Monday, November 16, 2009

Who was Greg Craig?

Re the Don Siegelman frame-up: " ... News out of Alabama this week indicates that Craig might be more interested in protecting Rove than in seeing that justice is done. ... "

Greg Craig abruptly resigns as White House counsel
Chicago Tribune | November 14, 2009

WASHINGTON — - White House counsel Greg Craig abruptly resigned Friday, weeks after telling reporters he had no plans to leave. Craig gave no hint of the reason for his resignation in a statement via the White House. ...

I usually avoid speculative questions because they are so given to authorial bias, but have to ask this one: Did Craig's resignation have anything to do with his ties to Karl Rove and a certain conflict-of-interest that he stepped into at DoJ?:

Excerpt: "Rove Deal Is A Raw Deal For Justice"
Legal Schnauzer | March 5, 2009

After hearing that former White House advisor Karl Rove is set to answer questions before a congressional committee about the prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman, many progressives might be tempted to shout "Hallelujah!"

But here's a word of caution from our justice team at Legal Schnauzer: Not so fast.

The U.S. House Judiciary Committee announced Wednesday evening that it had reached an agreement for Rove and former White House Counsel Harriet Miers to testify about the firings of nine U.S. attorneys. News reports indicate the testimony also is expected to cover the Siegelman case, the best known of several apparent political prosecutions under the Bush Department of Justice.

Rove and Miers are to sit for transcribed depositions under penalty of perjury, with the committee reserving the right to seek public testimony. The agreement also states that invocations of official privileges will be limited.

All of that sounds good, right? Well, we're not so sure.

For one, why is the Siegelman case the only political prosecution on the agenda? There appear to be many others, perhaps most notably the case of Mississippi attorney Paul Minor and former state judges Wes Teel and John Whitfield. That is the only documented case where the Bush prosecutor--Dunn Lampton--was on a list to be fired but was removed when he pursued a specific prosecution.

For another, news reports indicate that the Obama White House was deeply involved in negotiations for the Rove testimony. And White House Counsel Gregory Craig apparently represented the Obama camp. A New York Times report states that Craig sent House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers a letter saying, "President Obama is pleased that the parties have agreed to resolve this matter amicably."

But is Craig committed to seeing that former Bush officials are held accountable for politicizing the Justice Department? News out of Alabama this week indicates that Craig might be more interested in protecting Rove than in seeing that justice is done.

Alabama attorney Jill Simpson, a GOP whistleblower in the Siegelman case, says Craig has a conflict in matters involving Rove and perhaps other former Bush officials. In a letter dated February 22, 2009, Simpson's attorney, Priscilla Black Duncan, asked Craig to step down from all matters involving the Bush administration.

As justification for this request, the letter states:

* Craig represented Rove in a recent book deal;

* Emmet Flood, Craig's former close associate and mentor, is representing the Bush administration on executive-privilege issues in a case involving the U.S. attorneys firings;

* Craig was in contact with Jill Simpson on the pretense of representing her regarding her testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, but declined representation only after hearing her entire case against Rove.

In the letter, Duncan states that Craig had a duty to disclose his relationship with Rove to Simpson, and he has a duty now to disclose with whom he shared information gleaned from his discussions with Simpson.

In short, Simpson alleges that Craig violated multiple rules of professional conduct for lawyers. These are the kinds of violations that, if confirmed, could get a lawyer in serious trouble. I don't pretend to be an expert on the subject, but I suspect disbarment could be on the table for Mr. Craig if he indeed took privileged information from Ms. Simpson and disclosed it to Karl Rove or others.

So is the Rove deal a step forward for justice? I don't think so. And that's because I smell a foul odor coming from the Obama White House. And it seems to be coming from the vicinity of Gregory Craig. ...


- AC

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