Surprise, Surprise… Day after Election, Barkus Files Plea Agreement

“It was an accident… I’ll leave it at that.”

–Montana State Senator Greg Barkus on his drunken and near fatal escapade last year
barkus drunken crash site

With his November 29th trial pending on three felony counts for “piloting” his boat with Denny Rehberg and staff to a near fatal crash on a rocky outcropping on Flathead Lake, outgoing Montana State Senator Greg Barkus decided that the cards were stacked against him, and filed for a plea agreement. And of course, his attorney waited until the day after the election to file the motion:

Glazier said the timing of his motion for a change-of-plea hearing – one day after the Nov. 2 election, which saw Rehberg re-elected to a sixth term – had nothing to do with politics. The date of the filing had only to do with the court’s scheduling docket and the fact that plea negotiations have wrapped up.

“Quite frankly, it didn’t even cross my mind,” Glazier said. “He’s termed out anyway, so the election wasn’t a concern.”

So… let’s get this straight. The lawyer for a prominent politician didn’t even think that filing a motion the day after the election had any political motive? And that the passenger on that boat was a U.S. Congressional Respresentative running for reelection, and whose name was on that ballot?

That flies in the face of all sensibilities. Of course, the real political move was done when the judge set the trial date for almost a month after the election. Just a minor detail so the defense could have a little plausible deniability.

And of course, the details of the plea bargain won’t be known for a while:

[Flathead County Attorney Ed] Corrigan was not available for comment on Monday, but Vickie Eggum, administrator for the Flathead County Attorney’s Office, said details of the agreement would not be released until the document had been signed and finalized.

Hmmm… That’s the same Ed Corrigan who endorsed Senator Barkus as being “tough on crime.”

Let’s just see how tough on crime big Ed turns out to be. Of course, in the era where some peeps have greater privileges than others, who you are dictates how you are charged, and how your crimes are settled in “plea agreements.”

Let’s not forget the case last summer where the Morgan Stanley Wealth Manager, Martin Erzinger, recently had his hit and run charges reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor, because…well, he drove a Mercedes, and a felony might impact his job, and…blah, blah, blah.

Senator Barkus is term limited, and doesn’t have a job to worry about. But he has friends in high places. Some who boast about being tough on crime. Let’s just see how tough they are on Denny Rehberg’s friend, even when he almost killed Rehberg, and left Rehberg’s Chief of Staff with a brain injury and other disabilities that he’ll have to deal with the rest of his life.

And finally, I’ll leave you with a quote from commenter madderthanhell at the Great Falls Tribune who sums up my feelings rather well:

“No, Greg, it was not an accident, you were drunk off your rear”

Once more, a well-connected politician who believes the law does not apply to him commits a crime and seriously injures the people around him and will walk away with his get out of jail free card intact. How can someone with no code of ethics act ethically in the legislature? To say nothing of those who helped him skirt the law.

“It was an accident,” he said. “I’ll leave it at that.” No, Greg, it was not an accident, you were drunk off your rear and it was reckless endangerment at best, attempted manslaughter at worst. You deserve to wake up in a 6×8 cell next to Otis, the drunk. Oh wait, I forgot, you are Otis the drunk. Hey Greg, give us a preview of what your gonna do next year, be DUI and run over a hooker somewhere?

  1. This may sound like a dumb question on this site but what difference does it make whether the plea announcement was before or after the election?

    Barkus is term limited and not running for a position. It certainly doesn’t matter in his case. It doesn’t reflect any more on Rehberg – he isn’t being charged with a crime. The fact that he was drinking and on the boat is a matter of public record and the plea agreement doesn’t change this.

    This seems like a lot of partisan wind and noise over nothing. The real issue is whether Barcus will be punished for his crime. That we will have to wait for the announcement of the plea agreement details. The timing of the plea agreement announcement is a non-issue.

    • Nice attempt at a snide Ad Hominem against the website, but … fail. Actually, it may sound like a dumb question because it is a dumb question.

      It doesn’t reflect any more on Rehberg

      Yes, it might indeed have reflected poorly on Rehberg in the minds of voters. It might have reminded them of Denny’s lack of responsibility. I seem to remember a political advertisement from his opponent about that very thing, a commercial lauded by no less than Karl Rove. Rehberg may or may not have still won, but your assertion that the plea agreement wouldn’t have reflected on Rehberg is so much folderol, completely unfounded as it is.

      One would think that the manipulation of our justice system for political reasons might be of concern to people. That was *actually* the point of this post, not some attack on Rehberg. I, for one, am glad to know that such things are a non-issue. I won’t worry my pretty little mind about it.

      • Daniel Shevlin

        Wow! I think that’s all one can say after reading the shell-shocked liberals wackos’ comments after the Great Election of 2010. They just can’t seem to understand that THEY LOST!!! Yes, liberals…Obama lied to you! Pelosi LIeD to you! Reid LIED to you! Democrats were made an endangered species because THEY DON’T LISTEN TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE!!!!!!!. Understand? The American people were told, by liberal wackos like the ones on this pathetic site, that “Obama was going to bring jobs to all americans forever!!!” “”Obama and Pelosi were going to make the Earth love us again!!!” Remember this, libs? We said he would fail…and you called us ‘racist’ for stating that. lol. That’s really all anyone can say…LOL! Where are the jobs, liberals? Where is the “fiscal responsibility” that Obama was going to “usher in to all the people forever”? What a god-damned joke. Talk about a group of people in complete denial.

        • JC

          Forget your meds again this morning, Mr Shevlin?

          Kindly keep your rants on topic, or I’ll just view them as spam.

