Once Again, Unethical Sentencing Using “He’s Suffered Enough”: That’s Not The Message That Needed To Be Sent


In August, former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith pleaded guilty in federal court to making a false statement in the first criminal case arising from U.S. Attorney John Durham’s investigation of the of the irregularities surrounding law enforcement actions regarding allegations of”collusion” between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign, a manufactured charge used to delegitimize and undermine the Trump Presidency. Clinesmith’s guilty plea was to “one count of making a false statement within both the jurisdiction of the executive branch and judicial branch of the U.S. government, an offense that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of five years and a fine of up to $250,000.”

Clinesmith admitted that in June 2017, he had sent a deliberately altered email to an FBI agent falsely indicating that Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser, was “not a source” for the Central Intelligence Agency. The email was used by the FBI to apply for a third extension of a FISA warrant justifying surveillance on Page. Paige had, in fact, been a source for the CIA. Clinesmith’s defense was that he had mistakenly thought the altered assertion in the email was correct, and he only altered it to save himself the trouble of getting a another email from the CIA.

If this doesn’t remind you of Dan Rather’s rationalization for using a forged document to accuse President George Bush of going AWOL while he was in the National Guard, it should. But Rather was just a journalist, albeit a one who carried the public trust. What he did was unethical, but what Clinesmith did was unethical and illegal. He knowingly manufactured evidence offered by the U.S. government to violate the Fourth Amendment Rights of a citizen, knowing that the warrant being sought would be used to spy on the Presidential campaign of the party opposing that of the sitting President, Barack Obama. The Trump Presidency was permanently sabotaged from its very start as a result of Clinesmith’s actions along with others in the Justice Department and FBI. Although the Mueller report found no evidence that any American anywhere, not just in the Trump campaign, coordinated with Russians to affect the 2016 election, the lie that Clinesmith facilitated constituted a deliberate effort by law enforcement officials to subvert a Presidential campaign and a President.

Yeasterday, Clinesmith was sentenced. U.S. District Judge for the District of Columbia James Boasberg, an Obama appointee, delivered the proverbial “slap on the wrist.” He sentenced him to 12 months probation and 400 hours of community service. He will serve no jail time.

My son, 18 at the time of his offense, was given five years probation and spent six months in jail for a traffic violation, just to provide some basis for comparison.

Prosecutors had urged Boasberg to hand Clinesmith a prison sentence sending a clear message to others in government not to subvert the legal system. The judge, incredibly, said that the message had already been sent after the lawyer delivered an effective pre-sentence grovel. “Altering the email has forever changed the course of my life,” Clinesmith said. “I have lost the means to provide for my growing family…lost the ability to give back to my nation… the shame and remorse will stay with me forever.”

Hey, it’s OK, kid! Don’t get down on yourself! We all make mistakes. Boasberg justified his resorting to Rationalization #38 B, Excessive Accountability, or “He’s suffered enough,” saying,

[He] lost his job, and his government service is what has given his life much of its meaning. He was also earning $150,000 a year and who knows where the earnings go now. He may be disbarred or suspended from the practice of law, you may never be able to work in the national security field again. These are substantial penalties. What is more, he went from being an obscure career government lawyer to standing in the eye of a media hurricane. He has been threatened, vilified and abused on a nationwide scale.”

And he deserved every bit of it, poor baby. Quoting now from the Rationalization List description:

Prosecutors who don’t bring charges against individuals based on non-legal consequences of misconduct like loss of reputation, public esteem, employment or family relationships are adopting the position that a crime “carries its own punishment,” and that enforcing the law is inherently cruel, piling on, kicking someone who is not only down, but one who is kicking himself. But the father who accidentally kills his son by striking him too hard while in a rage; the mother whose toddler poisons herself by ingesting the crack cocaine her mother left on the table; the business executive who embezzles funds, Roman Polanski, Bernie, Madoff, Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein and many more have also engineered their own punishments.  To conclude that society should just allow these and other offenses against society and civilization  to occur without making the clear statement, “This is intolerable, and the person responsible for an avoidable tragedy must be held accountable by the law” constitutes a moral, ethical and legal shrug,

Punishment is about more than hurting a wrongdoer, It is also a necessary tool for maintaining society’s values, and expressing appropriate outrage, on the record, when they are violated. We can’t know for certain how much a wrongdoer has suffered or is suffering.  We can make certain that society’s suffering because of a wrongdoer’s act is consistently and powerfully expressed. There is only one way for the community to effectively and unambiguously condemn anti-social conduct, and that is to condemn those who engage in it with punishment  proportional  to the enormity of the unethical actions. Making the wrongdoer “suffer enough’  is not the primary objective. The objective is to make a statement that cannot be misinterpreted now or years from now, that citizens have certain duties to each other, and when those duties are grievously breached, society will show its disapproval—no matter how much the wrongdoer may have suffered.

No such message was sent by this latest ethics shrug from the bench. In the long run, the deep state’s plot worked. Trump’s Presidency was kneecapped; he was defeated for re-election. The news media used the collusion accusation to fill news broadcasts and front pages for years with false innuendo that the President had stolen the election by employing the aid of a hostile power. Revelations of how partisan and corrupt the Justice Department’s efforts were received a fraction of the coverage. A large majority of Democrats still believe the false narrative that Clinesmith facilitated.

