Writing for Harpers, Scott Horton has covered the politicized DoJ like a cheap suit with a particular focus the remarkably partisan handling of the Siegelman case. For obvious reasons I support Horton 100% in his reporting, but this latest outrage leaves me feeling lukewarm. Although nobody should ignore when a former Bush Attorney General (Bush senior in this case) reviews a recent DoJ indictment and essentially declares it a partisan fraud, for me the parts don’t add up.
For one thing, I worked in and around local Pittsburgh politics long enough to know that the target in this case, coroner Dr. Cyril Wecht, is probably guilty of many of the things that US Attorney Buchanan accused him of. 84 counts seems steep until you recall that Wecht has pushed his weight around the local Democratic machine since Oswald (presumably) shot JFK. Even in an entrenched party machine that falls slightly to the functional side of the Dalys Wecht’s brand of self-serving nepotism has stood out for decades. It wouldn’t surprise that many Pittsburghers if the straightest-shooting US Attorney in America (e.g., Fitz) handed Wecht more or less the same indictment.
Another non-trivial point – Thornburgh is currently a private attorney serving on Wecht’s defense team. Let’s wait for truly independent assessments, please.