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Two Years to Indict Tan Nguyen

Remember Tan Nguyen? He’s the asshole who, in his race against Loretta Sanchez in 2006, sent out fliers in Spanish to recently registered voters warning that immigrants could be imprisoned if they voted.

He was indicted on October 1 on one charge of obstruction. Two years after he tried to scare Latinos out of voting.

Now, I’m thrilled he’s been indicted. I’d love for his indictment to get a whole lot more press to dissuade the Republicans who are trying similar tactics again.

But does it seem odd to any of you that it took two years to put together a two page indictment that basically alleges he lied about his involvement in putting together the flier? For a case that, prosecutors estimate, will take just one day to try? Hell, it took Patrick Fitzgerald, working part time, less time to indict Scooter Libby for obstruction, in a much more complex case, even accounting for Judy Miller’s 11 months of stalling on testifying. And, predictably, Nguyen’s lawyer points to the length of "the investigation" to cast doubt on the charges. 

I can’t help but wonder whether this case wasn’t seriously considered until a number of people–Debra Wong Yang and her replacement at US Attorney, George Cardona and Brad Schlozman–were ousted. Perhaps, too, it took Glenn Fine’s ongoing investigation into problems at the Civil Rights Division to kick this into action. The non-indictment (up till now) of Nguyen always seemed to me to be the flip side of the firing of the US Attorneys. So I’d like to know why this took so long.

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Marcy Wheeler aka Emptywheel is an American journalist whose reporting specializes in security and civil liberties.