.

The jurors were manipulated by this outrageous prosecutor, even more than the MSM and the elecotral process. They can't help it if they were given the wrong law to apply.

Anonymous said...

EXCEPT - Georgia Thompson was convicted by a jury of her peers ... so ...

Mike Plaisted said...

So...what? Does that mean someone who hasn't broken the law can be strung up by an out-of-control prosecutor if they are allowed to misinform the jury about the law or because the jury might want to speculate about what she is up to without any proof? Sorry, that's not the way it works. Nor should it be.

Anonymous said...

Georgia Thompson's prosecution saved Biskupic's job. Plain and simple. Funny how the same WMC operatives that were so outraged about a manufactured crisis of corruption of the Doyle administration thought nothing of pumping over 2 million dollars into buying a Supreme Court seat for corrupt judge Ann Ziegler.

The stench of Republican politics makes me sick.

What happened to Georgia Thompson ought to be the lead story on every Sunday morning news show in this country-because if it can happen to an innocent woman like her, the Republican money machine can take down anyone.

Anonymous said...

In your roundup of what wingnuts are saying, don't miss this one from Wigderson's So-Called Library and Pub, now the place for the sickos to meet.

One can only hope, with the sig on this one, that's it's just sick sarcasm:

Georgia Thompson's innnocence is irrelevant. We need people like Steve Biskupic in the US Attorney's office. If prosecuting a career bureaucrat is what is takes to keep the good people in these jobs, then do it and stop whining.

Today's Republican rank and file are too damm honest. Back in the day, we would have had Thompson shanked three days after she arrived in prison-dead folks don't appeal. Not killing Thompson when we had the chance was a major blunder.
Nixon | 04.07.07 - 8:11 pm |

Jackson said...

I love the way Judge #3 -- the nice baritone at the end who just wails on Biskupic's coffee boy -- sighs. Sorry to see that the original US Attorney couldn't be there to make his case. At least Biskupic can rest comfortably knowing that if only he had been there, all this would have worked out differently. That's the kind of thing that happens when you hire the wrong people...

Anonymous said...

Nope, it's pretty clear why he didn't go -- he already had a clue. The judges clearly came in disgusted with the case and agreeing with the brief for the appeal.

dasher said...

Oh man. I think you have to be a lawyer to really appreciate the way the panel took the government's attorney on a trip to the woodshed.

Stuff of nightmares.

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