        • petetalbot

          Hey Shevlin, check back in two years after the Republicans have been at the helm in Congress. I haven’t seen any policies advanced by the GOP that will make health care more accessible or affordable, will bring an end to the wars that are killing young Americans and increasing our debt, will return manufacturing jobs to the US, will decrease our dependence on ever-shrinking fossil fuel resources, will … well, you get the picture.

          Unless you’re a millionaire, I’m pretty sure you won’t be any better off than you are today — probably worse off.

          (Sorry, JC, about going off topic, and I’m sure my reply will fall on deaf ears. Still, even right-wing ranters like Shevlin need a shot of reality.)

    • Maybe if this was one and only one less-than-desirable situation in which drunken Representative Denny Rehberg was on the peripheral of, would it be partisan to try and point this out, but this is merely one of many.

      Denny was drunk when this happened. That is fact..and something he tried to deny in no fewer than a thousand words.

      This is not the first incident in which he was drunk that stupid things did happen – although those previous didn’t involve in the near death of others.

      Our illustrious congressional representative has been drunk in so many situations that making any effort to try and NOT associate this incident directly with Rehberg would seem, to me, a true partisan move.

      Apparently Montana is OK with a drunken congressman. I guess that has to be OK – with at least a majority. So be it.

      But don’t try and defend that which can’t be defended.

      As for Barkus? He doesn’t deserve a deal. Give him the max – if only for dragging this on so long. If he doesn’t like it, he can try it with a jury of his peers.

      I’d love to see it in trial. Maybe Denny could testify.

      Because we all know that’s what Barkus is truly wanting to wanting to avoid.

    • sorry moorcat. we agree on much but not this. jc is right about this. just another example of good ole boy system and barkus’s mouthpiece lying about it just proves that those with money and power get away with stuff that you and i would be punished severely for.

      ain’t fair is ain’t fair. bad behavior is rewarded if you are influential enough.

      • Would having the plea announcement before the election have made any difference at all?

        Maybe in some bizzaro world, yes. But I try to live in the real world. It would have made no difference at all.

        As far as Barkus and his manipulation of the legal system, that is a whole ‘nuther ballgame. You are correct to be upset if, in fact, he is skating away with reckless endangerment with some kind of misdemeaner deal. If that had been the focus of the post, I would have been all in agreement. It pisses me off when these “celebrities” (be they entertainers, politicians or just rich people) get off relatively untouched when they commit crimes that the rest of us would rot in jail for. That is a discussion we would probably be in agreement with. My issue was with trying to make this into some kind of political “gotcha” on Rehberg. The voters were more than reminded of Rehberg’s drinking problem just before the election and it did SQUAT. They still voted for him. This story would have had the same effect – therefore it makes NO DIFFERENCE except maybe to stroke some need you guys feel to rant on Rehberg. Fact – he was not driving the boat. Fact – he had been drinking. Fact… he is going back to Wasthington and this story would not have changed that.

        • JC

          “if, in fact, he is skating away with reckless endangerment with some kind of misdemeaner deal. If that had been the focus of the post, I would have been all in agreement. “

          Well, that is what the whole second half of the post was about.

          I wasn’t making any claims about how Barkus’ situation at this time affects, or would have affected Rehberg’s reelection. It’s all about political manipulation of the criminal justice system, and the role of privilege in how charges are handed out, and plea agreements developed.

          Stay tuned, as this story has more twists coming as it unfolds, to be sure.

  2. This is child’s play, the realities are far more horrific. Are you old enough to remember Shane Hedges? Can you put 2 and 2 together, or has the fed finally managed to rot your brain? Alcohol rules in the Montana legislature, cocaine probably runs second, fraud, extortion and coercion are the main staples with murder fast behind. No one dares tell the real story if he wants to live. I see I’ve been banned (forever) from a blog for being a conspiracy spammer. Well now, that’s about as far as you’ll get for telling it like it is.

  3. Tobie

    Can’t you morons figure out that you were actually hurting your cause by repeatedly bringing this up?

    People identify with him, he was a victim, not a criminal for being in the boat of an intoxicated driver.

    • JC

      This post isn’t about Rehberg. It’s about Barkus and his political connections, and possible misuse of justice.

      So what cause do you think I’m hurting? The cause for equal treatment in the courts? The cause for “justice is blind?”

      And as to Rehberg being a victim, that’s really nice.You can treat him as such if you want. Was Dustin Frost also a victim? And if so, who victimized him? A drunk driver? Or a drunk boss who was conducting business with his Congressional entourage?

      Simple question, really…

      • Tobie

        Rehberg was injured in the crash too, while not as severly as Frost, it doesn’t “not count” because you don’t like him. Frost was at the event and in the boat on his own time–and an adult. Do you feel that all actions of employees are their boss’ responsiblity when they’re in the same room?

        • JC

          You’re the one that claimed Rehberg was the victim. I simply asked if Frost was a victim, too. And if so, who victimized him.

          The role of an administrative assistant to a U.S. Congressman is to accompany him in the line of the job. If the boss shows negligence, by placing his employees at risk (by making them accompany him in a boat driven by a drunk), then I think that boss needs to be held accountable.

          But I understand that those of the same political persuasion as the U.S. Congressman might feel otherwise. And I take the lack of accountability of our U.S. Representative to be just another abuse of our legal system through political power.

          You may be OK with a person (Frost) putting his trust in, and his life on the line with, his employer–trusting that he won’t ask him to do something that will potentially end up in life-altering accident. But I don’t, particularly when that person is a representative of the people, is paid by the people, and was doing the people’s business.

          Dustin Frost’s permanent injuries are as much a responsibility of the American people, as they are of the drunk who asked him to accompany him in a boat driven by another drunk. We elected, and reelected a drunk to office. And when his employees get injured on the job due to drunken behavior, then it is everybody’s business.

          Sorry if you don’t agree. But your disagreement says more about you than it does Rehberg, Frost, or myself.

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