Oh, No, Thank You, Linda ...
On December 13 two Federal prosecutors confessed in open court
that they had conspired to obstruct justice in Maryland. The
New York Times trumpeted the news on page a-13, no doubt on
the theory that its hardly noteworthy when a cop gets away
with speeding. Sure enough, neither man was perp-walked out of
the courtroom in handcuffs, nor will he be until rivers run
uphill and the blindfold drops from the eyes of Lady Justice.
The two unindicted felons are Jackie M. Bennett, Jr., and
Stephen Binhak, both former prosecutors on the staff of
independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr. Their boss, Judge Starr,
remains similarly unindicted.
The only indictment in the
Maryland case was that of Americas Sweetheart, Linda R.
Tripp, who faces a possible ten years in prison for taping her
telephone conversations with Monica Lewinsky. Mrs. Tripp knew
this was illegal in Maryland, and before betraying her young
friend she asked Judge Starrs men for assurance that she
would not be prosecuted for it.
They explained that they could
only offer immunity in the Federal courts, not the Maryland
ones. But they could and did promise to obstruct justice if
Maryland should be so picky as to enforce its laws.
Mr. Bennett, testifying under oath: As a constitutional
matter we could not prevent Maryland from bringing a
prosecution. What we could do is make it very, very difficult,
if not insurmountable, for the state to do so.
Binhak: I told her we would do all we could to make it an
evidentiary problem for the State of Maryland.
their word, and it is very likely that Mrs. Tripp will walk as
a result, like all those she ratted out.
And like Mr. Binhak
and Mr. Bennett themselves, although of course their crime may
be excused on grounds that it was committed in hot pursuit of
the greater good. They were trying to nail President Clinton
for obstructing justice.