“No responsible prosecutor,” Alan Dershowitz writes in The Hill, “should ever suggest that the subject of his investigation might indeed be guilty even if there was insufficient evidence or other reasons not to indict.”
Don’t I know it.
The world-famous lawyer takes issue with the “statement by special counsel Robert Mueller in a Wednesday press conference that ‘if we had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said that.’”* Dershowitz makes a good case that the ‘innocent until proven guilty’ principle requires the government not merely to refrain from imposing punishment before obtaining a lawful conviction, but also to hold back from punishing people by making loud public claims about their supposed guilt.
Which brings to mind my own experience at U.S. Term Limits. In 1994, we ran radio ads and sent mail to citizens in two Oklahoma congressional districts and one in Kentucky. We did not urge a vote for or against anyone, but merely provided information on where the candidates stood.
Yet, prompted by a complaint from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which prefers ignorant to knowledgeable voters, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) investigated.
As if to foreshadow current prosecutorial proclivities, the FEC abandoned its witch hunt after two long years. Relieved the agency’s harassment was finally over, I remember opening an Oklahoma newspaper and discovering a story headlined, “Term Limits Group Violated Law in State, U.S. Agency Charges.”
This problem goes well beyond Mr. Mueller and President Trump. Government agencies that cannot prosecute, should not persecute.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.
* Dershowitz calls Mueller’s comments “worse than the statement made by then-FBI Director James Comey regarding Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential campaign.”