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Column: Ex-Fed Prosecutor Stephanie Gallagher Says “Speech or Debate Clause” Making a Comeback in Corruption Cases

Stephanie Gallagher

Stephanie Gallagher

By Stephanie Gallagher
Fraud With Peril Blog

The Speech or Debate Clause seems to be making a comeback. Recently, former Congressman Jefferson invoked it in an effort to have his indictment dismissed. He was unsuccessful.

Now, Baltimore City Councilwoman Holton is relying on its protections in asking a Maryland state court to dismiss a bribery indictment pending against her. She might have a better chance.

The idea behind the Speech or Debate Clause is that legislators should be free to exercise their best judgment without concern that they will be sued civilly or prosecuted criminally for their official acts.

Essentially, the government can’t use official legislative acts, such as votes or statements at legislative sessions, to charge a legislator with a crime.

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