Obama and the IRS’s worst nightmare has come true. The Judicial Watch lawsuit against the IRS drew Judge Emmit Sullivan. The name may not be familiar to you, but anyone who tracks his cases can tell you he’s tough but fair. Fair is the last thing Obama wants. The IRS ditto. The IRS will now have to explain to the judge why they did not tell the court the emails were missing.
Now, I know what you are thinking. It doesn’t matter what the judge does, Obama will ignore him. Uh uh. Judge Sullivan does not like people playing games in his court. He presided over the case of the DOJ vs Sen. Ted Stevens. When he found out about the prosecutors hiding exculpatory evidence against Stevens, he immediately vacated his conviction, then appointed a special prosecutor to investigate the three prosecutors and the DOJ.
Didn’t know some judges have the power to name a special prosecutor? They do, but usually they don’t. Judge Sullivan has and will. He is livid about the IRS withholding information about the emails. When Judicial Watch laid out their case and the IRS laid out theirs, everyone expected it to take at least a week if not weeks before the judge would decide to hear the case. It took him all of two hours and I suspect that included his lunch hour.
The judge may at his discretion appoint a Special Prosecutor with wide ranging powers granted by the judge. He can order the IRS, the DOJ, and possibly even the White House to cooperate fully. If they fail to do so, he can summarily put them in jail until they agree to cooperate. In the case of the three prosecutors, it was determined that two of the prosecutors were responsible but they could not prove intent. Nonetheless they were both suspended without pay. One for 15 days and one for 45 days.
He is somewhat limited. He can not have Obama locked up, but Holder and Koskinen are fair game. He can force Lerner to testify to the special prosecutor on the missing emails. She can claim the fifth, but that’s the same as an admission of guilt. Contrary to Lerner’s statement to the Oversight Committee, the Fifth Amendment is not to protect the innocent, it’s to protect the guilty. It’s illegal to claim the Fifth to avoid testifying, unless you are withholding self incriminating testimony.
However, Judge Sullivan could rule that since Lerner supposedly answered questions asked by the Justice Department, she is ineligible to claim the Fifth.
Neither the IRS nor the Justice Department can refuse to make witnesses available to the prosecution. That would be contempt of court. It would also make Judge Sullivan very angry, and by all accounts, that is not something you want to do.
Judge Sullivan wasted no time setting a date of July 10th to hear the case. It would not be wise for the IRS to ask for a postponement. And slipping a coverup past him is like trying to sneak a steak past a pit bull.