Louis ManzoA former New Jersey assemblyman defending himself on corruption charges filed on Oct. 18 a wide-ranging brief alleging selective prosecution in the 2009 case that helped propel Chris Christie to his state's governor's mansion. Louis Manzo, left, requested also that courts vacate his most recent charges as vindictive or help enable a special prosChris Christieecutor.

Manzo, who has emerged as one of the nation's most important critics of prosecutors among defendants, filed an unusually comprehensive set of filings, listed below, seeking the removal of Obama-appointed U.S. attorney Paul Fishman. Manzo, a Democrat, says Fishman has continued what Manzo calls called the corrupt law enforcement practices intitiated by Christie, right. Christie was the Bush-appointed U.S. attorney for New Jersey, resigning at the end of 2008 to begin his campaign for governor. Christie, Fishman and their teams have responded that they have acted appropriately.

Manzo's filing alleges that a Christie-initiated "sting" against 46 defendants in 2009 targeted only one Republican office-holder, and even that defendant was not running for re-election. Manzo said the sweep largely ignored evidence that Solomon Dwek, the federal government's chief witness in the sting, had been bribing Republican officials in Monmouth County. In a leniency deal initiated by Christie and continued by his successors, the government has arranged for Dwek to receive five-figure monthly living expenses from victims of his $50 million bank fraud if he would help prosecutors develop cases by using government funds to donate to local candidates in circumstances suggesting bribery. One was Manzo, who argues he didn't take a bribe, and that the entire process was unfair and an insult to taxpayers and voters.

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Andrew KreigThe Washington Post's Oct. 17 print edition vividly displayed a major newspaper's conflicting roles in interpreting news from a bottom-up reader perspective (the ostensible mission) and the alternative, more lucrative model: Apologist for entrenched powers. Let's explore this inherent conflict as we launch today our bimonthly news round-up in a new format.

The Post adopted the laudable role of "inquiring reporter" in a local section front-page story entitled, Delays of Evidence Scrutinized. Reporter Keith Alexander examined how "a prosecutor’s mistake in failing to reveal key information about government witnesses and what they knew" imprisoned a 17-year-old murder suspect for six years. The reporter tied the prosecution "mistake" to a more systemic abuse that our Justice Integrity Project has probed also: "Defense lawyers have long complained that some prosecutors in the U.S. attorney’s office hamper their investigations by withholding evidence or keeping it until the last minute."

In the same edition, the paper's Supreme Court correspondent, Robert Barnes, reported a new Gallup poll and other evidence showing a rapid decline in public respect for the court. In Enjoying basic loyalty, despite dip in popularity, he wrote, "Gallup has announced that only 46 percent of Americans approve of the institution, a drop of 5 percentage points in the past year and 15 points in the past two years." But Barnes devoted nearly half of his space to James Gibson, a political scientist who downplayed the significance of the public's criticism.

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Leon PanettaFormer CIA agent Jeffrey Sterling's trial scheduled to begin Oct. 17 on charges of divulging classified information has been postponed indefinitely. U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema delayed trial after prosecutors appealed her ruling voiding two prosecution witnesses. The legal dispute's details are confidential. Sterling argues that he is a victim of selective prosecution. He is suspected of disclosing details of confidential CIA operations involving Iran to New York Times reporter and author James Risen in advance of Risen's 2006 best-seller, State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration.

As part of the Obama' administration's crack-down on whistleblowers expanding on Bush efforts, it obtained Sterling's indictment in 2010 when Leon Panetta, left, was CIA director before he became Secretary of Defense this year.

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Gov. Buddy RoemerRepublican 2012 Presidential candidate Buddy Roemer brought his unique pro-growth and anti-corruption reform message to my Washington Update radio show Oct.13. Co-host Scott Draughon and I quizzed the former Louisiana governor and four-term congressman, who sharply criticized U.S. "free trade" bills with South Korea, Panama and Colombia that Congress passed this week with President Obama's encouragement. Roemer, a Harvard MBA degree-holder, called the agreements bad for the U.S. economy and workforce, and typical of special interest control of Washington.

Roemer, a Republican businessman who says he's helped create a new kind of successful community bank since leaving politics, described how he made the decision with his family to return to politics for the Presidential race "because our country is in trouble." He decided also to forego any contributions over $100 and all political action committee (PAC) donations from corporations, unions, etc.  He is the only prominent Presidential candidate from either major party to take the pledge.

