News & Politics

Barrett: Hey, Morning Joe, Why Don’t You Speak Up?

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It’s been a long day of silence from the Morning Joe team.
 
Every other major MSNBC show has devoted major segments to the killing of abortion doctor George Tiller. Keith Olbermann devoted most of an hour to it on Monday, and then returned to it for extended, moving coverage on Tuesday. Rachel Maddow, who led with the photo of the first abortion-doctor killer Michael Griffin on Monday, came back to the case last night.
 
But Joe Scarborough, who has three times as much of an opportunity each day than either of them (6 to 9 a.m.), has yet to discuss it (other than as a news headline routinely reported during the show). And, as we pointed out yesterday, Scarborough was Michael Griffin’s lawyer. Scarborough began representing Griffin shortly after he was arrested for shooting Dr. David Gunn three times in the back on his way to his abortion clinic. The family later replaced the then 29-year-old attorney with no trial experience, but Scarborough made appearances on Griffin’s behalf for three months and told the court he was ready to try the case. Scarborough did the work pro bono, as “a favor to a friend,” he told the Voice.

The Griffin case inspired the first attack on Tiller, which occurred a few months later when Shelley Shannon — who had written letters of support for Griffin — shot the Kansas doctor in both arms. This Griffin case got Scarborough his first publicity. An unknown who had never run for any other office, he beat Lois Benson, a pro-choice Republican state senator, in the
1994 Congressional election. His win was funded largely by anti-abortion groups. In his first votes in Congress, he voted against funding protection for abortion clinics twice, even though by then, the only two doctors killed at clinics in the country were shot in his district.
  
The Voice has reached out to Scarborough and to Phil Griffin, who runs MSNBC, to find out if Scarborough will step forward and explain his role and square it with who he is today. Not only did he represent Griffin for three months — and according to Griffin, seek to represent him longer — but his hometown of Pensacola was the seedbed of this violent movement. Scarborough has to speak out.

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