Jeff Smith: a Few Quick Lessons of what Christie Could Learn from McDonnell

1) ‎In case you didn’t remember this from your own prosecuting days, the Feds want high-value scalps. And when they get one in their sights, they don’t let go. They’ll figure out a way to make a case.

Is there clear-cut evidence that McDonnell took state action to help his wealthy and generous pal? No. But there’s enough there to load up a ton of charges, scare the sh*t out of McDonnell, and potentially get a guilty plea.

2) These cases are labyrinthine: where they start may be very, very far from where they finish. ‎Quick synopsis of my case. 2004: my campaign illegally coordinated with a guy who spent about $10K to put out a flyer on my opponent. 2006: FEC investigates. 2007: FEC clears us. 2008: dude who put out the flyer decides to car-bomb his ex-wife’s divorce atty. 2009: evidence recovered from dude’s condo includes a convo with my best friend, which prosecutors connect to the already closed FEC investigation. Best friend wears wire for two months of our conversations during which I incriminate self.

Bob McDonnell’s case began with a tip to a state fraud hotline regarding possible theft of food from the gubernatorial mansion by the kitchen staff. And it is likely to end in federal prison, since 90+ percent of federal defendants plead guilty or are convicted.

3) The third lesson? Stop. Using. Email. Don’t even text. BlackBerry PINs and Snapchats are likely to be the new communication tools of choice for high-level politicos.


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