Mary, Mary, Why You Buggin’?

Wednesday, May 21st, 2008

Pittsburgh-based U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan is back in the news. You may remember her from such hits as, "the first federal obscenity case in 20 years," "the railroading of Dr. Bernard Rottschaefer," "the overtly political prosecution of Dr. Cyril Wecht," and "I spent $12 million in taxpayer money to convict Tommy Chong of selling bongs."

Buchanan’s latest effort is a sting on companies that sell masking devices to help people pass drug tests. Earlier this month, federal agents raided nine locations in six states where they suspected sales of products like the "Whizzinator," made famous by actor Tom Sizemore and Minnesota Vikings running back Onterrio Smith. There’s no specific federal law criminalizing the sale of masking products, and none of the sites raided by federal agents were actually in Buchanan’s district. My guess is that she’s likely to charge manufacturers who ship the products into states that do have broad drug paraphernalia laws, or that have specific laws against masking products, under federal conspiracy statutes.

But it gets better. In the raid on Spectrum Labs in Newport, Kentucky, federal agents seized 8,000-10,000 copies of the movie AKA Tommy Chong. The movie is a documentary critical of Buchanan and the federal government’s persecution of Chong. Federal agents apparently think it’s drug paraphernalia.

"It’s a way to punish the distributor financially," Mr. Chong said. "There’s no way to get the DVDs back until the investigation is over." Mr. Chong said he has no ownership in the film.

He called the documentary a "focal point" of the raid. It was released about a month ago, and sales were slow, Mr. Chong said.

"It’s selling like crazy now, thanks to Mary Beth. She’s brought us a nice publicity gimmick."

Buy your very own copy of the movie here.

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7 Responses to “Mary, Mary, Why You Buggin’?”

  1. #1 |  Ragnar Danneskjöld | 

    What a spectacular waste of taxpayer money and effort.

    After seeing Buchanan in the trailer of the Chong movie it becomes quite apparent why she chose US Attorney. The girls at librarian college were probably way to wild and reckless for her.

  2. #2 |  gospazha | 

    Perhaps those DVDs won’t be returned at all, under asset forfeiture laws.

    Then, the government would probably have to sell (auction) off the videos. What a better conclusion than that. The government is selling DVDs with content criticizing its actions. Oh, the irony!

  3. #3 |  Bill | 

    Tommy Chong said it best when he stated:

    “It’s (the seizure of the DVDs) a way to punish the distributor financially. There’s no way to get the DVDs back until the investigation is over.”

    Since Chong has no ownership in the film, a/k/a Tommy Chong, how is this action legal? Should we start worry about you Radley? Will Mary Beth Buchanan send her storm troopers in to seize your computer, etc. because you dare to publish news stories that do not inflate her ego and stature.

  4. #4 |  Bill | 

    “Perhaps those DVDs won’t be returned at all, under asset forfeiture laws.”

    There is no asset forfeiture law that would cover the seizure of these DVD’s. Since Chong is not involved in the publication of the film and makes no profit from its release, the film makers are not violating any law associated with criminals benefiting monetarily from a crime.

    As for the drug paraphernalia claim, the US Attorney can only seize assets and profits related to such activities. The film distribution is a separate entity.

    I assume though that Mary Beth Buchanan will use her position and power as a US Attorney to force the lab into some sort of plea deal in which they stop marketing the DVD’s that question Buchanan’s actions. What ever happen to free speech in the nation?

  5. #5 |  Frank | 

    Free speech really no longer exists in the United States. From the no-fly list to raids like this, the frog is slowly boiling.

    The only thing that hasn’t happened yet is the final fascist raid on Radley, J.D. Tucille and other bloggers that end with the target kneeling in the middle of the street in front of his house for the summary execution.

    I expect the surviving family to be handed a bill for the round of ammunition the JBT used in the execution.

  6. #6 |  ZappaCrappa | 

    Give the lady a break…bureaucrats have to justify their otherwise meaningless existence on the public dole somehow….

  7. #7 |  asscore | 

    What I want to know is when people are gonna come around to advocating violence against the people who help destroy this country.

    This lady deserves destruction.

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