DMR because yesterday 3 former employees pleaded guilty to felonies and Trudy Fisher because of the local rumor mill fueled by at least one OIG report. We start with Ms. Fisher:
And of course it was Jeff’s story that Anita Lee and I chatted about before we entered the courtroom for the DMR plea hearing before Circuit Court Judge Roger Clark yesterday in Biloxi. I was disappointed in not being able to use Twitter, especially since still photography was allowed inside the court room per the court’s own rules. Those rules were written before the rise of social media and it shows. Nonetheless, when the court’s bailiff comes out two times before the start of the hearing to let everyone else know they better turn off all their electronic devices it behooved those assembled to heed the good word.
Let’s start with Anita’s story for the Sun Herald:
3 former DMR employees plead guilty, sentenced ~ Anita Lee
She does a good job recounting the events of the hearing, where Tina Shumate was clearly the boogie man de jour. After Larsen’s attorney made some statements regarding how Shumate allegedly treated Larsen when he tried repaying the travel over payment, Shumate’s lawyer Tim Holliman’s reaction upon hearing Team Larsen’s statement tells me her story will beg to differ. We’ll see.
What Anita’s story does not say is what I am going to cover because it is clear to me that Larsen and Susan Perkins are nothing more than sacrificial lambs – little people caught up via employment in something far bigger than they and which they have no control. The public reaction upon seeing the light sentences is one of cynicism but that is the wrong reaction IMHO. Based on what I saw yesterday, my reaction was why the hell were Larsen and Perkins even charged with a felony? The answer is they are not politically connected and made convenient targets to deflect attention away from other people.
Nonetheless all three former employees appreciated the gravity of the situation. Ms. Gollott broke down in tears when she read her statement to Judge Clark where she accepted full responsibility for her crimes. All three will be back on the witness stand for Tina Shumate’s upcoming trial.
Now, back to that transparency problem and deflection of attention away from politically connected perpetrators:
Editorial: Judge Schloegel’s ruling reaffirms public access ~ Sun Herald Editorial Board