Charlie Rangel Still Without Deal as Trial Nears
July 29, 2010
(ChattahBox)—The Congressional trial of Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. today, barring a last-minute plea deal. Lawyers for the House ethics committee met with Rangel’s lawyers yesterday to work out a settlement deal, but the embattled 40-year veteran Congressman is reportedly balking over the details of what specific charges he would be required to admit to. If a plea bargain is not reached before the start of the House ethics hearing this afternoon, more Democrats are expected to call for Rangel’s resignation.
Although the full menu of ethics charges against Rangel have been kept secret, it’s known that the panel plans to charge him with accepting improper gifts of four rent-controlled apartments from a New York City developer, providing a large donor with a $500 million tax loophole and evading taxes on a Dominican beachfront villa.
As of yesterday, Rangel was still holding firm on his claims of innocence. And he remained combative, saying he intended to fight the charges. According to ABC News, his lawyers burned the midnight oil last night, but were unable to negotiate a plea deal that would satisfy Rangel and the bipartisan House panel:
“Rangel has refused to admit any wrongdoing, even saying yesterday that he looks forward to finding out what “the allegations are so I can explain myself.”‘
“Lawyers for Rangel worked late into the night yesterday, trying to work out a deal with the ethics committee to avoid a public hearing.”
The Four Republicans on the House ethics committee are holding firm on their demands that Rangel admit wrongdoing and accept a punishment.
According to the NY Daily News, Rangel is left with very little wriggle room.
“A GOP source said that if there is a deal to avoid a trial “our guys [on the committee] are going to drive a hard bargain. They’ve lost patience. They’re digging in their heels.”‘
ABC is asking its readers: “Should Rep. Charlie Rangel be removed from Congress?”
To date only two Democrats have publicly come out to demand Rangel’s resignation, but that number is expected to grow if he drags his Party through a messy public trial by his peers.