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General News    H3'ed 9/12/10

Stench Becomes Overwhelming in U.S. Justice System

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Message Roger Shuler

The Loyal Christies in an Obama-led Justice Department orchestrated their July 2009 press conference to showcase one of the largest indictments in New Jersey history just as the 2009 election season was heating up.


Roughly half of the 44 suspects were local political figures, with the other suspects in such non-political crimes as money-laundering.All but one of the political suspects were Democrats, according to defense sources.His successor Marra worked with Dwek to grab headlines with one of the largest corruption cases in the state history.


Harper's columnist Scott Horton saw the case immediately as part of an ongoing nationwide scandal of Bush DOJ political prosecutions that he'd been tracking elsewhere. His column, "Manure for the Garden State" 13 months ago, argued that the prosecution was highly suspect.


The Minnesota case might be even more unsettling than the one in New Jersey. Before Bernie Madoff came along, the largest Ponzi scheme in U.S. history ($3.65 billion) involved a St. Cloud businessman namedThomas J. Petters. How are victims being treated in that case? Well, Douglas Kelley, who was Petters' defense attorney, has been named receiver and U.S. trustee. And Kelley was granted judicial immunity, limiting victim oversight of his decisions.


Fraud experts, Kreig reports, say they have never heard of a criminal-defense attorney being appointed receiver. Corporate turnaround expert William Procida originally was named receiver. But that changed:


Minnesota U.S. District Judge Ann Montgomery promptly replaced Procida as receiver in 2008. Instead, she selected the regional powerbroker Kelley, who days earlier been hired by Petters to defend his Petters companies from criminal charges. The judge gave Kelley immunity without requiring the kind of freedom from financial conflicts of interests courts normally require of actual judges.


Kelley then embarked on a series of controversial decisions--selling assets at fire-sale prices, vindicating from liability a key Petters employee who helped him, forfeiting $20 million to federal prosecutors, and spending some $30 million (at last count early this year) on fees for his firm and the other bankruptcy professionals he picked to administer the case.


The stench from a broken U.S. justice system is become overwhelming--and widespread. It's not just a "Southern thing" anymore. Does anyone in the Obama administration even notice?

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I live in Birmingham, Alabama, and work in higher education. I became interested in justice-related issues after experiencing gross judicial corruption in Alabama state courts. This corruption has a strong political component. The corrupt judges are (more...)
 
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