I don't spend time defending President
Clinton - a man who is indefensible. I do, however, make an effort to attack
Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr. He, in my opinion, represents everything
that honest and decent Americans should fear in a prosecutor:
an obsessive desire to "get" someone to such an extent that time, money,
reason, and fundamental fairness become afterthoughts. Starr's obsession
became so intense that New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd penned
a tongue in cheek column wherein she referred to Starr, not Clinton, when
she wrote: "No
matter how much he heard Monica talk about sex, it was never enough".
Not On Board With Kenneth
Some examples . . .
For all the Clinton haters out there,
and there are alot of them, the Starr
report and the videotaped testimony of the President must have been great
fodder. But for the sake of argument, envision a hypothetical that replaces
Clinton with one of your family members or friends. Do the cross hairs
of the Starr prosecution seem quite so appealing?
The president's most recent response
to the Starr report stated: "After four years, scores of FBI agents, hundreds
of subpoenas, thousands of documents, and tens of millions of dollars.
After hiring lawyers, accountants, IRS agents, outside consultants, law
professors, personal counsel, ethics advisers, and a professional public
relations expert. After impaneling grand juries and leasing office space
in three jurisdictions, and investigating virtually every aspect of the
President's business, financial, political, official and, ultimately, personal
life, the Office of Independent Counsel has presented to the House a Referral
that no prosecutor would present to any jury." I agree.
One of the most disturbing aspects
of Starr's investigation is the ambush of Monica Lewinsky at the Ritz Carlton.
When she asked for a lawyer (which would have required questioning to stop
if she was in "custody"), FBI agents and lawyers told
her she could lose any immunity deal that might be forthcoming and even
threatened to prosecute her mother.
Although the Starr report speaks
page after page regarding perjury, not once does it set forth the elements
of a perjury case. (Including the need for materiality and intent). This
causes me to wonder if Starr has been living in an ivory tower. A first
year misdemeanor prosecutor learns one thing quickly when evaluating a
case: write down everything that needs to be proven (the "elements") and
then check them off as the proof develops. Despite Starr's glowing resume,
I suspect he was never occupied the greatest learning position of all:
a misdemeanor prosecutor.
Is there any indication that the
grand jury is in agreement with the Starr report?
If Starr's purpose was to be a fair
and even-handed investigator, why is there no effort on his part to set
forth exculpatory material in the report? That is, how about a sentence
that begins "On the other hand . . . ". For example, Starr failed to include
Lewinsky's testimony that, "I would just like to say that no one ever asked
me to lie, and I was never promised a job for my silence." Starr
also failed to mention that it was Lewinsky, not the White House, that
wrote the now famous "talking points".
Prosecutorial abuse is by far
the most frightening concept to an orderly democracy. Don't let your
hatred of Clinton blind you to a deterioration of civil liberties.
Barry Green is the District Attorney
for the 271st Judicial District.
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