Sunday, January 26, 2003

Pontifex Maximus update

On Friday the Chicago Tribune reported that Matt Hale's arrest came about in large part because his security chief was also an FBI informant.

There was this eyebrow-raiser:

In a Dec. 4 e-mail to the FBI source labeled "assignment," Hale requested that the man find Lefkow's home address, Assistant U.S. Atty. Dave Weissman said.

The following day, Hale and the source had a recorded conversation in which the man told Hale he was working on getting Lefkow's address, Weissman said.

"When we get it, we going to exterminate the rat?" the source asked, according to a transcript Weissman read.

"Well, whatever you want to do basically," Hale allegedly responded.

"The Jew rat," the source said.

"You know, my position has always been that I, you know, I'm going to fight within the law . . . but that information has been provided; if you wish to do anything yourself, you can," Hale responded, according to Weissman.

A couple of observations:

-- If this is the primary evidence in the prosecution's case, it seems pretty weak. This is more in the vein of a "Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?" enticement to murder, and seems unlikely to persuade a jury, especially considering that it's clear the informant is pushing Hale. However, it's important to remember -- especially in federal cases like this -- that these kinds of prosecutions are built on large sums of evidence, and we haven't begun to see everything that's there. (Today's Tribune story mentions this as well.) Best, as always, to let the jury decide.

-- The really creepy thing about this exchange is that it sounds like we're overhearing Matt Hale flashing back to a conversation he had with Benjamin Smith sometime in the summer of 1999, shortly before July 2.

No comments: