Thursday, March 16, 2006

Memo to Carla Martin: Clean Out Your Desk

It is reported that Carla Martin, a $120,000 per year attorney for the Transportation Safety Administration, was involved in an episode of what we here in Iowa call witness tampering.

What, pray tell, did Carla do?

While involved in assisting prosecutors who are arguing that one Zacharias Moussaoui should receive the death penalty, Federal style, for his alleged role as one of the September 11 conspirators, Martin sat in the courtroom, took notes on her laptop, and forwarded her trenchant observations to people who were slated to testify in the case, including helpful hints on how to testify and excerpts of testimony-all in clear violation of the court's express orders.

Whether this will make any real difference is doubtful. Even though the witnesses that Martin contacted were barred from testifying in this penalty trial, Moussaoui is a marked man. Whether he gets the needle or hangs himself with his jockey shorts in a few years or chokes on his oatmeal at the age of 90 in a federal prison somewhere is unimportant.

For the Federales it is different, and Jon Turley characterized the case as a "sucking chest wound".

For Martin, the situation has serious professional implications.

First, she got caught, and one should NEVER get caught while engaged in subterranean work.

Second, in getting caught red handed, she gutted what should have been a lead pipe cinch for the prosecutors in this case. That will not be forgiven.

Third, she lawyered up subito. That can't be good-people who are convinced they've done nothing wrong don't clam up and take the fifth this early in the game if they're team players.

That also stinks of a coverup, which seems to suggest that she really WAS put up to it.

One wonders who could have been so concerned about the outcome of what should be a slam dunk hearing that they thought it was necessary to stack the deck against Moussaoui.

This is something that even greenhorn law students have heard about-you just don't try to influence the testimony of witnesses, particularly when the judge has said you don't talk to them. And when you're a lawyer, you give a wide berth to anything that even remotely threatens your meal ticket, a/k/a your license to practice law.

So. You're left with two outcomes, neither one very nice. Either she's the biggest dope since Mortimer Snerd, or she was put up to it and got nabbed.

Either way, she could be looking at a hitch in a federal hotel.


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