by Paul Goldman
I have seen situations like this escalate for no good reason into unwarranted criminal stuff for all the wrong reasons. So with all due respect, at this point in the situation, it doesn’t help Patrick Moran for his father’s campaign or for anyone else in the Democratic Party to try and make this into a right wing “gotcha plot” now that the investigation has been formally started by local authorities.
As I wrote yesterday, of course these fanatics plotted to ensnare Patrick. But once the investigation is formally launched, trying to make Patrick into a victim of these ideologues makes it harder for the prosecutor to settle matters without some criminal proceeding.
Why? Because the more the case is politicized, the harder it is going to be for the prosecutor to just walk away from it. I realize the thinking behind making it into a right win plot is this: make the fanatics think they are at risk if the investigation isn’t shut down quickly.
However: you are dealing with “true believers”, they beat to their own drummer. They have concocted some “news media” cover for what they do, some first amendment thing, and the truth is, they probably welcome being investigated by “The Man,” especially one in a heavily Democratic jurisdiction like Arlington. It wouldn’t exactly be a Pussy Riot like the band in Moscow, but the fanatics would know how to make the most of their troubles with the prosecutor.
Bottom line: Politicizing this thing can not help Patrick avoid what needs to be avoided, that is to say an indictment or what could be pressure to plea to a lesser offense. That stays on his record forever.
You don’t want the prosecutors to feel they have to bring charges to save their own reputations. So what if they indict folks on both sides: How does that help Patrick in the long run?
It doesn’t: and again the other side would only wear it as a badge of honor in their fanatic circles.
The right strategy: Keep the damn thing out of the paper to the extent possible, get a real criminal lawyer to handle it, one who knows how to play the game, and have the thing go away.
As I wrote yesterday: Being monumentally dumb to get ensnared by fanatics is one thing, but that isn’t criminal, just brain dead.
I know Congressman Moran loves Patrick, same with Brian and their friends, and they want to help him. I appreciate that. But this is not something politicians or politics can handle now. Patrick Moran needs a real savvy criminal lawyer who knows how to play the game; and let him/her control everything.
There is no crime here. BUT…all the hype about voter fraud this year in Virginia puts more pressure on the local prosecutor to be seen as doing something. This case is way too political already: it needs to be dialed down and the professional Arlington law enforcement folks – well respected in my book – can be counted on to arrive at the right conclusion.
I have seen this type of stuff take on a life of its own due to the politics. It would be totally unfair and unjustified to allow it to happen in this matter. This is why lawyers are tolerated: having a good one can come in handy now and then.