Carla Martin is Still in Trouble
You probably don't remember Carla Martin. Heck, you probably don't even remember Zacarias Moussaoui now that he has been relegated to history's garbage can (aka the "Supermax" federal prison in Florence Colorado). For those of you whose attention has drifted elsewhere, Martin is the hapless federal aviation attorney who this spring almost derailed the prosecution of Moussaoui, the Al Qaeda conspirator, when she improperly tipped off prosecution witnesses to in-court testimony by providing them with transcripts they weren't supposed to see. Thanks to a good piece today by the Post's Jerry Markon we now know that Martin is still in deep trouble for her transgression-- and that she's apparently not holding up well.
Citing Martin's mother, Markon reports that: "The woman at the center of the storm is emotionally distraught, crying when she talks about the criminal investigation and feeling like a prisoner in her own apartment, Martin's mother said last week. 'She's not doing very well. It's terrible, devastating for her,' said Jean Martin Lay, who believes that her daughter did nothing wrong. 'She doesn't do much of anything but stay at home, as far as I know.'" I don't blame her. According to the Post, all sorts of federal investigators and prosecutors-- not to mention Pennsylvania's lawyer discipline board-- still are circling around Martin trying to determine whether and to what extent she ought to be punished.
U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema called Martin's conduct "egregious." It certainly was unforgivable. And while it is easy to feel sympathy for someone whose professional life probably was ruined in a few moments of stupidity, the nation's doghouses (not to mention its prisons) are filled with people who have made similar serious errors of judgment. Whatever Martin's motivations may have been, you just can't have federal attorneys cheating the way she did to help prosecutors in their capital case agianst Moussaoui.
We've seen plenty of high-profile folks lately (hello there, Martha Stewart) used as "examples" for federal prosecutors who want the rest of us to know they are serious about this crime or that crime. My guess is that the feds will move soon on Martin and, if they don't, that Judge Brinkema or the folks in Pennsylvania will. And when that happens she will again become a symbol, a teaching tool, if you will, of how not to behave when you work for the government and under a gag order.
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