Tuesday, November 15, 2011

UPDATED: How the Feds Could Quickly Explode Babygate

It seems obvious to me that the FBI or other federal law-enforcers could instantly blow up the Babygate hoax by simply interviewing under oath anyone connected to it. For example, would Dr. Cathy Baldwin-Johnson perjure herself to keep Sarah's not-so-secret secret? Of course not. Nor Would Palin herself.

So the real question becomes, How could the FBI or any other federal agency justify starting an investigation? I doubt the FBI can willy-nilly pluck folks off the street and interview them based on mere curiosity. What could serve as the basis for starting an inquiry?

In a general sense, you could argue that Palin's lie about Trig's birth was a form of fraud against the American people. And the fact that she falsely announced to the world that she was pregnant on March 5, the day after McCain clinched the nomination, helps make the case that the fraud was specifically intended to deceive in relation to the presidential election.

So in a general sense, I would argue Palin is guilty of fraudulent behavior, both in speech and action, that is reprehensible and deserving of being outed. But, again, do existing laws or accepted legal doctrines provide a hook, a basis for starting an inquiry?

I am not a lawyer, but I had legal training in my doctoral studies and once even published an article in a law journal. So I am comfortable reading statutes, court cases, etc., and figuring out how they might apply. 

For today, I wish to focus on a single federal statute. Read the following:

Now, the language here is fuzzy. There are various ways this federal statute might be read. An expansive reading might be: Any public official who knowingly lies in an official communication could be subject to prosecution under this law. That probably is a novel reading, and you might argue that most courts would probably not go along with it. But that is not the point here. 

The point is, such an expansive reading theoretically could serve as the basis for starting an inquiry and deposing someone under oath. Again, simply questioning someone like CBJ under oath would likely kill the hoax. In fact, if the FBI told Palin they wished to interview her, I imagine she would pre-emptively spill the beans in a public confession.

If we accept my argument above, then we might ask: Has Palin ever in an official "writing" made a false claim relative to Trig's birth? Take a look:

I would call this an official writing. After all, it's on the letterhead of the "Office of the Governor," and it presumably quotes Palin herself. Although, talk about weaseling, note that the attributive phrase above the quote is that "the family released the following statement." 

Even in this, you can see Sarah Palin's careful efforts to create a verbal escape hatch: she avoided directly quoting herself, so she could could later argue that there is no prima facie evidence in the news release that she lied. 

In fact, the wording throughout the press release is designed to allow weaseling. Her "labor" began in Texas but let up – does that mean "birth labor" or "work" as governor in giving a speech? Trig "was born at 6:30 a.m.," but no day is given nor, thanks to the passive voice, is the birth mother named. She arrived in time to "deliver" Trig, but does that mean "give birth to" or simply "present"? The document is a masterpiece in weaselism.

In any event, if you happen to be a federal law enforcer in Alaska, I hope I have provided you with a basis for asking questions.


  1. I don't think that the feds are interested. They have other gates that they could use to arrest her but I don't think that they will, unless, a moneybag, suggest that they do.

  2. skyee: I have revised since you read that early part (I posted that by mistake – was not done). I am hoping Feds will act just to uncover the hoax, not with true goal of prosecution.

  3. They're not interested. Why would they use Federal resources to uncover what is arguably a private family matter? Yes, it was fraudulent (as in deceptive) behavior on Palin's part, but in reality, nobody cares enough about Palin to bother investigating, and if they did, the Alaskans would circle the wagons for her again, and so would the McCain people. The Alaskans will do it just because they'll defend an Alaskan no matter what- they've defended her in the past, and failing to do so now will make them look stupid for doing so before, and the McCain people because to do otherwise might make McCain look stupid for nominating her. (Too late, IMO.)

    Neither the FBI nor any other set of initials is going to start digging into this mess. I think they're toploaded with conservatives. Personally, I'm hoping Willow gets totally pissed off at her parents, drinks a lot and talks. I believe the stories about Willow- she's a potential loose cannon and I doubt they know what to do about her.

  4. Ivy: You may be right, but I am not inclined to simply accept that I am powerless. We don't know what may catch the eye of a law-enforcement official. Even if it's a long shot, I'll keep plugging away.

  5. And I appreciate that you are- the more information is out there, the better the chances. If nothing comes of it now, at least someday a historian may find it and make something of it.

    SP is so dishonest, so stupid, so ignorant, and it's all so obvious to me that I'm always surprised that other people just don't see it. Even my daughter pointed out that if SP had had a labor like hers (prolonged with eventual induction and ultimate section) the flying-home-from-Texas story could be true. I had to roll my eyes and ask her, when her doctor told her on Thursday night she was in labor, did she KNOW she wouldn't give birth until Saturday night? It simply didn't occur to her that, most basic of all information, when you start a pregnancy or a birth, you have no idea how it's all going to end, and because of this very basic information, the Wild Ride could not be true. So many people don't even think of that.It's maddening, how nobody challenges Sarah.

  6. While I see that point Ivyfree makes about this being arguably a family matter, so was the Terry Schiavo case and we know how that went. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Brad's letter gets into the hands of someone who thinks this is a matter of national concern.

  7. I think Sarah's use of Trig as a prop for political and financial gain is vile, but I don't think it was unlawful behavior, unless there is some suggestion that Trig's birth mother was somehow either coerced to surrender her rights, or paid off (which would bring in the possibility of slavery).

    The real issue of national concern is the one that Professor Scharlott has pointed out: the press, which is supposed to investigate and report, failed and continue to fail. It happens to be Trig; it could have been Mrs. McCain stealing narcotics from a charity because of her addiction, which was equally uncovered in the national press. Can anyone imagine what would have happened if Barack and Michelle Obama had lied about who gave birth to one of their girls, or if Michelle had a history of narcotics theft and abuse?

  8. How about the question of who actually has legal custody of Trig? Was he legally adopted or not?

    Are there laws that cover the issue of the "transfer" of a child's care/custody from the birth parent to another person?

  9. @conscious: I think adoption and child custody issues are generally state matters, so it would be exceedingly difficult to get the feds interested or involved from that angle unless the noncustodial parent is willing to press the case.

    I think that most violations of federal law that $P may have incurred herself are unfortunately such small potatoes that they will never be investigated. There are some campaign finance laws that may impact SarahPAC, and perhaps her spending from SarahPAC could lead somewhere interesting, but it looks to me as if almost everything she has done at a national level has been carefully fenced off on the edges of legality. (I'm no attorney, though, so just a quasi-informed opinion.) Her main issues seem to me to be in Alaska and under Alaskan law, so she would have to make someone very very angry before those deeds would be investigated.

  10. OL: I agree. I'm hoping that some federal agent will think it's worth the effort and justified to simply get to the truth of the hoax by doing a few interviews. If no charges are brought, the case would be closed, but the records would then presumably be open to the public. I'm not holding my breath for that to happen, but why not plant seeds?

  11. "The Palins were thankful that the governor's labor began yesterday . . . but let up enough for her to travel . . . in time to deliver her second son."

    Trig may have been born at 6:30 am some morning. Apr.18 could have marked the arrival (adoption?) of their fifth child. But I see no way the above sentence could be true.

  12. I had not thought about "labor" meaning work, as in giving her speech. Perhaps she and Todd stopped by Anchorage to pick up a baby, and she "delivered" him to MatSu. I stand corrected!