Note: You can visit The MacDonald Case website for a multitude of information about the case. It advocates on behalf of MacDonald. Wikipedia provides a distilled summary of the case.
MacDonald, now 68, was granted the hearing based on defense contentions that newly tested DNA points to other suspects and that sworn statements by a former federal marshal will show that prosecutors threatened a crucial witness whose testimony could have exonerated MacDonald. DNA from three hairs found inside the house does not match MacDonald, his wife or his children. The hearing is expected to last up to two weeks; the Wilmington Star-News provides much more detailed coverage from their end.
But perhaps of greater interest to us Alaskans is that Sarah Palin has weighed in on this case. Conservatives4Palin reveals that Palin has tied her nemesis stalker Joe McGinniss to the MacDonald case, referencing an article she wrote for Breitbart which reviews Errol Morris’ new book, “A Wilderness of Error”. The book calls into question the prosecution of Dr. Jeffrey MacDonald for the murder of his family, and McGinniss’ role in distorting the public’s perception of the story. What Palin suggests is that McGinniss wormed his way into MacDonald's confidence, obtaining exclsuive rights to MacDonald's life story, then turned about and wrote it from the prosecution's point of view, misleading the public and perhaps burying MacDonald further. Here is Palin's money shot:
MacDonald signed a contract giving McGinniss exclusive rights to his life story, and so McGinniss was given unprecedented access to the defense team – living with them, working with them, eating with them. But when the guilty verdict came down, McGinniss did a one-eighty on them. Apparently, falsely convicted men don’t make for good books. McGinniss decided it was a better story to agree with the jury. MacDonald wasn’t a sympathetic figure. He did himself no favors with some media appearances. So, McGinniss went about writing a book that would convince people the government got the right verdict and we could all pat ourselves on the back and leave Jeffrey MacDonald to rot in his jail cell till Judgment Day.
It should be noted that Sarah Palin is hardly a disinterested party. Her hatred of Joe McGinniss still burns brightly to this day, as evidenced by this passage from the Breitbart article (after the jump):
McGinniss shattered long-time relationships within my circle of friends and family with his horrendous actions while living 12 feet away from my kitchen and lying to people for his book about me and making them lie or twisting their words or even inventing “sources” out of whole cloth. The result of the “evil thing” he “constructed” was unjustly trashed reputations, shattered relationships, and a book of lies vomited into the public record.
What McGinniss did in my town and to my family was sick and vicious. I sympathize with MacDonald and his defense team because I saw firsthand the twisted way McGinniss operates. Before he moved in right next door to spy on us, he stalked us for months, making creepy unwelcomed “visits” to our house, as he tried to manipulatively win our trust the same way he won the trust of MacDonald and his defense team – all so that he could betray us just as he betrayed them.
Who can blame Palin for still fuming? Backstabbing and front-running seem to be par for the course for Joe McGinniss. Don't forget, it was McGinniss who leaked the contents of "Blind Allegiance", a book about Frank Bailey co-authored by Mudflats blogger Jeanne Devon. Devon directed the public to a more comprehensive expose on McGinniss published by Truth-out.org.
Of course, the current hearing in Wilmington will not win a verdict reversal or exoneration for Jeffrey MacDonald. The best possible outcome would be a new trial for him, in which he could well be convicted again. Palin recognizes this possibility. But even if MacDonald does get convicted again in a new trial, the behavior of Joe McGinniss will leave a bad taste in people's mouth. According to this comment, MacDonald did receive some measure of revenge when he filed a civil suit against McGinniss that was settled out of court. McGinnis paid $325,000 to MacDonald, but he personally received only $48,000. The Kassabs sued MacDonald for the settlement and received $80,000. MacDonald's mother received $93,000 and his lawyers received $104,000
It is because of people like Joe McGinniss that I believe in a hell. I can't conceive of McGinniss being ushered into paradise upon his return to the spirit world -- the Lord would have to apologize to those who actually earned their way there.
Other pertinent reviews of "A Wilderness Of Error" have been published by the Wall Street Journal, the Boston Globe, and National Public Radio.