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News Hounds Follow-Up: Bill O'Reilly vs Brad King - Part II

Reported by Marie Therese - April 28, 2005

On yesterday's O'Reilly Factor the King of Mean - true to his tried and true modus operandi - marshalled yet more forces against Florida's Republican State Attorney, Brad King, these being his own producer, Jesse Watters, and Congresswoman Ginny Brown-Waite (R-FL). I'm sure Bill is hoping this jihad actually nets him a "kill" in the face of disappointing results in the Ward Churchill and Paul Howard crusades.

Producer Jesse Watters was dispatched to Homosassa, Florida to waylay John Couey's sister, Dorothy Dixon. Couey is the self-confessed murderer of Jessica Lunsford. Dixon would not answer Watters' questions, so on the Factor the young producer elaborated a bit on his visit to the small Florida town, describing a community that is very angry at the three "low-life scumbags" who lived in the trailer with Couey. They did not mention to police that Couey was living with them and allegedly, according to Watters, "were in a local bar shortly after Jessica Lunsford's abduction, joking about it." According to the bar owner, they were "making jokes, acting hysterical, making a big scene in the bar about it. If any of those people ever came back in the bar, there'd be a lynching ..."

Watters noted that two different people confirmed that the trio are crack smokers, unemployed, living a marginal existence in a run-down trailer. He would not give the name of the contact who revealed the location of Dorothy Dixon's trailer, except to say that Jessica Lunsford's father, Mark, made the contact for him.

Having set the stage - angry town, slimeball scofflaws, lynching threats - O'Reilly and Congresswoman Brown-Waite turned their attention to the chosen scapegoat du jour: Brad King, the Republican prosecutor who has followed Florida law, which does not allow him to arrest the trio unless he can prove that they had PRIOR KNOWLEDGE of the crime when they were questioned. [I owe a vote of thanks to one of our readers, Liz, for the legal clarifications. Most of Bill's viewers, of course, do not know a thing about actual Florida law!)

Ginny Brown-Waite represents the district where the crime took place. She is a dyed-in-the-wool conservative, anti-abortion, pro-gun, law-and-order, who nevertheless has bucked the GOP on social security and voted against the special Congressional session in the Terri Schiavo case. She may be feeling the sting of Republican payback herself.

Perhaps she feels that, by opposing Brad King, she can get back in the good graces of her party leadership. Or perhaps there are other, more personal reasons, why she has joined O'Reilly against a fellow Republican. You see, King and Brown-Waite have a history.

BROWN-WAITE: Well, I hear from my constituents - I live about ten miles form the Lunsfords - I can just tell you that people in the district, people in all Florida, I think people in America - are absolutely enraged that no charges were brought against these people who clearly obstructed justice ... When I asked Brad King ... why he made his decision not to prosecute - I looked at the cases, I did a lot of research, I studied, I consulted with a lot of good attorneys and they said "You're absolutely right ... That police officer was there in performance of his duty. He wasn't there to collect for the Police Athletic League. ... Certainly he can prosecute the case that he cited, as I said, if a police officer was trying to obtain information, if he was asking for assistance, and it was in the performance of legal duty ...

O'Reilly pointed out that the local Sheriff tagged the three people in the trailer as druggies and King could bring them in on drug charges.

O'REILLY: I know you and King aren't friendly. You've had some run-ins before. We don't need to get into that now. But what are you gonna do? Can you force this guy to do his job? I mean, you're right. Most Americans don't want these people to walk free and it looks like they might.

[COMMENT: I did a little internet snooping and found out that the "run-ins" mentioned above have to do with the Congresswoman's husband, Harvey Waite, and some vandalized campaign signs belonging to Mrs. Brown-Waite's Democratic opponent, Karen Thurman. It seems Mr. Waite was responsible for destroying Ms. Thurman's signs just prior to the 2002 election. Brad King was the prosecutor and, although nothing ever came of the case, Mrs. Brown-Waite was miffed that King actually observed Florida law and brought charges. Additionally, in 2002, there was another issue involving Mr. Waite and the accusation that he used his political clout to replace a rival's vending machines with his own. Again, Brad King was the prosecutor. The links are below, if you'd like to read more.]

BROWN-WAITE: ... I think he may have already prejudiced the case. For him to now say "OK, I've changed my mind, I'm going to bring charges" - maybe the best thing would be to bring it before ... an independent grand jury to look at. Should charges be brought? Because he has so prejudiced the case, if he were to now yield to public pressure - you know, obviously the defense attorney would say "Whoa! Wait a minute. You said you didn't have anything to charge him [sic] with."

O'REILLY: Is there a Plan B to go to?

BROWN-WAITE: We are working on Plan B. We are hoping that he would turn it over to a grand jury and we are also working on some possible other angles, Bill. Believe me. I'm not going to let this rest.

O'REILLY: No. Neither are we. We're not lettin' it go. These people are gonna face some kind of justice.

COMMENT

It never ceases to amaze me how quickly people like O'Reilly hide behind the law when they personally are in trouble [cf. his sexual harrassment lawsuit), but then rant and rave against weak-kneed prosecutors and elitist judges when it's somebody else's life they're playing with.

Granted - John Couey's family members are really reprehensible individuals. Most of us wish that Brad King's office had been able to prove they had prior knowledge of Jessica's whereabouts. I am 100% sure that Mr. King and everyone around him did their very best to find probable cause to file charges. The reason they can't prosecute lies in the structure of Florida's laws, not in the hall sof the State Attorney's office.

Ginny Brown-Waite knows this to be the case. She is one of two politicans to introduce legislation tightening the restrictions on registered sex offenders in an attempt to rectify the situation.

As I mentioned in my earlier post on this topic, Brad King's real offense was dropping the vote tampering charges against Orlando's Democratic mayor, Buddy Dyer. The rest is just smoke and mirrors.


Links to stories about Harvey Waite:

St. Petersburg Times. October 11, 2002
"State Attorney" mentioned is Brad King.

Petersburg Times, October 31, 2002

St. Petersburg Times, November 9, 2002

Excerpt, 11/9/02: "Thurman said she may revisit her decision not to press charges against Brown-Waite's husband, Harvey Waite, who admitted to Hernando County sheriff's deputies that he stole and vandalized Thurman's campaign signs.

"Waite and another man were not arrested, but a report was sent to the State Attorney's Office in Brooksville.

"State Attorney Brad King said it would not be unprecedented to prosecute someone over campaign signs. Charges were brought against a man accused of stealing Hernando County Judge Peyton Hyslop's signs, King said.

"He said he is still waiting to talk to Thurman before deciding whether to file any charges in the Waite case."

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