Friday, April 06, 2007

What does the Thompson verdict mean?

I have listened to the oral argument in the Georgia Thompson case and it was brutal. Reminded of me of an incident that occurred in a federal court trial some years ago. It was a bench trial and through a week of our opponent putting on witnesses, Judge John Reynolds kept making comments that suggested he couldn't see their case with a microscope. Friday morning, I asked one of the other side's lawyers if they were going to finish today. He responded, "we were finished some time on Monday."

The court did not buy the government's theory that the mere consideration of political factors constituted a federal crime because it deprived the state of "honest services." The fact that Adelman and Omega were virtually tied in the scoring process seemed to suggest to them that Thompson was being prosecuted merely for thinking the wrong thing, i.e., that her bosses wanted Adelman for political reasons. Because, it seemed to believe, the government could not tie that thought into any improper action, there could be no crime.

The court seemed to worry about the implications of throwing people into federal prison for having some wrong thoughts in mind during the procurement process. "What if," Judge Wood asked, she believed that Adelman would be great to work with because the account executive looked like Brad Pitt. Would the government have been deprived of honest services.

There is a sense in which the decision seems like it may have turned on the notion of "no harm, no foul."

That's what it seemed like, although we won't know for sure until the opinion comes out. This resolves the case for Georgia Thompson, but it does not entirely dispose of the political questions that have so engaged everyone around here. Did higher-ups in the Doyle administration intervene on behalf of Adelman? Is that a regular occurrence? How did Thompson come to believe (as the jury apparently felt she did) that her "bosses" wanted Adelman( particularly because, as the panel noted, there was no evidence that she was aware of the contribution)? None of this may have been pertinent to the court's decision.

Some folks are pushing the evidence that the prosecution was politically motivated, maybe a case of Biskupic trying to impress the Bush administration. I don't see much evidence of that. It was an aggressive prosecution but we've had a lot of that around here.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

What does the verdict mean?

It means that only Republicans can be convicted of vaporously thin charges made to pin suspicion on a higher-up when no crime has been committed.

Anonymous said...

Anon - what are you talking about?

Anonymous said...

I also listen to the hearing and I was impressed that these judges ruled that a "gut check" was not enough to put someone in prison for.

Anon 3

Xoff said...

What the Thompson verdict means is that the Journal Sentinel, WKOW-TV, and Steve Biskupic railroaded an innocent woman into prison and ruined her life. And none of them have expressed any regrets.

Despite your ongoing speculation, there is NO evidence that anyone higher up asked Georgia Thompson to do anything. Give it up.

Dad29 said...

Xoff, it's not "speculation" to notice that Friends of DarthDoyle are treated well.

There's Oracle (a failure.) There's the Potawatomi and their ex-ally. There's WEAC.

What we have here, Xoff, is a 'pattern of practice' which raises legitimate concern.

Curiously, you fail to mention that a JURY convicted Ms. Thompson--not the prosecutor.

It wasn't a Court of Star Chamber proceeding, X. It was "peers" who convicted.

Anonymous said...

"Xoff, it's not 'speculation' to notice that Friends of DarthDoyle are treated well."

It's always enjoyable to read the moronic blatherings of DaddyZero.

DaddyZero, can you name a single politician whose donors have not been "treated well" by the politico? The politico who treats his or her donors poorly becomes a former politician after the next election.

Congratulations on your death-bed conversion to campaign finance reform, DaddyZero. It's amazing that nothing pricked your conscience during the 14-year run of King Tommy, who wrote the book on the "well-treated" donor.

I give Ricky some credit for not flopping around like Jessica McThird Bride on this case. He knows what happened -- try to find another 120-minute 7th Circuit Court of Appeals decision! -- and he is somewhat restrained in his commentary. He knows a prosecutorial atrocity when he sees one.

You, on the other hand, are completely blinded by your hatred of the Governor. You must be a ton of fun to spend time with!

Anonymous said...

Dad29 - your gut obviously tells you that Thompson is quilty without any facts to support it. However, your gut told you to support Ziegler when there is numerous facts proving she broke the rules that are to restrain judges from abusing power.

You're inconsistency makes my eyes water from the smell. We don't put people in jail for political reasons and from gut checks even if it was a jury's gut that was leaning the wrong way.

illusory tenant said...

Impeach Frank Easterbrook!

Anonymous said...

Anon 5 - you're wrong, dad29 is consistent inthat he supports the abuse of power in both situations (Ziegler and Thompson).

Anonymous said...

Well, let's work through Dad's logic:

The governor's friends are treated well.

Got it.

But Georgia Thompson was not treated well.

So she must not be a friend of the gov, so there goes your case, Dad -- just like the judges said of Biskupic's case, there ain't no theory here that works.

But let's test it again.

She was treated worse than a corrupt legislative leader who has yet to see a day in jail.

Scott Jensen is being treated darn well for a convicted criminal.

But Scottie sure ain't no friend of the governor.

Nope, Dad, no way your theory works any which way. Thus, you are fully equipped to do Biskupic's job as well as he did. (Okay, well, as well as did the poor guy on his staff who had to go down there and try to defend Biskupic's case. And why didn't Biskupic do that? Was he still out shopping for a theory that makes more sense than his -- or yours?)

Dad29 said...

Poke a lefty and you get foaming at the mouth, devoid of input from the brain...

I did not state that G. Thompson was guilty. A jury did.

It's also noteworthy that Blanchard and Lautenschlaeger BOTH signed off on the prosecution, following their investigation(s).

Read my blog and notice that I am NOT a fan of TThompson.

Sorry to spoil your entire day with facts, girls and boys.