|Secretary of State Charlie White|
Meanwhile Jim Shella, political analyst for WISH-TV, was the only political pundit I listened to who thought the fact that a Democrat appointed by the Democratic State Chairman who brought the case voted with the Republicans was meaningless. Shella says prosecutors, unlike the Democrats, have had more time to develop smoking gun evidence that could convict Charlie White. On Abdul's radio program this morning, Shella took a backhanded shot at Democratic attorney Karen Celestino-Horseman, suggesting that one of the reasons she failed in presenting the case was that she is not a prosecutor, which of course ignores the fact that she is a talented litigator and the case before the Commission wasn't a prosecution. While I think she was a bit abrasive in her approach which I think isn't helpful, Celestino-Horseman otherwise did an outstanding job presenting the case. She just didn't have any direct evidence to prove her case while Charlie White did. In the end, an attorney is only as good as his or her case.
Apparently the whole problem that a criminal conviction requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt, a very high standard, is lost on Shella. Even if the prosecution came up with the neighbor who saw White going in and out of the condo (Shella's so-called smoking gun), the fact still is White has four witnesses placing him as residing at his ex-wife's house. In particular, the fact White's ex-wife confirms that fact is a devastating blow to any conviction. People on the jury are going to think as an ex, she of all people wouldn't support White if he were lying. I can't imagine how they're going to completely discredit the ex-wife's testimony to meet the reasonable doubt standard.
My guess is the prosecutors never dreamed they would have to try the case. I think they believed that if they threw enough felonies at Charlie White, they could get him to leave office in exchange for dropping the charges. That fact is driven home by three of the charges that were completely gratuitous and didn't involve victims who complained to prosecutors: mortgage fraud, perjury for lying on the marriage application by using the ex-wife's address, and "theft" for accepting pay for being on the Fishers Town Board, while supposedly being unable because he moved out of his district.
|Special Prosecutor Dan Sigler|
My guess is that, in light of the evidence before the Commission and the 3-0 finding, the two prosecutors, John Dowd and Dan Sigler, now realize they are out a limb. That sound they hear is White sawing off that limb. I believe they will want to cut a deal rather than go to trial with what appears increasingly to be a badly losing hand. My guess is they'll start looking for a plea that drops all the felonies in exchange for a misdemeanor conviction or two, a way for the prosecutors to save face while arguing that the problem is that the law is vague and the legislature needs to clarify the law. With only a misdemeanor, White would stay in office.