And the press releases keep coming from the Don Hill camp: Only a few days after inviting us to a Sunday-eve prayer vigil for Don Hill and Sheila Farrington in advance of Monday's start date in the City Hall corruption case, Ken Carter at Focus Communications last night sent out yet another notice -- this one, concerning a letter sent by "several prominent Southern Dallas ministerial organizations" to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in which they're demanding "a review of the upcoming trial of former Dallas Mayor Pro Tem Don Hill."
The full release follows -- and Carter told Unfair Park this morning that as soon as he returns from a meeting this afternoon, he'll send along the missive sent to Holder, so do stay tuned. But this echoes a motion to dismiss Hill filed in July 2008, in which he and his attorney claimed "federal prosecutors often targeted people because of political and other inappropriate reasons."
And while I had Carter on the phone, I wondered: Does U.S. District Judge Barbara Lynn's gag order, put in place Friday, apply to these kinds of press releases? Not as far as Carter's concerned: "We are not talking about elements of the case. These are, if you will, citizens who have taken active concern and approach to the case. It has been cleared the attorneys." Lynn cannot comment.
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DALLAS MINISTERS SEND LETTER TO HOLDER SEEKING CASE REVIEW
DALLAS-- Several prominent Southern Dallas ministerial organizations have sent U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder a letter today seeking a review of the upcoming trial of former Dallas Mayor Pro Tem Don Hill. The letter was signed by leaders of the African American Pastors Coalition, the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance and the South Dallas/Fair Park United Churches.
In the letter, the leaders cited a recent study by Professors Donald Shields and John Cragan that said federal prosecutors during the Bush Administration investigated Democratic officeholders more frequently than their Republication counterparts. Specifically, the letter points out that out of 375 cases the authors identified, 10 involved independents, 67 were Republicans and 298 were Democrats. Hill case was mentioned in the study which concluded that selective prosecution of local Democrats across the country had taken place. Hill is also a Democratic
The letter also mentioned a recent documentary produced by well known movie producer John McTierman entitled Project Save Justice - The Political Prosecutions of Karl Rove where the case is also highlighted and is circulating on the internet at www.politicalprosecution.org. The 45 minute film "clearly uncovers the shameful practices of the US Justice Department. This film also gives absolute insight on how the Justice Department under the direction of former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, was used as an instrument to weaken the Democratic Party with a primary focus at the local level."
"We are just asking for the new department to review this case for fairness," said Rev. Frederick D. Haynes, III, senior pastor of Friendship West Baptist Church and board member of the National Action Network who signed the letter. Other signers include Rev. Jerry Christian, Bryan Carter, Steven C. Nash, and S.M. Wright, II
The public corruption trial is set to begin on Monday with jury selection.
Opening statements are anticipated to start Wednesday. Hill is accused of leading a pay for influence scheme involving affordable housing projects