Reminds me of the "Day Care Sex Abuse Hysteria!" I thought Mike NiFong was put in prison? Apparently he's been reincarnated!
By Noah Arenstein
In Catoosa County, Georgia, _____'s child molestation trial continues to devolve into a absurd witch-hunt. Only now, the national media is actually starting to pay attention.
Yesterday, Assistant District Attorney Chris Arnt asked a detective involved in the case whether she “get[s] paid per child molester the way the defense does.” I'm not sure what Arnt is suggesting, but it's clear that Arnt's getting a paycheck for his services in this trial, too. And the only people losing money are the taxpayers of Catoosa County, who will likely be forced to repeat this whole farce again once the verdict is thrown out on appeal. (If you missed our previous coverage of the case, you can read up here.)
As the trial has gone on, it's become increasingly clear that the supposed physical evidence of molestation amounts to much ado about nothing. Meanwhile, the prosecutors’ cross examinations have become increasingly unhinged from the original molestation charges, and they’ve ratcheted up their character attacks on _____ — all with the blessing of the judge in the case, Brian House.
There's little doubt that a guilty verdict will fail on appeal. Yet Arnt and his fellow prosecutor Len Gregor seem intent on achieving one anyway, no matter the cost. They've badgered witnesses with questions about _____’s exercise and lawn-mowing habits, of all things. They've asked whether _____ is a narcissist, and if _____ ever passed out in a girlfriend’s bed after a night of drinking. These so-called “sordid revelations” that the kind that only a puritan (or an unhinged prosecutor) would connect to evidence of child molestation.
The case has gotten weirder and weirder. One defense witness, who let _____ watch her children every day for almost two years without incident, testified that one of _____'s accusers — who is also a child actress — was “worldly for her age.” “Does that mean she’s a slut?” asked Gregor. When the witness uncomfortably denied the charge, Gregor wondered whether the child might be a “pre-slut.”
Gregor also has a fascination with TruthforTonya.com, a website which argues that _____ is the victim of a conspiracy. Likewise, Gregor is seeing ghosts everywhere — for example, badgering a defense witness about whether she believes in 9/11 conspiracies as well.
For me, the most frustrating aspect of this trial is the way in which Judge House has wholly ignored basic rules of evidence, which are intended to insure the jury doesn't get confused by accusations that amount to little more than hearsay. But on Tuesday, when Gregor declared that he’s not required to disclose evidence he uses when cross-examining defense witnesses, Judge House actually agreed.
Despite (or because of) this circus, it appears the national media has finally gotten a whiff of this case's excesses. The Today Show aired a segment about the trial this morning, and the presence (and rumor) of national media coverage is managing to change the demeanor of the prosecutors, both who were noticeably more respectful to witnesses once the Today Show's camera crew arrived. (Fortunately for their coverage, NBC decided to use MSNBC’s Dan Abrams to offer legal analysis, rather than a local attorney.)
It looks like the tide is beginning to turn, as word is spreading about how in a little-known Georgia county, a woman named _____ is getting senselessly railroaded. Those who believe in due process and rule of law are speaking out. Let’s hope that for _____, it’s not too late.