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Thread: If victim dies, it could be manslaughter for Cheney.

  1. #1
    Friend of Gossip Rocks! buttmunch's Avatar
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    Default If victim dies, it could be manslaughter for Cheney.

    WASHINGTON, Feb. 14 — The 78-year-old lawyer shot by Vice President Dick Cheney in a hunting accident over the weekend suffered a minor heart attack early Tuesday caused by birdshot lodged in his heart, hospital officials in Texas said.

    The lawyer, Harry M. Whittington, was moved back into the intensive care unit at Christus Spohn Hospital in Corpus Christi, Tex., to be monitored for up to a week in case the birdshot shifted or additional pellets in his body moved into other organs, the officials said at a televised news conference. Dr. David Blanchard, the emergency room chief, estimated that Mr. Whittington had more than 5 but "probably less than 150 to 200" pellets lodged in his body.

    Dr. Blanchard said that the hospital's cardiologists were optimistic that the metallic pellet in Mr. Whittington's heart would not travel farther and that he would be able to function normally. They said they did not consider the other pellets in his body problematic, and they currently have no plans to remove them.

    Mr. Cheney's office, in its first official announcement about the incident, released a statement shortly after 2:30 p.m. Eastern time saying that the vice president's "thoughts and prayers are with Mr. Whittington and his family" and that Mr. Cheney had spoken by telephone to Mr. Whittington an hour earlier.

    "The vice president wished Mr. Whittington well and asked if there was anything he needed," the statement said. "The vice president said that he stood ready to assist."

    The statement added that Mr. Whittington's spirits were "good," but "obviously his situation deserves the careful monitoring that his doctors are providing."

    The downturn in Mr. Whittington's health significantly changed the tone of the White House reaction to the hunting accident. In Texas, Carlos Valdez, the district attorney in Kleberg County, said a fatality would immediately spur a new report from the local sheriff and, most likely, a grand jury investigation.

    At the White House, Scott McClellan, the president's spokesman, began his day unaware of Mr. Whittington's heart attack. After being battered by reporters on Monday for the delay in the White House's providing information about the accident, Mr. McClellan opened his first briefing on Tuesday making light of the incident, as the late-night comics had done.

    Mr. McClellan joked that the Texas Longhorns, the N.C.A.A. football champions who were at the White House to meet with the president, would be in their team color, orange, and "the orange that they're wearing is not because they're concerned that the vice president will be there."

    Continuing the play on orange, the color hunters wear as a safety precaution to avoid being shot, Mr. McClellan held up his own orange and gray tie. "That's why I'm wearing it," he said, to laughter.

    But by the time of Mr. McClellan's noon briefing, when the press secretary was aware of Mr. Whittington's downturn but did not disclose it to reporters, his tone was serious, even as he was at times impatient with the persistent questions about the shooting. "If you want to continue to spend time on that, that's fine," Mr. McClellan said. "We're moving on to the priorities of the American people."

    Mr. Cheney's aides said he first learned of the change in Mr. Whittington's condition when he arrived at his West Wing office about 7:40 a.m. Tuesday, shortly after doctors in Corpus Christi said that they had picked up an irregular heartbeat from Mr. Whittington on their morning rounds.

    Doctors said that the pellet, which they had known since the accident was near Mr. Whittington's heart, had evidently moved into the heart muscle, causing "some quivering" called atrial fibrillation. Mr. Whittington, who was shot by Mr. Cheney on Saturday and moved out of intensive care on Monday, was immediately put back into intensive care.

    Mr. Cheney was told, his statement said, that Mr. Whittington would need a cardiac catheterization to determine the condition of his heart. The procedure was performed about 10 a.m. Eastern time. The vice president then continued his schedule for the day, but changed his plans when his chief of staff informed him during a Capitol Hill national security briefing that Mr. Whittington's doctors were about to hold a televised news conference.

    Senator Trent Lott, who had teased the vice president about the accident during the briefing, said Mr. Cheney immediately returned to the White House to watch the news conference. "He didn't look like he was having a whole lot of fun," said Mr. Lott, Republican of Mississippi.

    Local officials have not considered any charges in the shooting because no one in the hunting party, including the victim, has accused Mr. Cheney of wrongdoing.

    "Everybody that I've heard so far has said it was an accident," said Mr. Valdez, who holds an elected position and is a Democrat. "The victim probably told the sheriff's department it was an accident."

    Mr. Valdez added, "Now, if the worst happens and the man happens to die, we would take an additional step."

    Under the law, even an accidental hunting fatality can result in criminal charges. Mr. Cheney could be charged with negligence, defined as failing to understand the dangers involved and disregarding them, or recklessness, defined as understanding the dangers and disregarding them.

    After some initial confusion about what steps the local police had taken to investigate the shooting on Saturday, Secret Service officials said on Tuesday that they had offered to make the vice president available for an interview as quickly as possible but that the local sheriff had agreed to wait until Sunday.

    Eric Zahren, a Secret Service spokesman, said the shooting occurred at 5:50 p.m. Central time, slightly later than the White House had said at first. After helping Mr. Whittington into an ambulance, the agents in Mr. Cheney's security detail returned to their command post on the hunting ranch by 6:30 p.m. The Secret Service supervisor in McAllen, Tex., had called the sheriff in Kenedy County to tell him about the shooting by 7 p.m., Mr. Zahren said.

    The Secret Service supervisor arranged with the sheriff for Mr. Cheney to be interviewed at the ranch at 10 a.m. Sunday, Mr. Zahren said. But the vice president's office changed the time to 8 a.m.

    While there were reports, some from the sheriff himself, that a deputy had been dispatched to the ranch on Saturday night and been turned away, Mr. Zahren said that some local police officers had heard about the shooting on a scanner when an ambulance was sent to pick up Mr. Whittington. They showed up at the ranch unsolicited. Private guards, not Secret Service agents, Mr. Zahren said, turned the police away because they did not know anything had occurred.

    The White House first learned of the shooting, Mr. McClellan said Tuesday, when someone from the vice president's party called the Situation Room shortly after the accident occurred. But whoever called — Mr. McClellan would not identify the person — said only that there had been a hunting accident involving the vice president, not that Mr. Cheney had himself shot Mr. Whittington.

    The Situation Room staff then passed that information to Andrew H. Card Jr., the White House chief of staff, who contacted President Bush. Mr. Card also called Karl Rove, the deputy chief of staff, who called one of the ranch's owners, Katharine Armstrong. Ms. Armstrong told Mr. Rove that the vice president had shot Mr. Whittington, and Mr. Rove then called Mr. Bush about 8 p.m. Eastern time with that news.

    NYT
    The thing I love about this whole incident the most is the Bushies once again playing blame the victim. It was HIS fault that he didn't announce himself, not Cheney's for not making sure who or what his target was. Hilarious, in a sick way.
    Last edited by buttmunch; February 15th, 2006 at 03:14 AM.
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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Default Re: If victim dies, it could be manslaughter for Cheney.

    I also love how it's a big joke to them.

    I hope the guy dies just out of spite. He's 78, he's lived long enough. He should croak to bring Cheney down.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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