It’s always a pretty good sign that a crook’s legal defense is in trouble when he goes from adamantly denying he did anything to indignantly asserting that he did not take nearly as much money as they said he did.
Yesterday, Charlie King, the boyish attorney for perennially ethically challenged Loudoun Republican Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio (R-Sterling), spoke to reporters outside the Loudoun Courthouse after his client’s latest appearance in the case to have him removed from office for corruption. While Delgaudio displayed his trademark buffoonery by bringing a snow shovel and pretending to shovel snow off the courthouse lawn for the benefit of the TV crews (you have to watch him here on WUSA9 to believe him), King explained that he planned to challenge the claim of former Delgaudio aide Donna Mateer that she had been required to spend most of her office hours — while on official time at taxpayer expense — making phone calls to solicit political campaign contributions for her boss.
As the special grand jury which investigated Delgaudio noted last year, such political work by taxpayer-paid staff is a blatant misuse of office and a misappropriation of public resources that would have led to an indictment, were it not for the bizarre loophole — now in the process of being closed by the state legislature — that exempts “part-time” employees including county supervisors from the penalties of the law in such cases.
But King said in fact he had proof that Mateer made “only” 107 phone calls from the fundraising list Delgaudio had provided her, and that he plans to challenge Mateer on this point when he cross-examines her.
This apparently marks a new milestone in the evolution of how politicians respond to scandal, which will secure for Loudoun a footnote in American political history as the place where “I am not a crook” was supplanted by “I am less of a crook than you might think.”