- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 6, 2005

Film noir

“Lawyers representing a co-defendant of indicted House Majority Leader Tom DeLay have sent a letter to the makers of a new film about the DeLay investigation, saying they will seek a subpoena that would order the filmmakers to turn over a copy of the film and all unused footage from the project,” Byron York reports at National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com).

“‘The Big Buy’ chronicles Travis County, Texas, prosecutor Ronnie Earle as he pursued the investigation that led to DeLay’s indictment on conspiracy charges last week and on money-laundering charges [Monday]. Filmmakers Mark Birnbaum and Jim Schermbeck describe the film as ‘a Texas noir political detective story’ about the Earle/DeLay investigation,” Mr. York said.

“The still-unfinished picture, obtained last week by National Review Online, includes extensive interviews with Earle, who discusses his motivation in pursuing DeLay on charges that the House majority leader allegedly directed an operation in which corporate contributions were used illegally in Texas campaigns. ‘The root of the evil of the corporate and large-monied interest domination of politics is money,’ Earle says in the film. ‘This is in the Bible. This isn’t rocket science. The root of all evil truly is money, especially in politics. People talk about how money is the mother’s milk of politics. Well, it’s the devil’s brew. And what we’ve got to do, we’ve got to turn off the tap.’”

Runoff in California

Illegal immigration emerged as a critical issue in the race to fill the nation’s only vacant House seat, as an anti-immigration activist siphoned off enough votes from the Republican-backed favorite to force a runoff election in California.

State Sen. John Campbell finished with 46 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s special election in Southern California’s heavily Republican Orange County, but failed to gain the majority needed to avoid a runoff, the Associated Press reports.

He will face the top vote-getters from four other parties in the Dec. 6 election. Second-place finisher Marilyn Brewer, a liberal Republican who drew 17 percent of the vote, was eliminated from the race.

Mr. Campbell is still likely to win the seat relinquished by former Rep. Christopher Cox, a Republican who left after 16 years in office to become chief of the Securities and Exchange Commission. The combined vote Tuesday of his runoff opponents was less than 25 percent.

However, one of Mr. Campbell’s most vocal critics remained in the race. American Independent Party candidate Jim Gilchrist, who co-founded the Minuteman Project and repeatedly attacked Mr. Campbell’s anti-immigration pedigree during the campaign, finished third in the 17-candidate field with 14 percent of the vote.

Slow down, Sandy

Two days after he was placed on probation last month for taking classified documents, former National Security Adviser Samuel R. “Sandy” Berger was accused of reckless driving in Virginia by police who said he was traveling 88 mph in a 55 mph zone, the Associated Press reports.

Yesterday, Mr. Berger appeared before the same federal magistrate who had sentenced him Sept. 8 in the documents case. U.S. Magistrate Deborah Robinson admonished Mr. Berger, and she will decide whether to punish him further.

The traffic offense occurred while Mr. Berger, who served in the Clinton administration, is on a two-year probation handed down as part of his sentence in the documents case.

Mr. Berger is scheduled to appear Oct. 18 in local traffic court in Fairfax County on the reckless-driving ticket.

He was stopped Sept. 10, and two days later he informed the probation office of the U.S. District Court that he had been speeding because he was late to a meeting and was unaware of how fast he was traveling.

Filmmaker sues

A filmmaker has sued Sen. John Kerry and a one-time campaign aide, saying they defamed him as they sought to block the broadcast of an anti-Kerry documentary during the 2004 presidential election.

The lawsuit, filed this week on behalf of film producer Carlton Sherwood and a Vietnam veterans group, is the latest volley in an ongoing battle over the documentary, “Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal.”

Maryland-based Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc., which as of last year owned 62 TV stations that reached a quarter of all U.S. households, canceled plans to air the documentary during the presidential race last fall and instead showed only portions of it as part of a broader program.

The film contends that Mr. Kerry’s anti-war activities when he returned from Vietnam caused further harm to captured U.S. soldiers.

Mr. Sherwood’s lawsuit charges that Mr. Kerry directed the Democratic National Committee to issue a statement, which was untrue, that said the film was produced and funded by “extreme right-wing activists.”

Plame endgame

The federal prosecutor investigating who leaked the identity of a CIA employee is expected to signal within days whether he intends to bring indictments in the case, legal sources close to the investigation told Reuters news agency yesterday.

As a first step, prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald was expected to notify officials by letter if they have become targets, said the lawyers, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Mr. Fitzgerald could announce plea agreements, bring indictments or conclude that no crime was committed in the nearly two-year-old probe of who leaked Valerie Plame’s identity, an investigation that has involved several White House officials.

Political adviser Karl Rove’s attorney, Robert Luskin, declined to say whether his client had been contacted by Mr. Fitzgerald. In the past, Mr. Luskin has said his client was assured that he was not a target. An attorney for I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, chief of staff for Vice President Dick Cheney, was not immediately available to comment.

Another Carter

Jack Carter, the oldest child of former President Jimmy Carter, says he plans to run against Sen. John Ensign, Nevada Republican, next year.

Mr. Carter, 58, and his wife, Elizabeth, have lived in Las Vegas since 2003, operating the investment consulting firm Carter Global, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports.

“I’m very seriously exploring it,” Mr. Carter told the newspaper Tuesday.

He said he decided to run in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, saying he was offended by the federal government’s response to the disaster.

“I’m more concerned than ever with the way that the country is headed,” Mr. Carter said.

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes.com.

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