Rigas Nailed, Osama Still Loose
President Bush had to get tough on 78-year-old
Through his attorney, Rigas denies the charges and states that money borrowed from the company went directly into purchases of Adelphia stock, which helped maintain a healthy stock price.
It is too early to tell whether the Rigases are guilty or not guilty of these charges, but we can question the timing, motivation, and propriety of arresting
He is the owner of the Buffalo Sabres, but such trivialities do not register on Beltway radar.
If Bush can't find Osama--the third most recognizable face on the planet--well dammit, at least he and his boys from the Post Office can find the most recognizable face in Coudersport, PA. (pop. 2650).
Rigas, all of five feet two inches, could have slugged one cop while the two sons grabbed the guns, and they all could have fled to the Downtown Manhattan Heliport to . . . where? You can’t hide anymore in this world--unless your name is Osama, of course. The police can email your photo to every law enforcement agency in the world in five minutes.
But Rigas still had to be arrested at dawn. It's right there in the Justice Department's regulations. I read them today:
". . . for a defendant with no prior record who is not a flight risk and is not charged with crimes of violence, a summons (appearance ticket) is to be issued, particularly if the defendant through counsel offers to voluntarily appear for arraignment. However, if there is corporate crime hysteria and a falling stock market and a tainted president with falling poll numbers whose war on terrorism has stalled out, then, by all means, grab the perp at dawn and make sure the press is tipped off in advance so we can taint the jury pool with a nice visual."
Don't give me any of that leftist malarkey about how we have to treat white-collar criminals the same as street criminals. As usual, the left is caught in a glaring contradiction. They oppose the unnecessary or excessive use of force by the police, except when it comes to corporate executives.
Here are the differences between violent criminals and businessmen accused of financial crimes. Pursuit of violent criminals necessarily involves precautions to protect the arresting officers and to prevent escape, as the thugs, unlike white-collar defendants, usually have no valuable ties to the community.
Second, there is an obvious difference between a person engaged in productive, law-abiding activities but who veers into illegality, and, for example, a burglar, whose "job" is exclusively and entirely devoted to making other people’s lives miserable. If we treat white-collar defendants differently from violent criminals--at least in matters of arrest and pretrial release--it is because they are different.
I am just an old flyover-country lawyer, but what I am hearing around these parts is that Rigas was made the scapegoat because all the other guys are wired. Whether that is true or not, the show put on in
Now, if they had only summoned 76-year-old Manhattanite Alan Greenspan for massive counterfeiting, that would be different. But perhaps stealing one-third of the value of our money is no big deal, if you’re wired.