Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Got a couple of desperate Republican political defendants over a barrel? Would you maybe try to use your leverage as a prosecutor to ferret out further corruption in the General Assembly? Or would you instead take another pathetic shot at unmasking your anonymous online critics?

As a matter of policy, Team CasablancaPa will not disclose the names of anyone who offers to share information with us.

Not even if that offer is part of a ploy to gain favorable consideration from a prosecutor as part of a plea bargain or sentencing negotiation in the "Computergate" case.

Sadly, both Republican defendants who tried to gain information as to the identity and whereabouts of Team CasablancaPa failed. But we give you an "A" for effort. Did the Office of Attorney General do the same?

We were puzzled, but not overly suspicious, when the first Republican defendant contacted us about a year ago. Neither a plea bargain nor a sentencing hearing appeared to be on the horizon at the time. But as our extensive viewership of television crime dramas has taught us, plea bargains often are kept a secret so defendants can retain the trust of co-conspirators and gather incriminating information on prosecutors' behalf.

As far as we can glean from the media coverage, this tactic was employed to no avail in the Mike Veon case. And we may never know all the factors that led to John Perzel's guilty plea.

In February of 2011, we received the following email:
Sent: February 7, 2011, 12:54 p.m.
From: [Defendant #1]
To: Signor Ferrari
Subject: No Subject

From time to time, I may have some information to add to the discussion, can you give me an address to which to send?
It was not signed, "Hugs and kisses, Defendant #1," but we were touched nonetheless. Alas, our hopes for a beautiful friendship were dashed when Defendant #1 failed to respond to our suggestion that information could be scanned and emailed. We never heard from Defendant #1 again.

When the second defendant contacted us, we knew the second defendant was probably involved in discussions with the OAG at the time. And, just like the first defendant, the second defendant quickly ceased communication with us when it became clear that we would preserve our anonymity.

Our correspondence with Defendant #2 was a bit more extensive. In January of this year, we received this email.
Sent: January 26, 2012, 8:02
From: [Defendant #2]
To: Signor Ferrari
Subject: How can I send documents and information to you regarding Corbett and company?
Yes, all that was in the subject line. Defendant #2 is maybe not so skilled at using email. We made the same suggestion that we had made to Defendant #1: that documents be scanned and emailed. Defendant #2 claimed an inability to scan (not surprising, given Defendant #2's struggle with email!) After agreeing to send the information through a third party, Defendant #2 also abandoned us.

Corbett's minions have a history of abusing the power of the OAG in an effort to expose anonymous online critics. Their ill-fated and highly improper effort to subpoena Twitter for information about our account made national headlines in 2010.

What concerns us more than protecting our own identity is the idea that prosecutors could offer consideration in criminal matters in exchange for information irrelevant to any criminal investigation (yes, it's still legal to criticize a public official anonymously). If a prosecutor can make a deal for information about our identity, can he offer consideration in exchange for, say, a hand-drawn coupon for one free hug?


Anonymous said...

Perzel sentenced to 2 1/2 years.

Anonymous said...

Veon - 4 years
Perzel - 2 1/2 years
Feese - 2 years
Preski - 2 years
Cott - 21 months

seems like Veon got more than others who did more. Manzo admitted to being the architect of bonuses, usinf state $ to pay for sex, and lying to the AG and in court. What should he get? Or "the greatest day in my life" DeWeese, the boss who knew nothing and still says he's not guilty and running for reelection?

Anonymous said...

How do 3 computergate felons, and 4convicted in bonusgate, get only probation and not lose their pensions? It's hard to reconcile the sentencing. I guess the million dollar restitutions for Prezel and Preski are ok, since they got rich in state employment; but Veon faces the same kind of thing with no money.

Anonymous said...

You need to look at the maximums, not the minimums:
Veon: 14 years
Feese: 12 years
Cott: 5 years
Perzel: 5 years
Preski: 4 years

Anonymous said...

Why look at the maximums instead of the minimums? No one will serve the maximums. In fact, no one will even serve the minimums due to so called "good time" reductions and early release. Cott is out, and he didn't serve his minimum in prison!

Anonymous said...

It's confusing to compare the sentences and understand how one got more and another less, or why. Very hard to make sense of it.

Anonymous said...

First, it seems that if this were just another case, with all first offenders and all nonviolent crime, many would have been eligible for ARD and a clear record; or at least probation instead of jail. But very high profile cases deo draw much harsher penalties by Judges.

Anonymous said...

The maximums arenthrnrelevant number because unless the convictions are overturned, the defendants will be on parole and under the supervision of the Commonwealth for the full length of their terms. Keep in mind that Cott, sentenced to as much time as Perzel - and Fumi, for that matter - was acquitted of every crime except working on campaigns in state time.

Anonymous said...

In today's excellent Pittsburgh Trib Review piece by Brad Bumsted, the AG's office changed their "..wherever the evidence leads..." line to "..if people don't get indicted, they don't get indicted." But there's a troublesome contradiction here.

First, the AG seemed to go farther in speaking up for Perzel than all the other "cooperating" defendants, because, they said, Perzel's cooperation was so important in other unnamed investigations. It's hard to beleive that if Perzel is fully, candidly assisting they couldn't go after any number of other House members, and Philly pols in City Hall, the Parking Authority, the courts and who knows where. One problem, they'd mostly be GOP.

Second interesting juxtaposition. In his closing argument Sen. Orie's lawyer argued that the AG had first crack at the Orie case but passed on it. But why? The charges against Orie for political work on state time and state resources is at least as egregious as those against DeWeese or Stetler. In some ways worse.

What gives? Prosecution is just descretionary, but it should at least appear equitable, shouldn't it?

Anonymous said...

If Perzel has been so cooperative on other cases, you can make book gaming charges will soon be coming down. Also charges on more House GOPers. Wait and see.

Signor Ferrari said...

If Mike Manzo can't be sentenced until he's finished being the OAG's dancing monkey, we can't imagine why Perzel would be sentenced before completing any obligatory performances. Perzel's sentencing seems to indicate his usefulness to the prosecution is at an end.. Remember, Corbett had no intention even of investigating Perzel until he realized the public demanded a show of non-partisanship (and it was clear Perzel had no intention of supporting Corbett's gubernatorial bid).

Anonymous said...

Not to get off topic but the Orie Jury appears to be at an impasse. I hope they don't hang. Do you think they would try her again? If Jane walks, then Janine walks and Melvin will never be charged.

Anonymous said...

Looks like Senator Orie is going free and Jannine Trial will be dismissed and Supreme Court Justice investigation will cease.

The end of so-called public corruption cases are over.

Anonymous said...

Senator Pileggi and Senator Scarnati issue a joint statement praising Senator Orie for representing her constituents. I guess they are thanking her for lying, cheating, and stealing.

Anonymous said...

How about that standing ovation for Payjacker/Felon Deweese? And Smith blubbering about the love in that cesspool.

Keep Going DAs and Feds, This corrupt republicrat monoply on government is ruining our country.

Anonymous said...

When sentenced tomorrow, what will Manzo get? My prediction: 2 years.