Fieger gets off

by Walter Olson on June 2, 2008

All those reimbursements of employees who donated to John Edwards? Just one vast coincidence, not a purposeful way of evading federal campaign finance laws. Now that the verdict’s in, could we please repeal the campaign finance laws in question ASAP, before some less lucky soul tries the same thing and gets sentenced to time in the slammer because his name isn’t Geoffrey Fieger and his lawyer isn’t Gerry Spence? (David Ashenfelter and Joe Swickard, “Fieger, law partner acquitted of illegal political donations”, Detroit Free Press, Jun. 2).

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Detroit Free Press on Fieger acquittal
06.09.08 at 7:39 am
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08.21.08 at 1:35 pm

{ 7 comments }

1 Rusty Rustbelt Lansing Mi 06.02.08 at 4:28 pm

Fieger and Spence equaled fireworks.

Too bad fieger wasted the money on Edwards.

Next in the barrel is the Mayor of Detroit, he is not likely to be as lucky.

2 Southernboy 06.02.08 at 4:56 pm

It appears that Gerry Spence will be able to retire with an unblemished record as a criminal defense attorney. The guy went an entire career and did not lose one criminal case. What a remarkable accomplishment.

3 E-Bell 06.02.08 at 5:02 pm

^^^ That is quite a record. Wikipedia reports that he did lose a manslaughter trial, but he won the appeal.

4 Southernboy 06.02.08 at 5:09 pm

E-bell, you are exactly right about that. I figure that winning an appeal wipes away the previous trial.

Walter,the jury had to find that Fieger thought it was illegal to reimburse campaign contributions. After following the trial it seems that the prosecution was unable to prove this. The law is certainly suspect, but the prosecution needs more than suspicion to warrant a conviction. They obviously did not clear the hurdle that is reasonable doubt. Thus, the not guilty verdict.

5 OBQuiet 06.02.08 at 5:13 pm

What a bizarre law. It seems that I could have done the same thing as Fieger had I not read this blog.

Or can I now do it since I know he was acquitted so I can reasonably assume the behavior was not illegal?

6 Ted Frank 06.02.08 at 6:18 pm

As Norm Pattis documented, the prosecution got sandbagged by its witness; they apparently thought they had flipped someone, and then the witness reneged on the stand, perhaps anticipating that the government wouldn’t have the heart to go after them over the (possibly perjurious) double-cross if they lost against Fieger. One hopes that if there was bribery or other obstruction of justice that someone will expose it, but I’m not optimistic.

7 Supremacy Claus 06.03.08 at 1:56 pm

If Spence ever represented a guilty defendant, then his record shows the scientific invalidity of criminal procedure. It proves a skilled practitioner can game it for profit.

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