Monday, March 23, 2009

Paul Minor: A Political Prisoner

by Dee Newman

Paul Minor is an innocent man.

He sits in a prison cell while his beloved wife dies of cancer.

He is a political prisoner, not in some third world country, but here in the United States of America.

The only reason Mr. Minor remains in prison is because Justice Department officials appointed by the Bush Administration, along with carefully selected local U.S. attorneys and a judge appointed by President Reagan have continually and deliberately misconstrued both the law that convicted him and the law that requires his immediate release pending appeal.

It is clear that under federal bail statutes his release has been unjustly denied.

Paul Minor’s real crime is that he was the largest donor to Democratic candidates in the state of Mississippi, making him a prime target of Karl Rove's master plan to use trumped up criminal prosecutions to get rid of major Democratic contributors and elected officials nationwide.

The numbers clearly indicate that Democrats were politically profiled and disproportionately investigated and prosecuted under the Bush Administration.

Similar to other Democratic victims indicted on bogus charges under Rove's southern strategy and rigged system, (like former Governor Don Siegelman of Alabama), Paul Minor had little chance to defend himself and was unjustly convicted of the crime of public corruption bribery for making a loan guarantee to a sitting judge.

Despite the fact that Mississippi law allows the practice of loan guarantees to candidates for whom Minor was targeted by the FBI and the Department of Justice, the judge hearing his case illegally withheld instruction to the jury, allowing Minor to be convicted without the explicit proof of a quid pro quo.

Though, a House of Representatives' Judiciary Committee report back in April of 2008 concluded that the behavior of the Justice Department in Paul Minor's case was “irresponsible” and raised serious questions about the “integrity and impartiality” of the Justice Department’s efforts during the Bush years, Paul Minor's lower public profile case has not received the national media attention it deserves.

Unfortunately, Mr. Minor will continue to suffer as long as the holdovers from the Bush Administration at the Department of Justice continue to engage in efforts to undermine the system while President Obama prudently selects their replacements.

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals hears oral arguments of Paul Minor’s case on April 1.

No comments: