Walter Lewis, a retired lawyer, deplores that Hillary Clinton hasn’t been charged with corruption for her “pay for play,” claiming this evidences unequal treatment.
As another retired lawyer, I don’t see it.
Whatever may be fashionable in today’s Congress, filing charges simply to embarrass a political candidate, without a reasonable basis for the allegation and reasonable belief a conviction could be obtained, is unethical. No competent prosecutor would embarrass his office with this case, even if the lack of a specific incident wouldn’t itself torpedo an indictment.
A prosecutor can’t expect to lead a partisan jury in a chant of “lock her up,” or expect a conviction will result if he calls the defendant “crooked Hillary” throughout the trial. Admissible evidence is required, or the case is thrown out of court.
What evidence is available? Given the allegation that Hillary’s “pay for play” was ubiquitous for the four years she was Secretary of State, one would expect a line longer than Tiger Woods’ mistresses of people who complained of a shakedown at the time, and even more who are willing now to testify to subornation of bribery, whether truthfully, or for 15 minutes of fame, or for political advantage. But, the witness list is currently empty. Without compelling testimony by several people that Hillary solicited a contribution, even the pinball wizard as defense counsel would secure an acquittal.
The emails? How many thousand? Yet the ones breitbart.com — no friend of Hillary’s — selects to publicize are boring and ordinary: no mention of any bribe, or her knowing whether a donation was made or the wealth of the client, etc. Nothing helpful there.
What about the significant overlap on a search of clients given meetings with Hillary and contributors to the Clinton Foundation (the allegations ignore whether the contributions came before or after)? All courts have rules to keep out “junk science,” and this fits squarely within them.
Imagine your friend trying to sell you on investing in a vaccine against ALS, claiming that clinical tests show only .1 percent of vaccinated people contracted the disease. Would you invest or take the needle? No, you would first determine the usual incidence of ALS (.004 percent). For a statistic to be considered anomalous, a sound basis of comparison is necessary.
Perhaps a statistics expert would be allowed to testify, only after running many other analyses, including at least: If the Red Cross, United Way, D.C. Ballet, or other nonprofit is chosen rather than the Clinton Foundation, what is the overlap? What is the contribution rate to the Clinton Foundation during its existence by people who met with other Secretaries of State, or other high governmental officials? So many people rushed to judgment without asking elementary questions.
Feel free to think the worst of Hillary. Dance a jig while incanting “lock her up,” and never say her name without the sobriquet “crooked.” Invest with your friend and take the needle to avoid ALS. Whatever makes you happy.
But, don’t sully the United States by intimating corruption in failing to bring a specious case.
Jed Somit is a resident of Kapaa.