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Correcting Roll Call

Former U.S. attorney Ronald G. Woods wrote a guest comment for Roll Call (sub. req.) today in which he criticizes the Capitol Hill newspaper for mischaracterizing Ronnie Earle’s prosecution of Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. Woods offers the following take:

I served as co-counsel for Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) in 1993-94, working with Dick DeGuerin and others defending the Senator against an abusive and politically motivated prosecution brought by Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle. She had just won a seat held by Democrats since Reconstruction in a special election, and the election for the full term was only a year away.

The prosecution was a fiasco for Earle. He lost numerous pre-trial motions because he had no evidence to support any of his claims. He was repeatedly shown to be incompetent in his legal and investigative work. The case ended ingloriously, with a directed verdict of acquittal, after Earle refused to put on a case. It became clear to everyone, including the judge, that Earle’s purpose was to shop for a different venue and prolong the prosecution to continue damaging the Senator. His abuse was so transparent at the time that he was widely ridiculed across Texas for his ineptitude and his partisan motivation.

So I read with amazement this week a Roll Call article (“Earle v. Lawmaker, Take 1,” Oct. 18) suggesting that, because Earle refused to go to trial, the case was somehow less than complete exoneration for Hutchison. This is the story line that a handful of Earle defenders have been peddling for years. It’s not credible.

Which made me wonder: How will Earle’s defenders peddle the story of Earle’s prosecution of Tom DeLay when it meets the same end? No doubt it will take on the character of some conspiracy theory involving the missing evidence, which Karl Rove must have hidden in his garage.


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