Friday, January 27, 2006

Campbell trial -- 'That's my ho!'

Today's latest from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

[Former City Council member Lee] Morris testified to how some members of the council became concerned after [Mayor Bill] Campbell’s administration was awarding contracts on an emergency basis without involving the council.
One of those agreements, Morris said, involved R&D Testing and Drilling, owned by Campbell friend Ricky Rowe. Without bidding the job, the city gave the contract to R&D to remove contaminated dirt from D.L Stanton Park, which had been built on a landfill. ...

With regard to Rowe’s materials testing company getting a drilling contract, Morris said, “My concern was that we used a drilling and testing company, and we ended up spending $8.4 million” on the Stanton Park cleanup. Rowe died in 2004.

And then there's this:

[Former contract compliance director Michael] Sullivan earlier testified how contractor Ricky Rowe, a close friend of the mayor, once described his relationship with Campbell.
"[Rowe] used the term when he referred to the mayor as 'That's my ho,' Sullivan said. When prosecutor Russell Vineyard asked what Rowe meant, Sullivan responded, "I took it that he meant he had bought the mayor — he owned the mayor."
Sullivan, fired by Campbell in 1996 because of sexual harassment accusations, said Rowe, who died in 2004, told him he often gave the mayor cash while on gambling trips.
Under cross-examination, [defense attorney Jerry] Froelich reminded Sullivan that during a 1998 interview with the FBI, Sullivan said the "ho" reference meant Rowe had access to Campbell — not to having bought him off.

Great defense: It depends on what the meaning of "ho" is!

I went on record early in saying that no Atlanta jury would ever convict Bill Campbell of jaywalking, and I haven't seen anything yet to make me change that prediction. The prosecution is hampered by the fact that Rowe, a key partner in Campbell's alleged corruption, is dead. So Sullivan is giving hearsay testimony. Lee Morris is a rich white "good ol' boy" Buckhead lawyer type -- his word is worthless to an Atlanta jury.

If Campbell wasn't corrupt, he must be regretting his scrupulousness now that he's watching the incompetence of the federal prosecution. I imagine Campbell is sitting there at the defense table, thinking: "Man, I could have stolen everything that wasn't nailed down and gotten away with it."

So, again, the prediction: Not guilty.

The AJC is doing a Campbell trial blog, for anyone wishing to keep track, but I am having difficulty finding a URL for the main blog index.