Azi, though on vacation, went to Albany this morning to get in on the fun with Mr. Hevesi. After the jump, I’ll be posting his updates as they happen. More or less. Some photos too!
UPDATE: The picture above is of Hevesi arriving at the courthouse this morning. More below, obviously.
– Andrew Rice
08:08:34: The scene outside the Albany County Judicial Center, at Stueben and Lodge Streets. Parking’s a bitch.
08:11:05: This guy is thinking: “I wish my antenna were taller…”
08:13:14: Have I mentioned that I had trouble finding parking?
08:45:08: By the way, if you see anything interesting, please drop me a line. firstname.lastname@example.org
09:20:32: A reporter who just walked into the lobby of the courthouse, seeing it filled with familiar reporter faces, said “It’s like Ada Smith revisited. Just another court room.” Then Smith hit him with a trash can.
09:38:47: At the huge church next door, there’s a funeral going on. According to one mourner, the deceased is a local insurance broker who played professional hockey. This is the plaque on the side of the St. Mary’s Church. The motto reads: “200 Years of Heralding the Good News.” It has occasioned many jokes of questionable taste.
09:53:07: Hevesi is expected to arrive for booking at 10:15. Arraignment at
11:15. “Like anyone else, he’ll go through the front door,” Rachel McEneny, spokeswoman for the DA, told reporters in the lobby just now. She said she’s not sure if the DA’s office will release the mugshot.
10:15:46: Hevesi just arrived, accompanied by his two sons. He said he would save his comments for the courtroom. He will likely have to give an allocution when he enters his guilty plea.
10:19:36: Despite what this action shot might suggest, he’s not literally dematerializing.
10:29:51: There are 21 chairs set up for reporters in the courtroom. This may cause some jostling. Someone tells me that defeated Republican congressman John Sweeney is at the funeral next door.
Azi has gone temporarily silent. Perhaps the court officers made him turn in his Blackberry, though it’s hard to imagine how they managed to detach the surgical graft to his hand. He’ll be back soon, I promise.–ed.
A couple of commenters–nearly all of them, actually–are repulsed by our flippant treatment of this sad day in Hevesi’s life. My view is that while it is very sad that his wife is ill, the guy, a statewide elected official, is pleading guilty to a felony today. It could be argued that a little schadenfreude is in order. At any rate, the media circus outside the courthouse is in itself news, and the fact that you respond so strongly to the descriptions of it suggests to me that it’s important news to convey. I realize that that’s circular logic, but much of the media’s coverage of everything–celebrities, sports, poltics, etc.–is based on such logic. It’s not always pretty, but as Hyman Roth said, this is the business that we’ve chosen. — Andrew Rice
Ok, Azi’s back…
11:19:07:I’m in the room, Hevesi just entered, closed-mouth smile, saying nothing.
11:22:58: The judge says he’s charged with one count of a Class E felony, “defrauding the government.”
11:24:10 : As part of his plea deal, Hevesi must agree to give a DNA sample (!) and waive his right to appeal.
11:34:10: Judge says to Hevesi: “You will be admitting to me you committed a crime…”
11:41:24: Hevesi is standing, responding curtly to the judge’s questions. His son Andrew is sitting behind him in the fourth row, looking disgusted.
11:49:43: Hevesi is giving his allocution. One employee, he says, “spent considerable time with my wife that is hard to explain…until this issue became a public matter, I did not plan to reimburse the state.”
The court hearing is over. Next up: Albany D.A. David Soares’ press conference. Meantime, Azi calls from Albany to read aloud from the supporting deposition to the three-page plea agreement. “Acquafredda,” of course, is Nicolas Acquafredda, Mrs. Hevesi’s state-paid driver:
12:20:40: The view from David Soares’ podium. Press conference is set to start any minute now.
12:34:45: You’re probably watching this on TV, but anyway, Soares is up there, calling the day’s events “historic” and “tragic.”
The word “tragic” seems like a good note to end this on. Azi will continue to file updates from his day in Albany as events warrant…
— Azi Paybarah