Saturday, January 14, 2006

How To Read The Foti Story

Most of the newspapers that I saw used the AP version of the story regarding Steve Foti's upcoming plea deal in the caucus Scandal. I wanted to help my readers to better understand this story as it's written. I have no reason to believe that the AP is anything other than accurate, but sometimes the nuances get left out.

The source said the deal includes a recommended jail sentence of 30 days, a
fine and an agreement to testify against Rep. Scott Jensen, R-Waukesha, also
charged in the probe.

This means that Brian Blanchard will be in a folding chair outside the booking room to make certain of the arrangements for Foti's accommodations. It also meant that one more seat on the Huber van over to the Capitol would be taken.

Foti's attorney Franklyn Gimbel had been trying to reach a deal with Dane County
District Attorney Brian Blanchard to settle the case without a felony
conviction. He has said a sticking point was Blanchard's desire to have Foti
testify against Jensen, ...

This means that, while Foti had no compunction against defrauding the citizens of the state and of his district, he is a little squeamish about telling the truth about one of his colleagues. A reputation for telling the truth in public can be bad for a lobbyist. All depends on how you do your lobbying.

Foti now works as a lobbyist, and a felony conviction could jeopardize that
career. Legislation is now pending that would prohibit felons from lobbying
lawmakers in Wisconsin.

Foti is worried that a new law could keep him out of the Capitol rather than any sense of decency or shame. He doesn't appear worried that potential clients would be embarrassed to have a felon as a spokesperson. He's well enough connected to the current lawmakers to let a client get past the smell.

I think we need a countdown pool on when Jensen drops the quest for a trial and cuts a deal of his own. I pick 71 hours before the court date is due. What's your guess?

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