Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Vickkampf: Cue a Bruno Ganz Tirade about Betrayal

I have very little to add to Lester Munson's breakdown of Tony Taylor's plea deal. Money graf:

Taylor has signed an agreement that requires him to cooperate with the prosecutors and tell them everything he knows. If he is caught lying, he faces serious trouble. He will be interviewed extensively. In a highly unusual procedure outlined in Taylor's plea agreement, he can be subjected to lie detector tests on the information he gives. He will also testify before the grand jury, probably before the new indictment is filed next month. And he will testify at the trial that will begin Nov. 26. Taylor is also obligated to turn over all of his records and files, evidence which could be even more compelling than his testimony.

Taylor is not going to be a garden variety defendant who flips and can be portrayed as having done so solely to save himself. OK, that's probably all true, but if he produces records and all of his major allegations pass lie detector scrutiny (although I'm not sure if that latter fact will be admissible), then it becomes a lot harder for Billy Martin to destroy his credibility on the stand.

Munson also provides the details on a RICO charge that ought to worry Vick:

One of the admissions Taylor makes in his agreement with the government is that the kennel and the dogfighting were part of a "business enterprise." Vick and his lawyers do not want to hear about any "business enterprise." It could become the foundation for a racketeering charge in the new indictment to be filed next month. A racketeering charge would raise the stakes for Vick and the others. If they're convicted of racketeering, they could face stiffer prison sentences and forfeitures of anything they own. It was bad enough for Vick to have to defend himself against charges of a conspiracy that lasted for six years in five states. A racketeering charge would make it even more difficult for Vick and his five lawyers to mount a defense.

This changes the stakes, as the upper end of Vick's prison sentence moves well above five-to-six years. This is not going to end well.

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