Sep 21, 2016

The Exoneration of Edwin Pawlowski

The Supreme Court decision (reversing the conviction) in the Virginia Governor corruption matter, U.S. vs. McDonnell, has made it impossible to convict politicians of bribery in the absence of EXPLICIT evidence of written or oral testimony that supports a DIRECT quid pro quo. The evidence has to rise to the level of actual statements between the parties that "when I give you the money, it is for the specific purpose of giving me the XYZ contract." And the politician has to reply, "Yes, I will do that because you are giving me the money." The mere fact that a party gives money & other expensive gifts & favors to the politician and the politician subsequently later takes favorable action in matters of interest, concern & direct benefit to the giver is now NOT considered a bribe, but, rather, under the Supreme Court's new understandings, mere custome & usage and political courtesy extended between politicians and their constitutents/donors/benefactors. To have decided otherwise, the Court felt would be to "criminalize" the normal social/commercial discourse between politicians and their friends & financial supporters.

So, the Mayor probably can't be prosecuted. I suspect law enforcement was waiting for the decision in McDonnell to come down before proceeding to indict him. The tapes undoubtedly record aides or even donors talking to the Mayor or his top aides about soliciting/giving/receiving funds and the Mayor saying he understands their needs & wants, is sympathetic and agrees to help, yadda yadda, but, presumably no one was dumb enough, or felt the need to even be as blunt to say or put in writing, "I am giving you XXXX dollars, and you agree to give me that zoning exemption for the YYY site, correct? "Yes, I agree if you give me the money I will rubber stamp the YYY site tomorrow." No one says, "I hereby announce I am bribing you.....I hereby accept a bribe."

Get use to Mayor for Life Ed Pawlowski.


The above brief is from the molovinsky on allentown legal staff. I have heard back channel about some of the emails pertinent to this case.  Although, I do not believe that they rise to the criminal threshold as described above, there is a twist to the Allentown case.  Supposedly, Pawlowski/Fleck reached out in soliciting contributions.  Rumor has it that here will be at least one other indictment before Pawlowski.

ADDENDUM: Bernie O'Hare also chose to address the Pawlowski topic today.  He contends that there will be an upcoming RICO prosecution,  making the McDonnell decision less relevant in Pawlowski's case.  


Scott Armstrong said...


Respectfully disagree. The supreme made it harder to prosecute politicians for corruption but didn't issue a get out of jail free card. That is what Ed would need to slide off the hook. He is going down. When? Not soon enough and as we have written many times before his continue presence is a growing stench on the city and harming progress.

michael molovinsky said...

scott@7:39, i don't necessarily disagree with you. as i wrote in my last paragraph before the addendum, there is a twist to this case. above that, it is the learned opinion of someone else, who has a legal background. i thought that his explanation of the mcdonnell case was so clearly presented, that i would share it. however, regardless of how the case is presented, the mcdonnell decision can only aid in pawlowski's defense.

Jamie Kelton said...

I don't know if Mayor Pawlowski is guilty of crimes or not. I'd support a Republican if one runs against him next year. And I do think he'll run for a fourth term in 2017.

I'm not sure if that Virginia Supreme Court case has any standing in trying to prove Pawlowski is guilty of a crime; I think it's much more likely that despite over a year of investigation, the Feds simply don't have a winnable case that they can take to a Grand Jury for indictments.

Now that's not saying Indictments won't be issued tomorrow, we'll just have to see; but if nothing changes between now and next spring, you'll see Mayor Pawlowski's name on the Democratic primary ballot.

Mr Armstrong may be correct that he may not get the financial backing from the Democratic Party he used to get, but he's the Mayor and he's an incumbent and people will recognize his name on the ballot. Which adds up to a lot for any of the other challengers to overcome.

michael molovinsky said...

jamie@5:47, i agree that if pawlowski can still legally run in 2017, that he will. in that case, i think that he will have a good chance of succeeding. as i have posted twice, he is actively campaigning among the "little" people.

i note o'hare's update referring to this post. i have no issue with his conclusion that pawlowski can still be indicted for many things beyond the scope of the McDonnell case. this post was intended to supply an explanation of the mcdonnell decision. i would think that, in the very least, it provides a good defense attorney another leg on which to base his case.

time will tell if pawlowski is indicted, and if so, if found guilty. a guilty plea on his part would surprise me.

George Ruth said...

I believe in the Virginia case there was no hard quid pro quo. I would say in Ed's case a major campaign contributions is a big-time 'quo.'