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I Think They Blew It

I beginning to believe that the Feds have just lost another slam-dunk case, the Representative William Jefferson [D-LA] bribery case.

Steve Bates has a few posts on the case, and mentioned my thinking in his latest post, concerning the search of Jefferson’s Congressional office.

All Things Considered covered the Republican reaction to the office search including a heated Tom DeLay reaction to what the FBI did. I think this may be an indication of the level of fear among Republicans that they may not be able to hide evidence in their offices anymore. [Update: Mustang Bobby found out why Denny Hastert is upset.]

Following that, ATC did an analysis piece comparing Jefferson’s situation to the Abscam probe of the 1980s. This FBI sting cleaned a number of crooks out of Congress using the same techniques that are in use here.

At the end of the piece is a former prosecutor who voices my concern – they may have jumped too soon before they had the evidence that Jefferson was actually going to do something for the money.

It may look terrible, but there’s nothing illegal about taking $100,000 from someone and putting it in your home freezer. That is all that the FBI has shown so far. If Jefferson reports it as income, it’s just that, income.

What makes the transaction illegal is if Jefferson misuses his office as a result of receiving the money. The only reason anyone can think of that would justify going for the first search warrant ever issued for a Congressional office, is because they don’t have the evidence they need to prove their case.

Jefferson hasn’t been charged with anything. It’s all well and good that they have this video tape proving that Jefferson took the money, but you have to have the second part, the agreement to do something for the money, before you have a crime.


1 Mustang Bobby { 05.24.06 at 7:01 pm }

Well, if they blew the Jefferson bust, they now have Denny Hastert.

2 Bryan { 05.24.06 at 7:24 pm }

Updated with a link. Yep, the Republicans don’t want office searches.

3 Steve Bates { 05.25.06 at 12:32 am }

The only way they can win this case now is if the judge is wholly owned. Oh, wait…

4 Bryan { 05.25.06 at 12:49 am }

You have to evidence for each of the elements of any crime. They have the money covered, but they have to show that, at a minimum, he intended to do something for the money.