Judging by Mueller's staffing choices, he may not be very interested in justice
Little has been said of the danger of prosecutorial overreach and the true history of Mueller’s lead prosecutor. Yet Mueller tapped a different sort of prosecutor to lead his investigation — his long-time friend and former counsel, Andrew Weissmann. He is not just a “tough” prosecutor. Time after time, courts have reversed Weissmann’s most touted “victories” for his tactics. This is hardly the stuff of a hero in the law.
Weissmann, as deputy and later director of the Enron Task Force, destroyed the venerable accounting firm of Arthur Andersen LLP and its 85,000 jobs worldwide — only to be reversed several years later by a unanimous Supreme Court.
Next, Weissmann creatively criminalized a business transaction between Merrill Lynch and Enron. Four Merrill executives went to prison for as long as a year. Weissmann’s team made sure they did not even get bail pending their appeals, even though the charges Weissmann concocted, like those against Andersen, were literally unprecedented.
Weissmann’s prosecution devastated the lives and families of the Merrill executives, causing enormous defense costs, unimaginable stress and torturous prison time. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the mass of the case.
Weissmann quietly resigned from the Enron Task Force just as the judge in the Enron Broadband prosecution began excoriating Weissmann’s team and the press began catching on to Weissmann’s modus operandi.
Manafort, a Trump associate, is simply a small step in Weissmann’s quest to impugn this presidency or to reverse the results of the 2016 election. Never mind that months of investigation by multiple entities have produced no evidence of "collusion." Mueller’s rare, predawn raid of Manafort’s home — a fearsome treat usually reserved for mobsters and drug dealers — is textbook Weissmann terrorism. And of course, the details were leaked — another illegal tactic.
Weissmann is intent on indicting Manafort. It won’t matter that Manafort knows the Trump campaign did not collude with the Russians. Weissman will pressure Manafort to say whatever satisfies Weissmann’s perspective. Perjury is only that which differs from Weissmann’s “view” of the “evidence” — not the actual truth.
We all lose from Weissmann’s involvement. First, the truth plays no role in Weissmann’s quest. Second, respect for the rule of law, simple decency and following the facts do not appear in Weissmann’s playbook. Third, and most important, all Americans lose whenever our judicial system becomes a weapon to reward political friends and punish political foes.https://thehill.com/opinion/white-house ... erested-in
The backstory: Defense attorneys say Mr. Weissmann bent or broke the rules. As proof, they point to appeals court decisions, exhibits and witness statements.
They say he intimidated witnesses by threatening indictments, created crimes that did not exist and, in one case, withheld evidence that could have aided the accused. At one hearing, an incredulous district court judge looked down at an Enron defendant and told him he was pleading guilty to a wire fraud crime that did not exist.
The Supreme Court, in a 9-0 vote in 2005, overturned the Andersen conviction. A year later, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals erased all the fraud convictions against four Merrill Lynch managers. The jury had acquitted another defendant.
“People went off to prison for a completely phantom of a case,” said Mr. Kirkendall.
Mr. Kirkendall became sort of an unofficial Enron historian. He observed goings-on at the Houston federal courthouse and blogged about what he considered a systematic miscarriage of justice.
The task force, which ultimately would catapult prosecutors to lucrative careers, wanted to win as many convictions as possible. They were prosecuting players in one of the nation’s biggest corporate scandals. Enron bosses falsified balance sheets, inflated earnings and traded stocks with insider knowledge. By 2001, the behemoth went bankrupt. Its stock was worthless.
The Justice Department task force mobilized in 2002 and quickly won convictions. But there were dark sides.
That’s where Sidney Powell enters the picture. The Dallas lawyer took the appeal of a Merrill Lynch figure. She obtained from Justice a batch of task force documents in 2010 that should have been disclosed to trial attorneys years earlier.
The documents began to flow in the aftermath of the Sen. Ted Stevens debacle. Justice prosecutors not connected to the Enron task force deliberately withheld evidence favorable to Stevens. A judge threw out his conviction.
Ms. Powell wrote a 2014 book about the scandals, “Licensed to Lie: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice.”
“All of the cases Weissmann pushed to trial were reversed in whole or in part due to some form of his overreaching and abuses,” Ms. Powell told The Washington Times. “The most polite thing the Houston bar said about Weissmann was that he was a madman.”
The special counsel’s office declined to comment to The Times about Mr. Weissmann’s track record.https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/20 ... ecutor-kn/