Federal judge rules political appointees interfered with voter intimidation case
Increasing attention is being paid to irregularities at the polls, and the legitimacy of efforts to minimize them. A federal judge just issued a ruling that will become part of this debate. As reported by Conn Carroll of the Washington Examiner, U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton “held today that political appointees appointed by President Obama did interfere with the Department of Justice’s prosecution of the New Black Panther Party.”
This concerns the infamous appearance of two New Black Panthers outside a Philadelphia polling place, dressed in paramilitary outfits and brandishing a nightstick to intimidate poll watchers and voters. It was an open-and-shut case of voter intimidation, confirmed by multiple eyewitnesses, but the Obama Justice Department inexplicably dropped the charges.
Watchdog group Judicial Watch followed the normal course of action for asking tough questions of Obama’s wonderfully “transparent” administration, suing the Justice Department to enforce a Freedom of Information Act request for documents concerning the New Black Panthers case. Judicial Watch won, and then sued for attorney’s fees. The Justice Department defended itself by insisting the documents procured by Judicial Watch didn’t prove there was any political interference in the NBPP case, so they shouldn’t be liable for the plaintiff’s legal fees.
Judge Walton’s ruling disagreed with the DOJ defense, saying, “The documents reveal that political appointees within DOJ were conferring about the status and resolution of the New Black Panther Party case in the days preceding the DOJ’s dismissal of claims in that case, which would appear to contradict Assistant Attorney General Perez’s testimony that political leadership was not involved in that decision.”
Judicial Watch was therefore “both eligible and entitled to fees and costs, and the Court must now consider the reasonableness of Judicial Watch’s requested award.”