I just watched a political ad accusing Hillary Clinton of a series of criminal acts and calling for prosecution and imprisonment. This ad is, in my view, over the line.
Having been a prosecutor, district attorney and Utah’s attorney general during my legal career, I believe I have a pretty good idea of the evidence required to charge someone with crimes. I’ve taken time to look in depth at the alleged crimes candidate Clinton is supposed to have committed, and here’s my take: Hillary Clinton has never been charged with a crime because the quality and quantity of evidence necessary has never been achieved by those seeking her indictments.
Many of you will be old enough to remember the Clinton presidency and the special prosecutor, Kenneth Starr, appointed to pursue, Bill and Hillary. After four years, $70 million expended, thousands of hours of investigation by the FBI, Justice Department lawyers, several grand juries, and multiple legal teams from congressional staffs, the whole investigation came up with two counts against Bill Clinton. These charges were: perjury and obstruction of justice brought in an impeachment proceeding before Congress. The House indicted and the Senate held a trial. In the end the Senate voted not guilty on both counts. The House and Senate were both Republican controlled.
No indictments were brought by the grand juries impaneled.
So why is there a hue and cry to send Hillary to prison? Her past has undergone one of the longest, most expensive and futile examinations in American history.
Currently the Congress has spent additional time and money on Benghazi and emails. It seems the FBI, which Republicans have loved in the past, is no longer credible, since the agency’s director and the current attorney general have said that no crimes were committed. Hillary’s actions regarding her foundation have not been found fraudulent.
So what’s a prosecutor to do? There is insufficient evidence to charge, convict and imprison this woman and that’s how our beloved system works. You need evidence convincing beyond a reasonable doubt. Hillary Clinton has been under the microscope for 30 years.
Finally, I read a very disparaging remark about the fact that Hillary at age 27 represented the accused rapist of a 12-year-old child and “got him off.” This must prove what a devious person she is. Fact was she was appointed to represent the man by a judge and tried to get out of the assignment. But as many young lawyers know, pro bono assignments happen and in our country everyone gets a lawyer in criminal matters. This defendant finally pled guilty to a lesser charge and the system worked as designed. It happens every day and most criminal cases are plea-bargained, a necessity of our underfunded, understaffed system.
So should Hillary be put in jail? Not by any legal, constitutional standard I know of. But then we’re talking politics here and those standards don’t apply … but should. If you just plain don’t like her, that’s fine, but let’s keep the conversation on a factual basis. Donald Trump has done sufficient damage with hyperbole in politics.
Paul Van Dam is a resident of Ivins, Utah