Paradise Lost

Does Fife Symington have the guts to finally 'fess up?

Schindler and assistant prosecutor George Cardona are preparing to appeal the three-judge ruling to the full Ninth Circuit. If the Ninth Circuit accepts the appeal, 11 judges will be selected at random to review the case.

If the appeals court rejects the government's appeal, Schindler and Cardona will have 60 days to seek a new trial.

Schindler says he is ready to move forward with a new trial if necessary. He says he's prepared not only to retry the six counts on which Symington was previously convicted, but also will seek indictments on 11 other counts on which the jury was unable to reach verdicts.

If the full appeals court doesn't overturn the three-judge panel, Symington could face a new 17-count federal indictment by the end of the year.

A new indictment would bring Symington back to the same place he was in June 1996, when the government unleashed a 23-count indictment that ultimately led to his conviction and removal from office.

If Symington goes to trial again, it will barely create a blip in the media. His political career is in shambles. He's just another crooked developer in a state infamous for financial scoundrels.

Of course, there is another option.
But it takes courage.
Symington could look himself square in the eye and admit to himself that what he did was wrong and free himself from the Machiavellian game he's playing.

He could tell his attorneys to seek a plea agreement and agree to go to prison for six months or so.

He could thank his wife for supporting him through his travails.
He could tell his children that he made a mistake and is willing to accept the consequences.

He then could get on with his new life and use his considerable power to fulfill his dreams, whatever they are.

In the end, as it has been throughout, it's up to Symington to do the right thing. Not for us, because we no longer have to care, but for himself.

Contact John Dougherty at his online address: jdougherty@newtimes.com

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