A Texas grand jury has indicted Vice President Dick Cheney and former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on state charges related to the alleged abuse of prisoners in Willacy County’s federal detention centers, reports the Associated Press. The indictment was released yesterday in a county that has been a source of bizarre legal and political battles in recent years. Another of the indictments named a state senator on charges of profiting from his position. Cheney’s indictment on a charge of engaging in an organized criminal activity criticizes his investment in the Vanguard Group, which holds interests in the private prison companies running the federal detention centers. It accuses Cheney of a conflict of interest and “at least misdemeanor assaults” on detainees because of his link to the prison companies.
The indictment accuses Gonzales of using his position while in office to stop an investigation in 2006 into abuses at one of the privately run prisons. Gonzalez’s attorney, George Terwilliger III, said, “This is obviously a bogus charge on its face, as any good prosecutor can recognize. Hopefully, competent Texas authorities will take steps to reign in this abuse of the criminal justice system.” Willacy County has become a prison hub with county, state, and federal lockups.