You guys probably remember Susan MacDougal the Whitewater witness who wouldn’t tell Ken “Torquemada” Starr what he wanted to hear, so she was jailed for months, paraded around in chains in front of photographers frequently, and reportedly forced to wear chains even in her cell, as a way of “breaking” her.
I was pretty incensed about her treatment way back when, but you know, looking at the shit that happened at Abu Ghraib and the latest crap from the Bushies I’d say MacDougal was DAMN lucky to be caught up in Ken Starr’s witch hunt instead of Donald Rumsfeld’s gulag.
Well… I’m not a legal eagle, but when a federal judge orders you to tell what you know about a potentially criminal situation and you essentially tell them “Fuck You! I ain’t saying nuttin’ about nuttin’” is is really that surprising that she got locked up? She made the decision to take that stance and suffered the consequences.
Well, to answer the other questions posed here first – please note, this is the Pit, not Great Debates. I believe I am entitled to sound off about nasty stuff without there necessarily being a debate included. But as an added extra bonus attraction which you get absolutely FREE – there IS a point here!
People look at Abu Ghraib and Gitmo and what the “Justice” Department has been up to lately, and they think "it can’t happen here, it’s just foreign terrorists who’ll get that sort of treatment. And my point about MacDougall wasn’t just that she was imprisoneed, but that she was pressured while imprisoned – forced to wear chains while in her cell, forced to appear repeatedly before photographers in chains – it all seems very pantywaist by Gitmo standards, and MacDougall IS a citizen after all.
But imagine if a future Pubbie admin or legal witchhunter has someone like MacDougall in custody, and they think he or she can give them the President on a silver platter. And they have all that Abu Ghraib and Gitmo precedent to work with. How long before some Justice Dept. bootlicker with an eye to becoming Attorney General comes up with some kind of legal mumbojumbo claiming that such a person can be declared an “enemy of the United States” and hence the legal equivalent of a terrorist, so all those, um, more persuasive forms of persuasion can be used?
I’d say about an eyeblink and a half. It CAN happen here. MacDougall was LUCKY.
No cite. But has there never been a case where a person was ordered to state something in court in which said person truly knew nothing about the situtation? Only to be in contempt and thrown in jail until you “fess up”?
MacDougall claimed that she would happily tell Starr the truth of what went on in Whitewater but that what she knew didn’t incriminate Clinton – and Starr wasn’t going to release her until she incriminated Clinton. So it’s a lot closer to the Gitmo/Abu Ghraib thing than you think, if you believe MacDougall. And she definitely came out of the whole thing as much more honest and trustworthy than Starr.
However, Ms. McDougal was not imprisoned for taking the stand and explaining that she had no information on each question asked. She made the decision to refuse to testify.
The claim was made that a person could be imprisoned even if they did not know anything on the topic. Do you have a citation that anyone took the stand and was imprisoned for saying “I don’t know”–and not “I refuse to testify” or “I take the Fifth”? (Which was the question Bricker asked.)
Now, we can get into a long drawn out discussion as to whether Ms. McDougal made a correct decision (based on a lot of shifting values of “correct”), because she feared being indicted for perjury when she knew that her testimony would be contrasted with the purchased testimony of Judge Hale, but the fact remains that her imprisonment was based on her refusal to testify not on her ignorance of the topic while she tesitified.
You don’t have to take the stand to be forced to pay a price. Starr knew that’s what she’d say, so she was never *called * to the stand.
McDougal’s own case shows how she was put through a bogus embezzlement trial largely because of her refusal to allow Starr to suborn her into incriminating the Clintons. We all know how little the factuality of the Whitewater situation mattered in the broader attempt to get them for something.
Why do you think she was kept in prison for so long?
I have no respect for Ken Starr or the goons with whom he worked to dig up any and all evidence as a personal grudge against Clinton.
The claim was made that a person could be jailed indefinitely simply for not knowing the answers to questions that would be presented.
Bricker asked for a citation that such an event has occurred.
Your response does not substantiate the claim for which Bricker sought evidence. Bricker’s question was almost certainly cast in the light of identifying either law or legal precedent for holding a person for simply “not knowing” the answers that the prosecutor wishes to extract. Ms. McDougal’s situation does not substantiate that claim.
On what basis did the judge order her to prison if the court was unaware of her position? Do you have a copy of that order? I strongly suspect that the judge had to rule on either testiony or an affidavit emanating from Ms. McDougal or her lawyers that she had chosen to not testify. If you have evidence that Starr read her mind, discovered that she was going to be a hostile witness, and persuaded a judge to order her held in contempt without her having any interaction with the court, I would love to see you present it.
I repeat: I think Starr abused the sysytem. I think it was immoral as well as unethical for Star to work so closely with a “get Clinton” crowd to dig up some of the material he did.
However, the question that Bricker raised regarding the method by which one may be imprisoned is not answerewd by the McDougal case.
The entire text of that exchange, presented for your approval:
Room for a lot of interpretation there, ain’t there? Including mine - McDougal was held for refusing to say what Starr wanted her to, no matter what she “noed” - and that could indeed include “nothing”, as PA said. Happy now?