The federal judge who railed against prosecutors for using Paul Manafort to get to President Donald Trump scored a victory for the Constitution and proved that nobody is above the law, Alan Dershowitz wrote in a column for The Hill.
When Judge T.S. Ellis excoriated special counsel Robert Mueller's prosecutors for overstepping their bounds against Manafort, he exposed tactics that are as "old as Adam turning against Eve," Dershowitz writes.
Prosecutors want Manafort to "sing" against Trump, but squeezing him hard enough might get the former campaign chairman to "compose," Dershowitz writes.
"I have been using this 'compose' metaphor for decades and I am gratified that a judge borrowed it to express an important civil liberties concern," Dershowitz writes, adding that the charges against Manafort are an example of "highly technical, elastic charges that are brought only as leverage.
"They are dropped as soon as the witness cooperates. This was precisely the point Judge Ellis was making with regard to Manafort," Dershowitz writes.
Dershowitz said it's a tactic used by Sen. Joe McCarthy to induce witnesses to testify against alleged communists in the 1950s, and Americans didn't like it then, so why now?
"Civil libertarians should be applauding Judge Ellis for seeking to cabin the 'unfettered power' of the special counsel to do 'anything he wants.' But no, because his ruling may help Trump, and because Trump has applauded it, the civil liberties and criminal defense communities have not been heard from," Dershowitz writes.
"It was an excellent week for the Constitution and for all Americans, because a federal judge made it clear that no one — not even the special counsel — is above the law and beyond scrutiny by our system of checks and balances," Dershowitz concluded.
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