Friday, December 12, 2008
Some additional thoughts and references on the Blogojevich case -
- It seems clear that US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald is now presenting the case to a grand jury. See Todd Lightly & Robert Becker, Chicago Tribune, Tribune Co. subpoenaed in Blagojevich probe (it seems a bit odd to hear the CEO of the Tribune Co. saying to the press that he will not be interviewed)
- Howard Kurtz,Washington Post, Media Notes, discusses a point mentioned here regarding the appropriateness of Patrick Fitzgerald characterizing the evidence to the press. Kurtz notes that US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald may have gone "beyond describing the allegations contained in the criminal complaint" - Kurtz provides a statement from the Illinois Disciplinary Rule concerning such statements. But to add to what Mr. Kurtz has written, there is also the ABA Prosecution Function Standards that instructs prosecutors not to make extrajudicial statements that "the prosecutor knows or reasonably should know ... will have a substantial likelihood of prejudicing a criminal proceeding," and the ABA Standards for Criminal Justice, Fair Trial and Free Press that question whether a prosecutor should make a statement that speaks to an "opinion of the lawyer on the guilt of the defendant, the merits of the case or the merits of the evidence in the case." (8-1.1). And we haven't even mentioned the internal guidelines of the DOJ on this issue. (see John Steele, Legal Ethic Forum here)
- And then there is the most important question of whether the evidence is really there that provides evidence of any crimes. See Mike Robinson, Houston Chronicle (AP), Are Blagojevich tapes enough evidence to convict?
- Politicians face additional issues when under investigation or when charged with a crime. The parallel proceeding may be an impeachment process. See Ray Long, Chicago Tribune, Quinn: Impeach Rod, let me pick Obama replacement
- One thing is certain - this case will continue to be in the news over the next month.
(esp)(w/ a hat tip to Mark Johnson for the Howard Kurtz piece).