Asked by Sen. Patrick Leahy to describe "in detail" the only court appearance he ever made on behalf of Bush, Gonzales—who was then chief counsel to the Texas governor—wrote that he had accompanied Bush the day he went to court "prepared to serve on a jury." While there, Gonzales wrote, he "observed" the defense lawyer make a motion to strike Bush from the jury panel "to which the prosecutor did not object." Asked by the judge whether he had "any views on this," Gonzales recalled, he said he did not.
While Gonzales's account tracks with the official court transcript, it leaves out a key part of what happened that day, according to Travis County Judge David Crain. In separate interviews, Crain—along with Wahlberg and prosecutor John Lastovica—told NEWSWEEK that, before the case began, Gonzales asked to have an off-the-record conference in the judge's chambers. Gonzales then asked Crain to "consider" striking Bush from the jury, making the novel "conflict of interest" argument that the Texas governor might one day be asked to pardon the defendant (who worked at an Austin nightclub called Sugar's), the judge said.
UPDATE: I should have been clearer about this. The idea that then-Governor Bush could have been concerned enough about the prospect of some day pardoning a strip club employee (and anyone who's spent more than a day in Austin knows that Sugar's is a strip club) for a drunk-driving offense to see it as a possible "conflict of interest" is so ridiculous on its face that I just can't believe a judge would buy it. Liberty in the comments is correct - if this is the case, then he couldn't have been "prepared to serve" because the same argument would work for any defendant ever.
Anyway. I posted this because I was amused by the reference to Sugar's as a "nightclub", and because seeing that took what I thought was an already-silly argument to new heights of ludicrousness.Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 24, 2005 to National news | TrackBack