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SIMMONS: No rush to judgment on Gray

- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 19, 2012

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Robert S. Bennett, attorney for Mayor Vincent C. Gray, released a fairly interesting statement Thursday morning regarding his embattled client.

Lay off, he said — though not in those words.

Indeed, Mr. Bennett's comments instantly reminded me of former first lady Michelle Fenty, who, following a televised mayoral debate between her husband, Adrian, and Mr. Gray, became teary-eyed during an interview and said D.C. voters should give her husband a break.

Her sentiments might have been right on, but D.C. voters have been known to stand their ground in the heat of a battle.

Mr. Bennett is no slouch when it comes to courtroom battles. After all, his well-known client list includes Bill Clinton and John McCain, politicians who need no introduction.

Mr. Gray secured the notable defense lawyer in the winter of 2011, when it became clear federal investigators were using a magnifying glass to probe discussions and financial transactions made by or at the behest of Team Gray during the 2010 mayoral campaign.

Mr. Bennett, understandably quiet for much of this year as city hall supporters and other Democratic loyalists began squealing like stuck pigs, issued his statement Thursday, less than 24 hours after Gray supporters rallied outside city hall and blamed the media for some of the mayor's woes.

Mr. Bennett continued playing the same song, accusing the media of unfair treatment and saying that "political agendas" are a driving force as well.

But let's be honest: Voters didn't rush to judgment about choosing Mr. Gray over Mr. Fenty in 2010, and they aren't now.

According to a poll by The Washington Post, voters seemingly are on the same page as the three D.C. Council members who have said Mr. Gray should resign even before federal prosecutors level any charges of wrongdoing.

A diverse group of residents, similar to the ones attending Wednesday's we-back-Gray rally, said they, too, think he should step down.

Buyer's remorse?

Perhaps.

It certainly is worth noting that the strong arms of labor unions, which pushed Mr. Fenty out of city hall on his hind parts, were absent from the rally.

The question is, were the unions pro-Gray or anti-Fenty?

Not-so Gray anymore

In my column published Thursday, I incorrectly reported that the three lawmakers who want Mr. Gray to resign are white.

Well, I was wrong and knew better.

Muriel Bowser, who represents Ward 4, is black and has been black all her life.

She and two of her white colleagues — Mary M. Cheh and David A. Catania — see no Gray areas when it comes to the scandalous clouds hovering above city hall.

It seems to me that with a noted attorney like Mr. Bennett on his side, Mr. Gray manages to handle the city's business and chew gum at the same time.

All bets are off if another shoe drops, though.

• Deborah Simmons can be reached at dsimmons@washingtontimes.com

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