“Dollar Bill” Death Knell?

Looks like Bob Corrente is going to need a lot more than the “word” of John Celona to help him with Operation Dollar Bill….

Former CVS executives John R. “Jack” Kramer and Carlos Ortiz have been cleared of charges that they tried bribing former state Sen. John Celona to win favor in the State House for the Woonsocket-based drugstore chain.
The jury of eight men and four women reached their verdict in less than two hours, clearing them of all 23 charges lodged against each defendant. Jurors got the case at 10:35 this morning after receiving instructs from Chief U.S. District Judge Mary M. Lisi.
After the verdict, CVS issued a statement this afternoon, saying the company “believes that the judicial process has produced a fair and just outcome.
“Today’s verdict is consistent with the company’s long-held view that Mr. Kramer and Mr. Ortiz had not engaged in criminal conduct. We are pleased for these two men and their families that this long and painful ordeal has ended,” the statement said.
Corrente said his office would continue with its investigation into corruption at the State House, “Operation Dollar Bill.”
“If anyone thinks were going away, we’re not,” Corrente said.

Is Bill Irons next? Or someone else? Or is that about it?

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Monique
Editor
13 years ago

How can you have a bribee but no briber?

John
John
13 years ago

The intriguing question is whether this will embolden the insiders who control the Democratic Party, General Assembly and the fate of the state to overreach in the upcoming budget. Will we see big tax hikes (via either rate rises or base expansion) on the “rich” and businesses? Expansion of the sales tax base? Reinstatement of welfare benefits for those who lost them in the supplemental budget? Big asset sales (say, the Pell Bridge) to fund the pensions of current union employees? Time will tell. But “overdoinit” is an old habit among RI pols. Especially when you look in the mirror and see an apparently bulletproof wise guy.

John
John
13 years ago

Or wise gal. Don’t want to dis Charlene.

Citizen Critic
Citizen Critic
13 years ago

An incredible, ridiculous, absurd verdict.
PS
Walmart has much cheaper prescriptions than CVS.

Will
13 years ago

Given that these two particular cases largely rested upon the credibility of Sen. Celona, I’m not sure that they could have reasonably come to any other verdict. He came off as a complete and utter buffoon.
That’s not to say that I don’t think CVS effectively tried to buy influence (it’s the Rhode Island way) with Senator Celona, but simply that the prosecution did not meet the necessary burden of proof for a conviction.
I just hope this doesn’t significantly hurt other cases related to Operation Dollar Bill that may be pending in the immediate future (Monique knows what I’m referring to). Hopefully, the prosecution will have vetted their witnesses’ testimony better next time.

Monique
Editor
13 years ago

In retrospect, the prosecution should have considerably narrowed their questioning of Celona – as follows:
Did you support the pharmacy-freedom-of-choice legislation before CVS was paying you $1,000/month to do a cable show? And what was your position on it after they began paying you?

brassband
brassband
13 years ago

It will be very interesting to see what happens with the upcoming re-trial of Urcioli and Driscoll.
Keep in mind that the little skirmish that occurred over Celona’s “change” in testimony on the last day of the CVS trial involved Celona’s “revision” of his testimony from the Urcioli-Driscoll trial.
The Government will now face something of a dilemma about what to do with a witness who has told two different versions in successive trials.

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
13 years ago

The verdict in an acquittal doesn’t mean “innocent”.itmeans that even if a juror thinks the defendant(s) to be “probably”guilty,they must acquit if there is no proof beyond a reasonable doubt.It is hard to consider a bottom-feeding scumbag liar like Celona a credible witness against two people with clean records.

Monique
Editor
13 years ago

As for Walmart vs CVS, I’m sure Walmart is cheaper. In addition, though, someone told me recently that CVS is actually the most expensive place of all to purchase prescriptions. But they make charitable contributions to the community so that’s all that counts. Right?

Monique
Editor
13 years ago

“It will be very interesting to see what happens with the upcoming re-trial of Urcioli and Driscoll.
Keep in mind that the little skirmish that occurred over Celona’s “change” in testimony on the last day of the CVS trial involved Celona’s “revision” of his testimony from the Urcioli-Driscoll trial.”
Cue ominous music.

Anthony
Anthony
13 years ago

Unfortunately Mr. Celona proved less reliable for the government than Senator Celona did for CVS.

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