Sunday, October 02, 2005

Prosecutor Takes Aim at Both Sides of Aisle - Los Angeles Times

Prosecutor Takes Aim at Both Sides of Aisle - Los Angeles Times: "In the 1980s, Jim Mattox was the attorney general of Texas and one of the most powerful figures in the state — mentioned as a future governor and, maybe, more. Today, he is a real estate lawyer.

A turning point came in 1983, when the district attorney in Austin, Ronnie Earle, indicted Mattox on bribery charges. He was acquitted, but the damage was done. Mattox had spent $300,000 on attorneys. His political career began to peter out.

'Ronnie Earle had visions of grandeur,' said Mattox, now 62. 'He was using it as a stepping stone.'

Two decades later, Earle is going after another powerful Texas politician, and the defense is no different. When he indicted U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay on Wednesday, the Texas Republican lashed out at Earle, calling him an 'unabashed partisan zealot.'

Just one hitch: Earle may be a Democrat, but, he said, so were 12 of the 15 politicians he has indicted over the years, including Mattox. Even Mattox said Wednesday that Earle long had targeted people on both sides of the political aisle, roiling the halls of power in Austin — and now Washington — at every turn."


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