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The Prosecution of George Bush

Friday, October 17, 2008  
Posted by: Joe Libertelli
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Vincent Bugliosi

In his new book, The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder, Vincent Bugliosi makes a devastating, well documented case that President George W. Bush is guilty of murder as a result of the lies he told to justify the invasion of Iraq.

As a Los Angeles prosecutor, Bugliosi represented the state in 106 major cases and won 105, including each of his 21 murder cases.  In his best known case, Bugliosi convicted Charles Manson of murder, even though Manson was never at two of the crime scenes when the victims were murdered.

Bugliosi's argument is simple. Bush wanted a war with Iraq. He had to show that preemptive invasion of Iraq was justified. To do this, Iraq had to be an imminent threat to the United States. There were two major problems. First, Bush couldn't prove any connection between Saddam Hussein and 9/11. More importantly, his own 2002 classified intelligence estimate findings of the National Intelligence Estimate (NEI) of 2002 didn't support him - so he classified the original document, and provided Congress with a doctored version to support his claims. By doing this, Bush pushed through an illegal invasion which he had to have known would cost U.S. lives. That, Bugliosi argues, is an act of murder, committed against each and every U.S. soldier killed in this war.

A Capacity Crowd Listens to Vincent Bugliosi at UDC-DCSLThis means, by his calculations, that each of the approximately 2,700 prosecutors, be they federal, state, county or municipal attorneys, has the individual authority to bring murder charges if one of their citizens was killed in the war.

Had this book been written by a radical or a legal amateur, it would be easy to dismiss.  That Bugliosi is not only a seasoned prosecutor, but a best selling crime author (Helter Skelter, among others) gives his argument much more gravitas. He walks his reader/audience through the legal points and has ready counter arguments to the obvious objections.  For example, can someone be tried for murder if they weren’t present?  Yes, he argues, citing the Manson case.  What if "murder” per se wasn’t intended?  He provides several persuasive responses including conspiracy to commit murder, felony murder, and depraved indifference theories.  Can a President be held liable for acts done while in office?  Yes, he maintains—otherwise why would Ford have pardoned Nixon at great risk to Ford’s own credibility?

Bugliosi is not naïve.  He believes that this Supreme Court appointed George Bush in 2000, in contravention to the law, and would likely find away to overturn a conviction, or even to block a trial.  But Bugliosi is not deterred. He reminds of the lack of a statue of limitations for murder and points to the eventual arrest and trial of Chilean dictator Agosto Pinochet.  Bugliosi wants George W. Bush to wonder for the rest of his life, if some day, in some state or county, a fearless prosecutor will use her or his legal powers to bring Bush and his lawless administration to justice.  And he hopes that his book, and the legal theory it espouses, will have some deterrent effect on future Presidential law breaking.

 - Joe Libertelli

This event was hosted on October 17 by the School of Law in partnership with Northern Virginians for Peace, the Washington Peace Center, and other organizations.  

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