Yesterday, more than one commenter accused me of liberal bias in my suspicion that Rick Perry's actions in the Willingham case smacked of trying to derail the investigation. The Dallas Morning News, hardly a liberal rag, is also suspicious:
Perry has insisted that this was standard operating procedure, all part of the regular cycle of appointments. But troubling comments from the deposed chairman suggest that the governor's efforts to change the course of this inquiry began months ago.
The commission is examining the arson-murder case of Cameron Todd Willingham, who was sent to his death in 2004. Fire science experts have emphatically rebuked the arson investigation, but the governor has attempted to plug his ears and push aside accumulating evidence that Texas might have executed an innocent man on his watch.
Samuel Bassett, who was replaced as chairman two weeks ago, said the governor's aides pressured him as they expressed displeasure with the investigation, questioned the cost of the inquiry and even hinted that the commission's funding could be in jeopardy.