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Vice President Cheney, Ex-AG Gonzales Indicted in South Texas Prison Abuse Case

Posted Nov 18, 2008 7:12 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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A grand jury in South Texas has indicted Vice President Dick Cheney and former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales—as well as a former U.S. attorney and two state court judges—concerning their alleged contribution to claimed prisoner abuse at federal detention centers in Willacy County.

"Gonzales is accused of using his position while in office to stop an investigation into abuses at the federal detention centers," reports the Brownsville Herald.

Both he and Cheney are alleged in the Willacy County indictment to have engaged in organized criminal activity, the newspaper adds.

A subsequent Associated Press article about the charges today states that the county "has been a source of bizarre legal and political battles under the outgoing prosecutor," District Attorney Juan Angel Guerra. (He lost the Democratic primary this year, after almost two decades in office.)

Attorney George Terwilliger III, who represents Gonzales, described the indictment against his client as "obviously a bogus charge on its face, as any good prosecutor can recognize" and said Texas authorities should stop "this abuse of the criminal justice system," the news agency states.

The accusations against Cheney apparently revolve around his reported investment in the Vanguard Group, which in turn invested in a private company that runs the prisons.

Several other individuals also were indicted concerning alleged prison abuse, including two state district court judges, Janet Leal and Migdalia Lopez, according to KRGV 5.

In an update to the original Herald story that includes information from the Associated Press, the newspaper says that the defendants also include, but are not limited to, former U.S. Attorney Mervyn Mosbacher.

"They all face a stream of criminal charges including abuse of office, profiting from office, and murder," the Herald writes, apparently referring to a group of defendants that includes the prosecutor and the judges. The newspaper article does not, however, expressly state that Cheney and Gonzales are among the defendants facing these charges, and it appears that Cheney and Gonzales may have been indicted separately from these other defendants.

KRGV reports that "some of the attorneys involved say they plan to file motions to quash the indictments."

Updated at 9 p.m. to include information from more recent Associated Press article.

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