The courtsaid Thursday that the “honest services” law could not be used in convicting Mr. Skilling for his role in the collapse of Enron. But JusticeRuth Bader Ginsburg said in her majority opinion that the ruling does not necessarily require Mr. Skilling’s conviction to be overturned.
During arguments in December and March, several justices seemed
inclined to limit prosecutors’ use of this law, which critics have said
is vague and has been used to make a crime out of mistakes and minor
transgressions in the business and political world.
The court, at the same time, rejected Mr. Skilling’s assertion that he
did not get a fair trial in Houston because of harshly critical
publicity surrounding the case in Enron’s hometown.
The court in this ruling also sided with the former newspaper magnate, Conrad Black, setting aside
a federal appeals court decision that had upheld Mr. Black’s honest
services fraud conviction. But as in Mr. Skilling’s case, the justices
left the ultimate resolution of the case to the appeals court.
Mr. Black, serving a 6 1/2-year prison term, and two other former
executives were convicted of depriving the Hollinger International
media empire of their faithful services as corporate officers.The
company once owned The Chicago Sun-Times, The Daily Telegraph of
London, The Jerusalem Post and hundreds of community papers across the
United States and Canada.
Central to the case is $5.5 million that the defendants say were
management fees they were owed and were trying to collect in such a way
that they would not have to pay Canadian income tax. The government
says the money belonged to the company’s shareholders.
Yeah. Stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars, running decent newspapers into the ground, depriving entire communities of access to information by having your minions redline them out of coverage areas because of fucking economics, fucking over employees year after year after year … that’s just fucking great. That’s just awesome. I’m less concerned about the shareholders, who did indeed get screwed, but that’s just because I’m some fucking idiot who actually thinks corporations have a responsibility to their employees and customers. I know, I’m a fucking moron, okay? I’m sorry, I’m still into journalism as public service. I’ll give you a minute to point and laugh and then we can get back to business.
You know, in the absence of any meaningful punishment for this motherfucker, we’re going to have to resort to old-fashioned shunning. Wherein decent people refuse to receive the sleazy son of a bitch in their homes, refuse to shake his hand in public, leave him off the party invite list, and throw rotten fruit and hiss whenever he speaks to the assembled plebes.
At the very least, this is what can happen. It’s fun for sensible, respectable liberals to bag on people like Code Pink for showing up in costumes and screaming at Karl Rove when he appears in public, or standing up covered in oil when Tony Hayward pokes his head out of his hole because “that won’t change anything.” It’s fun to talk about how it’s a turnoff, or it’s counterproductive, because then we can just kick back and congratulate ourselves for not being so damn loud and annoying.
But lately, with all the looking forward we’re doing and not looking back, with all the TOTAL AND COMPLETE UNWILLINGNESS TO PUNISH ANYBODY FOR ANYTHING, with motherfuckers like Black being sent to lovely resort prison instead ofOffice Space prison, if all that can be done to these assholes is some good olden-times public shaming, then I say fuck yeah to the people doing it and here’s some cash come payday. I say we need more of that, not less, and I applaud it wherever and whenever it happens.
I suffer from no delusion that the Important People will refuse to invite Conrad places. He, like Bush and Rumsfeld and Cheney and Dougie Feith, will always have a job and a place to go when he’s lonely. And hopefully somebody will be there, shouting at him to rot in hell, as uncouth and annoying as that may be.