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Need to Engineer a State Recall Election? Call FOX News!

Reported by Marie Therese - March 6, 2005

(Posted late due to computer problems.) In two previous posts (O'Reilly Targets First African-American DA in Georgia and Is Bill O'Reilly Meddling in Georgia Politics?) I pointed out that it appears that FOX News host Bill O'Reilly has decided to bring aid and comfort to the Republican party in Georgia. By bad-mouthing popular Atlanta District Attorney Paul Howard, who ran UNOPPOSED in the last election, and by giving a national platform to Shannon Goessling, who lost her own bid to become Georgia's State Attorney General, O'Reilly has clearly crossed the line from commentary to direct interference in state politics on the side of the GOP. Last week he called for Howard's recall and on March 2, 2005 Ms. Goessling echoed him.

O'REILLY: As you may know, we've been closely following the murder case of five week old Destiny Ashe, a baby few seem to care about. It took six years before Atlanta District Attorney Paul Howard brought the case to a conclusion. The killer - the baby's mother, Carisa Ashe - would not be given prison time, if she had a tubal ligation. Miss Ashe has given birth to eight children, seven have been taken away from her and Destiny is dead. Yet Ashe is free. And DA Howard is defiant, sending out this e-mail:

VIDEO CLIP of e-mail text: "I know that you have heard about this case, perhaps from Bill O'Reilly. I suspect you may have been given a terribly misguided impression of both the case itself and my office's approach to it." - Paul Howard, Fulton Country District Attorney via email, 2/25/05

O'REILLY: Well, bull. Howard had ample opportunity to state his case on this program, but he knows he can't stand up to scrutiny. The Factor has now obtained baby Destiny's autopsy and it's very disturbing. We asked forensic pathologist and FOX News Criminal Analyst, Dr. Michael Baden, to look at it. He joins us now, along with Shannon Goessling from Atlanta, the Executive Director of the Southeastern Legal Foundation. She used to work for DA Howard. OK. Doctor, tell us what's in the autopsy. What happened to this little baby?

BADEN: The autopsy, Bill, is very straightforward. Baby died of head injuries inflicted by somebody else. They called it in 1998 a homicide due to brain and head injuries and in talking to people down there at the office - they have an excellent medical examiner's office in ...

O'REILLY: Atlanta.

BADEN: Atlanta. The doctors were prepared to so testify before the deal was made, but they never testified. One of the doctors who did the autopsy is a medical examiner from Michigan, planning to testify, and the deal was made before she could testify.

O'REILLY: OK. So there's no doubt, based upon the autopsy done on the five week old baby, that the mother beat the baby to death ...

BADEN: Well ..

O'REILLY: ... or somebody they don't know about.

BADEN: Yeah.

O'REILLY: But the mother had - you know - admitted to the crime, copped the plea, so we have to assume that she did it. Now, when you say head injuries in this five week old baby - very frail, very small - alright. Couldn't have banged its head on the crib or fall ....

BADEN: No. The baby had been in the hospital for five weeks, had only been home because she was premature, had only been home for two days and this injury happened in those two days. It was a fresh injury, one can see under the microscope, and somebody banged that baby's head - either a blow to the head or a blow with the head against something else. And that caused hemorrhage around the brain, direct brain damage, and the baby couldn't have done it to itself, the baby couldn't have crawled around, couldn't have gotten into a postition ...

O'REILLY: Some - somebody had to do it.

BADEN: Somebody did it.

O'REILLY: Now, Howard says that the autopsy is in dispute. This is the district Attorney telling people that our investigation isn't true. He says there are, there's controversy over it. Is there?

BADEN: Certainly not from a forensic pathology. No question. The baby died of head injuries inflicted by somebody else within a day or two of death. if somebody - I understand somebody else - not a medical examiner - says maybe it was a shaken baby, which isn't part of this, either way somebody killed the baby.

O'REILLY: Right.

BADEN: OK. So ..

O'REILLY: I'm just glad. I just want to get all the things out because we think Howard's covering this story up and not telling the truth. Quite frankly, our investigation shows exactly what you said. This woman - irresponsible, chaotic woman - eight children, seven have been taken away - and the baby's dead and she admitted to it and that's why she got the tubal ligation. In your career of investigating these kinds of things, analyzing autopsies, have you ever seen a woman or a man or any adult walk away from this kind of a situation?

BADEN: No. What happens with baby deaths is often the prosecutor is overactive. In some states this would be capital punishment. In Delaware or Florida, a death like this, the mom or dad could be charged with capital punishment, so prosecutors don't [want?] to go away from it. Neither do medical examiners.

O'REILLY: This, is it very unusual ...

BADEN: Yeah.

O'REILLY: ... that this woman doesn't get any jail time, gets a tubal ligation, walks out free, nothin' happens to her?

BADEN: Yeah. One of the reasons for that is that very few murders are recidivistic. People don't repeat homicides usually. This is one of those kinds of cases where the - whoever the parent is who causes harm to the baby is likely to harm other babies.

CROSSTALK

O'REILLY: Well, seven ....

BADEN: So you're punishing ...

O'REILLY: Seven other children in chaos.

BADEN: One is missing. They don't know where she is.

O'REILLY: One is missing. They don't know where she is right?

BADEN: And, if she had - she had two babies during ...

