Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Morning Joe Pro Bono Lawyer for Abortion Doctor Killer

Prior to the murder this week of Dr.George Tiller, there have been several other murders of abortion doctors, clinic nurses and receptionists, bombings, and arsons. There are daily vigils and protests outside womens health clinics, and women seeking health care services are harassed. It is a federal crime to interfere with access to a womens health clinic, however, many law enforcement officials are as ambivalent about abortion as the general population and thus, resistant to enforcing that particular law as carefully as they should.

An article in The Village Voice provides a detailed report about a popular talking-head, MSNBC's Morning Joe Scarborough. He has an interesting history relative to abortion doctors and to abortion clinic protection. It's a history I'm sure that many of his (political) guests and listeners are unaware of, and one that he would much rather be left in the past.

Prior to becoming a talking head on the tv machine, Joe Scarborough was an attorney in Pensacola, Florida. The abortion rights movement was beginning to heat up (this was back in the early 1990's) and the first abortion doctor, Dr. David Gunn, was murdered in 1993, in Pensacola.

Guess who became the defense attorney? Joe Scarborough. Who, by the way, was not a criminal defense attorney and was not death qualified to defend what could be potentially a capital case. The defendant, Michael Griffin, had a court-appointed attorney, but Joe Scarborough stepped in, pro-bono. He later said that Michael Griffin's father was friends with his (Joe's) then wife's father (which they have neither confirmed).

Scarborough eventually brought in a criminal defense attorney and withdrew from the case. In handwritten letters to the Village Voice, Griffin (serving a life sentence) states that Scarborough tried to stay on the case despite Scarboroughs claims to the contrary.

"According to Griffin, Joe told him "several times" that he would represent him at trial and that he "had three friends still in law school who would help him," adding: "I have an exact memory on this point."

Scarborough eventually entered politics on the fame garnered from this trial. The article states that:

"His GOP opponent, Lois Benson, charged then that Scarborough "sought headlines by trying to defend Michael Griffin." ... "A University of West Florida political scientist, James Witt, told the Associated Press that abortion was "a factor" in Scarborough's win, though Scarborough insists that it wasn't."

Going on to say:

"The largest donor to Scarborough's cash-starved campaign was the National Right to Life Committee, which donated $15,210. The second-largest donor—at $8,113—was the Eagle Forum, founded by Phyllis Schlafly, the chair of the Republican National Coalition for Life."

Congress passed legislation to provide additional protection to women's health clinics only after overcoming Republican opposition.

"Within five weeks of Scarborough's arrival in Washington in 1995 (as part of Newt Gingrich's "Contract With America" revolution), Democrat Pat Schroeder tried to amend a law-enforcement block grant bill to permit—not mandate—the use of the funds to protect abortion clinics. Not only did Scarborough vote against that unsuccessful amendment, he opposed one introduced by a Republican that called for protecting "medical or health facilities." One legislator at the time is now a popular talking head, Joe Scarborough of Morning Joe fame on MSNBC."

No wonder Morning Joe hasn't had anything to say about the murder of Dr.Tiller. I wonder why no one has asked Morning Joe his opinion about the murder? I wonder why none of his MSNBC colleagues have asked Morning Joe for his take on the issue?

Thanks for stopping by. Come back soon.

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