Wednesday, May 01, 2002
Vice President Dick Cheney's drunken, brawling, Tyson-esque Secret Service agents won't be facing charges for thier part in a brawl that left a local man missing part of his ear.
The North County Times reported that the whole situation was so muddled that no one could be convicted of anything.
Whatever the comment, a fight broke out between Zachary Elson and (Secret Service Agent) Ward (Kelly). Witnesses told investigators eight to 15 people were brawling with the agents before the agents left without their van.
"Zachary Elson admitted that he attempted to take Agent Ward's gun," the letter said. "Agent Ward stated that he bit Elson's ear to prevent him from taking the gun."
Under the circumstances, the District Attorney's office can't declare that Ward's actions amounted to a criminal act or if Zachary Elson was aware that Ward was a federal officer.
The District Attorney's office also couldn't determine "whether Joshua Elson's act of kicking Agent Ward in the head was justifiable defense of another or a violation of the law," Anear's letter said.
"For these reasons, and given the nature and quality of the evidence in this case, we believe that it is highly unlikely that any jury would find (anyone) guilty beyond a reasonable doubt."
The North County Times identified the agents as Ward Kelly, Todd Bagby, Robert Keane and Patrick Keegan. The district attorney's office had refused to release the names earlier. However, from reading the story, I suspect that Ward Kelly is really Kelly Ward. As a former North County Times copyeditor/page designer, it doesn't surprise me that something like this got through.
While no charges will be brought against the agents, they certainly need to be kept on a shorter leash. Maybe they should spend some time on former President Clinton's detail -- that would keep them on their toes.