What Fresh Hell Is This?

July 19, 2007

Local Fallout From the US Attorney Firings

From Pamela Reed Ward in today's P-G.

You remember the US Attorney Firing scandal doncha? Ward writes:
The House and Senate judiciary committees are investigating the firings of nine federal prosecutors late last year. Some allege that the moves were politically motivated, and that prosecutors were forced out because of a reluctance to pursue Democratic officials or for moving forward in investigating Republicans.
And there's a Pittsburgh connection to all this: US Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan's prosecution of Dr. Cyril Wecht. In a letter to AG Gonzales, House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers wrote:
The prosecution of Dr. Cyril Wecht in the Western District of Pennsylvania by U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan has also engendered controversy. It has been alleged that the case of Dr. Wecht, a prominent 75-year old Democrat who was the coroner in Allegheny County, is indicative of other prosecutions in the Western District - since 2001, the U.S. Attorney has never indicted a Republican official, and has only prosecuted officeholders who are democrat.21 Dr. Wecht, a world renowned forensic pathologist and television commentator, was charged with misusing his office and personally enriching himself by, among other thngs, striking a deal with a local university to trade unclaimed cadavers for university lab space.22 Claiming Dr. Wecht was a flight risk, Ms. Buchanan advised his defense lawyers, including former Attorney General Richard Thornburgh, that her office intended to arrest Dr. Wecht and subject him to a "perp walk," even though Dr. Wecht and his lawyers repeatedly offered to self-surrender and voluntarily appear in court to be arraigned.23 Reportedly only after former Attorney General Thornburgh spoke with Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty did Ms. Buchanan agree not to arrest Dr. Wecht and subject him to a "perp walk." In court filings, Dr. Wecht alleges that Ms. Buchanan's office inflamed the press by making inappropriate statement.24 The U.S. Attorney's office urged the courts to set the trial in October, 2006, a month before the congressional elections; the case was postponed only after the federal appeals court agreed to hear motions by Dr. Wecht's attorneys. Yet U.S. Attorney Buchanan has not brought charges against at least two Republican officials who, like Dr. Wecht, are alleged to have misused their office staff.25
I included the footnote numbers (they're those teeny numbers after some of the sentences). You'll see why in about 10 seconds. Ward writes:
Though her testimony has not been made public, it is referred to in a footnote of the letter sent to Mr. Gonzales. In it, Ms. Buchanan told investigators that she has only prosecuted Democratic officeholders.
That's footnote 21:
Mary Beth Buchanan, Interview with House Committee on the Judiciary, at 145-6.

The footnote 25 in that section of Conyers' letter points to this Op-Ed in the P-G by Thomas J. Farrell. This is what Farrell wrote back in March:

Democrats do occupy most public offices in Allegheny County, but are the Republican officials in the 24 other counties of the Western Pennsylvania District all squeaky clean? Why apparently no investigation into Republican U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy's use of government office staff to support his campaign -- which is not unlike what happened in the Allegheny County sheriff's office? Ms. Buchanan also left to local authorities the prosecution of Republican state Rep. Jeff Habay after similar accusations arose.

Attorney Farrell also points out ex-Senator Santorum's by now famous residency problems. Apparently no investigation there, either.

I can understand her only prosecuting only Democratic officeholders in Pittsburgh (show me the Repulicans holding office in this city and I'll change my mind) but she's prosecuted no Republicans in Western PA at all since 2001?

Something very fishy there.

She's certainly a loyal Bushie, isn't she?


Anonymous said...

Yah just can't understand the Federal Prosecutor going after all these corrupt Democrats in this area. I mean, after all, the Sheriff was convicted. But so was Habay. You left wing kooks are not opposed to prosecuting corrupt politicians, just so long as they aren't democrats. Cuts down on your voting edge. Man you left wing kooks have no sense or morality.

Schmuck Shitrock said...

Isn't it about time for one of our anonymous trolls to suggest that MBB needs a good spanking?