In announcing the arrest of the one-time Democratic Senate Majority Leader John Sampson, Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch called it “one of the most extreme examples of hubris and arrogance we have ever seen.”[NY Daily News]
Hmm, seems to me that's not the first statement with that kind of superlative we're heard around here. Oh yeah; commenting on the allegations against Democratic Assemblyman Eric Stevenson, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara called it “an especially breathtaking bit of corruption, even by Albany standards.” That was just a few days after Bharara, commenting on the Malcolm Smith arrest, noted: "Not every state Legislature has this level of criminality exposed."
These allegations against Sampson are bad. Really bad. If you haven't read about them, you can do so here in the Post story, the headline of which says he's facing 120 years. This old school pre-Power Point style chart presented at the press conference pretty much tells the story.
Basically, Sampson allegedly skimmed money from foreclosure escrow accounts for which he was court-appointed referee (to pay for an ultimately unsuccessful campaign for district attorney, imagine that, he could be arresting himself!), allegedly borrowed money to cover some of it, allegedly attempted to interfere in an investigation into the person who allegedly supplied the loan, allegedly threatened to "take out" witnesses, and, apparently, most definitely told FBI agents that (in a line destined to go down in the annals of Albany corruption history): “Not everything I told you was false.” Seems like a good T-shirt slogan there.
Well, just how bad is it? Instead of issuing the standard denial and 'my client will be exonerated' bravado, Sampson's lawyer was saying things like:
“Senator Sampson has been fully cooperative with the government since we were contacted some months ago in connection with this investigation.” [NY Post]And:
“The senator does not stand accused of any offenses of misuse of his office.....This is an ordinary case that has been given an official corruption coat of paint, and I think that’s unfair.” [NYDN]Wo. I mean, if the attorney is not loudly proclaiming innocence, now that's bad. Makes one think that his client is perhaps considering the plea bargain that could put him behind bars for a maximum of about four years.
This case has nothing to do with the AEG scandal. But seeing these charges against Sampson and the ones against Smith in his alleged wacky mayoral scheme certainly puts the audacity of the effort to fix the highly scrutinized racino process into context.
- Saw on Twitter this note from one Steve Haskin.
Sneaky Preakness horse to watch: Will Take Charge. Just watch what happens to him while moving stride for stride with Orb. Watch overhead.
— Steve Haskin (@SteveHaskin) May 7, 2013
Ah, Haskin. I didn't follow him at all this year, and don't on Twitter, but caught this via a retweet. Went back to his final entry before the Derby, and once again, the man suffers a total meltdown, just utterly incapable of specifying a horse as the one he likes. Steve....please, pull yourself together. Just make a pick, I know it's hard, and that your eyes must glaze over after all those weeks and months of obsessing over a single horse race; but we all do it. Nobody except me will think any less of you if you're wrong. (And you don't get credit for picking the winner if one of the six horses you mentioned as candidates had won. Which they didn't.)
Anyway, I watched the overhead shot, and I think that's just nonsense. Will Take Charge was at least a couple of paths inside of Orb as they rounded the turn, providing the illusion that he was keeping stride while Orb was covering more ground. As they turned for home, and just before Will Take Charge ran up into a tiring Verrazano, Orb seems poised to edge away, and I'd be quite confident betting that he was getting ready to leave his rival in the dust. Of course, we'll never know for sure, but I'd be more than happy to see people jump on that bandwagon come Preakness time.
The more interesting thing about watching the overhead shot is to see how relatively clean the race was; at least through the opening and closing stages that we see in the video, the times when bad trouble would be most likely to occur. Seems almost like a regular horse race, albeit with more horses. The field broke cleanly from the gate, settled into the various tiers quite readily, and I really don't see any obvious excuses other than horses wide; and Orb took about the worst of that anyway.