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Friday, March 1, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Bush Aides Won’t Face Grand Jury Investigation

(CN) - Prosecutors can ignore a Connecticut attorney's request to have a grand jury investigate alleged crimes committed by members of the Bush administration, a federal judge ruled.

Francis T. Mandanici is well known in the blogosphere as a persistent critic of Bush family politics and also as one-time crusader against Whitewater special prosecutor Kenneth Starr.

He had asked that the U.S. attorney's office empanel a grand jury to investigate alleged criminal activities surrounding claims made by Bush administration in January 2003 that Iraq had sought uranium to make a nuclear weapon.

Noting that the "U.S. attorney's office has declined to request a summons of a grand jury and does not seek to return an indictment, effectively foreclosing prosecution," Chief U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth said the Washington, D.C., will not take any action on his request.

"The public interest does not require the court to order a grand jury summoned to investigate the matter," he wrote on Nov. 16.

Furthermore, given the fact that the activities occurred eight years ago, the statute of limitations for non-capital federal offenses had already expired, Lamberth added.

"Although Mandanici argues for equitable tolling of the state of limitations, or for the application of equitable estoppels, this court can find little authority that allows for an equitable exception," he wrote.

"The statute of limitations has run, this court is aware of no legal basis for nonetheless permitting a prosecution, and the U.S. attorney's office would not seek an indictment at any rate," the two-page order states. "Summoning a grand jury to investigate would be to no end."

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