BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) – Lots of political candidates make campaign promises. But not like Charlotte Dennett’s.

Dennett, 61, the Progressive Party’s candidate for Vermont Attorney General, said Thursday she will prosecute President Bush for murder if she’s elected Nov. 4.

Dennett, an attorney and investigative journalist from Cambridge, says Bush must be held accountable for the deaths of thousands of people – U.S. soldiers and Iraqi civilians – in Iraq, and that the Vermont attorney general would have jurisdiction to do so.

She said she would appoint as special prosecutor former Los Angeles prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi, the author of “The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder,” a new book.

“Someone has to step forward,” said Dennett, flanked by Bugliosi at a news conference announcing her plan. “Someone has to say we cannot put up with this lack of accountability any more.”

Dennett and two others are challenging incumbent Attorney General William Sorrell, a Democrat, in the Nov. 4 election.

Bugliosi, 74, who gained fame as the prosecutor of killer Charles Manson, said any state attorney general would have jurisdiction since Bush committed “overt acts” including the military’s recruitment of soldiers in Vermont and lying about the threat posed by former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in speeches that were aired in Vermont and elsewhere.

“No man, even the president of the United States, is above the law,” said Bugliosi, a Democrat.

“For whatever ominous reason, this bedrock American principle so essential to our democracy and who we are as a people has been knowingly ignored by this nation’s establishment, which in effect has decided that George Bush should not be held accountable for his monumental crime of taking this nation to war in Iraq under false pretenses.”

Dennett, who has never run for elected office before, said Vermonters are frustrated that Bush hasn’t been impeached. She called her initiative “another avenue.”

Anti-Bush sentiment runs deep in Vermont.

It’s the only state he hasn’t visited as president, and one whose liberal tendencies make it unlikely he will.

In 2007, the state Senate adopted a resolution calling for Congress to begin impeachment proceedings against Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.

Last March, the towns of Brattleboro and Marlboro voted to seek indictments against Bush and Cheney over the war, and dozens of other towns voted at town meetings to call for his impeachment, to no avail.

“The Select Board decided not to pursue it,” Marlboro Town Clerk Nora Wilson said Thursday. The same thing happened in Brattleboro, where no indictment was ever drawn up, according to Town Clerk Annette Cappy.

Sorrell, who is seeking a sixth term, said he doesn’t believe a Vermont attorney general would have the authority to charge Bush.

“The reality is, in my view, that unless the crime takes place in Vermont, then I as the attorney general have no authority under Vermont law to be prosecuting the president,” said Sorrell, who said he wouldn’t undertake such a move.

“This is the first I’ve heard of allegations of anything Vermont remotely related to war crimes or murder. Unless some compelling evidence is brought to my attention, this is not something my office will be spending time on whatsoever,” Sorrell said.

Republican National Committee spokesman Blair Latoff denounced Dennett.

“It’s extremely disappointing that a candidate for state attorney general is more concerned with radical left-wing provocation than upholding the law of Vermont,” said Latoff. “These incendiary suggestions may score points among the most fringe elements of American society, but can’t be settling for anyone looking for an attorney general.”

The White House press office didn’t respond to a request for comment Thursday.

AP-ES-09-18-08 1720EDT


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