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May 29, 2010

Shocker: Court Destroyed Evidence That Landrieu's Phones Were Working Fine, Just As O'Keefe Endeavored to Establish


Patterico says he cannot think of any legal principle that justifies the destruction of copyrighted work with a clear relevance to political debate.

I can, sort of, but it doesn't apply: There is the basic notion that a criminal shall not profit from his crimes. But a general notion is not actually a law; a law is specific, and very detailed about what the circumstances must be for a criminal's first amendment rights -- to, say, write a book about his murder spree and collect royalties from it -- to be so abridged.

Obviously, no law covers the instant situation, so where did the court get its authority to do this?

A possibility is that the court or prosecutors demanded just this as part of the plea agreement -- but that begs the next question: In that case, why did the court or prosecutors decide that protecting a Democrat from damaging information collected in a sting was a priority that rivaled dispassionate execution of justice?

Where did they get the idea that among their duties was sparing Mary Landrieu from the political fallout of the revelation of a damaging lie?

Why is this their concern at all? Certainly no code of ethics commands this.

Seems to me they volunteered to make part of their official duties playing damage-control and running interference for Senator Landrieu. And the reason for this is so obvious that I can't even ask the rhetorical question about it without offending my own intelligence.

This is very similar to the basic rules of leaks: If a leak damages a Republican, the leak is considered legitimate and the story is the content of the leak itself.

If, however, a leak damages a Democrat, the leak is considered illegitimate and not fit for public discussion and the story is instead about the lack of ethics and political maneuvering and general skullduggery that resulted in the leak.

James O'Keefe and his henchmen discovered something important about a political actor. Had that political actor been a Republican, the entire nation would be celebrating his craftiness and fearlessness in exposing a lie, with the media cheerleading this response, even if he had to (barely) bend the law to accomplishment.

But the actor was a Democrat, and so the story is about the penny-ante lawbreaking that ferreted out the information.

And not only that, the information itself is destroyed. By court order. The apparatus of the state rising up with alacrity and menace to protect a member of government from accountability to the public.

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posted by Ace at 03:57 PM

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