Mayor Correia Is Innocent Until Proven Guilty [OPINION]
The federal indictment of Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia II casts the young man in a poor light, to say the least. But that is what a prosecutor always does.
In our system, a person is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. That is an important standard and a cornerstone of our legal system. It can be fun to see a politician indicted, but they are entitled to the same protections and assumptions as every other American.
Maybe he can explain away the various charges the federal government has lodged against him. He is charged with multiple counts of wire fraud and multiple counts of filing false tax returns. The government alleges that for approximately four years, Correia ran a scheme to defraud his investors and use the illegal proceeds to fund his lifestyle and his political ambitions.
His company, SnoOwl, was to develop a restaurant-related app for smartphones. He solicited over $360,000 from individual investors for SnoOwl. The government alleges he used approximately 64 percent of the investors' money for his own personal expenses, rather than to develop the smartphone app as promised.
Maybe I can offer some explanations for the use of the investors' cash on what the government calls the mayor's "lavish lifestyle."
As for the charge of using $10,000 to buy a Mercedes automobile for his own use: How else was he supposed to go around town? What high tech executive drives a used Ford? He probably should have bought a Prius, or gone completely "green" and rode a shared bike, but still, a car isn't an unreasonable expense for a young hot-shot tech entrepreneur.
The charge of using the investors' money for "adult entertainment" is a challenge, but let me give it a try. I will assume it was money spent at a "gentlemen's club" at this time. He was developing a restaurant app - ever heard of "legs and eggs," Your Honor? If it was money for hookers, I'm not going to be able to explain that away.
The money spent on luxury hotels, restaurants, casinos and airfare can all be explained as research for his smartphone app.
Young Jasiel the Second had to look good in his Mercedes when he was out doing business, so obviously, he needed to buy jewelry, designer men's clothing, and shoes. As for the charge of buying designer women's clothing and shoes, I think he should claim he occasionally identifies as a woman, and then demand the Trump Administration stop persecuting him for it. He could probably find a few anti-Trumpers to join his side and scream and yell and block traffic by the federal court in Boston.
The $10,000 he spent on paying back his student loans is easy to explain. He was driven crazy by the crushing pressure of student loans. It isn't his fault he had to steal to pay off the loans. He was actually more like Robin Hood than John Dillinger - he stole from the rich to pay off the student loans of the poor. He should be given an award, not a jail sentence!
Everyone is innocent until proven guilty in America. And if he was guilty, would Congressman Joe Kennedy III have given his answer to Trump's State of the Union speech this year in Jasiel's city? Would Charlie Baker have bragged about being endorsed by him for re-election and posed for pictures with him?
Maybe he should just blame Trump and roll the dice with a Massachusetts jury using my explanations.
Chris McCarthy is the host of The Chris McCarthy Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.