Reidblog [The Reid Report blog]

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Friday, October 21, 2005
The diary of Ronnie Earle
The boys and girls at Fox News and the National Review have been making much of the other Texas Republican prosecuted (unsuccessfully) by Ronnie Earle (oh those wonderful GOP talking points...). Famous Texans remembers the time...
"Would these documents reside anywhere else on any kind of backup? Well, I never authorized the personal or political work to be out there, and I don't want to be criticized for it being out there. And so I want you to go to those backup tapes and remove it all from the backup tapes." -- the quote attributed to Hutchison by grand jury testimony of Deputy Treasurer Michael Barron that ultimately led to Hutchison's September 28, 1993 indictments, including felony counts of tampering with government documents and evidence. ...

... In 1993, Hutchison and her team of attorney's - led by Dick DeGuerin, the $700-an-hour hotshot criminal lawyer and defender of Branch Dividian David Koresh - were fighting charges that she had abused her office as state treasurer. The evidence portrayed Hutchison as a termagant who verbally and physically abused her staff, including testimony that while in a tirade, she hit executive assistant Sharon Connally Ammann, the daughter of former governor John Connally, on the shoulder with a notebook binder. Another deputy had been Warren Idsal, the son-in-law of Hutchison's best friend and mentor, legendary ultra-right-wing Texan and Nixon adviser Anne Armstrong. She fired Idsal and later cited his removal as a threat to a frustrated staffer of her tough approach to personnel management. The evidence also showed she ordered a purge of backup computer tapes containing personal and political documents her executive staff produced for her. Conviction for the Nixon-like charges would have ruined her politically. Hutchison claimed the chief prosecutor, Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle, was part of a sinister conspiracy against her.

She was acquitted in February 1994, when Earle declined to proceed with the case. The jury selection had gone badly for Earle. Jurors were exposed to news media which was pressured, according to former Fort Worth Star-Telegram capitol reporter Joe Cutberth, to slant coverage in Hutchison's favor. Her own press secretary Dave Beckwith (former Dan Quayle spokesman), and Republican consultant Karl Rove (former Hutchison campaign manager and later top handler to George W. Bush) were heavily quoted spinning the tale of a politically motivated prosecutor. Finally, presiding judge John Onion refused to make a pretrial ruling on whether he would allow the incriminating tapes into evidence. Stripped of the certainty of using key evidence, the prosecution dropped the charges in the hope of starting over later before a less restrictive judge. Judge Onion outmaneuvered Earle, however. He swore in a jury and immediately ordered them to acquit Hutchison. She then proclaimed the forced verdict proof of her innocence.
Bet Earle has learned a lot since then. ... I wonder how many Texans he's flipped against the smiling exterminator?

Tags: , Politics, Republicans, Congress, Ethics,
posted by JReid @ 2:59 PM  
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