Smiling, waving and leaning against the chair at the defense table in a federal courtroom Friday, former state Sen. and Democratic Party warlord Bob Mellow looked surprisingly spry for a man about to be sentenced to prison.
How many times over the decades did Mellow pose in that same confident lean during late night debate in the Senate? How many times did he flash those perfect white teeth? How many times did he try to control the outcome of discussion?
In this debate, however, Mellow had little to say.
After more than five hours sitting in the courtroom, I had to leave early so I didn’t see his lame “apology” that elicited tears from himself and his family, a half-hearted act of contrition that turned his once powerful voice into the weak whisper of a busted gangster and defeated man.
But Mellow really didn’t apologize at all.
“I’m extremely sorry for what has taken place,” Mellow blubbered.
“I’m embarrassed and ashamed of what has taken place. I’ve let them down, and I’m very, very sorry, and I will be for the rest of my life,” he said.
What about disgracing the oath of office? What about pillaging the public trust? What about willfully, consciously and maliciously breaking laws you were duty-bound to uphold?
Forget about it.
No, Bob Mellow is still too full of himself to apologize for what really matters. But that doesn’t stop his walking-dead army of wide-eyed zombies from supporting the delusion.
What the 200 or so people who wrote letters to the judge, trying to influence him into keeping their hero out of prison, forget is that Mellow played them for the biggest fools of all. Those of us who reject the preposterous characterization of Mellow as an honest man, a person of good character and integrity and a true leader who did more good than harm are not being played for fools. Mellow’s closest supporters, both family and friends, are the biggest suckers.
Worst of all, though, is how Mellow sat conniving silently while his slick lawyers used the illness of his adult daughter to try to keep him from prison. Of course the lawyers claim that Mellow didn’t want them to use poor Melissa, Missy as she is affectionately called by one letter writer after another who also used her vulnerability in their attempts to manipulate the judge.
But the friends of Bob Mellow used her anyway.
The lawyers went so far in court to even threaten the judge with guilt. He would have Missy’s blood on his hands if he sentenced daddy dearest to prison and Missy “unraveled” as a result. What about that, your honor?
A catastrophe, the lawyers said. Final stages, they said. No quality of life, Mellow’s other daughter wrote in her letter to the judge. Lights out, Missy, unless, of course, dear old dad remains free and can breathe life into the daughter apparently nobody else can save.
After court, I said on the air that Mellow’s ex-wife, Diane, with whom Melissa lives and who provides her day-to-day care, did not get any credit in the courtroom. Neither Diane nor her lawyer attended the sentencing. But her lawyer, Janine Pavalone, called the show Friday afternoon after Diane heard my characterization of Missy based on Mellow’s lawyers’ words in court. Diane’s lawyer said her client took serious issue with the way her daughter had been portrayed, that Missy is not the fragile death bed shell that Mellow’s lawyers tried to convince the judge she is.
Don’t expect Mellow to apologize for that hustle, either. Mellow is a guttersnipe political mercenary who will claw, tear and use anything and anybody who might help him stay on top, even if the top is a prison garbage pile of corrupt public officials who went from Capitol power to prison.
I hope Diane’s lawyer files a complaint against Mellow’s lawyers. I hope the judge gets wind of what some people now see as a deliberate attempt to mislead the court, a successful sympathy play the gullible judge went for hook, line and stinker.
Can the judge do anything about it? Don’t ask me. We’re talking about the federal court system where inconsistent subjective judgment is the norm and federal judges wallow in their own eccentricities and insecurities. The same goes for the U.S. Department of Justice, where daily deals are cut for whatever unknown reasons and secrecy prevents law-abiding good citizens from ever really knowing what goes on behind closed federal courthouse doors.
For that reason, unless they tell us, we’ll likely never know the identities of Mellow’s former staffers who helped him carry out his crimes. We’ll likely never know the names of those to whom federal prosecutors granted immunity from prosecution. We’ll likely never know what exactly Mellow did for who knows how many years to poison the system.
Mellow’s toxic impact remains. Corrupt government germs still seep into our brains and burrow into our DNA. And, unless an antidote is found and swallowed, the poison will damage future generations. In extreme cases, the disease is deadly.
Only brave, honest leaders can save us.
Only we can save ourselves from the scourge of an epidemic of "Mellowitis."