Thursday, January 19, 2006

Dean Zimmerman Charged

Dean Zimmerman was charged with accepting bribes and accepting the gift of a retaining wall for his ex-girlfriend. Zimmerman was a member of the Minneapolis City Council, one of two elected Greens on that body. Both he and Natalie Johnson Lee were defeated for re-election this fall, the only incumbent Greens not re-elected. Hit the "Read more!" link below to get more info...The Duluth News Tribune reports that Zimmerman has been charged with accepting $5000 from a developer, and another $2200 in cash later from the same developer. He's accused of accepting the money in direct exchange for his help as a member of the City Council.

Apparently Zimmerman will not deny accepting the money but will say that they were contributions and not bribes. I will reserve judgment, especially since the FBI has done so poor a job of handling Zimmerman's case, but I am having a really, really hard time seeing how this is not inappropriate, and inconsistent with Green values.

I can not and will not judge Zimmerman. There are courts and lawyers and judges for that. But if there in fact is a video tape of Zimmerman asking for and getting a bribe, then he should follow the Green key value of personal responsibility and accept responsibility for his actions.

Let me be clear. I am in no way saying that Zimmerman is guilty. I tend to believe he is not guilty because I want him to be innocent, but what I am saying is, if the video shows him breaking the law, he should consider doing us and the Green movement a favor and accept his role. If he is in fact innocent and is being subjected to an FBI persecution, he must tell us that too so we can move.

I am not a lawyer. I can't advise Zimmerman on anything. I'm just sad, and hope that good will eventually come from this bad situation.
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I'll also reserve judgment. Clearly, if the law was broken, that is against the values of the Party. I will say, however, that Zimmerman's DFL (Democrat-Farmer-Labor) opponent in the last election ran at one point against a fellow DFLer in a primary - and his opponent then was also investigated by the FBI right before their election.
I think Dean Zimmerman is innocent because I know him and it is so out of character. I also know that he racked up a huge legal debt fighting the gerrymandering of his district. The money that was accepted was to pay off that debt as I understand it. Apparently he asked for money to pay off that debt in a way that investigators - used to craven politicians - misinterpreted. Or maybe they didn't misinterpret, and he will easily be found innocent by a jury that will clearly see no intent to bribe in the tape.

Dean Myerson
I have absolutly no doubt that Dean is innocent.
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