@Vince Fumo: You are, like, guilty dude. #VinceFumoTrial

This is just too weird. A juror from the Fumo trial apparently updated his facebook status with this:

"STAY TUNED for a big announcement on Monday everyone!"

Uh oh.

The posting by Juror No. 5 - Eric Wuest of suburban College-ville - raised questions:

Is a verdict imminent? Did Wuest have third-party discussions about the trial as a result of his postings on Facebook and Twitter social networking Internet accounts during the 15-week trial and the ensuing deliberations?

Last night, Fumo defense attorneys NiaLena Caravasos and Peter Goldberger filed an emergency motion seeking an immediate suspension of deliberations so the judge could conduct "a delicate, but probing inquiry" of the juror Wuest's actions.

"Depending on the results, the lawyers wrote, "one or more jurors ought to be removed and possibly replaced."

This is the same trial where it was found that one of the government's supposed star witnesses was found to be trashing the government, including on YPP.

And now, some dude is updating his facebook status with it all. Awesome.

Gotta say

This does not bode well for the defenses' assessment of their own performance if they are asking for a retrial over this. The jurors comments reflect nothing about the evidence in the case or anything about what their verdict might be. They are just statements speculating on how long it might before some verdict, any verdict is delivered, which is an entirely understandable concern after sitting through a more than 5 month trial.

Newspapers have been reporting about various signals that a verdict might be imminent in criminal trials for as long there have been trials and newspapers. The town crier probably did the same thing before that. The juror might be reprimanded but for doing the equivalent of saying "I think there might be a verdict soon, I can't wait for this thing to be finally over" I seriously doubt they will be successful at getting a retrial.

Rather I read it as a sign that the defense is having misgivings about their performance and are grasping at straws for a do-over for some reconsidered changes in strategy. Its not a vote in confidence from the Fumo camp.

Of course the lawyers here might say something entirely different - like if you have money for more defenses you are best of always taking any shot at a mistrial no matter how far-fetched so as to make the government look bungling and over-reaching.
-Sean
MrLuigi, my cat, actually only types half as badly as I do.

A mistrial might be a win

The defense will have heard the whole case, and would make the government have to consider another 5 month trial, costing an incredible amount of money.

The US Dept of Justice has an infinite budget

to prosecute political "big fish" accused of corruption of the stature of Vince Fumo. If it takes twenty years there will always be some new young ambitious prosecutor ready to make a name for themselves as the one who completed such a prosecution. Because the whole point of trials like this is to make a show for other politicians and to restore public trust, its never a question of "too much" money to prosecute a single politician, nor in my opinion should it be. Everyday its in the newspaper, its a reminder to the rest of the herd about what not to do. Thats the whole point.

The expense is almost irrelevant to what Vince Fumo did or didn't do. Its about a public display for voters and a warning to other pols.

The strategy thing is an advantage but this was all about receipts and emails, that kind of evidence doesn't change over time.
-Sean
MrLuigi, my cat, actually only types half as badly as I do.

No one has unlimited

No one has unlimited resources, not even the US Attorney's Office. They have x amount of lawyers, who probably have a lot other cases pending. They can obviously afford to do it again if they really want to, and they certainly might. But, asking for a five month re-do is not as easy as you imply.

Further, each side will have heard all the evidence offered, and may be more likely to reach a plea.

Yeah, plea maybe

The thing is Vince's defense was basically, "yeah I took stuff from these charities but those were 'bonuses' for being such a great fundraiser and supporter". They didn't really try to challenge the prosecution factually much, if at all, just try to paint it in a different light for jurors. The longer the defense puts on defenses, the more likely underlings will lose faith that Vince will pull through victorious and turn. The longer he's out of office, the less compelling the "but he was tireless public servant who just overstepped while serving the people" angle sounds. But thats just my take. I see Vince running out of steam before the DOJ does.
-Sean
MrLuigi, my cat, actually only types half as badly as I do.

Big announcement indeed

Guilty on all 137 counts

Oh and this on the Facebook mistrial motion:

Buckwalter denied the motion after questioning the juror.

I'm sticking with my "the defense was not happy with their performance" theory, I think.

So who are D's running against Meehan for Gov, again?
-Sean
MrLuigi, my cat, actually only types half as badly as I do.

Sean, do you ever work?

Sean, do you ever work?

Meehan and Dewey

I would jump to the conclusion that convicting Vince Fumo makes Meehan a shoo-in for Governor.

This is an increasingly blue state, for one thing.

For another, corruption is only one issue and not one that plays especially well in the Democratic base in SEPA.

And, third, Meehan has not gotten the kind of political mileage from the corruption trials that, say, Rudy Giuliani did as US Attorney in NY. This, by the way, is entirely to Meehan's credit. Giuliani was a publicity hound who abused his prosecutorial power for his own aggrandizement (as did Eliot Spitzer, too). Meehan has not done so.

I doubt that Meehan will start a general election campaign against either Onorato or Cunningham with all that much of a name recognition advantage.

And if being a successful prosecutor was always a guarantee of electoral victory, Tom Dewey would have been elected President.

Not a shoe-in in the general

But I think Meehan just moved ahead in the R primary. It was an honest question about who Dems put against him..
-Sean
MrLuigi, my cat, actually only types half as badly as I do.

Shoe-in and Shoo-in

From http://www.word-detective.com/100297.html#shoe-in

"Shoo in," as it is properly spelled, was originally a racetrack term, and was (and still is) applied to a horse expected to easily win a race, and, by extension, to any contestant expected to win an easy victory. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the first use of the term in print dates back to 1928, and the original sense of the term was not as innocent as you'd think. A "shoo in" was originally a horse that was expected to win a race, not by virtue of its speed or endurance, but because the race was fixed. The sardonic "subtext" of the original usage, now lost, was that the designated horse would win even if it were so lackadaisical in its performance that it simply wandered somehow up to the finish line and had to be "shooed in" to victory.

Given this entymology, it would be pretty funny if Meehan were a shoo-in.

thanks for the informative correction

My theory about Meehan has to do with the R's adapting to minority status and running on the "culture of corruption" meme rather than the loudmouth bigot meme. They may go with the loudmouth bigot meme after all which would be a lucky break for PA Dems.

For Dems I would recomend taking a page from the Obama book and run on a vaguely reform "a new kind of politics" meme. Not sure if either Knox or Onorato are ideally suited for that kind of campaign. Dunno much about Cunningham.
-Sean
MrLuigi, my cat, actually only types half as badly as I do.

Meehan's response

from Mario Cattabiani's Commonwealth Confidential

Former U.S. Attorney Patrick L. Meehan:

“Just as I said two years ago when my office brought the charges against Sen. Fumo, there is no joy in today’s verdict. While it is my hope that today’s decision will begin to reverse the corrupt behavior we have seen for far too long, sadly much of the damage has already been done. Also as I said then, my hope is that from today’s verdict will emerge a new commitment of transparency, honesty and ethics from those who seek to serve the public.”

“The jury has spoken and, through its verdict, has said loud and clear that ‘business as usual’ will no longer be tolerated. For years in Harrisburg and in Philadelphia, we have heard this statement, ‘that’s the way it is.’ Well, today’s verdict signals that ‘the way it is’ is not ‘the way it WILL be.’ The era of spending Other’s People Money is over.”

Cue the swelling strings and shots of American flags and the state capital dome in the background. Also some pointing and gesturing to drive home key words.
-Sean
MrLuigi, my cat, actually only types half as badly as I do.

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