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Republicans produce document they claim shows Kaine connection to Soering

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Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli released a document that he claims shows a connection between former Governor Tim Kaine and convicted murderer Jens Soering, prior to Kaine being elected to public office.

Kaine, then a practicing civil rights attorney in Richmond, wrote a three page supportive affidavit that was then used on Soering’s behalf. The affidavit package appears to show Kaine offering assistance to Soering’s defense team in seeking relief from a potential capital punishment sentence.

Kaine’s campaign says he had nothing to do with the matter and that document was part of the public record. They say it was not intended for inclusion in this affadavit.

The document filed in 1988, is part of a series of affidavits Soering filed fighting his extradition from Germany to avoid the death penalty in Virginia. Soering was eventually convicted of two first degree murder charges and given two consecutive life sentences in 1990.

In the document Kaine does not address Soering’s guilt or innocence, but instead talks about the legal ramifications of a capital murder conviction. In fact, Soering himself is not even mentioned in the document.

Kaine has consistently said that his connections to Soering were only as governor and it was his responsibility to review requests from the man, and act accordingly. He finally signed a letter allowing the DOJ to review the case so that Germany would be financially responsible for his imprisonment, and only after the country convicted him in a German court and agreed he’d be sent directly to a German prison.

Kaine’s campaign vehemently denies his connection to Soering in this matter and says the affidavit was pulled from the public record of a 1988 case. Kaine served as an expert on Virginia capital procedure in a constitutional hearing initiated in federal court by Virginia capital inmate Joseph Giarrantano. They note that Soering’s name is not included anywhere in the filing and that Kaine did pnot consent to his work being used in the case.

In a conference call on the matter, Cuccinelli conceded that it is in the “realm of possibility” that Kaine could’ve written something in support of a completely different case that could’ve have been used in this matter. However, Cuccinelli defended his assertion that Kaine has not been completely forthcoming for his reasoning for offering Soering a transfer. He said that during their review of the case, they should’ve been aware that a document exisited with his name attached to it, that was used in support of Soering.

The Kaine campaign released the following response to Cuccinelli’s release of the documents:

“Governor Kaine wrote this affidavit as an expert witness in a completely separate case that had nothing to do with Jen Soering. Not once does it mention Jen Soering nor does it deal with the specific circumstances of the Soering case. We’ll leave it to the Allen campaign and the Attorney General to use state government resources to play politics in the Virginia Senate election. Governor Kaine is focused on working together with Virginians to strengthen our economy and create jobs.” — Brandi Hoffine, Kaine for Virginia Communications Director

We will continue to look into the details behind the issue.

Meanwhile, here is my uncut interview with the Attorney General from First at 4:

Here are links to the documents in question:

*Plea of sovereign immunity (references the affidavit),
*The European filing that includes Kaine’s affidavit,
*The affidavit itself (pulled from the filing)a>;;;. Kaine’s section begins on page 12.

Written by Ryan Nobles

July 13, 2012 at 2:07 pm

Ruling puts Soering case back into Senate spotlight

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By: Ryan Nobles – bio | email

In what will be part of an explosive issue in the 2012 U.S. Senate race from Virginia, a Richmond Circuit Court Judge ruled Thursday that Jens Soering, a German man convicted of killing his girlfriend’s parents in a gruesome 1985 murder, can stay in a Virginia prison.

In late 2009, then Governor Tim Kaine issued a transfer of Soering into German custody. Kaine was in the last months of his gubernatorial term and Bob McDonnell had already been elected as Virginia’s next governor.

Shortly after McDonnell’s inauguration, he and the newly elected Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, went to work to revoke the Kaine transfer of Soering, concerned that he would serve only a small part of his double life sentence in his native country.

Thursday, a Richmond Circuit Court ruled that McDonnell had the legal right to revoke that transfer. Back in 2010, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder informed Virginia authorities that they would not challenge the transfer revocation.

Soering’s legal options are not exhausted quite yet. He still has the option of appealing this decision to the Virginia Supreme Court. However, with the Circuit Court’s clear statement on the issue and the Federal Government’s desire to not intervene his options are running out.

That leaves the impact it will have on Tim Kaine. Kaine has repeatedly tried to explain his decision to allow Soering to return to Germany. His main argument has centered around a desire to relieve Virginia taxpayers of the expense of detaining Soering for the rest of his life. It is an argument Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli doesn’t buy.

