Monday, October 24, 2005

Reality Check for the Righties

I noticed that Michelle Malkin has propagated the comparison (from the WSJ) of Clinton's lying about sex to the likely indictments to be handed down regarding obstruction of justice and lying to a grand jury in Treasongate.

Like everyone else, I don't know what's going to come down the pike as I write this, but I do know that Clinton's behavior didn't rise to the level of perjury or lying to a grand jury. How do I know? Here's the relevant Federal law:




Sec. 1623. False declarations before grand jury or court

(a) Whoever under oath (or in any declaration, certificate,
verification, or statement under penalty of perjury as permitted under
section 1746 of title 28, United States Code) in any proceeding before
or ancillary to any court or grand jury of the United States knowingly
makes any false material declaration or makes or uses any other
information, including any book, paper, document, record, recording, or
other material, knowing the same to contain any false material
declaration, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than
five years, or both.
(b) This section is applicable whether the conduct occurred within
or without the United States.
(c) An indictment or information for violation of this section
alleging that, in any proceedings before or ancillary to any court or
grand jury of the United States, the defendant under oath has knowingly
made two or more declarations, which are inconsistent to the degree that
one of them is necessarily false, need not specify which declaration is
false if--
(1) each declaration was material to the point in question, and
(2) each declaration was made within the period of the statute
of limitations for the offense charged under this section.

In any prosecution under this section, the falsity of a declaration set
forth in the indictment or information shall be established sufficient
for conviction by proof that the defendant while under oath made
irreconcilably contradictory declarations material to the point in
question in any proceeding before or ancillary to any court or grand
jury. It shall be a defense to an indictment or information made
pursuant to the first sentence of this subsection that the defendant at
the time he made each declaration believed the declaration was true.
(d) Where, in the same continuous court or grand jury proceeding in
which a declaration is made, the person making the declaration admits
such declaration to be false, such admission shall bar prosecution under
this section if, at the time the admission is made, the declaration has
not substantially affected the proceeding, or it has not become manifest
that such falsity has been or will be exposed.
(e) Proof beyond a reasonable doubt under this section is sufficient
for conviction. It shall not be necessary that such proof be made by any
particular number of witnesses or by documentary or other type of

Here's the original complaint of Jones v. Clinton.

What the consensual relationship between Clinton and Lewinsky would have had on whether or not sexual harassment happened doesn't seem to me to be in the least material to whether Jones was sexually harassed; OTOH, leaking the identity of an operative and lying about it does seem relevant to whether an espionage law was broken or justice was obstructed.

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