Defense: Part 8.
Online Sentinel International -- The Firpo
'The Law Giveth, and the Law Taketh Away'
October 30, 2011, Los Angeles, California--Residents
of the Bible Belt's Crescent City are all too familiar with the immortal words, "the lord gave, and the lord hath taken
away." (Job 1:21, King James Version) For purposes of this discussion, ‘the Law giveth, and the Law taketh
Losing Gains: Not only has U.S.
District Judge Kurt Engelhardt halted the progress of federal prosecutors in their case against convicted New Orleans police
officers involved in the Danziger Bridge shootings, but he has also taken away gains made by the Justice Department, and has
joined the present columnist/investigative journalist in scolding the FBI and prosecution team.
of truth, justice, and righteousness could not be happier. And Judge Engelhardt--an honorable, fair-minded, justice-loving
judge who is not at all pleased with the prosecution--has become their hero.
Fails Miserably: According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Judge Engelhardt "threw out convictions
on three of the 25 counts at issue in the case, saying the government failed to meet its burden of proof for certain defendants
on those specific counts." This does not bode well for the prosecution.
13-page ruling was perhaps most notable for the tart language the judge used at times in criticizing the federal government's
witnesses and its lawyers," notes the Picayune. "Engelhardt wrote that prosecutors failed to prove that
Bowen violated the civil rights of Ronald Madison by stomping on him as he lay dying from a shotgun blast near the foot of
The prosecution's reaction? "U.S. Attorney Jim Letten declined any detailed
comment on the ruling, but he said prosecutors are ‘digesting' it and will weigh the merits of an appeal." Did
he say prosecutors are "digesting" Judge Engelhardt's 13-page ruling? "Digesting" isn't the right word.
It's more like "choking" on it; getting "indigestion"; and thereafter suffering an embarrassing case of
Woefully Weak Witnesses: Regarding the trustworthiness
of one former officer serving as a witness, the Picayune candidly states: "Hunter's credibility was so weak,
in Engelhardt's view, that he asked to see the handwritten notes of FBI Special Agent William Bezak, who had debriefed him."
The judge's response sums up the entire case the government allegedly has against Retired Sgt. Gerard Dugué:
"After reviewing Bezak's notes and other court documents," the judge wrote, "the Court could
only conclude that either (a) Special Agent Bezak is the worst note-taker in the history of the FBI; or (b) Hunter's approach
to the truth was so cavalier and insouciant that his word ... should be accepted only with special care, utmost caution/doubt,
and requisite corroboration."
"The worst note-taker in the history of the FBI"? Bezak
must've gone berserk. This crew has given a new meaning to the initials "FBI": Failing Basic Investigation! (Maybe
this isn't the best time for producers to release the upcoming movie about the first head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation,
J. Edgar, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and directed by Clint Eastwood.) And these are the same guys who are trying
to work out a deal with Dugué by getting him to perjure himself by saying he was complicit in the Danziger Bridge cover-up?
Flawed Charges, Crucifying Kaufman: The Picayune further reports: "The
judge also found flaws in the government's charge that all five officers tried this summer--Bowen, former officers Robert
Faulcon and Anthony Villavaso, and former Sgts. Robert Gisevius and Arthur Kaufman--violated the civil rights of Jose Holmes
by falsely prosecuting him, saying the teenager shot at police. Holmes was shot and badly injured on the bridge."
But, were the charges against Sgt. Arthur Kaufman--the head conspirator and ringleader; the very one who set
up fellow investigator Dugué to take the fall--dismissed as were the others? "The judge allowed the charge to
stand against Kaufman, the lead investigator in the case, because Kaufman wrote a report claiming Holmes had fired."
To its credit, the Picayune emphasized this point. "Kaufman was the only defendant who did not see any charges
against him thrown out."
In a previous installment I characterized the prosecution as having
painted itself into a corner. At this point in the fight, a re-characterization is in order. The prosecution is on its heels,
taking devastating body blows, while being cornered against the ropes. Justice Department attorneys are dancing with fate.
In fact, they're doing the two-step--taking one step forward and two steps back.
Only time will
tell how many more missteps they'll take as they stubbornly pursue this sham case against retired Sgt. Gerard Dugué.
Stay tuned though. The prosecution is about to fall flat on its face. It won't be pretty.