Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Maybe Spitzer's Cape Was Too Big - New York Times

While "Masters of the Universe cower in a corner" Theodore Sihpol took on Elliot Spitzer, and won. As mentioned here last week, the loss was a crushing blow for Spitzer, who seems to do better beating settlements out of people than actually taking cases to trial.

The Siphol trial was actually the first time Spitzer's office had tried any type of financial fraud case, and he lost. One has to wonder what the other six defendants who settled in the case are thinking now.

It takes a good case to decide to defend these types of cases, but it also takes a defendant with some nerve, and an attorney with some guts. It's always easier to settle a case, but the only way overzealous prosecutors are going to be reigned in is by taking them to trial with the cases that should go to trial.

Spitzer's tactics are now being called into question, and rightfully so. While he has done some theoretical good in the research area, did he really do anything for investors? All of those headlines and big fines - but the money went to Spitzer's office and the other Attorneys General. Investors did not see a dime of that money, and Spitzer even let the firms settle without admitting guilt, leaving investors with no money, and no assistance in proving their own individual cases.

We had another prosecutor like this years ago - big splashy headlines, perp walks for the press, over the top press releases; and no substance.

But sometimes it works. That former prosecutor was Rudy Giuliani. Mr. Giuliani actually had a terrible record as a prosecutor, but made great headlines. As it turned out, he became a great mayor but that might simply have been timing.

Spitzer will undoubtedly make a great run for the governorship of New York, but his record as a prosecutor is quickly being called into question.

Maybe it will not make a difference in the long run, but in the short term, Mr. Sihpol has shown us that Spitzer may not be as good as his press.

You will need to register with the NYT to read the article, but it is worth the few minutes.
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