The Militant (logo)  
   Vol. 69/No. 44           November 14, 2005  
New hero of liberals: frame-up expert
“Trim,” “plain,” “soft-spoken,” “polite,” “calm,” and “firm.” These were the praises the first paragraph of a lead, front-page article in the October 29 New York Times heaped on the new darling of the liberals: Patrick Fitzgerald. The prosecutor was taking on “The Untouchables” and striking a blow for justice and the rule of law, the Times exclaimed. All that for indicting a top aide of Vice President Cheney, not for the crime Fitzgerald was asked to investigate two years earlier but for supposedly lying to FBI agents and the grand jury.

As the article on page 9 shows, however, this new hero of the Democratic Party and other liberals is nothing but a persistent engineer of frame-ups and an avid user of grand juries.

The grand jury is a thoroughly anti-working-class institution of capitalist “justice.” Anyone subpoenaed must appear before a grand jury—usually without legal counsel—and is required to answer any and all questions whether relevant to the case or not. Deliberations are secret. Refusal to “cooperate” with a grand jury investigation can result in contempt of court charges. Such charges have landed in jail many opponents of U.S. government policies, like Puerto Rican independence fighters.

The role of “special counsel” fits Fitzgerald like a glove. Given enough time, such prosecutors, not accountable to anyone but themselves, can indict even a ham sandwich. Given the immense powers and unlimited time and resources these prosecutors have—and have used since the Watergate scandal in the 1970s in order for one faction of the ruling class to go after another when polarization deepens among the wealthy—even mouthpieces of big business like the Washington Post have begun to complain about the special counsel institution itself.

Fitzgerald has excelled in this assignment. He not only played a central role in railroading defense attorney Lynne Stewart on “terrorism” charges but drafted the very administrative rules the government claimed Stewart breached.

There is no reason to rejoice about Fitzgerald’s conduct in the Libby case. To the contrary, working people have every reason to fear that such practices would be used against the labor movement or others advocating a change in government. Special prosecutors and grand juries should be abolished altogether.
Related articles:
White House official faces 30 years in jail for perjury
The pornographication of politics
Patrick Fitzgerald helped convict Lynne Stewart  
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