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new development in Dr. Wecht matter


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We hear that John Conyers (D) is going to discuss 3 items during the hearings coming up soon.

Dr. Cyril Wecht is one of them. We wish him well.

Frog

Thornburgh to tell Congress Wecht case is political

Friday, October 19, 2007

By Paula Reed Ward, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Former Attorney General Dick Thornburgh will testify before a subcomittee of the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday about why he feels the prosecution of former Allegheny County Coroner Dr. Cyril Wecht is politically motivated.

Mr. Thornburgh will be given an allotment of time to make a statement, and then it is likely the subcommittee, which is investigating the firings of nine U.S. attorneys across the country last year, will ask questions.

Dr. Wecht is charged with 84 federal counts, including mail and wire fraud, that allege he misused his county office for personal gain. He is scheduled to go to trial in January.

All along, Dr. Wecht's defense attorneys have claimed that the prosecution against him was politically motivated. There have been allegations that U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan -- a staunch Republican appointed by the Bush administration -- filed the case against him to earn political points.

Ms. Buchanan has continually denied those charges.

Defense attorney Jerry McDevitt called Mr. Thornburgh's testimony "highly unusual," especially for a Republican and a former head of the Department of Justice.

"I don't think he's risking his reputation," he said. "I think he's demonstrating why he has that reputation as a man of integrity."

The neutrality of the justice department is presumed, Mr. McDevitt said. For Mr. Thornburgh to speak out against that, he said, "speaks volumes."

Others scheduled to testify Tuesday include former Alabama U.S. Attorney Doug Jones, who was an early defense attorney in the bid-rigging case against former Gov. Don Siegelman, as well as Donald C. Shields, a professor emeritus at the University of Missouri, who co-wrote a study looking at the number of Democratic vs. Republican officeholders who have been investigated by the Department of Justice during the Bush administration.

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The Thormburgh testimony was mentioned in the lead editorial in today's "New York Times".

Tilting the Scales of Justice

Published: October 24, 2007

Every time we take a look at the United States attorney scandal, more evidence emerges that Alberto Gonzales politicized the Justice Department to the point where it sometimes seems like a branch of the Republican National Committee.

Yesterday, for example, Richard Thornburgh, a former Republican attorney general, told a Congressional hearing that his client, Dr. Cyril Wecht, a Democratic officeholder in Pennsylvania, was indicted on federal charges that should not be federal charges by a United States attorney who targeted Democrats.

At the same hearing, more evidence emerged that the prosecutions of Don Siegelman, the former Alabama governor, and Paul Minor, a prominent Mississippi Democrat, may have been political hits. And a University of Missouri professor testified that his statistical analysis showed that the Justice Department engaged in “political profiling.”

Dr. Wecht’s case has gotten little attention, but that may change. Mr. Thornburgh said prosecutors are using “unprecedented” legal theories to turn mostly “nickel and dime transgressions” into major federal felonies. He charged that while United States Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan went after Dr. Wecht and other Democrats, she ignored the offenses of Republican officials, including a congressman whose staff accused him of using government employees in his election campaign.

Mr. Siegelman’s lawyer, Doug Jones, said the investigation of the former governor was very limited until it turned around “180 degrees” in late 2004, after Washington officials told local prosecutors “to go back and look at the case, review the case top to bottom.” That is consistent with the account of Dana Jill Simpson, a Republican lawyer who says she was on a phone call in which Republican operatives said Karl Rove was involved in the prosecution.

In his introductory remarks, Representative Robert Scott, Democrat of Virginia, said that Mr. Minor’s prosecution appeared to have been political. He said that a Republican contributor who is the brother-in-law of a Republican senator was “not even investigated, let alone indicted” for activities similar to Mr. Minor’s.

Committee members said they have learned of other prosecutions that may have been political and listed several defendants by name. Donald Shields, the University of Missouri professor, testified that the Justice Department prosecuted 5.6 local Democratic officials for every Republican. The odds of that occurring by chance, he found, is less than 1 in 10,000.

Republicans on the committee refused to take the allegations seriously — even though this sort of politicization should offend anyone who cares about the justice system. They called the claims “ridiculous,” and asked the witnesses if they had specific evidence that United States attorneys talked to the president or to other top officials about a plan to target Democrats.

That sounds good, but the best evidence about what occurred lies with the current and former members of the Bush administration — and Mr. Rove and Harriet Miers have pleaded executive privilege and defied Congressional subpoenas. They should testify about what they know, and the Justice Department should hand over documents the committee requested months ago.

The American people have a right to know what happened in the last six years at the Justice Department. Any wrongful prosecutions should be rectified.

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Peter, a very interesting comment (threat) inasmuch as I have carefully avoided posting the details of the Russell matter so as not to embarass you.

I guess you did not get it. (Doesn't surprise me.)

My post was an attempt to point out, with a wee bit of humor, your typographical error. Your posts are often replete with typographical errors yet I know they are simply typos because I know you are an intelligent person.

