Gibson Is Off the Feds' Hook. Who's Next?

On July 30, I wrote a piece on my “Injustice Department” blog on Forbes.com discussing the narrow-mindedness of the Gibson Guitar Company CEO’s claim in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that the United States Justice Department is waging a war against capitalism. It is a war, I suggested, against many sectors of civil society.

Since that piece went up, Gibson Guitar has entered into a deal with the DOJ in which it sort-of admits guilt to alleged violations of the Lacey Act, pays a whopping fine, and will emerge without a criminal conviction in the end. Gibson took this step even though the company and its CEO earlier had publicly proclaimed their innocence. My latest piece, published in today’s Wall Street Journal, explains how corrupt plea-bargaining practices at the Department of Justice, as opposed to actual guilt, likely led to Gibson’s guilty plea and, most disturbingly, to its agreement to stick to a negotiated script with regard to the question of guilt versus innocence. As is increasingly true at the Department of Justice – via a process that has been gaining momentum since at least the mid-1980s – there is no longer a principled and discernible line between truth and falsehood.


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To the CEO of Gibson Guitar: It's Not Just a War Against Capitalism

On July 19, there appeared in the Wall Street Journal an interesting Op-Ed by Henry Juszkiewicz, the CEO of Gibson Guitar, claiming that a raid on his company’s facilities by federal agents is representative of a greater “war against capitalism.” Yet as my co-author Zachary Bloom and I argue in our latest piece for my Forbes.com blog, “Injustice Department,” Juszkiewicz’s Op-Ed suffers for being too narrow and self-focused. In reality, the raid on Gibson’s facilities is less representative of a war on capitalism than of a war on all of civil society, being waged by an out-of-control U.S. Department of Justice wielding vague laws passed by a Congress that clearly does not understand the consequences of its legislative actions, and regulations enacted by administrative agencies drunk with their own powers.

The article after the jump...


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NightSide with Dan Rea

Last Wednesday, July 18, I appeared on CBS Boston's NightSide with Dan Rea, to discuss the plight of former Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives Sal DiMasi. DiMasi was convicted in 2009 of committing "honest services fraud," a vague and dangerous law, and is currently serving an eight-year prison sentence. As I discussed in a column in the Boston Phoenix earlier this month, DiMasi's treatment at the hands of the Federal Bureau of Prisons has been unconscionable. And, in light of his recent delayed cancer diagnosis, DiMasi's treatment amounts to a type of torture, with the sole purpose of softening him up to give testimony more favorable to the government before a grand jury sitting in Worcester.

My NightSide interview is a wide-ranging discussion of the DiMasi debacle, and can be found on the CBS Boston website.
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DiMasi Agonistes and the federal ‘justice’ system

Being Fourth of July week, it seems a particularly apt time to consider the various forms of tyranny with which we have been inundated of late. The treatment of federal prisoner (and putative “corrupt pol” – a subject on which I expect to have more to say at some future date) Salvatore DiMasi is of the stomach-churning variety. Or at least the treatment of DiMasi by federal prosecutors and “corrections” officials should churn the stomach of all decent citizens devoted to the essential respect for human dignity demanded of our government by the Bill of Rights. Please read my views on the subject in the current issue of The Boston Phoenix; the column after the jump.

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NACDL Podcast Audio Available

This week I was a guest on NACDL's weekly podcast, "The Criminal Docket," where Mary Price and I discussed the overcriminalization crisis that has plagued America for the past three decades. It was a wide-ranging discussion of the causes, effects and possible solutions to the vast proliferation of vague statutes and overzealous prosecutions at the federal level. You can find the full audio of the podcast on iTunes, or by clicking here.



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Updates related to Harvey's
book Three Felonies a Day, a critical
take on the Justice Department

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