Man the Shovels
This takes some serious stones:
Federal prosecutors took the first steps toward reducing the prison sentence of former Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff, currently scheduled for release in 2011 for a Florida fraud conviction.
Documents filed in federal court say Abramoff has provided “substantial assistance'' in a separate Washington corruption scandal investigation and continues to work with investigators from his prison cell in Cumberland, Md.
Especially in light of this (which I'm frankly surprised hasn't gotten more coverage today):
The leader of the Justice Department team that prosecuted a landmark lawsuit against tobacco companies said yesterday that Bush administration political appointees repeatedly ordered her to take steps that weakened the government's racketeering case.
Sharon Y. Eubanks said Bush loyalists in Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales's office began micromanaging the team's strategy in the final weeks of the 2005 trial, to the detriment of the government's claim that the industry had conspired to lie to U.S. smokers.
She said a supervisor demanded that she and her trial team drop recommendations that tobacco executives be removed from their corporate positions as a possible penalty. He and two others instructed her to tell key witnesses to change their testimony. And they ordered Eubanks to read verbatim a closing argument they had rewritten for her, she said.
"The political people were pushing the buttons and ordering us to say what we said," Eubanks said. "And because of that, we failed to zealously represent the interests of the American public."
Eubanks, who served for 22 years as a lawyer at Justice, said three political appointees were responsible for the last-minute shifts in the government's tobacco case in June 2005: then-Associate Attorney General Robert D. McCallum, then-Assistant Attorney General Peter Keisler and Keisler's deputy at the time, Dan Meron.
McCallum…McCalum…where have we heard that name before? Ah yes, he was the one that BushCo. was trying to jam into a supervisory position over Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation. James Comey short-circuited the effort by transferring his powers to David Margolis before he left the Justice Department. Thank. Jeebus.
I remember my eyeballs just about rolled back in my head when I saw Alice Fisher had received a recess appointment to head the criminal division at the Justice Department (during Hurricane Katrina no less, after serious Senatorial objection…when nobody was looking) and was giving the presser about the Abramoff case…despite her reported connections to Tom DeLay. It touched off a mini blog firestorm and with good reason. Fisher should have recused herself from the Abramoff investigation a long time ago, but as we are learning, that is not how things work in Bushville.
They are burying the bodies fast.