Obama Administration Fosters Enron Task Force Prosecutors–A Cabal With Records of Prosecutorial Terror Tactics and Supreme Court Reversals
White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler has announced that she is leaving her post to return to “private practice” at the end of 2013. Ruemmler barely escaped from the IRS scandal during which she said she failed to inform the President that IRS was targeting political adversaries.
Meanwhile, the DC Bar is still holding and apparently trying to ignore ethics charges filed against her by leading legal ethics expert Bill Hodes and this author after the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held that Ruemmler and her Enron Task Force colleagues “plainly suppressed” evidence favorable to the defense. Indeed, they hid the evidence for years, while four Merrill Lynch executives spent up to a year in prison for a “crime” that these creative prosecutors manufactured.
Ruemmler, and her Enron Task Force colleague Matthew Friedrich, former Acting Attorney General for the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice,
even told the district court and the Fifth Circuit that there was “no substantial issue for appeal” and vehemently opposed bail pending appeal for the defendants. At the same time, they hid evidence from key witnesses including favorable, exculpatory, and material statements that they had yellow-highlighted before trial, and still concealed from the defense–despite a court order to provide presumably accurate summaries of that evidence.
They provided carefully crafted misleading “summaries” instead, and they did all of this under the watchful eye and tutelage of our current General Counsel/Deputy Director of the FBI, Andrew Weissmann, who was Director of the Enron Task Force at the time of several trials infected with misconduct, including the Enron Broadband debacle in which Lisa Monaco was one of the trial prosecutors.
Friedrich enjoyed a meteoric rise within the Department of Justice, and as acting Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division, rushed the indictment of former United States Senator Ted Stevens. Then Friedrich micromanaged that prosecution until it blew up amid allegations and evidence of prosecutorial misconduct and hiding evidence that supported the Senator’s defense. There is more than enough evidence against Friedrich–in the report on the Stevens prosecution by Special Prosecutor Hank Scheulke–that Friedrich should have been investigated, at the very least, by a state bar or federal court.
Now, at the same time we learn that Ruemmler is leaving the White House, before more of her misdeeds are exposed, Mr. Obama announces that he is nominating former Enron Task Force Director Leslie Caldwell to head the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice. Caldwell was known as a “terror” of a prosecutor.
Caldwell and Weissmann destroyed Arthur Andersen LLP, the accounting firm, by indicting it instead of the particular individuals involved. They are pictured left leaving the Houston federal courthouse on June 10, 2002, as jurors in the Andersen trial struggled to reach a verdict after five days of deliberation. Judge Melinda Harmon refused to give them a dictionary and an alternate juror said that she would have voted to acquit. [Photo by James Nielson/AFP/Getty Images]
Weissmann and Caldwell, with Judge Harmon’s approval, convicted Andersen only by re-writing the jury instructions to eliminate all vestiges of the criminal intent lawfully required for a conviction. So, after spending untold millions of taxpayer dollars, destroying 85,000 jobs, and devastating countless families, their destructive prosecution unraveled when the United States Supreme Court reversed the Andersen case–NINE to ZERO. Andersen and its 85,000 jobs were long gone by then.
In truth, EVERY case these high-powered political appointees actually took to trial while they were on the Enron Task Force was reversed on appeal, in whole or in part, for some form of over-reaching. They achieved their convictions by prosecutorial terror tactics, rewriting jury instructions, making up “criminal offenses,” naming hundreds of people as unindicted co-conspirators, hiding exculpatory evidence, violating ethical rules, and running roughshod over anyone in their path. Later, courts even had to allow some of the guilty pleas they had extorted to be withdrawn, including that of former Arthur Andersen partner David Duncan because his conduct was not criminal.
And these are the lawyers that are now heading virtually every law enforcement division of the Executive Branch and whispering in the President’s ear?
Is there any wonder the President circumvents the law by Executive order, the rule of law is dying, top officials are lying to Congress, the Department of Justice is an embarrassment, and our freedoms and rights are disappearing by the day?
Don’t worry about Ruemmler’s departure though. Former Enron Task Force prosecutor Lisa Monaco is still in the White House Counsel’s office. She is Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism.