Sunday, July 20, 2003

The continuing war against American civil rights:
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - A lawyer for a local activist charged with refusing to leave a restricted area during a visit by President Bush last fall says the Bush administration is trying to make criticizing the president a crime.

In a motion filed Friday, Brett Bursey's attorney included testimony from a Michigan case to boost his argument that the U.S. Secret Service unfairly pushes protesters hundreds of yards away from the president while allowing supporters to line Bush's route.

Defense lawyer Lewis Pitts wants documents from state and federal authorities he said will prove his claim that Bursey ``has been wrongly charged simply for criticizing the president.''

Bursey, 54, faces a seldom-used federal charge of entering a restricted area around the president of the United States. He faces up to six months in prison and a $5,000 fine if convicted.