I will sometimes have to go in the edit mode several times to correct all the typos I make. (And I still do not catch them all!)

Hint to all: If you compose in "Word" you can use its spell check feature to catch spelling errors, then clean them all up, then cut and paste into a post. I should do that more often myself!

Edited by Tim Gratz
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I don't like the notion of using one's office to sic the authorities on political adversaries, whether it is a politically motivated wrongful prosecution of a rather independent-minded expert, like Dr. Wecht (whom I admire, from what I know of him) or WJC's causing the IRS to audit his adversary (Paula Jones) in a civil proceeding.

We have an Assistant US Attorney in Tn who has unsucessfully prosecuted some political targets and who did not have much success in keeping the jury out for even a modest amount of time.

When people are wrongfully prosecuted, they spend untold family savings and suffer the anguish that seemingly well-trained prosecutors are trying to take away their freedom.

The stress, economic impact, and general ripple effect on people's lives is tremendous.

Based on what I know, I hope that Wecht is exonerated at trial or, preferrably, that his prosecution be dropped.

And, for that matter, I hope that some future Inspector General (or whatever relevant authority) inspects that US Attorney's office with the same white glove and microscope that it is apparently using on Wecht.

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Peter -- and indeed, all who visit and value this forum:

The Nixonian tone of Gratz's threat could not be more glaring.

The substance of the threat may very well rise to the level of blackmail.

I quote: "Again, I could have embarrassed you but chose not to. Maybe you should have a little appreciation."

Or else what, Timmy?

In his previous post, and again I quote: "Peter, a very interesting comment (threat) inasmuch as I have carefully avoided posting the details of the Russell matter so as not to embarass you."

The vile implications could not be more obvious.

Who in a position of authority is prepared to act on this most serious matter.

Charles Drago

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Tim, although I too have read Wecht's book and remember its representing that Peter was taken for a lot of money, I too assume this was an innocent mistake on Wecht's part. Clearly, this is a sore subject, which need not be discussed any further.

While I do not doubt your motives, I suspect your reputation as provocateur would recede if you abstained from commenting about side-issues in threads about Republican wrong-doing, particularly when they reflect poorly on your old pal Karl. Certainly you can see why this disturbs more than a couple.

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To Charles, did you read this thread?

It was Peter who threatened to post derogatory personal information about me (in Post #11). So was he being "Nixonian"?

To Pat:

I know what happened to Peter re this man Russell. But I HAD refrained from commenting on it, although I do think the incident reflects on both his gullibility and naivete, qualities that IMO color his judgment on certain issues. Then, simply because I pointed one of his numerous typographical errors, he THREATENS to post information about my past years ago for which I am deeply ashamed and embarrassed but has nothing to do with anything.

As I said, I am truly sorry if he cannot proof-read his posts because he needs glasses and I am even willing to try to help him in that regard.

Edited by Tim Gratz
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Peter, that expose' may not be such a good idea.

I think that information may fall under this:

"You are responsible for what you post on this board. You will not use this bulletin board to post any material which is knowingly false and/or defamatory, inaccurate, abusive, vulgar, hateful, harassing, obscene, profane, sexually oriented, threatening, invasive of a person's privacy, or otherwise violative of any law."

Kathy Beckett

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I will submit a request to John Simkin to have those members placed on permanent moderation who threaten to expose (or expose) something unpleasant (and immaterial to the thread or case) about a fellow members past. Let this be a final warning.

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  • 2 months later...

Judge approves dismissal of some Wecht charges

By Jason Cato

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Friday, January 4, 2008

A federal judge today approved the elimination of more than half the public corruption charges against Dr. Cyril H. Wecht and ordered that the charges cannot be filed again should the government lose at trial.

"It simply would not be fair to Dr. Wecht, at this late stage of the proceedings, to allow the specter of future prosecution on the dismissed counts to hang over his head throughout jury selection and trial," U.S. District Judge Arthur J. Schwab wrote in a 12-page order.

Last week, prosecutors filed a motion requesting to drop 43 of the 84 counts of fraud and theft related to allegations that Wecht, 76, of Squirrel Hill used his public office while Allegheny County coroner for private gain. They requested to drop the charges without prejudice, which means they could have been filed again.

Wecht's lawyers objected, saying that could expose their client to double jeopardy and ongoing harassment by the government....

Full story: http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburgh...n/s_545883.html

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I will submit a request to John Simkin to have those members placed on permanent moderation who threaten to expose (or expose) something unpleasant (and immaterial to the thread or case) about a fellow members past. Let this be a final warning.

The moderators got this exchange backwards and are threatening the wrong person.

Gratz threatened Lemkin first, to expose derogatory personal information about a personal matter

long ago unrelated to anything under discussion here.

Lemkin countered by saying he would expose THE PUBLIC RECORDS OF GRATZ'S DISBARMENT,

which are relevant here in previous threads. This is a public matter, not personal.

Jack

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