Sunday, July 26, 2009

Florio Needs to Take a Break From the Vick Story

Defending Vick, I feel a bit like the guy who was "somehow roped into arguing passionately for Green Day."

Florio should be commended for his early reporting of the Vick story. He was way ahead of the curve. That said, I think its time for him to take a break from the story. He is too close to the story and he is now being overtly dishonest. In his latest screed he writes:

Then there's the issue of Vick's admitted killing of dogs, in various grotesque, bizarre, and arguably psychopathic ways. Drowning. Slamming to the ground. Hanging. Electrocution via the attachment of electrodes to testicles.

Vick admitted to involvement in those killings as part of his federal plea.

The impression that Florio creates is that Vick (who might even be a "pychopath"!) has admitted slamming dogs to the ground and electrocuting doggy testicles. This is not true, and as a lawyer Florio knows better.

As a condition to his plea agreement Vick agreed to the statement of facts. "Vick agreed (emphasis mine) [with his co-conspirators] to the killing of approximately 6-8 dogs . . . and all of those dogs were killed by various methods, including hanging and drowning" and that as part of his plea agreement Vick "agrees and stipulates that these dogs all died as a result of collective efforts of" Vick and his co-conspirators.

As part of of his plea agreement Vick admitted to only vague and generalized involvement. Vick did not admit he drowned dogs, he admitted in some way contributed in the result. In what way? We don't know. But Vick does not admit to being present or even knowing in advance about the methods used by his co-conspirators (nor where there any specifics even in the indictment).

Moreover, Vick did not admit that any dogs were killed by slamming them into the ground or electrocuting them. Although, those accusations appeared in the indictment, they were removed from the plea agreement.

You will find no accusations in any of the documents that dogs were killed by "electrocuting their testicles." As far as I can tell (after some due dilligence on Google) that is pure a Florio fictional flourish.

Look, what Vick did was bad enough. He was involved ina a dog fighting ring. He even owned the facilities. There is no need to exaggerate and embellish his conduct. And there is definitely no need to portray Vick as a "psychopath" based upon made up facts. There is little evidence that Vick partook in the more gruesome and sensationalsitic elements of the dog fighting story.

I think its time for Florio to accept his pat on the back on the Vick story, and then hit the showers.

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