Tuesday, February 16, 2010
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE
You can almost hear the horror in Tribune-Review columnist Brad Bumstead's voice as he utters the unthinkable: "Mike Veon could walk."
Clearly such an outcome would be a crushing blow to the Tribune-Review, which idolizes Gubernatorial Candidate Tom Corbett and holds Veon as the embodiment of political evil on earth (AKA: a Democrat). But the "blame" for the direction of the trial thus far does not lie with Veon's defense team, skilled and charismatic though they may be.
We remind Mr. Bumstead that the defense has not yet begun to present its case. We'll wait until we actually see it before we label it, "inventive" or otherwise. This shambling stream of muddy testimony that has eroded the Commonwealth's case for the last two weeks has been brought to you courtesy of the prosecution.
Even though the Office of Attorney General subpoenaed more than 80 witnesses, according to rumors around the Capitol it planned to call fewer than two dozen. So confident were prosecutors in the power of star witnesses Michael Manzo and Jeff Foreman - formerly the highest-ranking staffers in the House Democratic Caucus - that they believed the testimony of underlings would not be needed.
It was not the idea of Veon's defense team to stake the outcome of a multi-million dollar, three-year investigation (and a pillar of Corbett's gubernatorial campaign) on the testimony of a dissembling thief known to colleagues as "the Grim Reaper" and a philanderer who expended as many state resources on arranging trysts with his mistress as on winning elections.
We're sure the time for praise of Veon's capable defense team will arrive when it actually launches a defense. But if you're already fearing (or cheering) the possibility of a Veon acquittal, you have the Keystone Kops at the Office of Attorney General to thank.