Just as Clinesmith’s excuse for changing the email rminded me of Dan Rather, his sentence reminded me of the fictional scene in “Mississippi Burning,” where a local judge, which noting that the men who had pleaded guilty to involvement in the killing of civil rights workers had done “wrong,” lets them off with time served. They grin widely and leave court as heroes.

After all, it worked.

11 thoughts on “Once Again, Unethical Sentencing Using “He’s Suffered Enough”: That’s Not The Message That Needed To Be Sent

  1. In my humble opinion it’s abundantly clear that there have been some terrible things that were done against President Trump and those in his administration, here is an honest question:

    Can President Trump and the ones in his administration that have been forever tarnished by the unethical and illegal slander and libel actions of the political left in undermining the Administration create a massive class action suite against all those that knowingly accused them of criminal acts that they knew were false and by doing so get ALL the evidence from the Administrations point of view into the public eye?

    Yup I know they are public figures, but still the question needs to be answered for me.

    • Additionally:
      I know that when members of Congress are on the House and Senate floor performing their regular duties and presenting speeches they are protected from prosecution by the Constitution and can basically say anything they way; but, what about those prosecutors that stood before the Senate and basically lied to the court and the people of the United States? Can these prosecutors be held accountable for their public slanderous statements? What about the slander from members of Congress about President Trump and his Administration to the media while they were not protected by the Constitution on the Senate or House floors?

      The new anti-Trump, anti-Republican, and anti-Conservative precedents that the political left started in 2016 and continues to this day must be stopped and my gut tells me that if it can’t be curbed using the justice system then eventually bullets will fly.

    • Wasn’t Dinesh D’Souza sentenced to eight months confinement and 5 years probation for using a straw donor to make a 20k campaign donation. Look at who the prosecutor and judge who sentenced him were. Jail isn’t for progressives, only deplorables.

      Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that DINESH D’SOUZA was sentenced in Manhattan federal court to five years of probation, with eight months during the first year to be served in a community confinement center, after having pled guilty to violating the federal campaign election law by making illegal contributions to a United States Senate campaign in the names of others. D’SOUZA was sentenced today before U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman.

      Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stated: “Dinesh D’Souza attempted to illegally contribute over $10,000 to a Senate campaign, wilfully undermining the integrity of the campaign finance process. Like many others before him, of all political stripes, he has had to answer for this crime – here with a felony conviction.”

      According to the Indictment, prior court filings, and statements made in court:

      The Federal Election Campaign Act (the “Election Act”) is designed to limit financial influence in the election of candidates for federal office, including the Office of United States Senator, and provides for the public disclosure of the financing of federal election campaigns. In particular, the Election Act limits the amount and source of money that may be contributed to a federal candidate or that candidate’s authorized campaign committee. The Election Act specifically prohibits any person from making any contribution in the name of another, including reimbursing a third person, before or after that third person’s contribution, as inducement to make that contribution.

      In 2012, the Election Act limited campaign contributions to $5,000 from any individual to any one candidate. In March 2012, D’SOUZA contributed $10,000 to the Senate campaign of Wendy Long on behalf of himself and his wife, agreeing in writing to attribute that contribution as $5,000 from his wife and $5,000 from him. In August 2012, D’SOUZA directed other individuals with whom he was associated, namely his assistant and a woman with whom D’SOUZA was romantically involved (the “Straw Donors”), to make contributions to Wendy Long’s campaign for the United States Senate (the “Long Campaign”) on behalf of themselves and their spouses that totaled $20,000 with the promise that he would reimburse them for the contributions. Later that same day or the next day, D’SOUZA, as promised, reimbursed the Straw Donors $10,000 each in cash for the contributions. When confronted by Ms. Long, D’SOUZA initially misled the candidate before admitting what he had done.

      During the plea proceeding, D’SOUZA admitted before the Court that he caused two close associates to contribute $10,000 each to the Long Campaign with the understanding that he would reimburse them for their contributions and that he did reimburse them. D’SOUZA also admitted that he knew that what he was doing was wrong and something the law forbids.

      * * *

      In addition to the probationary term with confinement to a community center, Judge Berman sentenced D’SOUZA, 53, of San Diego, California, to a mandatory eight-hour day of community service every week of his five-year term of probation, weekly counseling sessions, and ordered him to pay a $30,000 fine, as well as a $100 special assessment.

      Judge Berman previously denied D’SOUZA’s pretrial motion to dismiss the indictment for selective prosecution, ruling that there was “no evidence” to support D’SOUZA’s allegation. In sentencing D’SOUZA, Judge Berman referred to his prior ruling and remarked that “the defendant’s claim of selective prosecution, legally speaking, is ‘all hat, no cattle.’”

      Mr. Bharara praised the investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

      This case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Public Corruption Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Carrie H. Cohen and Paul M. Krieger are in charge of the prosecution.

  2. I am reminded of this quote from the late California Supreme Court justice Stanley Mosk.


    In our system of justice, offenders are not deemed less culpable merely because they may suffer additional punishment from sources outside the legal system. For example, an outwardly respectable person who engages in illicit drug activity is not rendered less blameworthy when his arrest and conviction for that conduct also result in social ostracism and loss of professional status

  3. And yesterday, Schumer announced he was going to quickly repair the judicial system. I take that to mean they will fill the benches with the likes of these judges who are neither competent nor impartial.

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