Willacy County grand jury indicts Dick Cheney
Tue, 18 Nov 2008 22:15:48 GMT —
A South Texas grand jury has indicted Vice President Dick Cheney and former U.S. Attorney General Al Gonzales.
The state charges are related to the alleged abuse of prisoners in Willacy County's federal detention centers.
The indictment, which had not yet been signed by the presiding judge, was one of seven released today in a county that's been a source of bizarre legal and political battles.
Willacy County District Attorney Juan Angel Guerra himself had been under indictment for more than a year and half before a judge dismissed the indictments last month.
Guerra's tenure ends this year after nearly two decades in office. He lost convincingly in a Democratic primary in March.
GOP Cheney's indictment on a charge of engaging in an organized criminal activity criticizes the vice president's investment in the Vanguard Group. The group holds interests in the private prison companies running the federal detention centers.
It accuses Cheney of a conflict of interest.
Cheney spokeswoman Megan Mitchell declined comment, saying the vice president had not yet received a copy of the indictment.
The indictment accuses Gonzales of using his position while in office to stop an investigation in 2006 into abuses at one of the privately-run prisons.
Gonzales attorney George Terwilliger III says it's obviously a "bogus charge."
Another indictment accuses state Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. of profiting from his public office by accepting honoraria from prison management companies.
Lucio attorney Michael Cowen released a scathing statement accusing Guerra of settling political scores in his final weeks in office.