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June 7, 2007

Giuliani's hypocrisy

giuliani.jpgDoug Berman notes that Rudy Giuliani thinks that Scooter Libby got a raw deal. That is unquestionably correct, but what Giuliani failed to mention is that he is one of the politicians primarily responsible for the culture of criminalization that gobbles up productive citizens such as Libby.

As noted earlier here and here, Giuliani's politically-motivated prosecution of Michael Milken and related destruction of Drexel Burnham during the late 1980's ignited the criminalization of business interests that reached its peak with the destruction of Arthur Andersen, the prosecution of former Enron executives Jeff Skilling and Ken Lay last year and the ongoing trial of former Hollinger CEO Conrad Black this year. Indeed, the Bush Administration's willingness to toss business interests into the cauldron of internecine criminal prosecutions for transient political purposes has largely undermined the Republican Party's credibility in challenging the motives of dubious white collar prosecutions of businesspersons or politicians.

And lest you think that rich and powerful people are the only ones affected by what Giuliani has helped wrought, remember the name of Lisa Jones. As Daniel Fischel brilliantly explains in his book Payback: The Conspiracy to Destroy Michael Milken and his Financial Revolution (Harper-Collins 1995), Jones is a remarkable American success story -- a teenage runaway and high school dropout who worked her way up through the ranks of Drexel to become the top assistant to one of Drexel's most successful traders. Giuliani threatened to indict Jones in an effort to get her to turn on Milken (sound familiar?), but Jones refused to give in and remained loyal to Milken and Drexel to the end. Giuliani eventually prosecuted and convicted Jones for crimes that were never proven (sound familiar?) and she was sentenced to a year and a half in prison, later reduced to ten months. Other than Milken, Jones was the only longtime employee of Drexel Burnham who ever spent time in prison.

I don't know about you, but that's not the political legacy I'm looking for in a presidential candidate.

Posted by Tom at June 7, 2007 4:15 AM |


unquestionably correct? you better post on what you mean by that one

Posted by: kirkdog Author Profile Page at June 7, 2007 9:09 PM

KDog, Libby's behavior with regard to Wilson-Plame affair was not redeeming. However, Libby was not prosecuted for leaking the name of a CIA operative, which was what the special prosecutor was hired to investigate. Rather, he was prosecuted for lying about a crime that Fitzgerald could not prove. The same thing happened to Martha Stewart. I may not like what either Libby or Stewart did, but when the government deploys its awesome prosecutorial power to criminalize such conduct, it's a very short step before that power is turned on people for doing nothing other than proclaiming their innocence.

Posted by: Tom K. Author Profile Page at June 8, 2007 5:53 AM

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