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Another Thing Hannity Hates About America: The Right To Counsel, Especially If The Counselor Is An Obama Advisor

Reported by Ellen - January 20, 2009 -

The right of defendants to legal counsel is part of the US Bill of Rights. But in Sean Hannity's view, a lawyer who defends someone deemed unworthy is as guilty as his client. Maybe guiltier if the client gets off. That stance is troubling enough to those of us who cherish our Constitutional rights and freedoms. But OK, one can understand the sentiment, even if it does go against 200+ years of American jurisprudence. But what's not defensible is the way Hannity uses what is essentially an un-American position to accuse others, especially if they are Democratic lawyers about to join the Obama administration, of being unpatriotic or even treasonous. With video.

In another of his “special investigations” last night (1/19/09), Hannity took on Obama legal counsel Greg Craig by suggesting that his past clients are representative of Craig's own views. There was no interview or even any research into what Craig's actual views might be or why he took on those clients. Yet “fair and balanced” FOX News endorsed that approach by calling the segment, “Another Terrorist Tie?” The implication could not have been more apparent.

Hannity began the segment with a long rundown of the anti-Americanism of one Craig client, Pedro Miguel Gonzalez of Panama. In addition to hating America, Gonzalez also killed a US soldier. Years later, after Gonzalez was acquitted and had become prominent in Panamanian politics, Craig became his advisor in dealing with the still-outstanding US charges against him. With dramatic flourish, Hannity announced, “Yes, you heard it right. One of Obama's closest confidantes chose to advise a man indicted for the murder of a US soldier!” There was no mistaking the guilt-by-association inference about Craig and, of course, Obama.

Hannity added, “Craig has a history of seeking out (controversial) cases.” Hannity ominously intoned that Craig has been a “foreign agent, basically acting as a lobbyist” for various foreign entities. Then even more darkly, Hannity said both Craig and Obama refuse to reveal what Craig has done for client Gonzalez. (Comment: Of course they wouldn't. Attorney-client communication is privileged.)

Hannity continued, “What is clear is that (Craig) has chosen to be at the very least the intermediary between a suspected terrorist and the US government.”

“Why hasn't there been more attention paid to this?” Hannity asked, “If you're talking about killing US soldiers.” It was a neat conflation of Craig with his client.

Conservative author Byron York was the only guest. York, we were told, has “been investigating this.”

“It's really, really serious,” York agreed. But he also gave no details about Craig's views either of his client or the representation. Instead, York suggested that Obama was trying to pull a fast one on Americans because Craig's appointment did not require confirmation in the Senate where, York was sure, “questions like this would be asked.”

York and Hannity teamed up to attack Craig for not revealing whether or not he believes Mr. Gonzalez is guilty or innocent. Nobody pointed out that neither Gonzalez' guilt nor Craig's feelings about the crime have anything to do with Gonzalez' right to counsel or the ethics of an attorney's legal representation of a client.

“We know (Craig) best from running the Clinton defense,” Hannity said. The unspoken innuendo was a further helping of guilt.

As the segment began to wind down, Hannity counted off the treason-by-association allegations on his fingers. “If we put this all together. We got Eric Holder and he's representing or advocating (my emphasis) the FALN terrorists, 16 of them.”

Wait just a flag-waving minute. Holder did not advocate for the FALN terrorists. During his previous tenure at the Justice Department, he helped get clemency for some of them. That's a far cry from being their advocate. But Hannity, Media Matters' Misinformer of 2008, has always put smears before facts.

Hannity continued, “(Holder's) advocating Marc Rich, who was dealing with Iran during the middle of the hostage crisis. We've got this guy, killing US soldiers and getting some assistance and representation. When you add Holder and Craig and we're not even talking about Geithner and some other issues.”

York took the hint. First, he chimed in that Craig also worked with the Contras (no mention that so did FOX News' own Oliver North), with Fidel Castro in the Elian Gonzalez case and would-be Reagan assassin John Hinckley.

Then York drove the point home for Hannity. York quoted an unnamed conservative lawyer: “'It's a delicate issue because generally we don't hold lawyers responsible for the views of their clients. On the other hand, it's worth considering when a lawyer has time and again gone to the well and represented somebody on the other side of an issue from America.' So I think that's the question with Craig.”

That may be the question but there was absolutely no attempt to find out the answer, just a lot of smarmy supposition served up as a generous helping of red meat for the “Obama is a Muslim covering up his un-American birth” crowd.