Picks of the Week: DNA Exonerations, Pork Spending and Mistress Pay-Offs
Each week, the editors at The Post's Investigations unit and blog comb through in-depth and investigative reports from news outlets across the country and select the most notable projects of the week.
This week was especially competitive, with examples of great investigative reporting from Salt Lake City, Seattle, Dallas, New York and Chicago. That being said, here's a round-up of our top three picks of the week:
Exonerations Show Flaws in Dallas' Criminal Justice System
A three-part series by The Dallas Morning News delves into 19 DNA-based criminal exonerations in Dallas County, where the district attorney has re-examined wrongful prosecutions.
The News' Steve McGonigle and Jennifer Emily were rare access to files and reviewed the cases, finding that law enforcement agencies still rely heavily on eyewitness testimony "even if corroborating evidence is weak and despite decades of research showing its shortcomings;" and the problems with photo line-ups and showups, which are also known as "drive-by" identifications.
Earmark 'Reform' Doesn't Catch $3.5B in Hidden Spending
Culling through thousands of earmarks, The Seattle Times found $3.5 billion in undisclosed pork-barrel spending tucked in the 2008 defense bill.
The Times' David Heath and Christine Willmsen found that the House broke new ethics rules at least 110 times by failing to disclose earmarks, and that the hidden allocations ranged from $8 million for lighting purchased from a financially troubled company in North Carolina to $588 million for a submarine that wasn't requested by the military.
Rep. Mahoney's Handling of Alleged Affair Sparks FBI Probe
Rep. Tim Mahoney (D-Fla.), the congressman who was elected to his seat in West Palm Beach after former Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.) was caught in a scandal involving underage male pages, allegedly had an affair with a woman in his office and agreed to pay her $121,000 after she was fired, ABC News reported
ABC News' Emma Schwartz, Rhonda Schwartz and Vic Walter found that Mahoney, who is married, also promised the woman, Patricia Allen, a $50,000-a-year job at the agency that handled his campaign advertising.
The revelations sparked a preliminary FBI probe and Mahoney's somewhat vague admission to causing his family "embarrassment and heartache." Mahoney has called for a congressional review of the allegations.
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