January 25, 2005

Old Buddies: Gonzales and Bush

Could this be the reason why Alberto Gonzales rose to be a Bush White House adviser and now, presumably, the next US Attorney General? Not because he is so competent, but because he helped Bush escape jury duty in a drunken-driving case involving a dancer at an Austin strip club in 1996. From Newsweek:
Bush's summons to serve as a juror in the drunken-driving case was, in retrospect, a fateful moment in his political career: by getting excused from jury duty he was able to avoid questions that would have required him to disclose his own 1976 arrest and conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) in Kennebunkport, Maine—an incident that didn't become public until the closing days of the 2000 campaign. (Bush, who had publicly declared his willingness to serve, had left blank on his jury questionnaire whether he had ever been "accused" in a criminal case.)
Gonzales claims he merely accompanied Bush to court and watched as lawyers agreed to dismiss Bush from serving on the jury. But the judge at the time says it was Gonzales who asked for the dismissal, on the bizarre grounds that Bush could one day be in a position of political power where he would be asked to pardon the accused.
Crain said he found Gonzales's argument surprising, since it was "extremely unlikely" that a drunken-driving conviction would ever lead to a pardon petition to Bush. But "out of deference" to the governor, Crain said, the other lawyers went along. Wahlberg said he agreed to make the motion striking Bush because he didn't want the hard-line governor on his jury anyway. But there was little doubt among the participants as to what was going on. "In public, they were making a big show of how he was prepared to serve," said Crain. "In the back room, they were trying to get him off."
Asked about the case in his recent confirmation hearings, Gonzales said he could not remember details.

No comments:


Blog Archive