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One woman's quest to prosecute Bush

Attorney Charolotte Dennett is on a mission, and it’s summed up in the title of her book, “The People v. Bush: One Lawyer’s Campaign to Bring the President to Justice and the National Grassroots Movement She Encounters Along the Way,” published by Chelsea Green Publishing in February. She made headlines in 2008 when she ran for attorney general of Vermont on a platform to prosecute President Bush for murder and signed up Vincent Bugliosi as her special prosecutor if she won. She lost but continues to push her cause. We posed a few questions to her by email.

What is the basis of your charge?

George W. Bush took our nation to war in Iraq on false pretenses, lying to Congress and the American people that Saddam Hussein was a “great danger to our country” when this was not the case, according to his own intelligence agencies. He absolutely knew death would result from sending troops into harm’s way. At the very least he engaged in an inherently dangerous act with reckless disregard for the consequences and indifference to human life, which constitutes implied malice and 2nd degree murder. Bush is also guilty of war crimes in violation of the Geneva Conventions and the 1996 War Crimes Act. As the ultimate “decider,” he authorized severe torture methods on “high level” detainees.

Does any precedent exist?

There are sound legal precedents for trying Bush in a state criminal court (assuming that the political atmosphere in Washington will not be conducive to a federal trial). Those precedents include:
1) the underlying crime of conspiracy to commit murder, which confers jurisdiction to a state provided there is a) agreement between two or more people (i.e Bush and Cheney in D.C.) to b) further the conspiracy by committing an overt act that occurs within the state (lying to the American people in their separate states through a national TV broadcast that Saddam Hussein was an imminent threat )

2) The “effects doctrine,” that holds that if a crime occurs outside the state but has a harmful effect on the people inside the state, then the state has jurisdiction (as spelled out in State v Jack, 124 P.3d 311, “the state can extend jurisdiction under the effects doctrine even where the conduct adversely affecting the state takes place …in another country.”)

3) The doctrine of innocent agent, Title 18 U.S. Code § 2(b) whereby a conspirator (here, Bush in the United States) is criminally liable for setting in motion a chain of events that causes an innocent agent (e.g Iraqi soldiers fighting against a foreign invasion) to commit the unlawful act (the killing of American soldiers).

What has been the response from President Bush?

Bush has never commented on my book or my campaign. After I announced my candidacy for attorney general in 2008, an Associated Press reporter called the White House for a response and was referred over to the Republican National Committee, which promptly denounced my campaign as appealing only to “fringe elements” in American society.

By Steven E. Levingston  |  March 29, 2010; 5:31 AM ET
 | Tags: prosecution of bush; charging president bush  
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I wish more people would listen to her, but the real, provable crime is the torture he sanctioned.

Posted by: steveh46 | March 29, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

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