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Everyone Else vs. the “Victim”

Conservative Assemblywoman Michele Fiore hosts a weekly radio program on Saturdays which is broadcast by KDWN 720 AM.  This past Saturday she had on as guests GOP activist Tony Dane, Assemblyman Brent Jones, Assemblyman John Moore and Assemblyman David Gardner.

The topic of discussion was the alleged “extortion” complaint fellow Assemblyman Chris “Let’s Make a Deal” Edwards filed with Metro and the fact that he reportedly “wore a wire” and recorded conversations with his colleagues and others.

Some excerpts from the show…

Fiore: “You can definitely confuse extortion and entrapment.”

Dane: “(Edwards) asked me if I could raise funds for him.  I said, ‘Well, after the blackout period and if it’s legal and your vote is good, you could hire me as a fundraiser.’  And he said he wasn’t interested in hiring me as a fundraiser.  He just wanted me to get him money.”

Fiore: “I met with Assemblyman Chris Edwards myself at BJ’s in my district.  He expressed that he was $58,000 grand in the hole.  He had a lot of discourse and not nice things to say about the lobbyists that weren’t returning his calls or helping him.  And Assemblyman Chris Edwards literally said to me, ‘Michele, why not just vote for Paul, you know, for leadership.  Because if you do, then he will give you a check.  He’ll help you raise the money.’  I never considered that a bribe or extortion.  It’s just politics as usual.”

Dane: “A little while later, I get a text message from Chris that he wants to talk to me.  I told him that I wasn’t interested in talking to him.  That he lied to me and if he wants to talk about anything, he could talk about why he lied. … That was the last text that was sent until I get a call from Brent that Chris went to him trying to reopen communication with me.”

Fiore: “Okay.  So let me just clarify.  So Assemblyman Chris Edwards first calls you, has a meeting with you, is wired.  You just basically say, “Go away.”  But, no.  He’s in hot pursuit.  He’s in hot pursuit.  This entrapment thing, he’s trying to entrap you.”

Fiore: “How do you trust someone that you talk to that’s calling you trying to make a deal with you, but actually trying to entrap you?  That’s kind of how I see this whole thing.”

Dane: “The part that was disturbing is I never realized that Chris Edwards was a snake in the grass.”

Jones: “(Edwards has) been doing interview after interview after interview proclaiming he’s a victim.  And that’s why we’re coming on here, because we’ve got to stop Chris Edwards for putting out this propaganda and this bull.  And we believe that the truth needs to come out.”

Fiore: “The bottom line is Chris claims to be a victim when he’s the one wearing a wire and all of us knew his vote was for sale.”

Moore: “(Edwards) all the time was scrapping around for money.  He seemed to never have any money. … Chris was always scrapping around for money, needing money.  He seemed always desperate, where I was getting money and evidently he wasn’t.”

Moore: “I said, ‘Hey Chris, come on man.  What’s it going to take to get you back on the winning team?  Come on back over to our side?’  Something to that effect.  And he just kind of looks up at me with the Bobby Kennedy haircut that he has and told me with a kind of a smirk, ‘Well, if you got a check for $10,000, I might be persuaded.’ And I just kind of blew it off at that point.  It seemed serious at the time, but at the same time, it could have been, who knows.  But the bare fact is that the statement was made to me.”

Jones: “And, by the way, I want to point out too that it was generally known that Chris was doing this type of thing.  That’s why Chuck Muth started calling him Chris ‘Let’s make a deal’ Edwards back in December and November.  And that’s been going on, so it was almost like a joke within the whole conservative group.”

Jones: “Chris comes to my office.  At the time, I didn’t think about it.  I thought he was just being an honest guy, just like we talked about.  We talked with fellow caucus members and don’t expect anything.  But he kept on asking questions, which were very pointed that were entrapment-type questions.”

Gardner: “As far as this situation, wow!  I didn’t know about a lot of this stuff, but it just seems to be, in my opinion, based on what I’ve heard, that Chris knew something.  I’m talking Chris Edwards knew something was going to happen, and he’s trying to use this to throw people off the fence.”

Jones: “I have another story to tell that I would love to get it out with my second meeting with Chris and how he tried to entrap me again there.  And then I actually went to Tony and said, ‘Tony, this is really stinky.  They’re trying to entrap us on this.’  And that’s when this thing happened.”

Gardner: “I have to say it’s kind of crazy this is happening.  I mean, I knew there was a fight for the leadership, as we all knew when we were talking about it.  But it just seems that even with all that arm twisting and stuff that they tried on John, they tried that on me too.  It didn’t work.”

In two separate and extensive radio interviews – one with talk-show host Heidi Harris and another one with Assemblywoman Victoria Seaman – another GOP operative named Rob Lauer, who had his home raided and searched by Metro SWAT officers, maintained that Edwards solicited money, not that Edwards was bribed.

Again, we have no idea what evidence Metro has on the tapes Edwards secretly recorded in meetings with the various parties in Wiregate, but it sure seems strange that all these different people are saying the same thing about Edwards publicly while Edwards himself has pretty much clammed up.

I still say I wouldn’t be surprised in the end if it turns out Edwards filed a false or misleading claim with Metro in an effort to preemptively cover his butt and head off the rumored ethics complaint by Lauer.  But we’ll just have to wait and see what Metro detectives have.

Regardless, Edwards is no innocent “victim” in this mess.  He’s the instigator.

Indeed, no one was out there trying to get Assemblyman Lynn “The Bug Man” Stewart or Assemblyman Randy “Kirner Tax” Kirner to switch their votes.  But Edwards let everyone know his vote was in play politically from Day One.  The question is whether or not he or someone else crossed a line legally.

Ben Botkin has a new story on the Wiregate investigation in today’s Las Vegas Review-Journal.  Click here