November 27, 2008
Hopes media won’t ‘let it die’
Willacy County District Attorney Juan Angel Guerra spoke to two Texas television stations Wednesday night regarding his investigation of injustice within the prison systems which led to the indictment by a Texas grand jury of Vice President Dick Cheney and former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, along with other officials.
Cheney’s stake in the Vanguard Group, which holds interests in the private prison companies that run the detention centers, was cited in the indictment. Cheney is accused of a conflict of interest and “at least misdemeanor assaults” on detainees through his ownership interest.
Gonzales is accused of using his position during his time as Attorney General to block an investigation into abuses at the detention centers, located in south Texas.
Democratic state Senator Eddie Lucio Jr. is also named in the indictment, Willacy County District Attorney Juan Angel Guerra said. Lucio’s attorney, Michael R. Cowen, called Guerra a “one-man circus.” “In the March 2008 Democratic Primary,” he added, “70 percent of the Willacy County voters elected to remove Juan Guerra…Now, with only a few weeks left in his term, Mr. Guerra has again chosen to misuse his position in an attempt to seek revenge on those who he sees as political enemies.”
Guerra told KVEO 23, an NBC affiliate in Texas, that “elected officials were embedded into the prison business and that it goes all the way to the top.”
“Now that these indictments have seen the light of day, Guerra says, it’s important they are not quashed,” the station reported.
“I’m going to try and do what I can do,” Guerra told KVEO. “Impose it to you guys, and educate you guys, so you don’t let it die.”
On ABC affiliate KRGV Newschannel 5, Guerra showed “records that he says could be used to prove Dick Cheney is guilty of criminal activity.”
“Greed will get you discovered and arrested every time, and that’s what happened to Cheney,” Guerra said.
Excerpts from KRGV’s report:
Guerra says he went through Cheney’s financial records and the prison companies’ financial records and found the connection. The three top prison companies Guerra researched were Corrections Corporation of America, GEO Group and Cornell. Those three have the Vanguard Group in common, which is an investment company that puts money into all three prison companies.
“We knew Vanguard was the key,” said Guerra.
Guerra showed us the Vice President’s financial disclosure from last year and it shows he owned shares in the Vanguard Group. Guerra estimates Cheney has $85 million invested in Vanguard and in turn, into the prison companies.
“The problem you have is he now has a direct interest,” said Guerra. And according to Guerra, it’s a direct interest in making sure the prison companies stay in business.