The ready for his close-up prosecutor
Dan at Riehl World View finds Prosecutor Earle’s Movie Deal Is Troubling. Here’s why:
Byron York, whose article DeLay’s Prosecutor Offered “Dollars for Dismissals”: How Ronnie Earle works I linked to yesterday, has another article on prosecutor Ronnie Earle’s movie deal: Coming Soon: The Ronnie Earle Movie: The DeLay prosecutor has let a film crew follow him through the whole case
For the last two years, as he pursued the investigation that led to Wednesday’s indictment of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, Travis County, Texas prosecutor Ronnie Earle has given a film crew “extraordinary access” to make a motion picture about his work on the case.
The resulting film is called The Big Buy, made by Texas filmmakers Mark Birnbaum and Jim Schermbeck. “Raymond Chandler meets Willie Nelson on the corner of Wall Street and Pennsylvania Avenue in The Big Buy, a Texas noir political detective story that chronicles what some are calling a ‘bloodless coup with corporate cash,'” reads a description of the picture on Birnbaum’s website, markbirnbaum.com. The film, according to the description, “follows maverick Austin DA Ronnie Earle’s investigation into what really happened when corporate money joined forces with relentless political ambitions to help swing the pivotal 2002 Texas elections, cementing Republican control from Austin to Washington DC.”
“We approached him [Earle], and he offered us extraordinary access to him and, to an extent, to his staff,” Birnbaum told National Review Online Thursday. “We’ve been shooting for about two years.”
Birnbaum and Schermbeck showed a work-in-progress version of The Big Buy last month at the Dallas Video Festival.
My question is, is it legal to publicize full details of an investigation prior to any charges being filed?
Yesterday I criticized DeLay’s ethics, but I agree with Dan that
If Delay violated the campaign finance laws, throw the bum out – though at this point there is ample reason to at least suspect he did not. However, to produce a movie so obviously biased according to the title and movie description has no place within our legal or political system.
As for the indictement, Attorney John Hindraker of Powerline (his emphasis) points out that one of his readers
apparently is ignorant of the elementary difference between alleging what the defendant did that was illegal, which is normally done, and pleading the evidence you will offer to prove that he did it, which is normally not done. My criticism of Earle’s indictment was not that he didn’t plead his evidence, but that he didn’t specify what, exactly, DeLay supposedly did. (The indictment does, in contrast, recite specific acts that were allegedly perfomed by the other defendants.)
You can read the indictement here.