News came out Thursday that U.S. Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla., will be returning to Capitol Hill next week after a leave of absence. Radel, you may remember, pleaded guilty in November for possession of cocaine and is under investigation from by the House Ethics Committee for his drug use.
With Radel’s reelection prospects uncertain, potential challengers are weighing their options and opposition money begins to flow into southwest Florida.
Could Radel win reelection, though? It wouldn’t be the first time a politician in trouble with the law was kept in office. (A certain politician in Toronto will be testing this theory in October, too.) Which brings us to this gem of a footnote brought to my attention by my former TDR colleague, Andy Marso, on Twitter.
It concerns an appeal by Percy Z. Giles, a longtime Chicago alderman who was sentenced to more than three years in jail in 2001 for racketeering and mail fraud, among other charges.
Giles won a special election for his seat in 1986 and won four-year terms in 1987, 1991, 1995 and 1999, according to an opinion by 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals written by the late Judge Terence T. Evans. Giles prevailed in the ’99 election “despite the fact he was under the dark cloud of the indictment in this case,” Evans wrote, prompting the judge to include the following footnote:
In the old days, an indictment charging 13 felonies would have been the kiss of death for a politician. Apparently that is no longer the case.
The appellate court upheld Giles’ conviction.
(Evans, it should also be noted, was no stranger to a good footnote.)