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Monday, August 07, 2006

Zimmermann's Wife Speaks Out Against "Cabal"

Jenny Heiser's post on the Minneapolis Issues Forum:

While the Federal Prosecutor’s office has presented and rested its case, Zimmermann’s defense has barely begun. I hope that Ken Avidor, Liz McLemore, and others, will do as thorough a job reporting the defense’s side of this case as they have in reporting the prosecution’s side.

Where I come from folks usually wait until the “corpse” is in the ground before casting aspersions or passing judgment on a person. I would urge everyone to withhold their judgment until all the facts have been presented in this case; and that they would look to more neutral sources for those facts than a cabal of Zimmermann antagonists.

Liz McLemore responds:

First of all, it’s up to the judge and jury to pass judgment. However, history reminds us that judgments formed in the court of public opinion may have little to do with a jury's verdict.

I'm not a member of the jury. My account of the trial is simply one eyewitness’s account of the trial, and it's one that I'm attending because I wanted to see the proceedings (and the tapes) for myself. I’d urge anyone interested in the case to attend the proceedings and form their own opinions based on what they see.

Liz Mclemore sums the prosecution's case:

I can tell you what I consider the most damaging facts to emerge from this week’s trial:

a. Zimmermann took $5000 in cash from a developer. That cash was supposedly earmarked as a contribution to FREE in order to cover expenses incurred by the redistricting lawsuit. Although Zimmermann said he
intended to write a check for $5000 and send it to someone associated with FREE, he never quite got around to doing so. Instead, he admitted (on tape) that he spent the cash.

b. Zimmermann told a developer how to subvert campaign finance laws, suggesting the developer donate in the name of other relatives or friends. He also suggested that the developer give someone (such as an employee) a
check for $350, then have that person write a check to Zimmermann’s campaign for $300. (Presumably the employee would get $50 for himself out of this deal.)

c. Zimmermann admitted his campaign deliberately ran a “straw man” candidate, James Gorham, against Lilligren for the sole purpose of requiring a primary. (This may not be illegal, but I’d argue that it’s unethical and inconsistent with what I understood to be Green values. Italso suggests unnecessary taxpayer expense.)

d. On two other occasions, Zimmermann accepted cash donations of $1200 and $1000; in exchange, the developer believed that Zimmermann would assist him with his zoning applications. The $1200 was distributed in four campaign envelopes containing fake “Somali” names. The $1000
donation was also given in a campaign envelope, but the developer toldZimmermann to put someone’s name on it for him. Zimmermann did not spend any of this money (nor did he attempt to return it). The donations were
not recorded by Zimmermann’s campaign treasurer, nor were they reported to Hennepin County when the campaign finance reports were filed.

e. Zimmermann requested that PRG build a retaining wall for his former partner, Lynne Mayo; when PRG refused, he requested the materials so he could build the wall himself. Zimmermann’s initial request occurred in the
context of a PRG request that Zimmermann sign off on certificates of completion for a project. Although Zimmermann’s request for the retainingwall appeared a few lines below his agreement to sign the certificates, PRG’s director was sufficiently uncomfortable with Zimmermann’s request to
consult his lawyer.

I was also at the trial and that is an accurate description of the evidence in the case.