American Prosecutors Deserve Count Of Monte Cristo
|By Paul Craig Roberts
March 03, 2002
There’s a great movie playing, a rendition of Alexander Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo. Go to see it. It speaks to the injustice of our own time--only our legions of wrongfully convicted lack the power of the Count of Monte Cristo to take revenge on the snitches and corrupt prosecutors who frame them.
Dumas’ novel is a tremendous story brimming with excitement and plot. I don’t know if it is read today. In my youth everyone read it for the spellbinding thrill of the story and simultaneously absorbed the didactic message to hate injustice.
Every prosecutor and policeman should be required to read the book several times and to keep a copy visible on their desks. Indeed, what we need is a real world Count of Monte Cristo to make an example of the corrupt prosecutors who routinely ruin the lives of innocent people.
There are prosecutors who deserve the worst that could possibly befall them, but, alas, no Counts of Monte Cristo. Michael Milken had enough money to be one, but he let Rudy Giuliani get away with framing him.
Giuliani not only got away with it, he parlayed the name recognition that he gained to become New York Mayor. From this perch he parlayed the Muslim terror attack on the World Trade Center into becoming Time Magazine’s “Man of the Year” and recipient of the Ronald Reagan Freedom Award from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation in Beverly Hills on February 8. This was followed with an honorary knighthood from Queen Elizabeth and a fountain of glowing editorials.
In Dumas’ novel, the crooked prosecutor is utterly ruined, but ours just keep on climbing higher in public esteem.
Injustice is rife when people have no conscience. In our time, only politically correct official “victim groups” are deserving of concern, and the compassion they receive is orchestrated for the purpose of advancing political agendas.
The old adage that it is better for 10 guilty men to go free than for one innocent person to be punished has been turned on its head. Today’s rule is: better for 10 innocents to be sent up the river than for one guilty to escape.
Nothing better reveals the state of injustice in America today than Massachusetts Governor Jane Swift’s refusal last week to release an innocent man on the grounds that it might hurt her political future. That tells you all you need to know about her conscience and, if she is right, about the conscience of the people of Massachusetts.
Giuliani took advantage of the liberals’ demonization of the Reagan presidency as the “era of greed” and ordinary people’s envy of Wall Street incomes to make a name for himself on the backs of innocents.
Giuliani went into motion with an assault, staged for media, on the financial firm Princeton/Newport with fifty federal marshals outfitted with automatic weapons and bulletproof vests. His purpose was to create the impression among the public that hardened criminals operated in the financial arena.
Next he staged the handcuffing of two New York investment bankers on their trading floor. Although his victims were later exonerated in federal courts, Giuliani had set the stage for his run at Michael Milken.
To this day no evidence exists that Milken committed any crimes or engaged in any conduct that had ever before been considered criminal. Milken was a victim of Giuliani criminalizing minor regulatory infractions and coercing him into a plea bargain.
Giuliani's assistant U.S. attorney John Carroll admitted as much. At Seton Hall Law School in April 1992, Carroll said that in the Milken case “we’re guilty of criminalizing technical offenses. Many of the prosecution theories we used were novel. Many of the statutes that we charged under hadn’t been charged as crimes before.”
In other words, the prosecutors made up the laws that they accused Milken of breaking and applied them retroactively.
Carroll was very proud of how clever the prosecutors were in orchestrating Milken’s frame-up. He went on to say that they were looking for other areas where they could ensnare people by reinterpreting routine behavior as crimes. Apparently, the law students were impressed, not outraged, with the skill at which prosecutors abuse their power in order to convict a target.
Giuliani himself bragged that by painting his targets black, “the media does the job for me.”
The cases brought by prosecutors are so shoddy that few can stand the light of a trial. Instead, prosecutors pile on the charges until the bewildered defendant accepts his lawyer’s advice and cops a plea. Only one case in twenty ever goes to trial.
Plea bargains keep the conviction mill running and the prosecutors’ budgets growing. Justice plays no role.
Paul Craig Roberts is the author of The Tyranny
of Good Intentions : How Prosecutors and Bureaucrats Are Trampling the
Constitution in the Name of Justice.