Once upon a time Paul Minor was a very prominent Mississippi Gulf Coast lawyer. He specialized in personal injury and mass tort (damage suit) litigation. The dream life stopped and the nightmare began. After four years of intense investigation and two trials he was recently convicted of violating federal law along with two state court judges for allegedly bribing the judges in return for favorable rulings in cases before them.
Minor sets out his explanation of what actually happened in the case in a detailed letter to the United States House of Representatives Judiciary Committee which recently held hearings on the Bush administration's use of selective prosecution of Democrats in order to gain political advantage in the upcoming elections. According to Mr. Minor and others, the scheme was hatched by George Bush's right hand political wizard, Karl Rove, who, while sitting in his White House, office used his position (paid for by the taxpayers from both parties) to apply pressure to Department of Justice (DOJ) officials to single out democrats in order to criminally prosecute them in order to punish them for their political views.
If you wish to review Mr. Minor's full letter to the House Judiciary Committee you can find it at http://judiciary.house.gov/ . Go to "Documents in Demand" under "Allegations of Selective Prosecution: The Erosion of Public Confidence in our Federal Judicial System". See Letter of Paul Minor. While you are at it, look at Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Oliver Diaz's letter, and Memo of Points in Support of Paul Minor's Motion to Dismiss. These are good reads.
Scott Horton, attorney and author, writing in Harper's Magazine http://www.harpers.org/archive/2007/10/nbc-90001343, has made a detailed and scholarly study of this topic. His conclusion is the Bush administration has used the federal justice system to go after democrats to "defund" the democratic party. http://www.harpers.org/archive/2007/10/nbc-90001321. Suggested reading: "A Minor Injustice" and "Bagging a Democrat".
Defunding is a method by which contributors are prevented from making donations. In Horton's analysis this was accomplished by prosecuting known major contributors to democratic causes and candidates. One such person was Paul Minor. Mr. Horton points out that Minor was one of John Edward's primary financial supporters. By strategically "taking out" these contributors the ability to elect democrats would be substantially hampered. Anyone familiar with modern political campaigns knows that a candidate's qualifications, his ability to make a coherent speech, and even his background matter little when weighed against his ability to raise MONEY. Everything revolves around money. Otherwise qualified but unfunded candidates stand almost no chance of being elected. This is the harsh reality in our republic.
New sources which have come forth, according to Mr. Horton, have indicated that not just John Edwards supporters were identified as early on targets for criminalizing their political activities. Hillary Clinton supporters were also identified and are presently being dogged be the heavy hand of the feds bent on stamping out political opposition.
Money, big money, money to run TV ads, to take polls, to hire consultants, and to print campaign literature is what matters - not ideas or policies. Eliminating a political party's fund raising capacity is the death knell of that party.
A pioneering citizen journalist, Robert Schuler, no stranger to being abused by the judicial system himself in civil litigation, who writes in his Legalschnauzer blog http://legalschnauzer.blogspot.com/ has examined the Minor case in depth. His series, "Mississippi Churning" is masterfully written. It explores motives for the prosecution and concludes the case was without merit and fatally flawed along with numerous court rulings.
Both Schuler and Horton take on one of the worse scandals in Alabama, the Governor Siegelman case. They document the political influences which were brought to bear which resulted in Siegleman's subsequent prosecution and conviction. This is a prosecution which implicates the present Alabama governor, numerous prosecutors, and reached up to the higher eschelons of the Bush administration including Karl Rove and discredited former US Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez. The methods, means, and motives behind the Siegleman case seem to mimic those employed in the Paul Minor case.
Paul Minor states he is innocent of the charges levied against him. He further states he believes he was targeted for prosecution not because he committed any crime, but because he is a democrat and his prosecution accomplished Karl's Rove's goal of shutting down another source of funding for the democratic party.
The Realist is inclined to agree with Mr. Minor's conclusions- especially since I am one of those two state court judges who was convicted with him!
The Realist believes that there are people of goodwill who think that the might of the federal legal system should be reserved for those who deserve to be prosecuted for actual crimes, not for their political views - regardless of party affiliation. Should the democrats gain control of the executive branch of government it would be just as morally repugnant should they target republicans for criminal prosecution merely to disrupt and "defund" the republican party.
The trite old adage that "what goes around comes around" has a large measure of common sense truth to it. Karma, if you like.
If you as a person of goodwill and a person who believes in rule of law want to take action to preserve our system of justice [yes, you can actually do something about it] take a minute and write or email a letter to the members of the House Judiciary Committee and implore them to investigate the Paul Minor case. This is not about party or philosophy. It is about not allowing anyone from any political party to use the justice system to further a political agenda.
You do remember who headed the judicial system in Nazi Germany don't you? That great humanitarian and civil rights activist Herman Goering.