Just goes to prove the old adage that a prosecutor can indict a ham sandwich if he wants to:
A South Texas grand jury has indicted Vice President Dick Cheney and former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on state charges related to the alleged abuse of prisoners in Willacy County's federal detention centers.
The indictment, which had not yet been signed by the presiding judge, was one of seven released Tuesday in a county that has been a source of bizarre legal and political battles in recent years. Another of the indictments named a state senator on charges of profiting from his position.
Willacy County District Attorney Juan Angel Guerra himself had been under indictment for more than a year and half before a judge dismissed the indictments last month. This flurry of charges came in the twilight of Guerra's tenure, which ends this year after nearly two decades in office. He lost convincingly in a Democratic primary in March.
Cheney's indictment on a charge of engaging in an organized criminal activity criticizes the vice president's investment in the Vanguard Group, which holds interests in the private prison companies running the federal detention centers. It accuses Cheney of a conflict of interest and "at least misdemeanor assaults" on detainees because of his link to the prison companies.
The prosecutor is a real piece of work. Guerra was indicted last year in connection with an extortion scheme. When the authorities searched his office, Guerra put on a little show:
After Guerra's office was raided as part of the investigation early last year, he camped outside the courthouse in a borrowed camper with a horse, three goats and a rooster. He threatened to dismiss hundreds of cases because he believed local law enforcement had aided the investigation against him. Of course, this "indictment" isn't going anywhere. But it is still entertaining to see a few bloggers on the left actually take this seriously:
Gonzales and Cheney have been indicted by a grand jury. The indictment is related to prisoner abuse at Wallace County Federal detention centers, which are run by Vanguard Group. Cheney has an investment in Vanguard and is charged with conflict of interest and “misdemeanor assault” on detainees through the company, while Gonzales is charged with using his office to quash an investigation. (h/t Perris) If I were a ham sandwich, I'd take it on the lam, pronto.
Get out the popcorn, this could be interesting.
And maybe it will shine a light on the privatization of the prison system in the US, which has led to even greater abuses of prisoners than before.