Understand that the FBI complaint has one purpose: to establish probable cause that a crime has been committed. Regardless of the statements made by Pizzi that he was not interested in the money, he still took the money. He took illegal campaign contributions. The Hobbs Act essentially outlaws the receipt of money of goods with value for official acts or advantages. The money received fits that bill. Did you read the part where Pizzi went into the closet with Candia to receive cash? A violation of the Hobbs Act. He solicited contributions to his PAC in exchange for official actions. He took a bribe. He lied to someone he thought was with AmeriCorps in furtherance of the scheme. I know that EOM loves Michael Pizzi, but come on! This isn't going to be a case of he said/she said. They have him on tape. Candia wore a wire and Pizzi made admissions that make him sound like a bad imitation of Joe Pesci from "Goodfellas". The only way out now is for Pizzi to start ratting out others. That may minimize jail time, but his law license is toast and after this, he'll never be able to hold public office again.
I agree with you Cato on everything you said.
It's always a good policy to let the dust settle before drawing a final conclusion on any person charged by law enforcement.I read the complaints and at the beginning it felt like someone was intentionally trying to solicit bad behavior. But by the time you finish reading all of the complaints - especially when one of the lobbyists starts cooperating - you can't escape that feeling that something very serious occurred.Regardless of whether they all are fully convicted, their lives and reputations are ruined. I also agree there will be more fallout.The "CHS" will ultimately be identified. Candia, Forte, Marono and Pizzi all seem to know who this person is. The obvious question is why would someone agree in the first place to set-up these guys? Any criminal defense lawyer worth her salt is going to ask this question, probably in depositions after her client explains the facts as he sees them.Once CHS is identified, will it become obvious why he or she worked with the FBI? Was he or she under investigation in some other matter? Did he or she have an ax to grind on one of these guys?I'm not excusing any of them and certainly think what they did deserves punishment if they are proved guilty.
How much of this is payback from the people he faced off with?
It is a shame Pizzi had at least an ounce of what the rest in this town don't.
This is pretty clear....if your not corrupt, you will not be "set up"
Sorry, Anon above. There is no deposition of expert witnesses in federal cases. Under Rule 16 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, there are very few items that the federal government has to disclose. They don't even have to disclose prior statements of the witnesses they call until AFTER the witness testifies on direct. Preparing to defend a federal criminal case is a lot different than defending in state court. Pizzi is going to have to fully disclose everything he knows to his attorneys and hope they can do their jobs. The feds keep all of the aces in their hands. Pizzi no doubt knows show some of the players are. Councilmember A and B can be determined by looking at the minutes of the meeting referenced in the affidavit. If they aren't going to call the confidential informant, and I doubt they will, we may never know who he or she is.
Of course, this raises the issue of where Pizzi is getting the money to pay for his defense. He just started making serious money with the Town of Medley just recently. A lawyer in a federal Hobbs Act case is going to charge at least $200K. The City of Miami Lakes isn't going to pay it or reimburse him if he's acquitted. Maybe the Lowell Dunn Family can float him alone.
To Cato II -CHS wouldn't be an expert witness and he or she would be subject to pre-trial discovery.
Cato II said, "The only way out now is for Pizzi to start ratting out others. That may minimize jail time, but his law license is toast and after this, he'll never be able to hold public office again."Excuse me, but if I am on the jury, Pizzi will get convicted of ZERO. He will be acquitted, he will keep his law license, and he will be restored to office. We still have juries in this country, RIGHT?
ENTRAPMENT: The act of government agents or officials that induces a person to commit a crime he or she is not previously disposed to commit.
So now YES means NO? At some point he could have pushed the money away, he did not have to back date documents and put fake addresses on campaign reports.He did what he did for financial gain and for keeping himself in office. 20 years may be severe for $6,750 but what price is trust worth? Coincidentally $6,750 is the answer in Pizzi's case. He had the power to perform his actions in two cities Medley and Miami Lakes where Candia and Fuentes had also set up shop.
When is the FBI going to investigate certain Miami and Miami-Dade commissioners?
Why don't you ask the FBI? Why pose the question on a blog?Nobody here can answer that and neither will the FBI.
Pizzi is the new Zimmerman. He has my full support.
The real significance of this case is how it reveals how business is done in Miami. How politics is done and how policies are developed- based on bribery and kickbacks, political connections and public-private partnerships set up to use public assets and public service for private profits. What it says to residents and especially activists and volunteers trying to make this a better place for all - whether you are fighting for restoring the Everglades, preserving libraries or the arts or better medical care- is YOU DON'T HAVE A CHANCE. All these guys care about is power and the money. They have ruined democracy for everyone.
It seems as though the Feds have been busy all over the place. The National media isn't picking up the stories. Here's another political grant scheme, far more egregious. The headline is totally misleading though because neither party is involved.http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/politics/clout/chi-former-top-aide-to-obama-pal-whitaker-indicted-in-state-grant-kickback-scheme-20130807,0,1789271.storyTie this in to our budget issues with all of these grants and previous blog posts regarding the Mom & Pop slush funds as I call them in addition to all those at the freebie grant trough come budget time. These grants are ground zero for fraud and mis use. The theme isn't new. The inside view as to our elected officials is because I'm pretty sure there are so many more not caught on tape who are probably much worse.The county needs to get out of grant funding. If the county applies for grants, they need to be monitored by the public in addition to annual audits. Every dime needs to be accounted for and what the results were. Oversight is so lacking, on purpose, it makes it too easy.
Anyone notice all the new super-sized and super bright billboards? Anyone suspect the outdoor advertising industry with funneling cash to elected officials? Using "lobbyists"?
What conflicting statements? As I read this, he is just doing his lawyer-speak to try to be careful that he's not so obvious in his requests. The fact is, law enforcement doesn't spend the time and manpower on a sting unless they are going after someone who is suspected of wrongdoing through a pattern of behavior. Obviously, the FBI got wind that these individuals were up to some bad stuff, so they created a sting operation that would catch them in the act.
Not sure if you consider probation law enforcement, but lets be fair, Pizzi attended law school at night and studied while on the governments dime. His father who was the US Marshal in NY was able to secure a grant for probation. The 250k allowed Pizzi to become a liaison with HIDTA, had a take home car, no case load and act like a DEA agent. He was nothing more than a used car salesman who talk a big game. "I didnt get the this level being stupid." Karma baby!!!!
What was Pizzi doing in his closet taking an envelope full of cash? Cash?
I am really sorry for Pizzi and his family. He ruined his career and his family life for $6,000. A man was earning more than $100K.
My friends more of them are coming. These fishes knew of others doing the same, and these 2 guys will cooperate with the FBI.
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