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04/19/2007


Texas Indictments of Cheney and Gonzales Thrown Out

The indictments against Vice President Dick Cheney and former Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez for connections to prison companies running federal detention centers have been thrown out by a judge.

Cheney_gonzalezHow predictable:

"Willacy County District Attorney Juan Angel Guerra had accused Cheney and the other defendants of responsibility for prisoner abuse. The judge's order ended two weeks of sometimes-bizarre court proceedings. Guerra is leaving office at the end of the month after soundly losing in his March primary election. 'I suggest on behalf of the law that you not present any cases to the grand jury involving these defendants,' Administrative Judge Manuel Banales said in court while ruling that eight indictments against Cheney, Gonzales and others were invalid. He also set a Dec. 10 hearing on whether to disqualify Guerra from those cases. Even in defeat, Guerra saw the outcome as confirmation of the very conspiracy he had pursued. 'I expected it,' he said. 'The system is going to protect itself.'"


Ted Stevens Loses, Cheney and Gonzales Indicted in Texas

The crooks are starting to fall.

Last night, the Alaska senate race was called for Mark Begich, putting corrupt Alaskan Senator Ted Stevens out of office:

"On the day the longest-serving Republican in Senate history turned 85, he was ousted by Alaska voters troubled by his conviction on federal felony charges and eager for a new direction in Washington, where Stevens served since Lyndon B. Johnson was president. Alaska voters 'wanted to see change,' said Democrat Mark Begich, who claimed a narrow victory Tuesday after a tally of remaining ballots showed him holding a 3,724-vote edge. 'Alaska has been in the midst of a generational shift - you could see it,' said Begich, the Anchorage mayor. Democrats now hold 58 Senate seats, when two independents who align with Democrats are included, with undecided races in Minnesota and Georgia."

Democrats are getting closer to a filibuter-proof 60-seat majority.

In other news, Vice PResident Dick Cheney and former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales have been indicted in Texas on state charges:

Cheney"Cheney's indictment on a charge of engaging in an organized criminal activity criticizes the vice president's investment in the Vanguard Group, which holds interests in the private prison companies running the federal detention centers. It accuses Cheney of a conflict of interest and "at least misdemeanor assaults" on detainees because of his link to the prison companies. Megan Mitchell, a spokeswoman for Cheney, declined to comment on Tuesday, saying that the vice president had not yet received a copy of the indictment. The indictment accuses Gonzales of using his position while in office to stop an investigation in 2006 into abuses at one of the privately-run prisons."

News clips, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Report Concludes Department of Justice Engaged in Anti-Gay Bias

Back in April I reported that the Department of Justice was looking into the possible firing of an employee for her sexual orientation as part of a larger investigation into the firings of U.S. attorneys under Alberto Gonzalez. At the center of the investigation was Gonzalez' senior counsel Monica Goodling.

GoodlingThe investigation has found that Goodling used a LexisNexis search string used to conduct opposition research for the RNC in order to screen possible candidates for career department positions.

This is the search string:

"[First name of a candidate]! and pre/2 [last name of a candidate] w/7 bush or gore or republican! or democrat! or charg! or accus! or criticiz! or blam! or defend! or iran contra or clinton or spotted owl or florida recount or sex! or controvers! or racis! or fraud! or investigat! or bankrupt! or layoff! or downsiz! or PNTR or NAFTA or outsourc! or indict! or enron or kerry or iraq or wmd! or arrest! or intox! or fired or sex! or racis! or intox! or slur! or arrest! or fired or controvers! or abortion! or gay! or homosexual! or gun! or firearm!"

According to the report, "[Goodling] exercised what amounted to veto power over a wide range of critical jobs, asking candidates for their views on abortion and same-sex marriage, and maneuvering around senior officials who outranked her, including the department's second-in-command....Thirty-four candidates told investigators that Goodling or one of her deputies raised the topic of abortion in job interviews and 21 said they discussed same-sex marriage, the report said. Another job applicant said he admired Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, only to watch Goodling 'frown' and respond, 'But she's prochoice.'"

Justice Dept. report concludes aides broke law [boston globe]
Goodling Screened DOJ Career Candidates For Affiliations With ‘Abortion, Homosexuality, Iraq and WMD’ [think progress]
An Investigation of Allegations of Politicized Hiring by Monica Goodling and Other Staff in the Office of the Attorney General [pdf]


DOJ Looking into Possible Firing of Atty Over Sexual Orientation

NPR reports on a probe into the possible firing of an attorney at the Justice Department for her sexual orientation. It's an investigation which grew out of the larger Alberto Gonzalez U.S. Attorney firings there.

GoodlingAttorney Leslie Hagen, who received "outstanding" job evaluations, was let go under Gonzales's senior counsel Monica Goodling.

According to NPR, "The Justice Department's inspector general is looking into whether Hagen was dismissed after a rumor reached Goodling that Hagen is a lesbian. As one Republican source put it, 'To some people, that's even worse than being a Democrat.' Several people interviewed by the inspector general's staff said investigators asked whether people drew a connection between the rumors and Hagen's dismissal. The witnesses, who spoke to NPR on the condition of anonymity, said they felt that the rumors led to the decision not to renew Hagen's contract. Someone who worked in Hagen's office says that in a 2006 meeting, senior officials were told that Hagen's contract would not be renewed because someone on the attorney general's staff had a problem with Hagen. The problem, it was suggested during the conversation, was sexual orientation — or what was rumored to be Hagen's sexual orientation. One person at the meeting asked, 'Is that really an issue?' But the decision had been made."

Justice Probes Lawyer's Dismissal Amid Gay Rumor [npr]


Towleroad Guide to the Tube #199

ALBERTO GONZALEZ: Demonstrator dressed as detainee interrupts Alberto Gonzalez appearance at University of Florida, and then another...

TASER ABUSE: More taser abuse courtesy of the Utah Highway Patrol, this time for a speeding ticket.

DR. JAN ADAMS: The doctor responsible for the cosmetic surgery operation that preceded the death of Kanye West's mother Donda, creates some drama on Larry King Live as he walks off the set.

WINDOWS AMBUSH: A new ad from Apple which utilizes both right-hand box and top leaderboard ad space to ambush Vista. It's been seen on many tech sites and on some pages on which Vista is reviewed.

Check out our previous guides to the Tube here


Attorney General Alberto Gonzales Resigns

Gonzales

It's about time.

After months of controversy over the firing of U.S. Attorneys and his testimony regarding the NSA's terrorist surveillance programs, as well as accusations of perjury by congressional Democrats, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has reportedly resigned. An announcement is forthcoming later this morning, according to reports.

According to the New York Times: "Mr. Gonzales, who had rebuffed calls for his resignation, submitted his to President Bush by telephone on Friday, the official said. His decision was not announced immediately announced, the official added, until after the president invited him and his wife to lunch at his ranch near here. Mr. Bush has not yet chosen a replacement but will not leave the position open long, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the resignation had not yet been made public."

U.S. News is saying that Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff will replace Gonzales: "Officials say he’s got fans on Capitol Hill, is untouched by the Justice prosecutor scandal, and has more experience than Gonzales did, having served as a federal judge and assistant attorney general."

Cnn is reporting that Chertoff is to be replaced by Bush loyalist Clay Johnson III, the Deputy Director for Management at the Office of Management and Budget.

Attorney General Gonzales Resigns [abc news]
Embattled Attorney General Resigns [nyt]
BREAKING: Alberto Gonzales Resigns [think progress]


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