Roger Bedford using wrong defense tactic
Published 5:20 am Wednesday, January 2, 2002
State Sen. Roger Bedford has implemented a Clintonesque strategy to earn the public's sympathy for his recent indictment. State Rep. Michael Millican likely will follow Bedford's lead.
The only problem is, Alabamians don't want, or need, the tactics Bedford, D-Russellville, is using to defend his indictment for alleged extortion.
According to Bedford, Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor (a Republican) has begun a witch hunt to tear down Democratic legislators. He even said a grand jury's indictment of him was "politically motivated."
Neither Bedford nor Millican, D-Hamilton, have had their day in court and both must be presumed innocent until proven otherwise. The only problem is, Bedford is defending himself by attacking others – a method tiring to the Alabama public – and he looks guilty doing it.
The indictments against Bedford and Millican claim both lawmakers attempted to influence the Marion County Commission to buy property for an agricultural center, "by means of a threat to either take action as officials, withhold official action, or to do an act calculated to harm the Marion County Commission's business or financial interest."
In no way did Pryor take part in a witch-hunt against Bedford and Millican. In fact, the state's largest newspaper, The Birmingham News, did an in-depth investigation that found Bedford tried to use his office to force Marion County Commissioners to spend money on Bedford's buddy's property. And they found out Bedford and Millican wanted to pay almost five times the actual price of the land using state money.
Later, the Associated Press – the largest news gathering organization in the United States – also found Bedford held a $2 million state check in anticipation of the commission purchasing land from another Bedford friend for an agricultural center.
News organizations, traditionally known as liberal, weren't on a witch-hunt, either. Their purpose in reporting stories such as these is to help ensure the public's money is used wisely.
Bedford has chosen Pryor as the straw man to attack. If he has any courage, he'll attack the people who raised the allegations against him – the media.
And you can bet Bedford doesn't have the courage to take on that giant.