The word from sources inside state government is that Governor J. Fife Symington III is desperately seeking a plea agreement with federal prosecutors before he goes on trial in May on 23 felony counts.
The Fifester wants to cut a deal that will keep his tough-on-crime butt out of prison, but federal prosecutors aren't biting.
The sources say federal prosecutors out of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles believe their case against Symington is solid, and that they'll win convictions on multiple counts if it goes to trial.
The government will only accept a plea bargain if Symington agrees to a prison term, sources say.
Symington is charged with bank fraud, extortion and perjury. The counts carry prison terms ranging from five to 10 years each.
The governor appears to be in a settling mood.
Last week, he reached an agreement with a former business partner to settle a fraud lawsuit that was filed against Symington in his Chapter 7 bankruptcy case.
Scottsdale developer Jerome Hirsch claimed in his suit that Symington diverted about $1 million in proceeds from the sale of the Camelback Esplanade that should have gone to Hirsch.
Terms of their agreement were not disclosed.
The Latest Joe Show
Sheriff Joke Arpaio's first appearance as a guest on Politically Incorrect went so well -- host Bill Maher called him America's "stupidest sheriff" -- the Crime Avenger was invited back for another round last week.
Arpaio joined a panel of other giants in the growing media niche market of Celebrated Oddities in Uniform: former Los Angeles police chief and talk-show host Daryl Gates; child actor (he played Eddie Haskell on Leave It to Beaver), retired L.A. police officer and all-around minority-hating, lock-'em-up-and-throw-away-the-key psycho Ken Osmond; and Bob Odenkirk, an actor Maher said was on the panel because he "looked like a cop."
During Arpaio's first appearance last April, when the show was making a name for itself on the cable network Comedy Central, the sheriff committed several faux pas, not the least of which was wearing a short-sleeved shirt under his suit jacket.
This time, now that the show has jumped to ABC and a much wider audience, Joke dressed better and appeared more cagey, picking his spots carefully to expound on his favorite subject: himself.
For example, he couldn't wait to jump in when Maher asked about cops who pull over women for "driving while pretty."
"When I was a cop in Vegas," Arpaio said, "I stopped a couple women. You know what they said? 'Hey, officer, what time do you get off?' 'Twelve o'clock.' 'Well come on over for some coffee,' and so on."
"Well, you're irresistible, sheriff," Maher replied, sending the audience into hysterics.
(The Flash worries for the sheriff's welfare. First, he's getting all these death threats -- also as seen on TV! -- and now half the women in America will be pining for the studly Lothario. Between dodging assassins and servicing women, whenever will he find time for publicity stunts?)
The Crime Avenger told Maher that he didn't take the women up on their offer, but gave them an extra ticket just for good measure. (And these comely vixens got off easy; he could have used a stun gun on their genitals.)
"Come on," Maher countered, "you have 2,000 policemen under your belt. You don't think any of them are using their job to get nooky?"
(The Flash assumes the hideous visage of alleged phony cop and female-inmate fondler David Pecard hit the sheriff like a nightstick to the occipital region.)
"No one is perfect," Joke replied cryptically, presumably excluding himself.
The Flash wonders what Ava Arpaio thought about that.
They Rocked the Verdict
Never a band to refuse a cold brew (or a warm one, for that matter), Tempe rockers the Piersons still managed to give new meaning to "getting tanked" when, just before the O.J. Simpson civil verdict was read February 4, they rolled up on the mob scene outside the Santa Monica courthouse in a World War II-era amphibious assault tank.
The band was using the 30-foot-long armored landing vehicle as a gimmick for a promotional tour of Los Angeles record stores when they heard the verdict was to be announced. The Piersons rushed toward the center of the action at a brisk 25 mph.
Once there, they climbed on the 10-foot-wide deck of the tank, plugged their amps into a generator and started to jam. Camera crews flocked like moths. So did several of L.A.'s finest, who shut the band down midsong and began to cuff 'em.
Witnesses said members of the crowd began chanting "Free the rockers!" The Piersons got on some L.A. newscasts and the cops ultimately let them go with a warning citation for disseminating amplified music without a permit. Unfortunately, they still don't have a major-label record deal.
But if you want to invade a small country, it's the band to call.
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