It makes no legal sense. I suspect attorneys across America are scratching their heads.
James Comey, Director of the FBI, declared Tuesday that Hillary Clinton was “extremely careless” in her handling of very sensitive and highly classified information on her unauthorized and unsecured email server while serving as Secretary of State.
Those words, “extremely careless” mean something important in the law. Consider the relevant federal criminal statute which reads:
“Whoever, being entrusted with… any document relating to the national defense… through gross negligence permits the same to be removed from its proper place of custody… shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.” (18 U.S.C., section 793-f)
James Comey is a former U.S. Attorney. Yet, he exhibited an astonishing ignorance of the law. He laid out a case of gross negligence constituting a crime, defined it with the words “extremely careless” and then promptly proceeded to ignore the law.
The key phrase is “gross negligence”. What does it mean? Every lawyer and judge in America knows its meaning. It is defined in standard jury instructions and just about every legal treatise that exists.
It means extremely careless.
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Black’s Law Dictionary is the legal bible upon which attorneys rely. Check it out. You’ll find that gross negligence is described and defined as extreme carelessness. At least, my edition does.
Even a layman’s contemporary resource, Wikipedia, is instructive. Google the words, “gross negligence”. The first sentence reads, “Gross negligence is a legal concept which means serious carelessness”. Close enough.
Since Comey, by his own words, all but declared that Clinton broke a criminal law, how could he then say he would not recommend criminal prosecution? Again, it makes no sense.
Comey is a former U.S. Attorney. Yet, he exhibited an astonishing ignorance of the law. He laid out a case of gross negligence constituting a crime, defined it with the words “extremely careless” and then promptly proceeded to ignore the law.
I have been a lawyer for 36 years. Never have I witnessed such an illogical rationale and conclusion.
It makes me wonder whether Comey slept through his first year course entitled, “Criminal Law.”
Gregg Jarrett is a Fox News Anchor and former defense attorney.