Moo-v-ing straight into the update with a summary of post-plea moos and news and udder-ly ridiculous spin from cyberspace about the beef plant case – starting with what the Clarion Ledger has online.
- Reduced sentence sought for beef plant owner, the only straight news story out reveals the USA has requested reduction in Richard Hall’s eight-year sentence;
- $50 on the skinny one, an editorial cartoon from the Ledger’s award winning cartoonist Marshall Ramsey;
- Interactive: Key Players and Timeline with the who, what, when over the past five years – not as detailed or as comprehensive as the timeline on Y’all politics;
- Campaign donations in the eye of beholder, opinion from Editorial Director David Hampton;
- Musgrove and the beef plant, Hampton’s blog post;
- Beef plant blues: Who’s in the hot seat next? opinion from Perspectives Editor Sid Salter;
- Musgrove’s beef plant, Wicker’s Aurora and ‘quid pro quo’ Salter’s most recent beef blog post; and
- Musgrove could reclaim for Dems Senate seat held by GOP weekly column from Bill Minor.
The Ledger’s position as the state’s largest newspaper and it’s location in the capital city have an impact – the as much as in the past but that’s another story.
Salter, as his name suggests, can be a little salty and he rubbed a little everywhere with his column on quid pro quo attempting to be fair. Hampton, on the other hand, would have to change his name to Hearton or Sweeton for it to suggest his approach. While I wouldn’t want him to change his good nature for the world, his assessment of Musgrove’s relationship to the beef plant, well, let’s just say it could use a little work.
There is nothing to indicate he [Musgrove] knew the money was obtained illegally, nor did he have any direct connection over the project that would create a “quid pro quo” necessary for it to be a crime.
That was a little hard to take; but, nowhere as difficult as related comment in his blog.
Musgove is not accused of anything. He accepted a campaign contribution and had no direct authority over the Beef Plant decisionmakers interacting with the Facilities Group. But, his name is being associated with the hot-button beef plant issue, nevertheless, and Republican opponents are having a field day with it.
The timing, less than 90 days before the election, is such a coincidence. Now, I wonder how that happened?
I’m telling you Hampton is such a nice guy that when he suggests something is amiss, it sends some folks into full spin time dry with no heat. I’m thinking that’s the spin cycle editor Tim Kalich was set on when he wrote Are feds trying to aid Wicker’s election? as his editorial in the Greenwood Commonwealth.
I usually shy away from conspiracy theories.
When the Democrats and their attorneys began claiming last year that the Bush administration was using its prosecutorial might to target opposition candidates and their major financial supporters, I greeted the allegation with a skeptical eye.
I’m not so sure anymore.
Musgrove, though, was at most a minor player in the mess.
Yet the efforts to link him publicly to the corruption scandal — using the combined power of the federal prosecutors and a Republican state auditor — have intensified since Musgrove announced his intentions to challenge Wicker for the Senate seat.
Lordamighty, Kalich should definitely shy away from conspiracy theories – spotting one just doesn’t come natural to him. He admits to being skeptical about those where there’s actual evidence that suggests something took place and then adds that he only begins to believe there may be something to the theory when efforts to link Musgrove to the beef plant intensified after the former Governor announced he would run for the Senate.
The key word is intensified because Musgrove was linked to everything that took place during his administration – we’re talking a major OCD control freak unable to be a minor player in anything until now. Treatment is not a Senate seat. If, indeed, the efforts to link Musgrove to the beef plant actually intensified as Kalich suggests, chances are that it’s because so many were shocked he would consider running. There is no reason I can think of for not considering the possibility the federal prosecutors were among those saying ohshit, can you believe it when Musgrove announced.
IMO, too much is being made of illegal conspiracies while ignoring the legal ones such as cooperation with the government following indictment. H. L. Mencken provides my backup.
It is hard to believe that a man is telling the truth when you know that you would lie if you were in his place.
Patsy Brumfield’s provided related food for thought in What’s left in the beef plant saga? published in the Daily Journal.
In March, [three Georgia corporate executives for companies, know collectively as The Facility Group]…were indicted on 16 federal counts of conspiring to bribe a Mississippi elected official and to fraudulent acts related to the contract they won to build the Yalobusha County facility.
Under that scenario, they faced up to 305 years in prison and $4 million in fines, if they were convicted.
From the outside, the government’s decision to dismiss those 16 counts in favor of one count each looks like a good deal…
Sentences won’t be known for about two months, but the government recommended 12-18 months for Moultrie and Cawood, and 10-16 months for Morehead.
It’s a significant understatement on Patsy’s part to say the recommended sentences look like a good deal – if the reduction of 305 years to 12-18 months isn’t a good deal, there never will be one. If you don’t agree, ask the James Draper, the fellow from Tennessee convicted on a two-count indictment how he feels about the motion to reduced Hall’s sentence based on grounds that included:
…for approximately three years, RICHARD N. HALL, JR. has assisted the United States in the investigations related to James Draper and the Facility Group.
…HALL has testified at the trial of James Draper which, in part, resulted in his conviction.
Draper’s conviction exposes him to a sentence of 30 years. His attorney, the highly regarded Kenneth Caughlin, filled a motion for acquittal. Responding in opposition, the government’s motion stated
DRAPER contends that the evidence presented at trial was insufficient for any reasonable trier of fact to find the defendant guilty of the charges beyond a reasonable doubt.
Judge Mills agreed with the government’s position and denied the motion 10 days ago. One has to wonder, however, if Draper is someone who had no information to trade.
Patsy’s story raises this same question relative to the continued cooperation of the three TFG defendants.
The extent of their sentences will be affected by their cooperation with prosecutors – if they have anything else to tell investigators.
What more they have to tell is anyone’s guess.
Mississippi political watchers are wondering if Musgrove, now a candidate for Senate, will be indicted.
However, while some are watching, others are trying to think of something to tell.