Partisan Prosecutors on Only One Side of the Political Aisle

The Times didn't exactly rush to the aide of conservative former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay in his defense against Travis County prosecutor Ronnie Earle, who indicted DeLay in 2005 on charges of conspiring to violate Texas election law by contributing corporate money to candidates for the Texas Legislature in 2002. Upon indictment, DeLay resigned his Majority Leader post and later retired from Congress.

In fact, reporter Ralph Blumenthal issued a positive profile of DeLay tormentor Ronnie Earle on Sept. 29, 2005, headlined "Prosecutor Takes Attacks in Stride, Mostly," and carried a sympathetic lead: "Being vilified as a 'rogue district attorney,' a 'fanatic' and 'an unabashed partisan zealot,' among other epithets, was not the worst part of his day, said Ronnie Earle, hours after announcing the indictment of Representative Tom DeLay and two associates."

Yet Times law writer Eric Lipton gives Democrats room to gripe about allegedly unfair Republican prosecutors in Tuesday's "Some Ask if U.S. Attorney Dismissals Point to Pattern of Investigating Democrats."

(Love that "Some Ask..." instead of "Democrats Ask...")

In addition, at least one of Lipton's examples from his story on Tuesday is totally misleading - the false "controversy" over a prosecution by U.S. Attorney Steven Biskupic.

"In Wisconsin, the United States attorney, Steven M. Biskupic, has come under fire for bringing charges against a former state employee, Georgia Thompson. She was convicted on charges involving directing a state travel contract to a firm linked to Gov. James E. Doyle, a Democrat. But a three-judge panel overturned the conviction in early April, and freed her from prison. One judge called the evidence 'beyond thin.' Six Democratic senators have asked the Justice Department to explain why it brought the case."

Perhaps because some Democratic colleagues agreed with Biskupic's prosecution of the case. Scroll to the end of this post from Patterico, in which he quoted the Wisconsin State Journal:

"In his statement Saturday, Biskupic reiterated that his investigation of Thompson was carried out with the help of then-state Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager and Dane County District Attorney Brian Blanchard, both Democrats."

Whatever the merits of the case, it doesn't sound like a partisan hit job. On the other hand, Earle was seen by "Some" (as a Times headline might put it) as having it in for DeLay, but such views rarely if ever got sympathetic treatment in the paper.