Legal experts question US Attorney's decision not to prosecute Obama 'assassination plot'
Interviews with numerous legal experts suggest that Colorado US Attorney Troy Eid misled reporters and diverged from state law when declining to prosecute any of the three men arrested in Denver for threatening to assassinate Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama.
Eid, who was appointed by President George W. Bush in 2006, declined to prosecute the three men on charges of threatening to assassinate Barack Obama during his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention, saying that the suspects were "just a bunch of meth heads" and their words failed to meet the legal standard for "true threat."
"When you talk about threatening presidential candidates, there's a legal standard you got to meet," Eid told reporters. "It's got to be a credible threat as defined by the law. And that means that someone has a way to carry it out. And at this time we don't have sufficient evidence that there was a true threat."
He added, "They didn't reveal a plan" and characterized the alleged threats and assassination plot as merely "the racist rantings of drug users" and "one meth head talking to another about life."
But multiple legal experts interviewed by RAW STORY -- including criminal and constitutional law scholars, former Assistant US Attorneys and Denver-area defense lawyers also familiar with Colorado state law -- agreed that voluntary intoxication is not exculpatory and that such a claim, especially for a prosecutor, is unorthodox. While it may be presented in an effort to reduce a sentence after a conviction, experts say it is normally the domain of defense counsel.
...Legal experts say that Eid's definition of true threat directly conflicts with the statue covering threats to presidential candidates, 18 U.S.C. 879, which defines the threat as "whoever knowingly and willfully threatens to kill, kidnap, or inflict bodily harm upon a major candidate for the office of President or Vice President, or a member of the immediate family of such candidate."
...In downplaying the threat, the US Attorney's spokesman also characterized the physical evidence recovered from the suspects "including, along with methamphetamine, two high-powered rifles with scopes (one threaded with a silencer), 85 rounds of ammunition, a bulletproof vest, wigs, two walkie-talkies, three fake IDs, tactical pants and camouflage gear" as merely "tools of the drug trade." (FBI special agent and spokeswoman Kathy Wright admitted to RAW STORY that this physical evidence initially "sounded ominous," which is what compelled the FBI to obtain a warrant for search and seizure; yet contrary to reports in alternative media and the blogosphere, the FBI never sought to "charge" any of the suspects for threatening or plotting against Obama.) The implication was that all of these men were, at once, "just a bunch of meth heads" incapable of following through with any plan yet also hardened drug dealers, whose ownership of these items would be commonplace.
But according to narcotics experts, while the amount of methamphetamine recovered from Adolph's Denver hotel room legally constituted enough to charge him with intent to distribute, it does not suggest he or the other suspects are serious drug dealers or even drug dealers. Nor does it explain the kind of weaponry found on them.
One narcotics expert, a former senior DEA special agent who spoke with RAW STORY on the condition of anonymity due to his current consulting work, said that such a relatively small amount seems to point to either "very low level" dealing, the kind in which those involved are selling just to make ends meet, or an amount they simply planned on using themselves.
Michael Levine, one of the most highly decorated former DEA agents in agency history and an expert witness in over 300 federal and state criminal and civil cases, said of the amount of methamphetamine recovered in this case, "It's really not that much at all; that's roughly one ounce of meth. And one ounce of meth is what someone using might buy for himself or to share with friends. It was a small amount, still within the bounds of reasonable intent for use."
Levine also disputed the characterization of the weaponry recovered. "They are not tools of the trade," he said, explaining that while some drug dealers carry weapons, real evidence of drug dealing is the seriousness and amount of trafficking materials, primarily packaging materials, records of buyers' names and contact information, and evidence of witnesses who've said they've purchased from them.