The message from Milwaukee
Been a bit busy lately doing galley proofs, so there's a lot of catching up to do. But let's start with the "Milwaukee 5," the Democrat Party activists who last week walked away from their Election Day crimes. To borrow a phrase from Billy Ayers: "Guilty as hell, free as a bird."
After a two-week felony trial culminating with notes from a conflicted jury, four Kerry-Edwards campaign workers - including the sons of U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wis.) and former Acting Mayor Marvin Pratt - had their charges in the Election Day 2004 tire-slashing reduced to misdemeanors and accepted the deal.
The fifth Democratic staffer accused of crippling Republican vans won a jury acquittal by sticking with a fight against the felony charge. ....
All five defendants had been charged with damaging 40 tires on 25 rented vans parked outside Republican Party offices on W. Capitol Drive, hours before they were to be deployed for electioneering. The repair costs easily exceeded the felony threshold of $2,500, yet there was little evidence about what each man had allegedly done.
Prosecutors built most of their case on testimony from out-of-state Democratic operatives who had come to work on the Wisconsin campaign alongside the defendants - Marvin Pratt, 33, Lewis G. Caldwell, 29, Lavelle Mohammad, 36, Justin Howell, 21, and Sowande Omokunde, 26.
The witnesses said the local men boasted about their crippling attack on the Republican vehicles.
The jury sent an unmistakable message: It's open season on Republicans in Wisconsin.
There is no doubt that tires were slashed on 25 GOP vans on the eve of Election Day.
There is no doubt that these tires were slashed by operatives of the Wisconsin Democratic Party.
Yet, though these crimes were committed by Democrats determined to affect the outcome of a presidential election, nobody is going to prison: "Guilty as hell, free as a bird."
Please notice the intrusion in the Milwaukee trial of the "Stop Snitchin'" mentality:
Defense attorneys tried to characterize the party professionals as liars who set up the defendants - loosely tied to the scene by cell-phone records and the hazy memory of a security guard - as fall guys for the crime.
This is a clear message to any Democrat whose good conscience might prompt him to blow the whistle on fellow Democrats involved in felonious attempts to influence the outcome of an election: Democrats will destroy your reputation and smear you as a liar if you dare to tell the truth.
And, by the way, has anybody seen Kathleen Willey's cat?