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Judge Lamberth Smiles as Nick Slatten's Mother Sobs

Veteran Journalist Gina Keating was inside the Washington D.C. courthouse today for the sentencing of Nick Slatten. Several of Slatten's supporters and his defense attorney spoke passionately in one last futile effort to have the Judge decide the case based on the facts rather than his feelings. When Mrs Slatten made her statement, she had difficulty speaking through her tears and sobs. The image was too heartbreaking to bear, so Keating looked towards Judge Lamberth on the bench. He was smiling.

Forget cruel and unusual punishment. Judge Lamberth's behavior throughout this entire case has been cruel and unusual. Today he elevated it to heartless and vindictive.

We will have a more complete report on the sentencing tomorrow. And we will have plenty more to say in an upcoming episode about Judge Lamberth's checkered career. He has presided over the court in a manner beneath the dignity and qualifications required of any government employee. Yet he remains one of the most powerful people in the entire government, serving as the Senior United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.

Nick Slatten risked his life overseas so that tyrants could no longer rob innocent citizens of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Yet today he faced a tyrant that stole all three of these precious freedoms from Nick for the rest of his life. And this tyrant did not commit his injustice in the dark in some foreign area on the globe. He did it in broad daylight in our nation's capitol.

Judge Lamberth was not outfitted like your typical tyrant. He was not wearing military fatigues or clad in the black garb of a jihadist. This tyrant was dressed in a judicial robe, payed for by the taxpayers whose tears bring a smile to his face.

Here is an update penned by Keating shortly after the trial.

Today was one of the most disheartening days I have ever lived through as an American citizen. I sat in a federal courthouse in my nation's capitol and watched an incompetent judge and the corrupt head of the U.S. Department of Justice's criminal division, T. Patrick Martin, put an innocent man in prison for life.

Martin presented no eyewitness or physical evidence that Nick Slatten shot the person he is accused of murdering during a firefight in Baghdad in 2007. Worse, Martin abused his position by hiding from the defense two crucial facts: the DOJ outsourced this investigation to an Iraqi colonel who was working for a jihadist group, and that the father of the alleged victim refused to testify against Nick because he had been told multiple times by the FBI that Paul Slough fired the shot that killed his son. 

One of these prosecutorial misdeeds should have resulted in at the very least - a mistrial with sanctions and possible disbarment for this corrupt lawyer. Yet Judge Lamberth rewarded Martin's behavior by letting stand this flawed verdict of guilt (which the government finally obtained after three trials).

The judge astoundingly remarked from the bench today that Paul Slough's four statements and offer to testify that he shot the person Nick is accused of murdering were "fabricated" and part of some sort of cover up.  Huh? Where is the evidence, Your Honor? Paul made the first of those sworn statements two hours after the shooting and the other three statements before any U.S. agency contemplated filing charges in this case. 

The most depressing part of the whole experience is that my colleagues in the media, including a wire service reporter who pulled me aside after he saw me chasing Martin down the courthouse corridor, have no clue about the breathtaking abuses of power in this case. 

This guy had read the justice department press releases and vomited them onto the page like practically every other reporter from DC who covered this case. This case has been going on for 12 years and he had no sources in the families or the defense team. And he will not dare to question the judge's sanity or T. Patrick Martin's professional morals because somebody powerful might get mad.

Journalists -- government officials are not your friends and you are not cool because you have their cell phone numbers and meet them for drinks after work sometimes. T. Patrick Martin  and Royce Lamberth are two textbook examples of what happens to democracy when no one is watching. Do your damn jobs.