Tuesday, August 30, 2005

John Dean Says Robertson Violated Criminal Statutes

John Dean, former counsellor to President Nixon, says Pat Robertson violated criminal statutes when he called for the assassination of Venezuela's President. Dean wrote:

It is a federal felony to use instruments of interstate or foreign commerce to threaten other people. The statute is clear, and simple. Title 18 of the United States Code, Section 875(c), states: "Whoever transmits in interstate or foreign commerce any communication containing any threat to kidnap any person or any threat to injure the person of another, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both." (Emphases added.)

The interstate or foreign commerce element is plainly satisfied by Robertson's statements. Robertson's 700 Club is listed as broadcasting in thirty-nine states and the District of Columbia, not to mention ABC Family Channel satellites which cover not only the United States but several foreign countries as well. In addition, the program was sent around the world via the Internet.
Dean also says that if Robertson were a Democrat, he would probably be hiring an attorney. Here's a quote:

Indeed, had these comments been made by a Dan Rather, a Bill Moyers, or Jesse Jackson, it is not difficult to imagine some conservative prosecutor taking a passing look at these laws - as, say, Pat Robertson might read them [a strict construction] -- and saying, "Let's prosecute."
Such double standards -- one standard for the wealthy and powerful and a different standard for the other people -- is precisely the kind of thing that brought prophets like Amos out of the hills and into the public square to pronounce God's judgment on Israel.

1 comment:

Rob said...

So the equation reads "rich, conservative, evangelical = above the law"?

Ain't that special?

What do you bet that if it ever came to charges the First Amendment would be the new favorite amendment of the 700 Club? However, they need to remember that freedom of speech does not come free of the consequences of that speech.

(Crossposted at...well, my magazine. :)