Hiring Attorney Reddington Was a Smart Move for Correia [OPINION]
Attorney Kevin Reddington is once again representing a sitting Fall River Mayor in a criminal matter. And Mayor Jasiel Correia is involved in both cases.
Fall River's mayors have had some high profile troubles in the last few years. Those troubles have put veteran defense attorney Kevin Reddington and young Jasiel Correia on the opposite and now the same side of the legal table.
Correia owes his political career to former Mayor Will Flanagan. Correia wasn't actually elected to the Fall River City Council originally. While still a college student, he ran a strong campaign but finished just outside of the winning pack. But Mayor Flanagan chose a member of the city council to join his administration, and that created an opening for Jasiel to be elevated from the top loser to a full member of the City Council.
City Councilor Correia repaid Mayor Flanagan by signing a petition to recall him from office. Jasiel claimed he was later threatened by a gun-toting Flanagan during a late-night meeting in a vehicle on the Fall River waterfront.
Then-Briston County District Attorney Sam Sutter was brought in a special prosecutor to handle the investigation of Mayor Flanagan, and the pistol that young Jasiel the Second claimed scared him. Flanagan and Reddington insisted on an investigation by the DA's office in the matter.
The reason for the special prosecutor was because prior to being elected mayor, Flanagan worked as a prosecutor in the District Attorney's office. He was hired by Sam Sutter for that job. Sutter was friendly with Jasiel Correia, too.
Sutter would follow Flanagan as the mayor of Fall River until he was defeated by the now indicted and current mayor of the city.
Attorney Kevin Reddington represented Flanagan in the criminal inquiry by the special prosecutor.
The Herald News of Fall River does a nice job explaining how Attorney Reddington felt about Correia back when he was accusing the then-Mayor Flanagan of a crime:
"At the press conference, Reddington showed a video of an Aug. 12 City Council meeting, during which recall organizer Jordan Silvia is recorded chiding Correia. He claimed that was proof of the freshman councilor’s motive for accusing Flanagan of intimidating him with a handgun during an Aug. 14 late-night meeting in the mayor’s SUV requested by Flanagan.
Correia claims Flanagan was attempting to persuade him to lie and say Silvia intimidated him into signing a recall petition, which Flanagan denies. Silvia, a former police officer who lost his job over a gun incident in Newport, Rhode Island, is currently on probation and could have faced jail time if Correia had filed a criminal complaint against him, according to Reddington.
“We are expecting that at this point Mr. Correia would recognize the damage and the blood-letting he has caused this city,” Reddington said.
Correia, Reddington claimed, “is indeed not an elected representative on the City Council.”
“The reason he ended up sliding into that position is because the mayor ended up taking one of the city councilors into his administration,” Reddington said."
At one point in the Flanagan inquiry, Reddington publicly called on Councilor Correia to resign from the City Council. Today, that same call is being made by members of the current City Council about Reddington's current client.
Attorney Kevin Reddington successfully cleared his client of any wrongdoing and the special prosecutor saw no reason to bring charges against Mayor Flanagan.
However, the recall petition was successful, and Sutter was elected to replace Flanagan.
Sutter was never able to calm the political seas in Fall River, and Jasiel took that opportunity to oust the former District Attorney after just one term. With Young Jasiel the Second now under federal indictment for financial fraud, Sutter is again testing the waters for a return to the mayor's office.
A few months ago, I was having a few drinks with some local prosecutors in New Bedford. One of them asked me, "Chris if you were ever charged with a serious crime, like murder, and money was no object, who would you hire?"
Without any hesitation I responded "Kevin Reddington," and she turned to another prosecutor and said, "I told you the same thing!"
Jasiel Correia is charged with doing lots of bad things, but he has made at least one great decision.
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.