Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Craig's Little SM Freak Show

Okay, so maybe not SM but masochistic to be sure.

At this point Craig should just go down to The Grove and piss himself in public as it could hardly be more pathetic an act than his filing this petition [pdf file] to withdraw is guilty plea.

If pride truly does go before the fall, Craig is still standing. His arrogance laid bare as a Full Monty in his motion.

From the very first sentence in the motion we are drawn back to his failed power play in Minnesota when he presented a young officer with a senate ID card in hopes of intimidating him:
Pursuant to Rule 15.05 of the Minnesota Rules of Criminal Procedure, Larry Edwin Craig, a United States Senator from Idaho ("Senator Craig") [per usual, my emphasis], hereby moves this Court for an Order allowing him to withdraw his guilty plea entered in the above-captioned action on August 8, 2007.
Wow. One might wonder what the significance is, other than to intimidate influence the court, of his being a senator in this instance. They're not merely going to mention the fact but let you know at the outset that he will be referred to, from this point on, as Senator Craig (for just how long that holds remains to be seen).

Lost in the *outcome-based-ethics of the GOP, coverage by the mainstream media, and the takes of late-night comedians, the power trip is in good measure what this is about. After all, he's no ordinary citizen by gawd and he should not be subjected to this. His ID card, like a magic wand, should have made it all disappear. His magical powers having failed him, he hoped to bury the incident with the quietest of guilty pleas - one in which he would not have to submit to the humility of a public appearance; he mailed it in.

Now we're to believe it was Craig who was intimidated, by the Idaho Statesman no less. To even address the ludicrous nature of this assertion is to lend it too much credence. It would take only a casual perusal of past issues to disabuse anyone of this notion, the fawning of the articles and editorials so saccharine as to be barely digestible. I don't know Dan Popkey's political persuasion (or that of the paper's editors) but based on his writing pandering, I'd say he's definitely in the I-wanna-be-with-the-power-brokers club.

The latest evidence was perhaps the August 12th non-article article by Popkey as to whether Craig would run for re-election. While most any Idahoan (or certainly Boisean) with a pulse was aware of the reason for Popkey's leave, not many likely knew of his interview with Craig upon the completion of his investigative query. In hindsight it would appear as though the article did serve a purpose - signaling to Craig that he was safe. Granted this was after Craig entered his guilty plea and I've little doubt that he was panicked that news of his arrest might start that snowball rolling but that doesn't mean that the plea was "not knowingly and understandingly made" as his motion asserts.

Let's back up a bit.

Senator Craig states that he did not consult an attorney regarding the incident yet, 11 days after his arrest, he returned to the airport police station and requested information for his attorney. He was either lying then (if that's the case perhaps it was another failed attempt at intimidation hoping they might drop the charges if he informed them he'd involved a lawyer) or he's lying about not seeking counsel prior to his guilty plea. It is interesting to note that in his affadavit (a legal document appended to the motion) Craig chooses his words a little more carefully, stating "I did not seek advice of counsel on the date of my arrest" and then talks separately about signing the plea petition even though he did not believe himself to be guilty [more on that later] and that he did not seek advice before entering that plea. It's not clear whether or not he means at any point in the interim or whether he's being deceptively specific.

His basic argument now (after having consulted an attorney) is that he's not an attorney and can't be expected to have understood the "intricate" constitutional rights he was waiving by entering his plea ... a judge should have asked him about it.

As I've stated before, I'm not a lawyer, I have never been a lawyer, I don't do those things ... but I am aware of Miranda, as well as the 6th amendment, and what those rights entail -as are the majority of Americans if the variety and longevity of Law and Order(s) are any indication.

Are we to believe the senator didn't know that everyone is allowed their day in court? On the contrary, he didn't want a day in court, he wanted to avoid that at all costs hence his choice to mail a plea.

We're evidently supposed to also believe that Craig doesn't know that arrests are a matter of public record. Again, according to the motion, since the officer said he wouldn't go to the press, Craig had an expectation that all would be hush hush and that should be viewed as a "promise" that would be "binding on the courts and parties". You have got to be shitting me. This is pathetic - if the man is that stupid, that should be a crime in and of itself.

Further, they want to be able to withdraw his plea because "there is insufficient factual basis, as a matter of law, to support his plea of guilty". The because-you-didn't-prove-it excuse. Well, the senator could have exercised his right to a trial, then the prosecutor would have had to prove his or her case or maybe the judge would have tossed it but he decided to enter a guilty plea - the ball was in his court.

Apparently Craig is even confused by the nuanced difference between the words guilty and innocent. He pleaded guilty but now he "submits that he is innocent of the charges against him".

Look at the the copy of his plea agreement (appended to the motion). It does not take an attorney to discern the following from the document: precisely what you're pleading to, what rights you are waiving in entering the plea, acknowledgment of whether or not you are represented by counsel, specifically that you are not making any claim of innocence and also the (detailed) rights you are waiving by not entering the plea in person.

To suggest that Craig is innocent and naive is simply not credible. In reviewing the interview one wonders where is the outrage of an innocent heterosexual man? [nowhere in the tone of that interview to be sure] Perhaps more telling, however, is Craig's use of "entrapment". The only way he could think of it as entrapment is if he thought that the officer's moving his foot slowly up and down had been done in response to his foot tapping (solicitation) and that it was an enticement for Craig to continue. Craig may not have acted wisely at any juncture but he knew what he was doing every step of the way.

I agree with the cop ... embarrassing.

*Outcome-based ethics. Notice that Republicans are only morally outraged when the result of advertising their faux ethics will have a desirable outcome. Vitter, with prostitutes? Well, hey, it's straight sex and he comes from a state with a Democratic governor - leave well enough alone. Instead, they can show their moral superiority while running that homo Craig off and they're guaranteed another sheep from that state. Yet we're to believe it's only because Craig entered a guilty plea, not the arrest itself - only in their warped world view is that a positive assertion.