Wednesday, March 22, 2006

What Does 9/11, Plamegate, and Domestic Spying Have In Common? Judge Reggie Walton.

Tuesday, former FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds, the Arabic translator who exposed the FBI’s mishandling and mistranslations of recordings related to the 9/11 investigation, filed a motion in federal court asking that Judge Reggie Walton be recused from her case sighting the Ethics in Government Act. She claims that Judge Walton’s bias to secrecy, evident in his dismissal of her original First Amendment case sighting State Secrets Privilege, and the “highly unusual” redaction of Judge Walton’s 2003 financial discloser statement.

So how does this tie together? Judge Walton is the same judge sitting on the I. Scooter Libby case. At first, in July 2002, her First Amendment case was assigned to Judge James Robertson, the same judge who just resigned from the FISA court over the NSA domestic spying issue. In 2003, Robertson was removed from the case without explanation and was handed to Walton. Edmonds petitioned and asked that her case be heard by Judge Ellen Huvelle who had been presiding over Edmonds’ related FOIA case since July 2002. This motion was granted, but just a few days later, the motion was reversed without explanation. Then, according to RawStory, “In July 2004, Judge Reggie Walton disposed of Edmonds’ First Amendment case on the basis of the government’s assertion of State Secrets Privilege. On the same day as the decision, Judge Walton quashed a subpoena for Edmonds’ deposition by attorneys representing over 1,000 family members who lost love ones during the terrorist attacks on 9/11. In limiting the deposition in the case, Burnett et al. v. Al Baraka Investment & Development Corp., Judge Walton prevented the 9/11 attorneys from asking a majority of the proposed questions related to the attacks. These included even the most mundane questions, such as:”
“• When & where were you born? • Where did you go to school? • What languages do you speak? • What did you focus your studies on in school? • In what capacity have you been employed by the United States Government?”
On July 6, 2004, Judge Walton granted the government’s motion to dismiss based on the assertion of the State Secrets Privilege.

The next year, in March 2005, Edmonds filed a new claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act which was assigned to Judge James Robertson. But in a highly unusual move, the case was moved to, wait for it, Judge Reggie Walton.

It should also be pointed out that Walton is a Bush family favorite, nominated to the bench by Bush 43 in October of 2001. He also served as Bush 41’s Associate Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

So I must ask was Judge Walton paid to keep Sibel Edmonds’ case from being heard? What is in the redacted financial records that Judge Walton does not want anyone to see? Will he attempt to thwart Fitzgerald’s case against Scooter Libby? Does Judge Robertson believe that he was removed from the Edmonds cases so that they could be squashed by an administration hack?

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