About that Cheney indictment…

ABOUT THAT CHENEY INDICTMENT…. At first blush, the headline looked pretty extraordinary: “Texas Grand Jury Indicts Cheney, Gonzales on Charges Related to Prisons.” Wait, Dick Cheney’s been indicted? It sounded too good to be true, in large part because it is.

Vice President Cheney and former attorney general Alberto R. Gonzales have been indicted on state charges involving federal prisons in a South Texas county that has been a source of bizarre legal and political battles under the outgoing prosecutor. […]

Cheney is charged with engaging in an organized criminal activity related to the vice president’s investment in the Vanguard Group, which holds financial interests in the private prison companies running the federal detention centers. Cheney is accused of a conflict of interest and “at least misdemeanor assaults” on detainees because of his link to the prison companies. […]

The indictment accuses Gonzales of using his position while in office to stop an investigation in 2006 into abuses at one of the privately run prisons.

The AP report noted that the indictments “have not yet been signed by the presiding judge, and no action can be taken on them until that happens.” And that, of course, is unlikely to ever happen.

The prosecutor in question is Willacy County District Attorney Juan Angel Guerra, who’s apparently developed a reputation for being something of a … how do I put this gently … legal eccentric. A lawyer for Democratic state Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., who is also charged in the Cheney/Gonzales indictment, called Guerra a “one man circus.”

The description seems to fit. David Kurtz noted that Guerra even got himself arrested not too long ago.

As it happens, Guerra sought re-election as a district attorney, but lost (badly) in a Democratic primary back in March. With his term nearly complete, it appears that he’s scurrying to get some 11th-hour indictments against his enemies off his to-do list.

I don’t doubt there are many Bush administration detractors who’d be thrilled to see Cheney and Gonzales get indicted, but this probably isn’t a development to get excited about.