March 1, 2009
On Friday, February 27, the US District Court released two documents from a plea hearing the day before:
Statement of Offense (similar to a Factual Basis for Plea)
I don't really have much to say about the Statement of Offense. I have included it for those interested in the case at hand.
I'm more interested in the Plea Agreement. On January 22, 2009, I wondered if Mr. Tessimond could be pressured into providing testimony against his former roommate and scandal figure Todd Boulanger. Mr. Boulanger subsequently pleaded guilty on January 30, 2009. The timeline of events makes it difficult to determine how much help Mr. Tessimond could have been in helping federal prosecutors secure a guilty plea from Mr. Boulanger.
December 3, 2008: Mr. Tessimond indicted.
December 10, 2008: Mr. Tessimond is arrested in New Hampshire
December 18, 2008: Mr. Tessimond enters "Not Guilty" plea
January 16, 2009: Mr. Boulanger agrees to plead guilty (from Mr. Boulanger's Plea Agreement)
January 22, 2009: Federal prosecutors make formal plea offer to Mr. Tessimond (from Mr. Tessimond's Plea Agreement)
January 30, 2009: Mr. Boulanger pleads guilty
February 26, 2009: Mr. Tessimond pleads guilty (from Mr. Tessimond's Plea Agreement)
A lot of these dates overlap, and it is certainly plausible that Mr. Tessimond's cooperation convinced Mr. Boulanger to plead guilty. It is also certainly plausible that these two former roommates admitted to felonies, but that their criminal activity and overlapping prosecution is purely coincidental.
Also, let's look at the language in Mr. Tessimond's Plea Agreement to see if he agreed to help prosecutors in future cases:
Plea Agreement page 2
"The government agrees to file a motion ... for an additional 1-level decrease [in the sentencing guidelines] provided ... defendant ... provides assistance in the investigation and prosecution of this offense."
Plea Agreement page 4
"[T]he government ... agrees not to oppose [Mr. Tessimond's] voluntary surrender to commence serving any sentence which is imposed, provided [Mr. Tessimond] continues to show his acceptance of responsibility by: ... (b) cooperating fully and truthfully with the court in any proceeding arising from this matter;"
There isn't a lot of clarity in the above quotes. In fact, they seem somewhat boilerplate to me. But at a minimum, Mr. Tessimond has agreed to provide assistance to prosecutors going forward. It will be interesting to see if the court defers Mr. Tessimond's sentencing. If it does, that will be evidence that Mr. Tessimond is cooperating with prosecutors on other crimes.
But if Mr. Tessimond is cooperating, who is he providing testimony against? My original premise was that Mr. Tessimond was providing evidence against his former roommate, Mr. Boulanger. But Mr. Boulanger has pleaded guilty and is presumably helping prosecutors himself now. If Mr. Tessimond is cooperating, the subject of the cooperation would still be a mystery to me.
[On a somewhat related note, the sentencing for Trevor Blackann was recently deferred. Mr. Blackann's Factual Basis for Plea implicates Lobbyist D (Mr. Boulanger), Lobbyist E (James Hirni), Lobbyist F (the in-house lobbyist for United Rentals), and Staffer D (Fraser Verrusio). Mr. Boulanger and Mr. Hirni have pleaded guilty. Judicial proceedings against Mr. Verrusio may be forthcoming. Court documents have suggested to me that "Lobbyist F" will not be pursued by the Justice Department. So if Mr. Blackann is indeed cooperating with federal authorities, who is he providing evidence against?]
Here's one last coincidence for your consideration:
Mark Parisi was Mr. Tessimond's accomplice in crime. Mr. Parisi pleaded guilty for his participation in criminal case number 1:08-cr-272-ESH. The case number for scandal figure Kevin Ring is 1:08-cr-274-ESH. (Case number "273" is a child pornography case that I believe to be unrelated.)
I still think Mr. Tessimond's prosecution is related to the Abramoff scandal. I admit that direct evidence to support that position is hard to find. But I can't get past the above "coincidences".