(Video Clip of Attorney General, Eric Holder)
Our findings and our conclusions are the facts do not support the filing of criminal charges against Officer Darren Wilson in this case. Michael Brown’s death, though a tragedy, did not involve prosecutable conduct on the part of Officer Wilson.
Alright folks joining us now is our friend Kendall Coffey partner at Coffey Burlington and a former US Attorney in Florida. Hello Kendall.
Hey Steve, how are you today?
I’m great: snow and all, I know you’re in sunny Florida so I just stop rubbing it in.
It’s beautiful here. It’s 87 degrees.
I know I know.
Let me ask you this: I don’t want to talk about the police department and what they found against the police department cause that’s a separate issue. But in announcing that there were no civil rights charges burn against Darren Wilson, and if you read the whole report, their own report says, six of the most credible witnesses of the shooting of Michael Brown were afraid to give testimony in support of the police because they knew it would undercut the “Hands Up Don’t Shoot” narrative being advanced by the neighbors and by the media. They talked about how they were in fear for their lives they talked about how there were signs in the neighborhood that said “snitches get stitches.” Shouldn’t they be investigating anybody who was intimidating these witnesses, anybody posting threatening signs?
Well, if they have evidence that anyone was intimidating a witness; we all know that is a crime. It’s a federal crime. And it comes up a lot. It’s one of the reasons attorneys tell clients, who are concerned about an investigation: “Don’t go talking to other witnesses. Don’t try to influence in one way or another because the Feds can charge that as a crime of obstruction and they often do.”
So they would have to have evidence. They know there were signs. Like I said It’s in their own report. Quoting witnesses by number, not by name, about how afraid they were. They didn’t want to testify, One woman put a couch against her door so the Feds couldn’t serve her with a subpoena. Because she was afraid she would be killed. I mean, this is bad stuff. If not the Feds then at least the media had to known what was going on. They were all planted there for weeks.
But any kind of obstruction investigation would have to center on identifying an individually guilty actor. So, it’s not enough to talk about an atmosphere, you have to talk about what a specific individual did or said what to intimidate a witness. And without that there is nothing the Feds can do about it other than raise the public consciousness and put it in a report.
Okay. So, how much trouble is Hillary Clinton in here? Y’know, her supporters are saying, “Well, she just did what Colin Powell did.” But the difference is that there was a new law put into place in ’09 and Hillary clinton became secretary of state then. so it doesn’t matter what Colin Powell did. Condalezza Rice, his successor, didn’t even use email. So she was the first one really affected by this new law. In your view from what you know, from what we all know from the news, did she break the law and how serious is this?
Well I don’t think… none of us are experts on this law; it comes up rarely. A lot of us are looking at analysis by individuals such as the former Litigation Director the national archives who said: that until the law was really clarified, which was after she left the office, you wouldn’t have a violation that could be punished or sanctioned in someway. What I think is striking is that this issue is bringing together some interesting bedfellows because the liberal part Democratic Party would like to see this issue elevated because they’re hoping for an alternative to Hillary Clinton. Media in general, whether conservative or liberal, has a real concern when they think records might be made less accessible by any kind of public officials so we note it was the New York Times not FOXNews who broke the story. So I think the media is going to have a continuing interest in this. And there are of course the people who simply disagree with her politics who want to stay on this. So we are in the first phase of this right now, we’re still waiting to see what the explanation is why this particular approach to email with used. But do I expect any kind of law breaking type investigation or development as such: No. Do I think this is going away? I think we’re in the first phase. And remember, the next phase Steve, is going to be: What is actually in some of these emails. Cause there are going to be plenty of people combing through there. And then it’s going to get to another phase yet which is: are there some emails that are not included. When you look at that landscape it’s it’s not a small plot of earth it’s a widespread horizon. It could keep going.
Right, there are FOIA request that haven’t been met, the AP might sue to get information about her relationship giving Uma Abadien, the wife of Congressmen Anthony Weiner and her long-time assistant, a State Department job. They haven’t gotten those documents, Judicial Watch is suing, other groups are suing. So, for Hillary’s group to pick out the emails that they handover doesn’t seem exactly good enough.
Yeah. And again, I think both the more liberal elements of the Democratic Party and the Media itself are going to stay on this.
Okay Kendall. Great stuff. Thank you for your time, my friend, we’ll talk to you soon. Kendall Coffey, ladies and gentlemen.
From Spinning the Law with Kendall Coffey on the Steve Malzberg Show 3/5/15