This is the Archive site for Firedoglake. To go to the main site please click on the following link

Friday, March 17, 2006

You Tell Me They Aren't Motivated by Corruption and Cronyism

This is beyond the pale:
Lawyers for two airlines being sued by 9/11 victims prompted a federal attorney to coach witnesses in the Zacarias Moussaoui death penalty trial so the government's case against the al-Qaida conspirator would not undercut their defense, victims' lawyers allege.

A United Airlines lawyer received a transcript of the first day of the Moussaoui trial from an American Airlines lawyer and forwarded it to Carla J. Martin, a Transportation Security Administration lawyer, the victims' lawyers, Robert Clifford and Gregory Joseph, claim.

Martin forwarded that day's transcript to seven federal aviation officials scheduled to testify later in the sentencing trial of the 37-year-old Frenchman, in violation of an order by Moussaoui trial judge Leonie Brinkema.

Martin's e-mailing of the transcript and her efforts to shape their testimony prompted Brinkema to toss out half the government's case against Moussaoui as contaminated beyond repair.

American Airlines attorneys denied on Friday that the government position in the Moussaoui case would have undercut their defense in the civil suit and said that none of their attorneys had any direct contact with Martin about the Moussaoui trial.

The contacts between Martin and airline lawyers were detailed in a legal brief filed on Moussaoui's behalf Thursday. That brief contained a March 15 letter from Clifford and Joseph complaining about Martin's actions to U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein, who is presiding over the civil damage case in New York.
You tell me they aren't motivated by corruption and cronyism.

I am so angry right now I am shaking. The perversion of our justice system to help out big party donors, the willful disregard of the law, the abject failure of this Administration to respect anything beyond its own greed is beyond my ability to describe in words right now.

This was the death penalty phase of a criminal proceeding. Not only were her actions in blatant disregard of the judge's direct order, but they were in direct violation of any sense of ethics that one would hope would prevail in our system of justice. All for the question of a buck for the Bush Administration's airline donor cronies and their civil suit fears. Absolutely shameful and wrong.

More than that, the families of all those people killed on 9/11 deserve a hell of a lot better than the Bush Administration coordinating with the airlines to prevent them from finding out the truth about airline safety and other issues involved in this case. I am just so, very angry.

You tell me they aren't motivated by corruption and cronyism.

(Thanks to a number of readers who sent me the link to this article.)

UPDATE: Jeralyn has much, much more on this at TalkLeft.