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Criminal Justice

Assistant US attorney’s derogatory Facebook comments about ‘Dalibama’ and Trayvon Martin are probed

Posted Aug 15, 2013 7:06 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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An assistant U.S. attorney in Beaumont, Texas, is being scrutinized because of his derogatory comments on Facebook about President Obama and Trayvon Martin.

John Craft, a lawyer in the criminal division, posted the comments on a private Facebook page, the Beaumont Enterprise reports.

In one post, Craft showed an image of a graphic that said, "Obama: Why Stupid People Shouldn't Vote," according to the story. He also wrote that "low information voters carried the day for the Dalibama in the last election."

Craft also commented on the Trayvon Martin case, in which George Zimmerman was acquitted in the death of the teen who had gone to the store to buy Skittles and Arizona iced tea, the story says. Craft wrote: "How are you fixed for Skittles and Arizona watermelon fruitcocktail (and maybe a bottle of Robitussin, too) in your neighborhood? I am fresh out of ‘purple drank.’ So, I may come by for a visit. In a rainstorm. In the middle of the night. In a hoodie. Don't get upset or anything if you see me looking in your window... kay?"

Craft told the newspaper his posts are not related to the U.S. Attorney’s office. U.S. Attorney John Malcolm Bales told the publication he did not agree with Craft's comments and any discriminatory sentiments are "reprehensible." In a separate story by the Beaumont Enterprise, Bales said he was reviewing the remarks with the Justice Department to see if they violated any department policies that could bring disciplinary action. "We are looking for any expression that would bring DOJ disrepute," he said.

Defense lawyer Norman Silverman told the newspaper he is seeking to delay sentencing for a Hispanic client being prosecuted by Craft. Silverman wants to review the prosecutor’s files to compare sentencing length for minorities and whites.

"It may show something. It may show nothing," Silverman said. "As a prudent defense lawyer, you have to try to investigate further."

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