Project Shares DOJ Misconduct Revelations & Reform Options With PDA Audience

Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) hosted me Aug. 11 on a nationwide conference call to hear about our recent Justice Integrity Project (JIP) revelations about federal law enforcers. Open to the public, the core of the discussion within PDA’s highly active Accountability and Justice Group involved such familiar names as former

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How Did the Media Report Taint

On DOJ’s ‘Political Purge’ & Torture Probers?

Several bloggers and editors promptly followed up on my report in Nieman Watchdog July 26 about the Justice Department’s apparent whitewash of its probe of U.S. attorney firings under George W. Bush. Harper's legal columnist Scott Horton wrote an online column suggesting the revelations further illustrated a whitewash.

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What's Next After Kagan's Confirmation?

Elena KaganThe Senate confirmed Elena Kagan's for the Supreme Court by a 63-37 margin Aug. 5, thus overcoming opposition by all but five Senate Republicans. The Justice Integrity Project announced opposition June 28. 

Our goals didn't rely on vote results. Instead, we wanted to shift debate away from the party-line hokum and horse-race punditry.

Here's our prediction: With the Kagan appointment, we're now seeing the yet another well-credentialed careerist elevated to a lifetime job. 

She'll likely help shift constitutional power further toward an increasingly unaccountable Executive Branch that's vastly different than the Framers envisioned even as amplified by post-Civil War amendments for a slave-free society. The Constitution-makers emphasized the duties of the Senate and House, and the vital congressional role in checks and balances. 

Kagan, 50, a close friend of President Obama and a former top aide to President Clinton, suggests through her writings and other actions that she's comfortable with these dangerous long-term trends.

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Questions raised of prosecutor who cleared Bush officials in purge probe

Before Nora Dannehy was appointed to investigate the Bush U.S. attorney firing scandal, her team of lawyers was found to have illegally suppressed evidence in a major political corruption case. This previously unreported fact calls into question her entire probe. It similarly undercuts the work of her DOJ colleague, John Durham, named first by Bush officials and then continued by the Obama administration, to probe DOJ and CIA decision-making on torture. Read this exclusive report by the Justice Integrity Project via Nieman Watchdog.  

In September 2008, the Bush Justice Department appointed career federal prosecutor Nora Dannehy to investigate allegations that Bush officials in 2006 illegally fired nine U.S. attorneys who wouldn’t politicize official corruption investigations. But just four days before her appointment, a federal appeals court had ruled that a team of prosecutors led by Dannehy illegally suppressed evidence in a major political corruption case in Connecticut.  The prosecutors’ misconduct was so serious that the court vacated seven of the eight convictions in the case. Now, almost two years later, Dannehy has provided arguably the most important blanket exoneration for high-level U.S. criminal targets since President George H.W. Bush pardoned six Iran-Contra criminals after the 1992 Presidential vote.

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Feds Bully 'Die Hard' Mctiernan Into Plea for False Statements

A noted Hollywood filmmaker faces prison after a conditional guilty plea July 12 in a wiretapping case so interesting that it deserves two alternative news accounts.

Here’s how I described it: Yet again, federal authorities abused their vast powers to promote their greater glory by manufacturing a crime and ruining a career ─ at needless expense to federal taxpayers.

But here's the version provided to the vast majority of Americans by the superficial court coverage that's become all-too-typical, in this instance by Reuters:

“Die Hard” film director John McTiernan pleaded guilty to lying to law enforcement officials in connection with the racketeering case of a private detective who represented many Hollywood stars.

A trial for McTiernan had been expected to begin on Tuesday in Los Angeles on two counts of making false statements to federal agents and one count of perjury.  McTiernan, 59, originally pleaded guilty in 2006 to a charge of knowingly lying to agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the criminal case against private detective Anthony Pellicano, who has since been jailed.

You be the judge.  But first, kindly note that the plea of McTiernan was “conditional” on his appeal, a fact totally omitted by the Reuters story and thus by such headlines around the nation as that by the Washington Post, which blared: “John McTiernan is headed to jail.”

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Justice Integrity Project Speech at National Press Club

Project's National Press Club Speech Cites DOJ Prosecution Misconduct

The Justice Integrity Project documented appalling abuses of defendant legal rights in a July 21 speech at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. As executive director, I spoke about the project's ongoing work documenting abusive tactics against white-collar defendants of varied political backgrounds. Bruce Fein

Earlier in the month, the weekly Washington Update public affairs show we co-host brought on two author-experts. Bruce Fein, right, a high-ranking DOJ official in the Reagan administration and author of this summer's American Empire Before the Fall, criticized Kagan for what he called her “ridiculous” arguments extending
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