Longtime Minneapolis peace activist and sometime-gadfly Ed Felien asked a Hennepin County District judge on Thursday to compel the county attorney to arrest President Bush when his plane lands for the GOP convention in September.
Felien, a former Minneapolis City Council member, said Bush should be investigated and prosecuted for murder because of troop deaths in Iraq, conspiracy to fix oil prices and conspiracy to distribute drugs by controlling the opium trade in Afghanistan.
A LONG SHOT: He acknowledged that his request was unusual, but also said, "The purpose of the prosecuting attorney is not to achieve convictions, but to seek justice."
At the end of a 30-minute hearing, Judge Gary Larson said he would rule in the normal course of business, but he did not provide a time frame. Felien's request certainly had the feel of a very long shot.
Deputy Hennepin County Attorney Patrick Diamond said the notion that the president could be taken into custody and prosecuted is "highly doubtful."
SOLE DISCRETION: Diamond emphasized that the county attorney bears the sole discretion of when to prosecute crimes. "Not everything a county attorney can do is something a county attorney should do," he said.
He argued, too, that Felien's request raises serious separation of powers issues. A totalitarian state exists when a "judge is deciding not just the outcome but who should be investigated and prosecuted," Diamond said.
PRESENTING HIS CASE: During Felien's nearly 20 minutes of wide-ranging argument, Larson advised him several times to slow down so the court reporter could capture his words.
Felien touched on Bush family history, claiming that the family has influential ties to "Saudi princes" as well as Afghanistan drug lords and the Mafia. He introduced numerous news articles to the judge regarding the Bush family and oil prices.
In his filings, Felien wrote that the president "has fraudulently represented a war against Iraq as essential for our national interests when in reality the war only benefits his private interests. With his Saudi friends he has cornered the supply of oil and raised prices. And through his longtime family contacts with the CIA and the Mafia he has arranged for the transporting of heroin into Hennepin County."
Felien was publisher of the now-extinct Pulse, a weekly alternative newspaper. He still publishes South Side Pride, three separate monthly newspapers in south Minneapolis.
REACTION: The White House did not return a call seeking a comment. But Chris Taylor, Midwestern spokesman for the Republican National Committee, said, "As commander-in-chief, President Bush will always support our troops who are fighting to defend our freedom and keep America safe."
Rochelle Olson 612-673-1747