Practice What You Preach


Victoria Toensing thinks Patrick Fitzgerald should STFU:

In the Dec. 9 press conference regarding the federal corruption charges against Gov. Blagojevich and his chief of staff, Mr. Fitzgerald violated the ethical requirement of the Justice Department guidelines that prior to trial a “prosecutor shall refrain from making extrajudicial comments that pose a serious and imminent threat of heightening public condemnation of the accused.” The prosecutor is permitted to “inform the public of the nature and extent” of the charges. In the vernacular of all of us who practice criminal law, that means the prosecutor may not go “beyond the four corners” — the specific facts — in the complaint or indictment. He may also provide any other public-record information, the status of the case, the names of investigators, and request assistance. But he is not permitted to make the kind of inflammatory statements Mr. Fitzgerald made during his media appearance.

You may recall Ms. Toensing from the Scooter Libby trial coverage.  She was one of the pundits who kept proclaiming that there was no crime involved.  In fact, despite the jury verdict finding Scooter guilty as sin she still claims the same thing:

What’s more, Mr. Fitzgerald is a repeat offender. In his news conference in October 2005 announcing the indictment of Scooter Libby for obstruction of justice, he compared himself to an umpire who “gets sand thrown in his eyes.” The umpire is “trying to figure what happened and somebody blocked” his view. With this statement, Mr. Fitzgerald made us all believe he could not find the person who leaked Valerie Plame’s name as a CIA operative because of Mr. Libby. What we all now know is that Mr. Fitzgerald knew well before he ever started the investigation in January 2004 that Richard Armitage was the leaker and nothing Mr. Libby did or did not do threw sand in his eyes. In fact — since there was no crime — there was not even a game for the umpire to call.

Media Matters has written extensively about Ms. Toensing, including her failure to disclose a friendship with Robert Novak while writing a column defending him in the Plame investigation, and her failure to disclose she had done legal work for CNN in the case while commenting on the Libby trial for Wolf Blitzer.

She managed to insert herself into the Lewinsky scandal too, as an attorney chasing cameras rather than ambulances.  Methinks Ms. Toensing is the one who should STFU.



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