Cafe Reviews


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But Steiger approached the bench with anything but humility. He wasn't humble. He was, in fact about to go on the attack. Outraged because he'd been unjustly classed as a felon, he was fighting back. He was convinced he'd done nothing more than what is done routinely in political jobs all the time.

"I want the record to reflect what I feel," Steiger began.
"I'm not a thief. I'm not an extortionist. I'm not a liar.
"I lied to the attorney general for the same reason I would to a stickup man in an alley who asked me if I had any money." Some spectators broke into laughter, Judge Reinstein's expression didn't change. But some of the faint-hearted cringed at this opening. Steiger, they thought, was sure to be sent to jail now.

Steiger wheeled around and pointed directly at the two lawyers from the Attorney General's Office on hand to see him sentenced.

"It's my honest conviction that I was singled out for elimination from state government because my politics were distasteful to Bob Corbin. I will tell the court I have remorse that these people appear to be successful in singling out anybody who dares to criticize the Attorney General's Office.

"I am no longer important in this case," Steiger added. "What overwhelms me is the hypocrisy." He wasn't playing the game. In order to get probation, you must first admit your guilt and state your desire to become a law-abiding citizen.

All Steiger wanted to do was turn both Corbin and the conviction around.
He had been ordered by Mecham to clean up the mess at the parole board and had set about doing so.

Later, when Rose Mofford became governor, everyone thought it was just fine when she made the same moves that brought Corbin's wrath down on Steiger.

Steiger made his presentence speech, fully expecting that it might anger Judge Reinstein and prompt him to issue the jail term.

But Judge Reinstein surprised everyone by giving Steiger probation anyway. The judge even stated his own belief that it was Steiger's intention to clean up the situation at the parole board.

The conviction was later overturned by the Court of Appeals. The record was expunged. All that remains of the unjust prosecution now is Steiger's memory of what Corbin and Twist attempted to do to him.

Steiger was surrounded by reporters after the sentencing and was asked why he didn't express remorse rather than defiance.

"I have a difficult time saying what I don't feel," he said. "I have several ex-wives who will attest to that." It comes as no surprise that the Arizona Republic doesn't want Steiger to become governor.

J. Fife Symington III is much more to its liking. Symington has independent wealth, an Ivy League background and is a true country-club type. Symington is the other side of the coin to Terry Goddard, another member of the effete class.

The state's largest and most powerful newspaper has made it clear that Symington, the man who gave us the daily traffic jam at 24th Street and Camelback, is its choice for the Republican party nomination.

And so Steiger has become the target of regular attacks by Keven Willey, the Republic's political columnist.

The political editor at the Republic has always served as management's voice among the masses. This is the chief reason the column has little readership except among politicians. Readers have spotted it as nothing more than an attempt to move the editorial-page views into the news pages.

This past Sunday, Willey complained that Steiger was mean to her on the telephone. Steiger called Willey to ask that she explain her item which stated he had held a gun on a man from whom he was renting property in Prescott.

The explanation was less spectacular.
Steiger had put the house up for sale as part of a divorce settlement in 1979. The agreement was that the man who bought the house wouldn't take possession for ninety days and Steiger would rent it in the interim.

But the man sent workers in to do some remodeling while Steiger was away on a two-week trip.

"When I came back, the place was full of flies and workmen," Steiger says. "I ran them off." Steiger came home to find all the doors and windows open, too. He got his carbine and ordered everybody off the property.

A full-fledged feud was then in force between Steiger and the buyer. The man went to court. Steiger represented himself. The case, which is a fully documented part of the Steiger legend, resulted in a hung jury. The judge told Steiger he could have avoided a lot of trouble by merely calling the sheriff and going through normal channels.

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Penelope Corcoran