O'REILLY: After -

BADEN: Afterwards.

O'REILLY: Afterwards.

END CROSSTALK.

BADEN: ... and those babies would be in jeopardy also, so it's not only to punish the mom, but it's also to protect the other babies.

O'REILLY: Other babies. OK. Now. Let's go down to you, Shannon.

GOESSLING: Yes.

O'REILLY: One of the problems with the story is the local media in Atlanta, the Atlanta [Journal] Constitution newspaper and the television media, is taking the side of Howard. That's what they're doing. Is there any reaon for that?

GOESSLING: They've long been generous to the incompetence of Paul Howard.

[COMMENT: Click here to read a list of DA Paul Howard's convictions since 2002.]

GOESSLING: But, let me tell you. I'm on the phone weekly with the media here in Atlanta and I can tell you they would cover a recall. I mean, I can only say that the outrage of this case should cause the citizens of Fulton County to act and act swiftly. There is a procedure to recall Paul Howard in the state of Georgia and I've three words for ya': Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. That's what happens when you have a recall.

O'REILLY: They're not gonna do it down there. Because they're makin' it racial politics already. The PR guy for - for Howard is saying it's a racial thing. They're already doing that.

GOESSLING: Bill, this isn't about race. I applaud you for bringing this to ...

O'REILLY (angrily): Well, the baby's black! The dead baby's black! But that's what they're doing! They're making it about race. They're makin' - I'm the bady guy here. White O'Reilly comes down to try to get black Paul Howard. That's what they're makin' it! You know they are!

GOESSLING: Look. I can tell you. Race is not an issue in prosecution and race is not an issue in this case. This is about incompetence ...

O'REILLY: Aw. We know that!

GOESSLING: ... to the point where people are at risk. And, in fact, I mean, I applaud you for bringing this case, you know, to the attention of the American people and in fact everybody in the country should be calling everybody they know in Atlanta to sign off on a petition to recall him.

O'REILLY (overtalks last 6 words): Well they're not. It's not gonna happen. I can guarantee you it isn't happenin'! But ...

GOESSLING (interrupts): Well, you know. Southeastern Legal Foundation is gonna take whatever action is appropriate to hold this man accountable for his action.

O'REILLY: Alright. Good. I'd like to see you do it. I don't think it's ever gonna happen down there.

GOESSLING: Well, ya' know ...

O'REILLY: I just think, I think the fix is in, but ...

GOESSLING: Well, you know ...

O'REILLY: I want to ask you one more thing.

GOESSLING (smiling broadly): Look. No sitting President was ever disbarred before President Clinton and, let me tell ya', Southeastern Legal Foundation did THAT (her emphasis)!

O'REILLY: OK.

GOESSLING: So, we've got that goin' for us.

[COMMENT: They've got some other things going for them as well. Harry W. MacDougald, the man who first "broke" the story about the forged CBS documents, serves on the legal advisory board for Southeastern Legal Foundation. The Foundation has received millions over the years from the Scaife family, according to Media Transparency.]

O'REILLY: Shannon, I don't want you comin' after me! So - there ya' go!

Goessling laughs.

O'REILLY: But my last question for you is you're also workin' on 700 backlogged cases of parental abuse and child abuse and all that. Have you gotten anywhere on that?

GOESSLING: Let me tell you. As, as of right now, I know an open records request has been filed by FOX News, that hasn't been received yet, but I can tell you what you're gonna find is that there are approximately anywhere between 500 and 700 victims of child abuse, child rape, child murder, women who are victims of domestic violence. Your most vulnerable victims are children and women an they are being disregarded by Paul Howard ...

O'REILLY: Yeah. He's got a backlog. Right?

GOESSLING: ... in violation of the victims' bill of rights, I mean, the backlog is horrendous.

O'REILLY: I don't know how Georgia works, but we did file, you know, to get those cases, to let us see them, why they haven't been adjudicated. But, when you have 500 to 700 just sittin' there because, again, it took six years ....

GOESSLING: Good cases do not get better.

O'REILLY: ... six years for baby Destiny's thing to get done.

GOESSLING: Right.

O'REILLY: I'll give ya' the last word, Shannon.

GOESSLING: Let me tell you. Action needs to be taken, needs to be taken by the citizens of Fulton County. Recall is an option. A hundred citizens can file apetition. It only take 138,000 votes of voters to sign the petition and Paul Howard is gone. Paul Howard needs to be recalled.

O'REILLY: Alright. We'll see if it happens and Mr. Howard is welcome on this program. We want to be fair to him (to Dr. Baden) Doctor, thank you very much for coming. (to Goessling) Shannon.

GOESSLING: Thank you.

COMMENT

Dr. Michael Baden is paid by the FOX News Channel. If you read his comments carefully, he says nothing more than that Destiny Ashe was killed by blunt force trauma to the head by person or persons unknown.

As for Shannon Goessling, she's a disappointed office seeker. She didn't get elected as Georgia State Attorney General, so she's decided she'll take Paul Howard's job instead.

Moral of the story? If you can't win an election, no problem.

FOX News will help you to manufacture a recall election!

Here are some links. Please feel free to let your opinion be known. And pass it on to your Georgia friends and relatives!

The Attanta Journal-Constitution (registration required)

WXIA-TV Atlanta

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