Obama and Holder Prepare To Pounce On Zimmerman Following his Acquittal
By KRISTINA NGU, MATT HUSSFORD, ALEXIS SHAWNEE, LEEZEL TANGLO and DEAN SCHABNERBERG
WASHINGTON, D.C. – George Zimmerman may be celebrating now, but his sense of relief may be short-lived. Within 30 minutes of his acquittal, Attorney General Eric Holder tweeted: “#Zimmerman Smile while you can. There’s a brother in the White House.”
The tweet has drawn criticism by many, including even some former federal prosecutors that once worked under Holder. “Threats and chest-thumping should not be coming from the A.G.,” said one former federal prosecutor who wished to remain anonymous.
Notwithstanding the controversy surrounding the tweet, Holder may have a number of cards to play. As the criminal case against Holder started unraveling, the Justice Department began formulating its strategy. According to sources, President Obama has promised civil rights leaders and even his young daughters that Mr. Zimmerman would be in a federal peniteniary by this Kwanza.
Civil Rights leaders also have been driven into a frenzy by the acquittal. “I don’t care what the jury said,” said Rev. Al Sharpton, the driver of much of the early attention to the case. “When a black teenager gets shot by a white man, white-Hispanic man, or what have you – there’s hell to pay.” Not one to tone down his rhetoric, Sharpton said that black male teens are “[all] as peaceable as yeshiva honor roll students.”
Santa Marino College law professor Aron Dershberger said that the Justice Department may use a legal strategy by which it would prosecute Zimmerman for an unrelated infraction – in particular, unlawful music and movie downloads. “Time and again when the DOJ cannot prove unlawful discrimination, Holder has seized a target’s home computer and looked for uncopyrighted media,” said Dershberger.
“And who really knows if what they claim to find was really there or if it was put there.”
Dershberger compared the strategy to prosecuting organized criminals for tax evasion. “The benefit to going after an enemy for a digital download is that it doesn’t cost much to burst into a guy’s house and grab his computers,” he said. “And who really knows if what they claim to find was really there or if it was put there.”
In 2010 the federal agents raided the home of conservative columnist Jonathan Derbyfield. Derbyfield had been a frequent critic of the administration on conservative blogs. The Justice Department charged Derbyfield with possession of bootleg electronic versions of the film Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan. Although Derbyfield claimed that he had ripped the copy off of a DVD that he had purchased years prior and could not find, he pled guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of criminal violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. He is serving two more years of a four-year sentence.
Former federal prosecutor Jeremy T. Hines said that Zimmerman should grow eyes on the back of his head. “We should expect that Mr. Zimmerman will be in a federal prison within the year,” he said. Hines also said that this administration does not rule out “extrajudicial measures.” Such measures could mean that Zimmerman might be kidnapped and eliminated by federal contractors.