The Prosecution of An American President DVD Review: Former Manson Prosecutor Takes on George W. Bush

Vincent Bugliosi is best known as the prosecutor of Charles Manson, and for writing the book Helter Skelter (1974) about the trial. Unlike Marcia Clark’s efforts with O.J. Simpson, Bugliosi was successful, and his bestselling book led to an ongoing writing career. Considering his history, he is about the last person I would have expected to present a case against George W. Bush in the new DVD The Prosecution of An American President (2014).

Bugliosi’s contention that President Bush waged an illegal war in Iraq is very old ground for the left. While Bush was in office, there was even talk of impeachment, although as expected, nothing came of it. By the time of the 2008 election, the matter seemed closed. To be honest, I probably would not have given The Prosecution of An American President a second thought if Bugliosi was not involved in it.

“As a prosecutor who is dedicated to seeking justice, Bugliosi delivers a non-partisan argument based on hard facts and pure objectivity,” reads the back-cover summary. Although I completely agree with Bugliosi‘s contentions, this statement is a little hard to swallow. Bush pretty much laid out the conditions of the war. If you were for it, you were for him. If you were against it, you were against him. And against America. Yes, the cold hard facts show that he and his people lied to go to war. They also show that when the truth was discovered about there being no weapons of mass destruction, or any other “threats” in Iraq, nobody really cared.

Some people do care though, especially the families of all those soldiers who went away to do their part after 9/11, and never came back. Bugliosi sets out a very compelling argument, backed up with non-controvertible evidence. The Prosecution of An American President should make you angry, no matter what side of the political fence you are on. The Chicago Daily Herald called it “the documentary Fahrenheit 9/11 dreamt of being,” which brings up an interesting point. Vincent Bugliosi has never been accused of being a Michael Moore-type left-wing agitator, and therefore not so easily written off. At least that is the theory.

As for bonus material, there are six deleted scenes including such items as “Vince Bugliosi’s Unique Logic,” “A Perfect Day for George W. Bush,” and “Vince Bugliosi at UCLA.” The total running time for these short bits is 8:55.

The Manson prosecutor lays out a convincing argument, but will The Prosecution of An American President result in an actual prosecution, or even a case against the former President? I wouldn’t hold my breath. The DVD has just been released from First Run Features.

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Greg Barbrick

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