It's that kind of free-swinging commentary along with his varied record that prompts me to share these comments here. After all, there are lots of candidates giving interviews. But Roemer is the only one this cycle who, for example, has been both a governor and a congressman. More important, he is pounding at many of his own party's standard positions as well as the opposition's, but isn't included in the TV debates.

Organizers of Republican TV debates have excluded him for what he describes as shifting reasons largely unknown to him. As a recent guest on Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, he tries to find humor in the way some pollsters exclude him from their surveys. He calls that a "Catch 22" since TV debate organizers usually cite poll results to justify their debate line-ups.

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Rod J. RosensteinThe Washington Post published Oct. 10 a highly flattering profile of Maryland's U.S. attorney without mentioning two newsworthy national security cases -- one of which resulted in vast embarrassment for the Justice Department last summer. The Post published its page-one Metro-section profile of U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein, left, headlined, A Poster Child for the…Fair-minded. Reporter Ruben Castaneda's story lived up to that hype by such flattering insights as, "Even courtroom adversaries talk about the career prosecutor as if he were the real-life version of a Jimmy Stewart character." The reporter puts a positive spin on Rosenstein's work with Independent Prosecutor Kenneth Starr's failed investigation of Thomas Drake the Clintons for Whitewater, and even finds time to report on the two kinds of coffee mugs that prosecutor uses. As a finale, he quotes one of prosecutor's daughters, age 11, and touts her acumen as boding for her future success as a lawyer in the tradition of her father.

That's heartwarming, except to those who might wonder whether the government doesn't have enough spin-artists already on payroll. The newspaper profile contains not a hint of criticism from anyone. Nor does it even mention the two national security cases. In one case, the Baltimore prosecution of former National Security Agency (NSA) executive Thomas Drake collapsed in shambles earlier this summer as federal prosecutors were forced to drop the most serious charges. CBS 60 Minutes and the New Yorker helped expose to national audiences this travesty of justice. Our Justice Integrity Project was among other groups providing coverage of the case and of the Government Accountability Project (GAP), the lead watchdog group helping Drake. The defendant's ordeal began when he tried to expose to the Baltimore Sun millions of dollars in wasteful if not corrupt government spending. But prosecutors threatened him with charges that could have forced him to spend the rest of his life in prison as a spy. He fought them, and ultimately won a plea deal to a trivial misdemeanor of having unauthorized material on his computer. He is shown at right in a Wikipedia photo, courtesy of Steven DePaulo.

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Reporters from the progressive websites OpEd News and FireDogLake have taken a lead in documenting how a right-wing agent provocateur created a violent police reaction Oct. 8 against peaceful Occupy Occupy DCWashington antiwar protesters. This shut down a Smithsonian museum and led to arrests. Furthermore, the role of the disrupter from The American Spectator was ignored by most mainstream news coverage until the next day. Instead, establishment reporters initially relied on police and museum spokespeople for spin-filled, dubious accounts of a demonstration that occurred in plain view near the center of the historic Mall.

Rob Kall, publisher of OpEd News, and his colleague Cheryl Biren have shocking photos of the event to illustrate their account. She was pepper-sprayed three times despite her credentials as a journalist and such important work as her photo at left. They and other journalists below have helped piece together an account of how the confrontation escalated because of a pre-planned stunt by an American Spectator editor identified as Patrick Howley, left. Howley is partly obscured in Biren's photo just behind another and larger unidentified demonstrator in the black tee-shirt. Biren says she compared her photos of the unidentified, heavyset man carefully with the mug shot of a New Jersey rightist reputed on some websites to be him, but believes they are not the same person. Over the past week, FireDogLake's Charlie Grapski did most of the detective work, and published an updated report on Oct. 10 called, Anatomy of a Deception: How a Conservative Magazine Attempted to Discredit the Occupy Movement, Read his coverage and that at OpEd News in such columns as, "Occupy" Participants Beware: Agents Provocateur Like The One at Air Space Museum Are Threat. Then help report the news widely through your Facebook, Twitter and other accounts.

Update: Park Police offers 4-month extension to Freedom Plaza permit: Organizer. The Park Police offered protest organizers a four-month extension to their permit at Freedom Plaza, according to an Occupy DC organizer.

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