Saturday, March 17, 2007

Arizona US Attorney fired for failed porn case?

CBS is reporting despite the state of deep denial that currently permeates the White House, it's only a matter of time before Gonzales will be canned. Indeed, it's difficult to see how Bush can avoid the inevitable but that doesn't mean he isn't going to try.
"Given the importance of the issues under consideration and the presidential principles involved, we need more time to resolve them," White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said. She also said White House Counsel Fred Fielding suggested to the House Judiciary Committee that he get back to members on Tuesday.
Read that to mean the White House spinners are trying to determine if they can invoke executive privilege to overcome the promised subpoenas of top White House officials without setting off a major conflageration. Meanwhile, they're falling back on the hazy memory defense to justify their ongoing lies about why the attorneys were fired. How many times are we supposed to believe that Karl Rove simply has a bad memory? He is reported to remember trivial slights from 40 years ago, but he can't remember whether he talked about firing the top prosecutors in the Justice Department? It stretches credibility to the breaking point.

On another note, we haven't heard much about US Attorney Paul Charlton of the District of Arizona but Mark Kernes at AVN, uncovers a connection to Gonzales' recently declared war on porn and the administration's ongoing war on some drugs (warning adult content in ads). Charlton was not on the original "to be terminated" list and it appears he was probably fired as a result of an obscenity case after an embarassing motion to dismiss was filed by the defense.

The case centers on an adult video vendor, Five Star Video, LC, that was indicted in May 06 for interstate transportation of obscene materials, namely a certain four videos. But here's where it gets interesting. Five Star was not the only vendor. A bigger retailer, Castle Megastores was also selling and renting the same videos across state lines. Ironically, Castle was, and is, "under the supervision of the U.S. Trustee's Office of the Department of Justice, and the United States Bankruptcy Court of the District of Arizona." In other words, our government is profiting from the same videos, while indicting a competitor for violating obscenity laws.

Five Star's attorneys, as any competent counselors would, filed a motion to dismiss in Aug 06 on the grounds that they can't be indicted for selling the same videos the government is also vending. One imagines Atty. Charlton called his supervisors and noted the difficulty in pursuing the case under these circumstances. Three weeks later, his name appeared on the hit list and one of the emails between the White House and Charlton's superior references his unwillingness to prosecute "good obscenity cases." There's also an interesting exchange between the White House and Charlton's superior over how to break the news to Republican Senator Jon Kyl, who is noted to have been historically consulted in such matters. The only other reference to Charlton's performance notes his policy of generally not prosecuting marijuana smuggling cases in amounts under 500 pounds.

Both are wise uses of prosecutorial discrection. It makes no sense to waste federal resources on penny ante pot busts and it's certainly nearly impossible to argue one company is violating community decency standards when our own government is setting the standard by vending the same titles.

However, I suppose this does give some weight to the White House's contention that the firings were just politics as usual. After all, as we've seen time and time again, no incompetency goes unrewarded in this administration and no competency goes unpunished.

[Ed. note:] The blog is experiencing a most unusual spike in traffic. It may explain why I'm having trouble publishing and the comments are sluggish. It took me 3 tries to respond just now, so if you have something to say on this and you can't raise the comment section, please do come back later. Blogger eventually fixes these things. And much thanks to The Moderate Voice, Memeorandum, Crooks & Liars and BuzzFlash for the linkage.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is the status of the investigation against Rick Renzi? Was former US Attorney Carlton's District responsible for its investigation?

11:54:00 AM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

No idea anon. I'm not an expert on AZ politics. I just happened to get this one article through a listserv friend and thought it was an interesting angle I hadn't seen explored yet in terms of the purge scandal.

12:52:00 PM  
Blogger Dusty Dog said...

Every morning, I get online, go to buzzflash for the real news, and find out more of the misery-making sordid bullcrap that this lunacy regime is perpetrating. Today, this morning, it was $140,000 a defense contractor spent on Cheney's office furniture, and now, getting canned for not prosecuting a porn case explicitely BECAUSE the govt is selling the same porn. It would have been a stretch, originally, I think that accused the govt for selling the porn, given that it was for a firm under bankruptcy proceedings. But, the AZ attorney stated exactly that in his case. Therefore, it wasn't a stretch.

The govt just doesn't want anything bad, whatever the bad is, coming out about it. It seems there are a whole bunch of people at the top whose jobs it is is to search out 'bad' stuff, and cover it up.

Miggod!!!! Where are we going, and why are we in this handbasket?!!!

7:31:00 AM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

I ask myself that same question every morning Dusty. Thanks for stopping by.

8:10:00 AM  

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