FISA-gate: The emerging storm
What’s about to happen in Washington, D.C. will make the Watergate, Iran-Contra, and Clinton-Lewinsky scandals seem inconsequential. Looking ahead, here are some legal terms which may be helpful:
"The fruit of the poisonous tree" means that evidence against an accused obtained illegally and, specifically, in violation of the Federal Rules of Evidence (FRE), can taint the prosecution’s case so badly that the entire case must be dismissed.
Another term is: "discovery." Under the FRE, the prosecution and the defense must share with each other all of the evidence that is germane to the case at trial. Gone are the days when TV\s Perry Mason or his opposing District Attorney could spring surprise witnesses or evidence on each other.
Nor can the prosecution hide "exculpatory evidence," that might be helpful to the defense. Prosecuting attorneys can be held-in-contempt for hiding "exculpatory evidence."
The judge and the lawyers for both sides are supposed to be present when a case is discussed in chambers. If both sides are not represented, that is called an "ex parte" proceeding. Because they can cause a judge to be overruled on appeal, "ex parte" proceedings are rare.
"Conflicts of interest" are to be avoided. Judge Rudolph Contreras served on the FISA Court that issued the warrant for the "wire tapping" of the Trump campaign, to include Lt. General Michael Flynn. Incredibly, the initial trial judge in the General Flynn trial was Judge Contreras. Judge Contreras finally "recused" himself. But only AFTER Flynn enter his guilty plea. Grounds for appeal?
"Sua sponte" means on his or her own. If a judge suspects something is amiss, a judge might issue a "sua sponte" ruling. Often used when the judge suspects there are grounds for dismissal and the prosecutor is dragging his or her feet. On December 12, 2017, U.S. District Judge, Emmet G. Sullivan, who replaced Judge Contreras, issued a "sua sponte" order to Special Counsel Robert Mueller with regard to General Flynn.
Then, on January 31, 2018, Mueller filed a motion asking that the sentencing of General Michael Flynn be delayed until May 1, 2018. Mueller may have requested the delay to insure that Flynn keeps cooperating. But there are indications that Flynn did not lie to the FBI but only pled guilty because Mueller threatened his son. Do not be surprised if Flynn is allowed to withdraw his guilty plea of lying to the FBI. Unfortunately, Flynn has already incurred thousands of dollars of lawyer fees. We report. You decide.
If the FISA warrant that allowed the "wiretapping" of individuals within the Trump presidential campaign and during the post-election transition was obtained by the use of false evidence paid for by the Hillary for President Campaign and the Democratic National Committee, Special Counsel, Robert Mueller, may have to drop his entire Russian-collusion investigation.
We now await a report from Obama-appointee, Inspector General Michael Horowitz, which may provide information leading to the criminal indictment of certain Obama Administration officials in the Department of Justice and the FBI. It is possible that the person who directed these alleged illegalities and also squelched the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation was none other than former President Barack H. Obama. If so, we could face a Constitutional storm.
©2018. William Hamilton.
Nationally syndicated columnist, William Hamilton, is a laureate of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame, the Nebraska Aviation Hall of Fame, the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame, the Oklahoma University Army ROTC Wall of Fame, and was a recipient of the University of Nebraska 2015 Alumni Achievement Award. Dr. Hamilton is the author of The Wit and Wisdom of William Hamilton: The Sage of Sheepdog Hill, Pegasus Imprimis Press (2017).
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