Monday, October 19, 2009


District Attorney Michael Green this morning withdrew his felony charge against Monroe County Republican Executive Director Andrew Moore

"[F]rom the outset, the substance of the felony charge appeared in question," the Democrat and Chronicle observed in its story on this morning's development.

Of course it did.   Because, as we've pointed out on numerous occasions, all Moore did was to write a mailing piece for a political campaign.   For that, he was arrested for violating a law that requires offering or giving a reward to a public official, who then engages in misconduct.

To date, the DA's office has never said what the alleged reward was.   It has not responded with a "bill of particulars" on any of its charges against Moore.   A "bill of particulars" is a statement by the prosecutor describing what the accused person actually did to break the law.

Now we know why.   As the DA himself admitted to reporters this morning, after reviewing the evidence presented to the grand jury, he concluded that there isn't evidence to support the charge.   (Just what we've been saying for the past five weeks.)   No wonder Moore's indictment was described by a professor of criminal law as "funny," except for the person going through it.

This is a major embarrassment for the Monroe County District Attorney's office, as it is whenever a prosecutor's office presents an indictment to a grand jury, only to have to withdraw it later for lack of substance.   We give credit to Mr. Green for correcting this matter after his recent review of the charge, which was brought to the Grand Jury by Assistant DA William Gargan.   But, as reporters asked Green this morning:   Why wasn't a charge this serious reviewed before presenting it to the Grand Jury?   Channel 10 has video of Green's defensive and less-than-convincing response.

Today's action seems more characteristic of the Mike Green to whom we looked up and admired, until his office fraudulently indicted Mr. Moore in an action reeking of politics.

Nevertheless, Green still has not withdrawn the three misdemeanor charges against Moore.   If Assistant DA Gargan misrepresented the felony charge to the Grand Jury, that taints the entire Grand Jury presentation   The misdemeanor charges require proving coercion and showing that Moore acted as an accomplice to Robutrad ringleader Robert Morone, when Morone allegedly pressured a county employee into signing a letter to be used in a political campaign.   Yet all Moore did was to write a campaign letter  --  an act no more criminal than going out for a cup of coffee.

Mike Green holds an office distinguished by predecessors such as Howard Relin and Don Chesworth.   Today Green began to redeem it, and himself, from an unworthy act.   We may now be witnessing a struggle between Green's conscience and the demands of Joe Morelle to deliver Democratic victories next month through abusive prosecutions.

Listen to your conscience, Mr. Green.   Fire your rogue prosecutor William Gargan, whose overreaching in the Moore matter has damaged your reputation and credibility.   Vindicate your reputation by dropping the remaining misdemeanor charges against Andrew Moore.   You'll sleep better, and you'll be able to look in the mirror without wincing.

Credit to Green for not doing this on a Friday, when the story would be buried because of the weekend.   Credit to him for reversing the action of Assistant DA Gargan, who should have known better.   Gargan has now set himself up for unethical conduct claims, for presenting to a Grand Jury a charge lacking "probable cause."

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