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Bill O'Reilly's Latest DA Scapegoat

Reported by Ellen - April 8, 2005

What is it with Bill O'Reilly and District Attorneys? Fresh off his jihad for a recall of Democratic Atlanta District Attorney Paul Howard (reported on so ably by our vacationing Marie Therese), tonight O'Reilly launched another attack on a different DA. This time, it's the DA in the Jessica Lunsford case.

Considering other official misconduct in the news (think Tom DeLay), the refusal of the Florida DA identified as Peter Morango (sp?) seems hardly worthy of the full-scale blitz that O'Reilly called for. Morango's "crime" was to refuse to prosecute three individuals who MAY have been able to help the police find 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford who MAY have been alive at the time they were questioned by police. Nevertheless, O'Reilly (who, I swear, sounded drunk), demanded that his radio-host guest put Morango in his own crosshairs and follow up next week with the progress.

Apparently, Mr. Morango wrote a memo explaining that the reason he didn't prosecute the individuals was because "Florida does not have a statute which makes it a crime to lie to a police officer in all situations."

Without having done any apparent research into Florida law or even an in-depth look at the facts behind this aspect of the case, O'Reilly declared, "He's makin' excuses. He's not looking to prosecute, he's makin' excuses... It's outrageous. If I were the DA down there, I'd find a way."

One of O'Reilly's guests, Pat Campbell, a talk show host from Orlando, agreed, saying that Couey's half-sister was complicit. She knew where her half-brother was, that he had a record as a sex offender and she had a responsibility as a citizen to inform law enforcement.

O'Reilly promptly and emphatically announced the woman's name, for no reason that I could discern, other than to embarrass and/or humiliate her.

Next, O'Reilly demanded to know the name of the DA. Somebody behind the scenes gave him the name "in my ear."

BOR: The way you can go about this, and I think you should, Mr. Campbell is to use your radio program... to demand that this man prosecute these people or vote him out of office.

Campbell started to explain that Florida law puts the burden on sex offenders to register (apparently not on the DA to find them, nor, apparently on the sex-offenders associates to tell authorities).

O'Reilly interrupted him. "Let's not go through that... (Voice rising, finger jabbing in the air, words a bit slurred and a bit over-vehement) Now you sir, and I'll help you, have gotta get on this Maroney's (sic) case and say, 'Prosecute these people or your job is out.' (No comment from Campbell)... So what we're gonna do is, we're gonna come back next week with a follow up with you, Mr. Campbell. You do what you can do and you keep in touch with our office and we'll put this Maroney (sic) right on the spotlight. We gotta get these people prosecuted."

In an ironic twist that seems to have been completely lost on O'Reilly, the next segment was on the "vicious," "cruel" and, in O'Reilly's eyes, unwarranted and unnecessary sniping by the media at Charles and Camilla.

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