Monday, December 17, 2007
Tom Kirkendall at Houston ClearThinkers calls it a "trial penalty," (see here), I see it as the "value of cooperation." But whatever one wants to call it, there is yet another example this week of the high cost associated with the risk of taking a chance on a trial. Unlike Conrad Black who risked trial and received a 6.5 year sentence (see here) upon a finding of guilt by a jury, F. David Radler, the former Chicago SunTimes publisher plead guilty, cooperated, and assisted the government in Conrad Black's prosecution. Radler received a sentence of less then one-half of that given to Conrad Black, as Radler's sentence came in at 29 months. But like Conrad Black, Radler is given time to report to prison.
As usual, the Chief Operating Officer (in some cases we have seen it as the CFO) is the one obtaining the plea agreement. After all, the one who handles the business dealings or knows the money trail is perhaps the most valuable witness for the government. In this case the judge recognized the equal culpability of the testifying witness saying at Conrad Black's sentencing hearing that "Mr. Radler is at least as culpable as Mr. Black on the fraud." (See Chicago Tribune here) But there is a quantifiable "value for cooperation" and in this case it is 49 months.