On Alcee Hastings, where does one start?
by skeptic06, Tue May 16, 2006 at 11:42:35 PM EDT
MyDD is nothing if not educational.
And following up my piece on Monday has been no exception.
The piece introduced (to me, at least) the fascinating story of Alcee Hastings, formerly Federal District Judge for the Southern District of Florida.
Hastings was impeached and convicted of corruption. But, by some process which I have yet to fathom, the voters of FL-23 found this episode on his CV no impediment to sending him to the US House. Several times.
Only in America!
His impeachment took place in 1989, just when the full service THOMAS kicks in. The report of the Senate committee which heard witnesses is not online (it's 101-156 for those with dead-tree access), so we pick up with the final arguments on October 18 1989.
Leading off for the House was John Bryant (TX-5):
Members of the Senate, this is a case of enormous, and perhaps unprecedented, importance. It involves not simply a crime committed by a judge which is unrelated to the office which he holds. It involves a violation of the most fundamental legal and moral obligations of a jurist, behavior that strikes at the heart of his obligation to our system of justice. This case involves the participation of a U.S. district judge in a scheme to extort a bribe from a defendant in his own courtroom.
There then follows a stunningly damning outline of the facts in the case, after which Bryant says
We deeply believe that Judge Hastings conspired to obtain a bribe from defendants in his courts; that to avoid conviction from this crime he fabricated evidence and lied to a Federal jury 14 times; and that in a separate transaction, to be addressed later by Mr. Gekas, he revealed the confidential content of a federally authorized wiretap under his supervision.
He then goes into details.
That is so very far from the end of it.
For on the House team is, would you credit it?, John Conyers. The impression one gets in reading his speech is one of extreme unwillingness to believe eventually overcome by the weight of the evidence:
There is an enormous amount of evidence that makes no sense at all unless Judge Hastings conspired with William Borders and lied at the trial. It is the mass of evidence that makes the case, but it may be just one of the undisputed facts that convinces you that Judge Hastings is not to be believed on this and many, many other facts made both in and outside of this legal process.
And - the incessant chorus will go up from Rush and Co around Labor Day: This is the guy that Pelosi is intending to represent the People's House in overseeing the nation's most sensitive intelligence if the Dems win control! Or words to that effect.
There's a lot more gold in the mine, I sense. And I have no doubt that the GOP oppo boys were swinging their picks there ages before I knew there was such a guy as Alcee Hastings...