Saturday, July 22, 2006

Tennessee Candidate Pleads No Contest and Protests His Innocence

This one isn't exactly a white collar crime, but it involves a person running for elected office and has a rather appealing bizarreness to it.  Mark Albertini is running for the Republican nomination for Governor in Tennessee, and was arrested on the evening of July 20 for public intoxication.  Early the next morning, Albertini entered a plea of no contest to the charge and was released.  He promptly proclaimed his innocence, stating that he only entered the plea because he did not want to plead not guilty and go through the ensuing legal proceeding.  Usually a plea of "no contest" is neither an admission nor denial of guilt -- the equivalent of "whatever" in teen-speak -- but it's uncommon to enter such a plea two weeks before a primary election in the apparent hope that making the case go away quickly will look good.  Albertini's explanation, according to an article in The Tennessean (here), is: "I don't think I was intoxicated in public.  I only had a glass of red wine at lunch . . . This was a good four hours afterward."  Apparently, Albertini was invited to leave a candidates function and was passing out campaign literature when arrested.  Albertini has said he will drop out of the race "[i]f I get a slew of e-mails saying I should, I'll honor that."  Let's hope the e-mail address does not become known to those who perpetuate Nigerian 419 scams, I'd hate to think what might happen. (ph)

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