In hiring radical Harvard Law professor Ronald Sullivan to help in the prosecution of Republic Gov. Eric Greitens, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner may unwittingly help Greitens’s political rehabilitation.
Sullivan has the kind of background that makes even anti-Greitens Republicans see how blatantly political his prosecution has become. The fact that Sullivan is from Harvard is bad enough. He also served as the chair of the Criminal Justice Advisory Committee during Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.
More troubling, Sullivan is a founding member and senior fellow of the Jamestown Project, an entity funded by George Soros’s Open Society Foundations. The Soros connection could not have bothered Gardner. A Soros-funded super PAC poured $200,000 into her campaign for the circuit attorney job, the St. Louis equivalent of district attorney.
One claim repeatedly made on Sullivan’s behalf, almost assuredly with his approval, is that he “fights to free wrongfully convicted people from jail — in fact, he has freed some 6,000 innocent people over the course of his career.”
The number should give all editors who repeat it pause. There may not be 6,000 innocent people in all of America’s prisons. The story behind that number shows the boast for what it is. In reality, Sullivan designed an indigent defense delivery system that resulted in freeing nearly all of the 6,000 inmates incarcerated in and around New Orleans whose official records were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. The great majority of those inmates sent back into the streets were likely guilty.
Among the “innocents” whose legacy Sullivan defended was Usaamah Rahim. Rahim and cohorts were allegedly planning to behead Jewish-American activist Pam Geller when the police and FBI intervened. Instead of yielding to multiple request to put down his 13-inch knife, Rahim advanced on the officers, and they shot and killed him. Video captured the entire sequence.
Despite Sullivan’s efforts, all the officers involved were fully exonerated. So too was Ferguson Police Office Darren Wilson in Ferguson, again despite the efforts of Sullivan in assisting the family of Michael Brown.
If Sullivan were genuinely interested in helping the innocent, he might want to join Greitens’s defense team. The case against Greitens looks shakier by the day. But then again, given Sullivan’s real track record, the Greitens team might be better off without him, Harvard credentials or not.