Thursday, March 29, 2007

Foley Trial in Pensacola?

All of a sudden, disgraced Florida ex-congressman Mark Foley (R-West Palm Beach) is back in the news again.

First, the Associated Press reported yesterday that Foley still is under the microscope of federal and state prosecutors for his lewd text-messaging to under-aged pages working in the House of Representatives. The Sun-Sentinel picked up the same tale, probably because their AP subscription is up to date.

Next, Brian Ross and Vic Walter report for ABC News that if he is indicted, Foley most likely would be tried in Pensacola "based on sexually explicit instant messages that were sent from Pensacola... ." Truthout repeats that story for the hard of hearing.

ABC adds:
People familiar with the case said one instant message in particular, from Pensacola, could serve as the foundation of the case because it would allow charges to be brought in a county far from Foley's Palm Beach, where he was a popular figure.

Law enforcement officials say any decision to bring charges is still a month or two off and also depends on testimony from the former pages who received Foley's messages.
You may recall that we were among the first to speculate publicly about the possibility of a Pensacola trial way back when. Now, we're going to go out on another limb and predict that it won't be long before the Pensacola business community pushes prosecutors into indicting Foley.

Sure, local merchants and the Chamber of Commerce are heavily Republican, just like the former congressman. But we're always on the lookout for tourist promotion opportunities, too. Have to fill those hotels, restaurants, and T-shirt shops, y'know.

The dollar trumps everything in Northwest Florida, even justice. And now, thank goodness, we have the kind of Attorney General who will bend to political pressure.

A Foley trial could be a bonanza the likes of which we haven't seen since Pensacola won the interstate bidding contest and got to imprison Geronimo as a tourist attraction for a couple of years:
In 1886 Pensacola realized the value of a tourist attraction when Geronimo and his wives were imprisoned at Fort Pickens. Throngs of sightseers arrived by rail from New Orleans and other major Southern cities, while yachts circled the water around the fort hoping to catch a glimpse of the famous warrior.
According to ABC, "law enforcement officials say any decision to bring charges is still a month or two off." Just in time for the summer tourist season.

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