“I don’t think Tim Kaine has ever adequately explained what on earth he was thinking,” Cuccinelli said in a phone interview Friday evening.

According to Cuccinelli, Soering would’ve had the opportunity to be released from prison in Germany in 2 and half years. If things had gone in that direction, Soering could have been in a position to petition for his release right now.

Cuccinelli said that he believes that this issue should be front and center in the race for Senate from Virginia.

“This is a terribly unexplained exercise of the authority that he (Kaine) had at the time,” Cuccinelli said.

The Attorney General told me that he believes that the General Assembly should consider legislation that would limit the ability of the Executive Branch to use their broad powers after the final election before their term ends.

Governor McDonnell, who is responsible for revoking the Soering transfer, was gratified by the court’s decision.

“Jens Soering committed a heinous and gruesome crime when he killed two innocent Virginians,” said McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin. “The Governor believes he must serve his full sentence in the Commonwealth of Virginia.”

The question now is how big this issue plays in November for Kaine. There are reports that behind the scenes republican media experts are preparing a significant ad campaign centered around the attempted Soering transfer. Already the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee is working to draw focus to the issue.

“Now that a judge has ruled on this matter, it’s even more important for Tim Kaine to finally step forward and be honest with the citizens of Virginia about his decision to help a convicted double-murderer in the final hours of his Administration,” said Brian Walsh a NRSC spokesman.

Cuccinelli told me he isn’t sure what documents could even be produced that could explain Kaine’s thought process. He also called on Kaine to provide a more thorough explanation.

“There is no reasonable motive,” said Cuccinelli. “What could you possibly be trying to accomplish?’

I have a request into the Kaine campaign on the court’s decision and a response to Cuccinelli’s critisim. I will update you when I have more.

Speaking of Kaine.. Cuccinelli did not mince words when attacking the former governor’s role in this process and his explanation as to why he offered the transfer in the first place. Below is audio from our conversation, leading off with his strongest attack line.

“That was as close to B.S. as you could get out of a government official”
– Ken Cuccinelli on Tim Kaine’s explanation regarding the Soering transfer.

Written by Ryan Nobles

July 12, 2012 at 7:54 pm

PolitifactVirginia: Kaine “half-flipped” on adpotion for gays and unmarried couples

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Former governor and current candidate for Virginia senate,  Tim Kaine is under the spotlight this week. Just how far has his position on adoption changed since he was a candidate for governor? PolitiFact takes on the challenge.

Our report can be seen below:

The question is.. does this half-flip present problems or opportunities for Kaine the candidate?  As one twitter follower pointed out to me “evolving” positions aren’t always a bad thing depending on your perspective. The problem for Kaine might be that he mayt not even be 100% sure about how he feels about this issue.

You can see the full PolitiFactVirginia report on this issue by clicking here.

Written by Ryan Nobles

June 3, 2011 at 9:38 pm

Bob McDonnell sworn in as Virginia’s 71st Governor

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(Richmond)-  Virginia officially has a new governor. Saturday afternoon,  Bob McDonnell became the first Republican Governor to take office since 2002 and the first to take the oath in Richmond in 8 years.

On a beautiful January day in the Commonwealth’s capital, McDonnell pledged to work to bring “opportunity to all”, a pledge that will be a challenge given the current economic conditions.

We had the Inauguration covered from every angle on NBC12-TV and NBC12.com

*To see our recap of the event click here.

*To see our in-depth look at the upcoming McDonnell Administration click here.

*To see our look back at Governor Tim Kaine‘s Administration click here.

*To read the full text of McDonnell’s address click here.

The McDonnell Administration wasted no time getting to work. The new Governor signed two executive orders moments after he took the oath. There are as follows:

Executive Order # 1- Establishing the Chief Job Creation Officer and the Governor’s Economic Development and Job Creation Commission

Executive Order # 2- Establishing the Governor’s Commission on Government Reform and Restructuring.

The full release with details on both orders can be found after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ryan Nobles

January 16, 2010 at 5:55 pm

Kaine defends DNC chairmanship

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It was a job he didn’t want. A job he said would force him to take his “eye off the ball” of his responsibilities as Virginia’s Governor. But as he gets ready to leave the Executive Branch of the Commonwealth’s Government and take on the role of Democratic National Committee Chairman full-time, Tim Kaine is attempting to make the case that having both jobs at the same time actually helped the people of Virginia.

