[Updated at noon with Johnson County investigation]
By Diane Silver
Honestly, this isn't turning into an All-Paul Morrison-All-The-Time Blog, but I do want to keep up with events. Here's the latest on the situation and a little perspective from me.
Hints of how the AG's personal battle could impact a Kansas county can be found at the News Cow web site. The vice chair of the Kansas Democratic Party reports on her telephone conversation with Morrison. Morrison's fate is dear to Cowley County because he is prosecuting Justin Thurber, who has been charged with murdering Jodi Sanderholm.
The Kansas City Star puts Gov. Kathleen Sebelius on the spot by calling on her to appoint a special prosecutor.
The Topeka Capital Journal reports that Morrison has formally asked the state agency that polices attorneys to investigate the allegations.
Wichita Eagle Editorial Board Member Brent Castillo writes that despite his Christian belief in redemption, he doesn't think Morrison is worth, well, redeeming. Note that Castillo does extend his compassion to Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich, David Vitter, John McCain and Rudy Giuliani.
Despite disagreeing with Castillo on a few issues, I have to admit that he does point to what may be the most impossible aspect of Morrison's situation. Castillo writes:
(T)he more serious accusations of meddling in the affairs of (current Johnson County District Attorney Phill) Kline have yet to be debunked. If Morrison can't convince Kansans that they're false, he should leave immediately.
Here's the problem: Morrison's alleged meddling apparently only occurred in private, confidential conversations with lover Linda Carter. So far, I know of no allegations that Morrison took any action against Kline.
Unless a smoking-gun document, videotape or audiotape lurks somewhere, the entire situation boils down to she said-he said. If that's true, then how can Morrison clear his name? How can he possibly prove that he never once in private said the wrong thing to Carter? Even if Morrison can legally prove his innocence, how can he win in the the court of public opinion? How do you prove what wasn't said in private?
Finally, I'm sending out a well-deserved jeer to the Lawrence Journal-World. The newspaper dedicated an entire story to Republican attacks on Democrat Morrison without including one comment from Morrison or his staff (except for his blanket denial), or from any Democrat, or even from a neutral legal expert or political scientist. The story read more than a little like a GOP news release.
Oh my... this is getting curiouser and curiouser. The Kansas City Star is reporting:
Johnson County commissioners today authorized District Attorney Phill Kline to spend an initial $25,000 to investigate alleged wrongdoing that Kline said involved blackmail and telephone harassment.
Kline said he had evidence of criminal wrongdoing, but refused to confirm who the target of the investigation was. However, the inquiry is believed to involve allegations surrounding a sex scandal involving Kansas Attorney General Paul Morrison.
My first thought on this: Is this going to turn into a death by a thousand cuts?
New blog post added:
Thoughts From Kansas weighs in by shining the spotlight on GOP Chair Kris Kobach's involvement with a hate group and adding some thoughts on Morrison.
[2nd update]Johnson County Sun Chairman Steve Rose explains his call for the resignation of his old friend.
Jack Miles, one of Rose's editors argues that "failure as a husband does not equate to failure as a prosecutor" and says Morrison should stay on the job.
The Parsons Sun editorializes on the situation and can't quite decide if Morrison should resign.
The Hays Daily News editorializes that calls for Morrison's resignation are premature.