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Friday, March 11, 2011

Before There Was NPRscam, There Was


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  1. Murtha - a crook back then and a crook up until the day he died.

  2. Amazing how time flies - and how we forget. I enjoyed both the young looking reporter Bret Hume, and the clear identification of the party of the Abscammers. Clearly the MSM back then had more integrity, or at least were better at hiding their bias.

    Now our Justice Department doesn't enforce the rule of law. How low we have sunk since then.

  3. Superb catch, thank you!!! Accurate memory liberates.

  4. It has long been asserted (including by various friends of the Kennedys) that Abscam was a politically motivated prosecution, a sting aimed at mostly prominent liberal Democrat supporters of Ted Kennedy, who readers recall was launching a bid to primary Jimmy Carter when for the 1980 Democrat Presidential nomination when the Abscam story broke.

    Indeed, here in New Jersey, U.S. Senator Harrison "Pete" Williams ( whose face is featured in the unplayed video, and Congressman Frank "Thompy" Thompson, Jr., of the Trenton-based 4th District, located in central NJ, were both big Kennedy supporters, as were others like John Murphy (D-NY).

    Thompy, for example, was known as a "liberal's liberal," and had sponsored legislation creating the National Endowments for the Arts and the Kennedy Center.

    In December of 1980, after his indictment in late October, Williams defense team even made a motion to have his federal Abscam indictment dismissed on those very grounds!

    There had so much talk about the Kennedy connection amongst the political chattering classes here in New Jersey, that Williams' lawyers made the motion. But the motion was rejected. He was, of course, ultimately convicted, and lost his appeals.

    The 1980 Presidential election had been won by Ronald Reagan, and here in NJ, the previously unbeatable Thompson had been voted out, losing to then-political unknown, Chris Smith, who had been a "sacrificial lamb" candidate against Thompy, two years before in 1978. Even then, more prominent Republicans feared running against Thompy, and turned down the chance. Sixteen terms later, Chris Smith is still smiling!

    Yet Thompy, who was not mentioned in the clip you embedded of the ABC story that evening, had been caught on tape walking out of his meeting with the sheiks, with a briefcase stuffed with $45,000.00 in cash.

    In early February of 1980, the story broke in the press here in NJ, including the story about Thompy and the briefcase boodle. Off and on, it was front page news for the rest of the political year.

    The previously invincible Thompson was defeated in the November 1980 election by Chris Smith in that very heavily Democrat district, by 20,000 votes. Thompson resigned from Congress in late December, after losing. He had been indicted and ultimately was convicted, and lost he lost his appeals, one of the grounds of which was entrapment. By the way, as an interesting footnote, Thompson's official Congressional biography does not even mention his indictment in Abscam, nor his subsequent conviction.

    John Murtha, meanwhile, escaped prosecution in part for his cooperation with the feds, one element of which was in testifying against both Frank Thompson and Congressman John Murphy (D-NY) at their Abscam trials. He was an "unindicted co-conspirator."

    Though it had nothing to do with Abscam, readers may enjoy the following, demonstrating the importance back then that liberals attached to the possible ousting Jimmy Carter by Ted Kennedy. One of the most famous of those liberal supporters of Kennedy was actor Carroll O'Connor.

    Carter, for his part, last fall (after Kennedy’s death) told Leslie Stall of CBS that Kennedy was directly responsible for preventing Carter from getting health care legislation passed in Congress during his term.