After leaving Congress in 2003, Georgia Congressman Bob Barr reinvented himself politically in dramatic ways. He aligned with the ACLU, began advocating for the legalization of marijuana, and ran for president on the 2008 Libertarian Party ticket. Now Barr is attempting to rejoin the Republican and conservative mainstream in a bid to secure Georgia’s 11th District congressional seat, where he is currently a leading contender.
Barr’s about-face on issues that alienate conservative voters left many wondering what he really stands for. His role in the notoriously corrupt defense of now-convicted child molester Ed Kramer should raise more questions in voters’ minds. Here is my previous post on Kramer’s decade-long manipulation of the justice system.
Edward Kramer, co-founder of the sci-fi and fantasy convention, Dragoncon, pled guilty in a Georgia courtroom yesterday to three counts of child molestation in a case that has been delayed thirteen years, thanks to repeated efforts by Kramer himself to claim medical incapacity. Barr served as Kramer’s attorney until early 2013, when he decided to run for office again. But Barr did not just serve as Kramer’s lawyer: he held the sci-fi purveyor up as the victim of a religion-fuelled witch-hunt; he helped him deceive the court regarding his client’s capacity to sit through a trial, and he helped him acquire an eyebrow-raising bond agreement that enabled Kramer to flee the state illegally, resulting in Kramer’s arrest in 2012 for endangering another child — a 14 year old boy Kramer had in his motel room in Connecticut.
As if these facts aren’t bad enough, Barr used the molester’s defense to promote his new libertarian politics. You cannot separate the Kramer case from the person Barr is offering to voters, even if he tries to distance himself now.
In 2007 Barr told an audience at the Federalist Society that Kramer was a victim of his new pet peeve, prosecutorial over-reach. Despite the fact that it was Kramer himself who had created the delays, Barr insisted that it was the fault of the state. The video of Barr promoting Kramer’s case as a civil rights issue has, curiously, been scrubbed from the internet in the last 24 hours, but Barr’s incredibly sophomoric amicus brief on behalf of Kramer is going to be harder to erase. Barr should be called on to re-release the video: he isn’t running for dog-catcher; he’s running for Congress, and his behavior and expressed beliefs between 2003 and 2013 should not be hidden from voters this way.
Ed Kramer, Out and About
Ed Kramer claimed for more than a decade that his medical condition prevented him from participating in a trial. He claimed he was in excruciating pain, that he couldn’t walk or move or sit up, that he was not able to breathe. Yet there are pictures of him from this time happily participating in a Dragoncon convention, and after Barr helped him get cut free from house arrest (a strange request from an invalid), he fled to another state and began filming a movie, where he was caught with the 14-year old boy in his custody. He continues to play these legal games today.
Barr was not just Kramer’s defense attorney: he helped Kramer remain free through serial deception, then he helped Kramer blame the system — and the public — for trial delays he had actually created. Along the way, Barr used Kramer’s case to assert that our justice system is corrupt and untrustworthy. This is Barr’s political record for the last six years: by all means let him run on it.
Kramer avoided trial for almost a decade. He was released from house arrest in 2009 and the case remained in a holding pattern for two more years before he was allegedly spotted in a Milford, Conn., hotel room with an unsupervised 14-year-old boy.
Barr stayed involved in the Kramer case until it didn’t until it didn’t serve his political goals to be involved anymore. He even lacks a strong commitment to injustice, is the best that might be said.