Friday, July 06, 2007

Some Reflections on Judge Kessler's Ruling, Ending Prosecution's Injunction in "DC Madam" Case

Washinton D.C.--The ruling is an interesting read, albeit rife with legalisms that would make anyone outside of the legal profession's head spin. But it's fairly to-the-point: the temporary injunction barring Deborah Jeane Palfrey from distributing copies of her phone records to investigative journalists, bloggers, citizen journalists, and those like myself who do a mix of news analysis, opinion, & investigative journalism, has begun.

Ms. Palfrey is going to tell her story, and nobody is going to stop it; whatever the truth is, some of it is going to begin leaking-out in the intervening months. As Palfrey has stated in a recent newsletter:
Deciphering the voluminous amount of data – some of which is well over a decade old – will not be an easy task. Frankly, this likely is understating matters. It will take a small army of people skilled in computer and phone technology, investigation as well as factual knowledge regarding the significance OR non-significance of identified persons. No one individual or entity will be able to connect all of the dots. The overall endeavor easily could take many months, if not years to research and report conscientiously. [Ed., 09.01.2008--From a Palfrey Defense newsletter.]
Indeed, this is going to be a very arduous task, but a worthy one. The public trust has been violated again-and-again under this administration, and it's time to get to the bottom of things. If Congress intervened to accelerate the process--even better. In 46 lbs. of phone records, it's statistically inevitable that there are at least a dozen more prominent individuals still holding public office in them. We already know this from early-results, and ABC's producers told Palfrey of other names--names they would not make public. A very Special thanks go to Maria Cuvillion (phonetic) and Joe Clark, the postal inspectors who walked-past the phone records several times in their search of Ms. Palfrey's home. You missed the most important evidence in the case--the evidence that could exonerate Ms. Palfrey, and maybe cage some of you abusers of our federal bureaucracy.

Why they sent you, and not the FBI is hard to understand, Joe and Maria, but it worked-out OK for everyone. At the Justice Department, they have even bigger-problems besides the U.S. Attorney firings scandal--Assistant U.S. Attorneys William R. Cowden, Catherine K. Connelly, Daniel Butler, and their interim appointed boss Jeffrey A. Taylor are in for quite a ride. Judge Kessler was paying attention during the hearings:

At oral argument, the Government was asked whether the List contained the telephone numbers of unindicted co-conspirators. After a significant silence, Government counsel agreed that the answer to the Court's question was "yes." One cannot help wondering why the Government has exhibited such a strong interest in protecting a list containing the telephone numbers of unindicted co-conspirators, i.e., the women who the Government alleges provided the illegal sexual services and the men who the Government alleges sought and obtained such illegal sexual services. (US vs Palfrey, July 5th, 2007 'Memorandum Order,' pg. 7)
In short, there's no good legal reason to let the temporary injunctions on release of the phone records stand. "Unindicted co-conspirators" don't get to hide behind legalisms trotted-out by the federal prosecution, and the five "confidential informants" (really "co-operating witnesses," which fits the Government's contentions more accurately) are going to be unmasked for the purposes of the defense.

This doesn't bode well for the Government's case at all. That observation of a prolonged silence in the above quotation is Judge Kessler noting her doubts in the Government's contention over the injunctions. This was just one of a number of reasons and observations given by Federal District Judge Kessler, but the observation is perhaps her way of hinting she's not buying all of the prosecution's story.

This saga of the injunctions began in mid-March, with a lot of peculiar legal maneuvering by the prosecution. The phone records themselves have been defined and redefined a number of times, which is also peculiar and resembles obstructionism. To be sure, that's the case regarding the 46 lbs. of Pamela Martin & Associates phone records that range from 1993-2006.

If there are "unindicted co-conspirators" within the records, they should be revealed, correct? We have to know if Ms. Palfrey's accusers are impeachable, otherwise there's no real discovery or due process. To only indict Ms. Palfrey and nobody else would appear strange to just about any sitting judge. You can only be so credulous for so long.

The floodgates have been opened, but it's going to take a good deal of careful research on-the-part of investigative journalists and researchers. What's most important, however, is the beginning of carefully released primary documents that are essential in understanding such a twisted example of our Justice system run amok. Now--hopefully--it's time to understand how far it has gone outside-the-bounds of the rule of law (if it has, but there is smoke). Never mind Scooter Libby, this could be it. Patience is a virtue.

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