Paul Minor’s ordeal just drags on, and on, and on…. (What’s Eric Holder doing??)

Here it is, over a year since Team Obama took the White House, putting Eric Holder in
command (ostensibly) at DoJ–and yet those who were persecuted “legally” by Karl Rove
and his minions at Bush/Cheney’s DoJ are still in prison, or, as in Don Siegelman’s case,
still at risk of going back there.

Consider the outrageous case of Paul Minor, whose lawyer, Hiram Eastland, has just released
a statement on the current stance of US Attorney Don Burkhalter, whose office claims that he’s
recused himself from Minor’s case, and yet who certainly has not.

It’s a complex story, but one well worth your time. For your edification, I’ve prefaced Eastland’s
statement with URL’s for several background pieces, and also have attached an overview of
Minor’s case.

That Paul Minor was nailed for no good reason, then kept in prison even as his wife lay dying
of brain cancer; and then, when she finally died, was not permitted to attend her funeral (a
decision that AG Holder could quite easily have overturned, yet he refused)–all that is bad

But that he’s now starting his fourth year in prison, while Don Burkhalter–Obama’s
interim appointee–plays games to drag the whole thing out, is downright staggering.
This kind of thing must stop, and it must stop now. Nor does it involve only Paul Minor,
but, as Eastland notes below, too many other innocents as well.

A Minor Injustice by Scott Horton:  Overview of the Paul Minor Case (Nov., 2007)”
Letter from Minor’s attorney, Hiram Eastland, requesting special prosecutor with all facts and background exhibits (Dec., 2008):,_2008_Letter_Sent_to_Conyers_and_Sokol.doc
Main Charges Against Minor Overturned (Dec., 2009):
Mississippi Litigation Review on Appellate Court Decision:  Is Paul Minor Soon To Be Free Man?
(Dec., 2009):

Statement by Paul Minor Attorney Hiram Eastland

Contact: Hiram Eastland
Eastland Law Offices, PLLC

It is very disturbing to once again find the U.S. Attorney’s office engaging in more meaningless doublespeak in their continued wrongful and political pursuit of Paul Minor and Judges Teel and Whitfield.

The prosecution of Paul Minor was flawed from the beginning and reeked of political motivations as evidenced by this case being flagged by the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives in 2007 as one of the most glaring examples of prosecutorial misconduct by the Department of Justice.

Off and on throughout this case the U.S. Attorney’s office has maintained it has recused itself from the case when it clearly has not.  Recusal is a seminal issue in this case simply because – as we have seen from some charges being overturned and the fifth circuit repeatedly questioning key points in the case by requesting re-briefings on the matters – that an objective US Attorney’s office without agenda, would not have proceeded with such an obviously flawed case.

So, the case progresses, the US Attorney’s Office continues to flip-flop on the recusal issue, the appellate court has overturned the main charge that served as the underpinning of the entire prosecution, and yet Paul Minor begins his fourth year in prison.

When the Fifth Circuit decision reversing Paul Minor’s federal bribery convictions was handed down the U.S. Attorney’s office refused to comment, maintaining that it had recused itself from the case. The office’s professed recusal was not surprising because it is our understanding that it is being investigated by the Justice Department itself to determine if Paul Minor’s prosecution was politically motivated.

Yet, the U.S. Attorney’s office has once again contradicted itself by proactively involving itself in opposing Judge Teel’s recent motion for release pending resentencing.

This is just another incident in a long line of disturbing issues associated with the prosecution of Paul Minor.

As egregious as all this recusal doublespeak is, it pales in comparison to the other double-talk and lengths to which the U.S. Attorney’s office and Justice Department have gone to wrongfully convict and imprison Paul Minor and state judges Teel and Wingate.

The Government misstated the law required to convict Paul Minor by representing to the district court that no this-for-that quid pro quo was required to convict Minor of the federal bribery, honest services bribery and RICO bribery charges brought against him.

Yet, the same Justice Department was required by other courts around the country to prove a quid pro quo on these very same federal statutory bribery charges.

The Government itself did not allege nor prove quid pro quo in the Minor case.  Accordingly the federal bribery conviction was overturned.  The recent US Supreme Court ruling in the Citizens United case clearly states that without proof of quid pro quo, contributions that intend to influence public officials are constitutionally protected free speech.

Similarly, the U.S. Attorney’s office and Justice Department have repeatedly opposed Paul Minor and the judges’ release pending appeal when the federal bail statute mandates release during the appeal of such substantial issues. In fact, we were able to secure Alabama Governor Siegelman’s release from prison during his appeal of remarkably similar issues.

Having said that, these are very capable Justice Department prosecutors led by an experienced Acting U.S. Attorney that is a very good man. Hopefully, the government will at long last do the right thing by acknowledging the error of not requiring a quid pro quo to convict Paul Minor under its federal statutory bribery charges and by acknowledging Paul Minor is entitled to be free during the courts’ resolution of the profound issues involved in his appeal.

After all, this is the Department of Justice, a renowned institution of the highest integrity–not the Department of Injustice.

Contact: Hiram Eastland
Eastland Law Offices, PLLC

Burkhalter Looks Horrible in Paul Minor Recusal Flap Mississippi Litigation Review:

Flipside Redux

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