Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Too much news, too little time

The day job has been rather insistent lately, and there's too much news for a busy person to assimilate.

Last week's Friday afternoon dump was of course the IG report on the secret surveillance program, link via ObWi, where Publius describes how John Yoo gave very good value for being the only OLC lawyer consulted on whether the President could ignore FISA. Good value, that is, for criminal conspirators plotting to abuse OLC's "get out of jail free cards," as I remind a troll here (click only if you need spelled out why Yoo is a bad or dishonest lawyer).

Then there's the secret CIA assassination program, which apparently Cheney told CIA not to trouble Congress's pretty head with. Some background here.

And, widely reported, we have escalating rumors that Eric Holder may actually remember his oath of office and conduct a torture investigation, provided that is that no one significant is actually investigated. But perhaps a special prosecutor, if appointed, would follow the evidence where it leads. Scott Horton rounds up some links and discussion.

TBA notes its disgust with the ability of Axelrod and Emanuel to squash any DOJ investigation. That is not at all materially different from what Rove did for Bush. Political types do not need to be making those calls.

... In less exalted news, the Fifth Circuit reversed a decision against the Republic of Venezuela, whose attorney had apparently agreed to settle claims against Venezuela for $70 million. Venezuela said it had never granted its attorney authority to settle the case. Who was this attorney? Richard F. Scruggs.

(The court doesn't mention Scruggs's recent adventures in court, but its footnote 4 may be taken as a dry acknowledgement that Scruggs's word is not his bond:
According to Scruggs, he was initially “contacted by the Podhurst firm at the request of Venezuela with the request that I seek quick resolution of the money issues” in early September 2005. He further alleges that “the specifics of said [settlement] authority were confirmed through a telephone conference which included members of the Podhurst firm, Aquiles Mendez and me.” Notably, Scruggs does not allege that any member of the Venezuelan government participated in this telephone conference or directly contacted him regarding a settlement. Moreover, Podhurst attorney Marks disputes Scruggs’ version of events. According to Marks, “while there may have been a misunderstanding with Mr. Scruggs concerning the discussions that he was to pursue directly . . . , I was never given authority to settle the case on solely monetary terms and do not believe that I provided such authority to Mr. Scruggs.” Based on our review of the record, no individual has corroborated Scruggs’ claim that he received express permission to settle the dispute.
Some of us would expect to get something in writing before giving away $70 million of our client's money ... but not Dickie. Who, btw, sued Venezuela for his attorney fees as well.)

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