Two weeks before tax day, married lawyers Alan and Jean Brown were signing their names to the back of a familiar-looking green and yellow U.S. Treasury Department check that most Americans associate with a tax refund.
The check the San Antonio couple endorsed on March 30 was an Internal Revenue Service refund of sorts -- but not in the traditional sense.
The $1.34 million check was the result of a settlement between the Browns and the government in Alan Brown, et al. v. United States, a Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) suit the couple filed three years ago in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas.
Brenda Morris, a chief deputy in the U.S. Department of Justice's Public Integrity Section who prosecuted the Browns, did not return a telephone call seeking comment.
Question for Orin: As a former DoJ attorney and [Special] AUSA, what's your take on the relationship between the Public Integrity Section and the individual U.S. Attorneys' offices. Isn't public corruption a significant focus of effort by the district offices? What is the nature of the redundancy here?
The story cited raises issues of journalistic integrity.
I don't know anyone who has followed this case who thinks it was accidental. Who are these "dozen lawyers who followed the case" that Ms. Johnson interviewed?
All I'm saying is that I don't believe the prosecution would have been brought had he been a Democrat, or had he not been up for reelection.
(Had Stevens been a Democrat I could well see the Bush political appointees reviewing the evidence and deciding to stop the indictment.)
Orin, there's no need to posit any shadowy conspiracy.
All it took was one or two prosecutors with a sketchy case, deciding that this was an opportunity to get rid of a Republican senator.
Indict him soon before an election, and hope that by the time the case fails he will have lost his seat. By the time it comes to trial, maybe the evidence will firm up, or maybe you can cut a deal.
But last week, current and former colleagues of Morris defended her reputation and her ethics, saying they do not think that she would intentionally run afoul of the rules.
There is no national-political angle here. Bush was in office. Stevens himself requested that he go to trial before a the election.
It took the Bush DOJ three tries to convict Don Siegelman, Gov of Alabama, a Dem. I don't think the conviction actually came until after, but he lost re-election.
He knows, and he was confident enough of an acquittal to force an early trial (unless that was a bluff that failed).
If you have a comment about spelling, typos, or format errors, please e-mail the poster directly rather than posting a comment.
Comment Policy: We reserve the right to edit or delete comments, and in extreme cases to ban commenters, at our discretion. Comments must be relevant and civil (and, especially, free of name-calling). We think of comment threads like dinner parties at our homes. If you make the party unpleasant for us or for others, we'd rather you went elsewhere. We're happy to see a wide range of viewpoints, but we want all of them to be expressed as politely as possible.
We realize that such a comment policy can never be evenly enforced, because we can't possibly monitor every comment equally well. Hundreds of comments are posted every day here, and we don't read them all. Those we read, we read with different degrees of attention, and in different moods. We try to be fair, but we make no promises.
And remember, it's a big Internet. If you think we were mistaken in removing your post (or, in extreme cases, in removing you) -- or if you prefer a more free-for-all approach -- there are surely plenty of ways you can still get your views out.