In an unusual move, former federal prosecutor, Richard Covertino, was indicted on charges of conspiracy, obstructing justice and making false declarations as reported here and here. The indictment stems from a conviction in a terror case from 2003 which was overturned by the judge after prosecutors, including Covertino, discovered that documents that could have aided the defense during the trial were not turned over required. Additional charged were filed against Covertino for his alleged actions in another case wherein it is alleged that he provided false information to a judge in an effort to reduce a defendant's sentence. He faces up to 30 years in prison and an one million dollar fine, if convicted.
As reported in the first article:
The indictment, returned by a grand jury in Detroit where the case originated a week after the September 11 attacks, charged that prosecutor Richard Convertino and State Department special agent Harry Smith III conspired to withhold photographs of a Jordanian hospital they said was a target of the terror suspects.
In fact, the sketches found in the men's dingy apartment on September 17, 2001, did not resemble the hospital at all, the indictment said.
That and other problems with the June 2003 convictions of three of four defendants led a judge to throw out the convictions, creating a huge embarrassment for the Bush administration's declared war on terrorism.
Interestingly, prior to his indictment, Covertino filed a whistle blower suit against the Justice Department and former U.S. Attorney John Ashcroft, for releasing information that he alleged damaged his reputation.
In the suit, he said the department offered little support to his prosecution of the supposed "sleeper" cell, providing a single FBI agent, while officials in Washington hailed the arrests as having defused a potential terror attack.
Convertino told The New York Times, "These charges are clearly vindictive and retaliatory, and it's an effort to discredit and smear someone who tried to expose the government's mismanagement of the war on terrorism."
Well, I for one certainly find it hard to believe that this administration could be guilty of such extreme retaliatory actions, especially when it comes to the "war" on terror. And, if you believe that, I've got a bridge to sell you. It's located in Brooklyn.