Friday, September 30, 2005

Shades of Rickey Peete!

The newest member of the Tennessee Waltz Indictment Club is William Cotton of Hamilton County, a County Commissioner. I have no idea about his guy, except that he's connected to Charles Love, who was indicted in the first wave. He and Barry Myers are, as I correctly predicted, now and forever to be described by the lazy press as "bagmen." Whatever else they are or did, it's all compressed into that one ludicrous word.

Anyway, Cotton's story has two interesting facets. One is that he's on tape taking money at a restaurant. Shades of Rickey Peete, who was caught the same way! Cotton even warned Love not to take money that way. For Memphians, this provokes sage nods; we've seen this before and we know better.

The other interesting elision from the full account is this:
Cotton, 58, was led from his home handcuffed and was released hours later. His next hearing is Oct. 14....

Cotton was arrested at home after leaving Thursday's commission meeting, complaining of the flu. A caravan of unmarked patrol cars followed him home where he was charged with taking money to affect public policy-making....
So... they were going to arrest Cotton at the County Commission meeting? Now that's balls. Without more to go on, we have to ask: did Cotton get advance word and plead illness to escape the embarrassment, or did the agents show up and for some reason let Cotton leave without arrest, them following like lazy bloodhounds? I'd like to know. It's always nice to know that some criminals (alleged, of course) get favorable treatment; it just raises the hopes for regular guys like me.

On another front, State Representative Lois DeBerry won't be facing State criminal charges investigation, but merely an ethics violation investigation. Rather than attempt to rewrite or wrangle with reparsing the law -- which says accepting gifts from registered lobbyist is illegal; but the e-Cycle representative wasn't a legally registered lobbyist -- they will simply side-step that issue to focus on DeBerry's behavior as it relates to House rules. This also avoids them having to hand up a colleague to the State's prosecutors, which I'm sure was on everyone's mind, given how "small" DeBerry's infraction was. All she's likely to get now is a sharp handslap.

The twelve member committee (click "Ethics"), by the way, voted unanimously.

The story ends with a deadpan paragraph that is a howler of disbelief inducement:
She has not been charged with any crime, and she insisted she has broken no law. She said she never discussed any legislation with "L.C." and was not aware his company was interested in legislation.
So, she's in a limo with a good friend, Representative Kathryn Bowers; she and Bowers are middle-agish black women and their companion is a stranger, a white man. Their only points of contact are their relationship to Bowers and the fact that he wants to do business with the Legislature and she's a member of the Legislature.

And we're supposed to believe that nothing on that point was ever discussed in several hours?

Oh yeah, I'll buy that.

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