Washington D.C.--It appears the actions and motions have begun, and that the public and Deborah Jeane Palfrey are going to see an actual pretrial process. In all fairness, both sides have caused the process to become prolonged.
However, it should be noted that these recent motions planned for her November 29th civil action hearing against former employee Paula Neble (aka "Paula Mactavish") have the element of trying to achieve some due process through discovery, the stage of the legal process when the plaintiffs and defendants exchange information, namely, the evidence against them. Well, at least in-theory.
The government simply isn't letting the defendant see any of the evidence, or to question her accusers. This hasn't changed for several months on the government's side of the table. And of course, Palfrey has moved to suppress what one must presume is the very same evidence, or at least in-part. Where's Professor Moriarty and Colonel Mustard (Ron Roughead), or Dr. Van Helsing ? Rest assured: more subpoenas will be requested, and Kessler's going to have to approve some of them. Doctor! Doctor! You know--there are lots of Doctors and pedigree in all of this. Physician: heal thyself. Curiously, a WTOP article states that their research uncovered Neble has no doctorate.
Yet, all this said, Palfrey has been significantly more forthcoming than the government in the discovery process, as site meter readings since as early as June at this site will demonstrate.The prosecution has certainly been getting their side of discovery, that's certain. Palfrey is not. Also, it has to be said that the government has likely leaked documents to the media from the inception of the public-side of this case. Indeed, the government made the case public through the leaking of e-mail excerpts published at www.thesmokinggun.com
These improper leaks, and other similar examples of pretrial tainting, are what Judge Kessler should be paying attention to. She quite possibly has, however, as there have been several hits from the US Courts over the months. They have hardly been alone. There have been numerous hits from the Senate, the House, and even one from Senator David Vitter's home town of Metarie, Louisiana. From today's newsletter from Palfrey and her civil attorney, Montogmery Blair Sibley:
As a result of Judge Kessler order of yesteday which set a hearing for Wednesday, November 28, 2007, at 10:00 a.m. in Courtroom 26A of the federal courthouse in Washington D.C. on whether the injunction prohibiting Jeane's suit against a former escort should be dissolved, Jeane has this day sought from the Clerk of Court subpoenas for Senator David Vitter and Harlan Ullman, former customers of Paula Neble, an independant-contractor escort of Jeane's escort service. (Palfrey Update #31 - Jeane seeks subpoena for Senator Vitter, 11.02.2007)Why Kessler is erring on-the-side of the government's prosecution is likely a sad example of congressionally mandated federal district court procedures that were simply wrong-headed. Again, the question emerges: who are Deborah Jeane Palfrey's accusers? Paula Neble appears to be that lone name until trial, a fact which hasn't changed for almost a year now. Remember that the complaint filed by Palfrey towards the end of April against Neble and 15 other 'Jane Does?' Assistant U.S. Attorney William R. Cowden has done his best to quash all motions on this count, namely exposing the identies of her accusers. What are they hiding?
In March, Judge Gladys Kessler put a stay on Palfrey's aforementioned civil action (formally, a complaint against Neble), which was at the request of the prosecution. Since Neble's what you might be called a 'cooperating witness,' it might be safe to assume that she has to testify against the defendant under some form of legal duress. A subpoena can answer the question of who Neble really is, as well as all the others unknown who are testifying against Palfrey. It can also provide specific evidence that the government is holding, such as the possibility that Sen. David Vitter and Harlan K. Ullman had illegal sex with "Dr." Neble (the Doctor is in, indeed) without Palfrey's knowledge, and even government misconduct in the proceedings.
The government is curiously guarded about its informants, many of whom have committed greater crimes than the people they testify against. It's a dishonest law enforcement and prosecutorial tool in-place of competence and good investigatory skills. No, subpoenas are going to have to be granted somewhere in all of this legal mess for the satisfaction of the public's right to know. This is a good part of why trials of this sort occur at all, for the sake of the public. The excuse that it would 'hamper investigations' sounds lame, as though the case is flimsy-at-best. Yet, Kessler continues to believe them. A discovery process would be logical, but are there things Kessler just doesn't want to know?
One would expect some form of an evidentiary hearing. At least, that's how normal trials are supposed to work, but this whole affair is anything but. Whether it's going to be present in this case and all its proceedings remains to be seen. We have a name as to whom David Vitter 'sinned' with, whatever that may mean, and her name is Paula Neble. This has been known since July, thanks to the aforementioned research of WTOP. Wendy? Are you listening? Lorena Bobbitt time has come.
Somehow, I think Vitter's "sinning" was more involved than Larry Craig's incident in a Minneapolis airport restroom. The public certainly deserves to know whether Senator Vitter violated prostitution laws along with Neble, and considering people like Ullman, Vitter, and Roughead are also involved, this can only be a political trial in the most obvious sense. At least Vitter's going to hear more nagging at home, and we should hope it's a little slice of hell.
Judge Kessler appears stuck-in-the-middle of this case with Palfrey in some regards. Interestingly, Harlan K. Ullman has vowed to testify against Palfrey in her criminal trial, and it's certain that Neble will too. In case after case, the use of informants has shown that they are often just criminals--frequently the ones who started the whole mess being presented to the courts--and that they're running the show more than their so-called 'masters,' the prosecution.
Note today's comment in the scuttled trial of former FBI Supervisor Lindley DeVecchio:
In a four-page decision that brought the trial of ex-agent Lindley DeVecchio to a stunning end Thursday, state Supreme Court Justice Gustin Reichbach said the FBI violated its own rules by allowing DeVecchio to court a known killer as an informant for well over a decade. "In the face of the obvious menace posed by organized crime, the FBI was willing ... to make a deal with the devil," Reichbach said in a hushed Brooklyn courtroom. "At best, the FBI engaged in a policy of self-deception, not wanting to know the true facts about this informant-murderer whom they chose to employ."Just note author Bill Keisling's work on the murder of Jonathan Luna for a good example of informant misconduct and the FBI's incompetence in handling them. The recent statement by Judge Reichenbach should be viewed as a warning.
(AP, 11.02.2007, http://www.journalgazette.net/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071102/APA/711020609&template=apart)
If we allow such criminals too much credibility in our legal system, it could seriously wreck the public's faith in the rule of law, never mind our social peace. Considering that much of this is under the Bush Justice Department, and none of this should be a surprise. But the informant programs have been around a long-time. It's time to end them, they're endangering all of us.