Two days have passed since I issued my invitation to those who wrote letters of support for former Rep. Nathan Cooper, R-Cape Girardeau, and apparently helped him shave at least a year and half off his prison sentence for immigration fraud. The judge in the case sealed the 32 letters, keeping what should have been on the record, safely away from the people who deserve to know why this man, who so grievously abused the trust of the people of Missouri, should deserve to spend only 15
months behind bars.
No one has responded to my invitation, which should come as no surprise, so I am using this post to send a message to U. S. Attorney CatherineHanaway, who once served as Speaker of the same House which Cooper disgraced with his actions.
Dear Ms. Hanaway:
One of the most disturbing aspects of the resolution of the Nathan Cooper case has been the decision to seal 32 letters sent to the judge in an effort to bring a more lenient sentence to Mr. Cooper, an effort which has apparently succeeded.
The hallmark of the American judicial system is its accessibility. The public has the right, in most cases, to examine court documents. There is no law that says these letters should have been sealed, and by all rights, the public should be able to examine them. That is the usual course that is taken in federal cases across the nation.
Who are these people who think so highly of Nathan Cooper that they would offer support for him? There is nothing inherently wrong with trying to put in a good word for someone whom you believe deserves a lighter sentence or no sentence at all.
Those who have such compassion should not have any problem with the public knowing who they are.
It has been said that one of the reasons for the delay in bringing charges against Mr. Cooper was the possibility that he would provide information that could be used in an investigation of the Missouri fee office scandal. If that is the case, then Missourians have a right to know if any of the ones who might have been affected by a prosecution of that case are among those who have put pen to paper on behalf of Mr. Cooper.
Court records do not indicate that your assistant made any kind of motion to prevent the judge from sealing these letters, so I am requesting that you, as the U. S. Attorney whose name accompanied Mr.Crowe's on all of the legal documents in this case, ask the judge to unseal the letters.
The Cooper case has had the stench of corruption to it from the outset; perhaps a good-will effort to let the people know the truth can remove that odor.
Thank you for your time and consideration.