MARCH 11, 2010
In a pathetically desperate effort to avoid her destiny behind bars, the corrupt politician wife of the House Judiciary Committee chairman wants to withdraw her bribery guilty plea to dodge a three-year prison sentence.
Detroit City Councilwoman Monica Conyers, married to the famed Michigan Democrat (John Conyers) who heads the House committee that oversees the U.S. Attorney’s office and the FBI, clearly thought that pleading guilty to a few of her many transgressions was a noble enough deed that it would get her off the hook.
The flamboyant politician’s reaction to her sentence this week indicates that she views herself as invincible despite her lengthy history of public corruption as one of Detroit’s most powerful lawmakers. When a federal judge slapped Conyers with a 37-month prison sentence and two years of probation, the irate councilwoman exploded in court and declared that she wasn’t going to jail for something she didn’t do.
Audacious behavior considering that last summer Conyers admitted taking bribes from a developer to change her vote on a multi million-dollar city contract to haul and treat the city’s sewage sludge. After vehement denials, she pleaded guilty only because the FBI had electronic surveillance evidence of Conyers taking cash bribes in fast-food parking lots.
The developer had already pleaded guilty in federal court to paying Conyers more than $6,000 in bribes and admitted using a courier on four separate occasions to the deliver the money. The Detroit newspaper that has thoroughly covered the Conyers scandal links the charging document and plea agreement that the disgraced councilwoman wants to withdraw in an effort to avoid jail.
Her legal argument is decrepit because she signed a guilty plea in June that says if the sentence imposed falls at 60 months or less, “defendant waives any right to appeal her conviction or sentence.” Her signature effectively stymies an appeal, according to legal experts, and she must report to prison on July 1.
In a boisterous tone seldom used by defendants in federal court, Conyers assured that she’s “not going to be made a scapegoat for other people.” She also gave the judge a bit of a lecture, chastising him for making an example out of her and caving into media pressure to send her to jail.
Responding to the unmoved judge, a despondent Conyers then invoked her husband and son, pointing out that the “older man” and 14-year-old boy need her. Perhaps she should have thought of them when she took the bags of cash at the fast-food parking lots.
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