I asked Kaine about his service as DNC chair during my lengthy exit interview with the Governor last month. Kaine made no apologies for taking the job, despite his own reservations prior to taking on the role. Describing himself as a “patriot”, The Governor told me that when the President asks you to serve, you answer the call. But he agreed only after he and Barack Obama came to an understanding.

“The President and I had a very candid conversation,” Kaine told me. “I said, I am the Governor of Virginia and that is my first responsibility.”

Kaine said that Mr. Obama instructed him to concentrate on being Governor and tend to DNC business when he had time, before taking up the mantle completely in 2010. He said that looking back, his view of serving those two masters was incorrect. “Results speak for themselves,” Kaine said as he pointed to Virginia’s record as a business friendly state and its continued recognition as one of the best-managed states in the Country.

But Kaine did not stop at defending his decision to take on the DNC role, he went a step further and tried to build the case that his close relationship with the President actually helped the people of Virginia. “The citizens have understood it,” he said. “I think the citizens understood pretty quickly, ‘wait is there any downside to the Governor having a close working relationship with the President?’ The answer is no.”

Kaine said he was able to leverage his relationship with the White House to encourage them to issue an executive order to begin work on cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay and keep an aircraft carrier from being moved from Norfolk Bay.  According to the Governor that advantage to the Commonwealth, far outweighed the negative aspects of serving as the leader of the national Democratic party.

“It’s meant I haven’t had a personal life for the last year,” said Kaine. “But the citizens have gotten it and I have been able to work with the White House to do some positive things for Virginia.”

This Saturday during our special coverage of Bob McDonnell‘s Inauguration, I will have special in-depth look at Governor Kaine’s four years in office.  The story will include more never heard clips from my one-on-one interview with the Governor. Our coverage of the event begins at 11:30 and we will broadcast the entire Inauguration on NBC12-TV and NBC12.com.

You can see the entire extended clip on Kaine and the DNC from our interview,  below.

Written by Ryan Nobles

January 14, 2010 at 6:45 pm

Posted in Kaine Administration

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Kaine carves legacy, warns of future in final SOC

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Yesterday we previewed Governor Tim Kaine’s final State of the Commonwealth and wondered if he would spend more time looking back, or forward. In a speech that lasted, just a little more than 20 minutes he spent the bulk of his address building the case for a positive legacy. But he did use some of his time to make direct and almost stern points about what direction the Commonwealth should continue on.

For a full recap you can read and watch my story from last night on NBC12.com.

A bit later tonight, I will have more how the Governor feels being DNC chair impacted his time as Governor.

Written by Ryan Nobles

January 14, 2010 at 3:38 pm

Posted in Kaine Administration

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State of the Commonwealth Preview

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Outgoing Governor Tim Kaine will deliver his last State of the Commonwealth address Wednesday at the Capitol in Richmond. Kaine has already done a series of lengthy exit interviews with reporters across Virginia and has worked to build the case that his administration should be viewed in a positive light. (I’ll have another snippet from my exit-interview with Kaine tomorrow.)

As the time wanes in his time in office, Kaine has received a few positive reviews from the editorial boards of Virginia newspapers including the Washington-Post that said if Kaine were able to run for re-election, who would have won without much of a problem.

Considering that Kaine has already gone to great lengths to build his post-gubernatorial image it will be interesting to see  if he chooses to use the platform of the State of the Commonwealth as a swan song to point out his accomplishments or as a clarion call to legislature to keep his budget plan in place. Kaine just proposed the most controversial and difficult budget of his entire time in office and has warned his successor Bob McDonnell and the legislature not to mess with it.

Kaine told me bluntly last month that “If they enact my budget, there is no doubt that we will be Triple A (in bond rating), best state for business, we’ll keep all those accolades,” said the Governor, before pointing out, “Obviously they will get to make their decision as to what they want to do.”

Tonight, look to see if the Governor talks up his accomplishments, or decides to wade into a fight that ultimately,  he will not be a part of.

We will have complete coverage of Governor’s address tonight:

*The entire speech will be streamed live on our main web site: nbc12.com.

*I will provide live “tweets” from the Capitol during the speech on my Twitter page.

*I will be at the State Capitol and with a live recap on NBC12 News at 11. In addition, I will co-anchor FOX Richmond’s News at 10 live from the Capitol Grounds.

*Tomorrow, we’ll post extended clips from the speech and reaction from the legislators that were there.

Written by Ryan Nobles

January 13, 2010 at 6:44 pm

Posted in Kaine Administration

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