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It hit the fan at the rotunda today when Governor Fletcher announced his plans for tomorrow's appearance before the grand jury. He's pardoned everyone indicted in this current merit system hiring probe and will plead the 5th when going before the grand jury tomorrow. Mark Nicholas over at Bluegrass Report had an interesting take on the matter.
By pardoning everyone else -- all of whom had previously invoked 5th Amendment -- they will now be compelled to testify before the grand jury by Attorney General Stumbo and will not be allowed to take the 5th since they cannot face criminal charges. They would then be compelled to tell the whole truth and should they lie, Stumbo would go after them for perjury and if they refuse to testify, he'll get them on contempt and possibly obstruction of justice.
Assuming most would rather not have this legal nightmare continue for them -- especially the younger staffers -- they might instead implicate Governor Fletcher and make it all the more likely that he will be indicted for being the head of this criminal enterprise and conspiracy and for possible obstruction of justice for the way his administration has failed to produce critical e-mail evidence to prosecutors and the grand jury?
Also, by ensuring that his top staff are forced back into the grand jury to tell all they know, this is further likely to inflame Democratic House members -- who have a solid majority -- to proceed with impeachment hearings as was previously reported by BluegrassReport.org.
Everything is pure speculation at this point but I think Mark has the right idea. I think Governor Ernie Fletcher is dead in the water and I think he might even do some prison time out of this. The cynical side of this though is that statewide elections are two years away so anything could happen between now and then. In all honesty, I'd say this thing isn't over by a long shot.
posted by Stithmeister @ 7:58 PM
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Err, why would they testify if they've already been pardoned? If they can't be convicted, why wouldn't they answer each question with "I don't remember" and a big cheesy grin?
He pardons, takes the 5th, and it all goes nowhere. Jail time zero, consequences zero.
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I'm currently working in the telecomm industry but one of my passions is still politics.
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