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Interviews with numerous legal experts suggest that Colorado US Attorney Troy Eid misled reporters and diverged from state law when declining to prosecute any of the three men arrested in Denver for threatening to assassinate Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama.
Eid, who was appointed by President George W. Bush in 2006, declined to prosecute the three men on charges of threatening to assassinate Barack Obama during his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention, saying that the suspects were "just a bunch of meth heads" and their words failed to meet the legal standard for "true threat."
But multiple legal experts interviewed by RAW STORY -- including criminal and constitutional law scholars, former Assistant US Attorneys and Denver-area defense lawyers also familiar with Colorado state law -- agreed that voluntary intoxication is not exculpatory and that such a claim, especially for a prosecutor, is unorthodox. While it may be presented in an effort to reduce a sentence after a conviction, experts say it is normally the domain of defense counsel.
"It's very unusual," says Scott Horton, a Columbia Law School professor who also writes for Harper's Magazine. "Basically, you have a US Attorney trotting out the sort of arguments that defense counsel makes on a plea for reduced sentencing."
Legal experts say that Eid's definition of true threat directly conflicts with the statue covering threats to presidential candidates, 18 U.S.C. 879, which defines the threat as "whoever knowingly and willfully threatens to kill, kidnap, or inflict bodily harm upon a major candidate for the office of President or Vice President, or a member of the immediate family of such candidate."