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What Gag Order? Yet Again, Don Hill Claims He's the Victim of a Witch Hunt.

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We're still waiting on the preachers' letter to U.S. Attorney Eric Holder, but in an interview with Gromer Jeffers Jr. just posted to The Dallas Morning News Web site, Don Hill yet again claims he's being subjected to federal prosecution and persecution because, look, he's a Democrat and not because he had anything to do with accepting bribes to push through low-income housing developments. Says Hill, who clearly won't be gagged by any gag order, "The way they went about investigating, targeting and now prosecuting me was not fair from the standpoint of I'm a Democrat, the[re] was an effort made throughout the country to target local Democrats and that, in my judgment, is unfair and unjust."

But it should be noted: This isn't the first time Hill has made such a claim. In July 2008, his attorney, Ray Jackson, filed a motion to dismiss in which he blamed the U.S. Attorney's Office under the Bush administration for Hill's legal troubles while also quoting at length stories that appeared in both The News and the paper version of Unfair Park. The motion to dismiss, which was denied, can be read in its entirety here, but here's an excerpt:

It appears that Mr. Hill and his co-defendants have been singled out for criminal prosecution because the U.S. Attorney's Office has targeted them because of their politics or because of their race. If the stories written about the Justice Department over the past year have shown anything, they have shown that federal prosecutors often targeted people because of political and other inappropriate reasons. Given that the so-called illegal conduct - promoting business interests of contractors and consultants among public officials who are allowed to have business careers - is engaged in by lots of people, including white public officials on the Dallas City Council, but only the black public officials have been charged, there is reason to question how that selection was made.

The prosecution in this case raises at least the appearance of improper selection, including charging only minorities for more widespread behavior and targeting those of an opposite political party who only recently have been able to make elective gains. While government oppression of political opponents and minorities is a lot more subtle that when states passed Jim Crow laws, it has now become clear that, at least in this Administration, it is completely proper to question the motives behind why certain cases are brought.

Although more than a century has passed since the ratification of the Civil Rights Amendments, black Americans still have not been widely elected to political office in the State of Texas. Mr. Hill is part of a group of black men and women in this State who have sought to change this.1 The Republican Party, which counts but a few black Texans among its members, has held a virtual lock on the political process in Texas for the past two decades. The Democratic Party, however, is emerging from exile and members of the black community, including Mr. Hill, have been at the forefront of that movement. Indeed, Democrats now hold a majority of the seats on the Dallas City Council and, but for this prosecution, Mr. Hill would have been able to run a much more successful campaign for Mayor this last year.

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