What A “Bargain”

Courtney Stadd pled guilty to a single count and got 41 months in prison?

I have to say, I agree with the commenter over at Space Politics, this seems fishy:

One wonders if there are any investigative reporters left on this planet.

Stadd pleads to conspiracy and no one else is similarly charged. Stadd is sentenced for two crimes within a year and both are related to MSU. Stadd is charged six years after the crime occurred, just before the statute of limitations would otherwise expire. Stadd is sent to jail with more time than Jack Abramoff. Anyone else smell dead fish around here?

When did all this happen? Let’s see. If memory serves, right around the time O’Keefe was booted out and Griffin took the NASA helm. And along with Griffin in walks Stadd (oh, and Sarsfield too – ain’t it amazin’). Stadd was fired by O’Keefe in 2001. Definitely a dust up going on inside of NASA I would say. Now add the befouled NASA IG Moose Cobb to the mix. Cobb was repeatedly investigated and accused of being an O’Keefe crony and incompetent tyrant. O’Keefe was also investigated for malfeasance and was later sacked from LSU (gee, Louisiana – O’Keefe’s home town and the state right next to good ‘ole Mississippi, what a coincidence!). O’Keefe and Cobb were stepchildren of Dick Chaney and, naturally, neither were prosecuted. And who would have led the investigation against Stadd? – you guessed it, Cobb.

Prosecution or persecution? None of the facts makes a lot of sense. Stadd, who’s not a registered lobbyist, was sentenced for steering an earmark while in his NASA position. Okay maybe that’s a no-no, but a criminal charge is way out of line. Sarsfield pled guilty to a conflict of interest charge which also makes no sense. NASA offered him a personal sole-source contract in 2005 worth a lot of money which he turned down. I guess we’re supposed to believe he was too busy stealing money from the same agency. Then six years after the “crime” Sarsfield suddenly pleads guilty and Stadd is immediately indicted – again. This reads like a dime store detective novel.

And speaking of ATK; wasn’t it Griffin who quickly ditched the O’Keefe/Steidle plan. Let’s see, a few billion to ATK for a rocket to nowhere; the same company which otherwise would have taken a shellacking from the termination of Shuttle.

Money and politics, a crushing combination – especially if your name happens to be Courtney.

I hope he can get it reduced on appeal.

12 thoughts on “What A “Bargain””

  1. Well…Dick Cheney is involved, that proves collusion on SOMEONE’S part!! He only deals in collusion. Look at how he made SCOTUS give the election to Bushitler!!

    Now that I’ve got my rant out…I know none of the players nor the game involving Stadd, Griffin et al. But in reading about this story here over the period you’ve been posting it Rand, I’ve never seen Cheney’s name before. Did I just MISS it before, or was that an attempt to add him into this story because he knows the players he IS the evil Dick Cheney?

    And I’ll have to rely on someone’s expert opinion / better memory here, because frankly, I just don’t know any of the behind the scenes stuff. I do know I’m tired of the “Blame Bush, Cheney Sucks parade”. I don’t trust the attempted connection of them to anything I don’t know better about, because I’ve seen them connected to things I KNOW they weren’t near in the last 2 years and WAY before.

    i.e., Joran vander Sloot is Bush’s illegitimate son!

    Seriously, who knew!?

    I got THAT little truth NUGGET in an e-mail from a lib friend. He’s just a guy who thinks Kennedy / Johnson / Nixon spent the moon shot money on the war in Nam…we never REALLY did that!! It was all a scam, for the bucks, for the war.

  2. Compare this to what Charlie Rangel is getting off scott free for doing.

    Isn’t not paying taxes on offshore income what got Walt Anderson in Prison?

  3. Why aren’t we instead asking ourselves how Courtney Stadd got off nearly scott-free in our (corrupt) nation’s capital whereas down in the Old South (which previously tried to become its own country) a different outcome emerged in his related but distinct criminal prosecution?

    Anyhow, as a former prosecuting attorney, I vaguely recall that Jack Abramoff helped the prosecutors save time and money by offering information (if not testimony, too) against others whom the prosecution subsequently pursued. In contrast, Courtney Stadd was accused of obstructing justice when he was investigated. That the sentences would vary somewhat for the two makes some sense, does it not?

    While I’m intrigued with a good conspiracy theory just as much as some fellow space reformers who are similarly as impatient about how our stellar dreams from childhood STILL aren’t being realized, even as our country goes further bankrupt (http://www.usdebtclock.org ), the concerns raised in this original post don’t particularly resonate with me. I’ve personally interacted various times with Sean O’Keefe, Walt Anderson, Dick Cheney, and Courtney Stadd.
    The main posting above says Stadd was fired by O’Keefe in 2001. Not true. For starters, Dan Goldin ran NASA for nearly all of 2001.

    Anyway, it was under O’Keefe’s watch that NASA’s admirable (albeit still underfunded, thanks mainly to Congress) Centennial Challenges competitive prizes program emerged. It’s a pro-entrepreneurial reform that makes it tougher for NASA insiders and cronies to engage in self-dealing like that for which Courtney Stadd has recently been sentenced. Who supported this reform, more, between O’Keefe (formerly #2 at the Office of Management & Budget) and Stadd (who had been adjudicated as, and who has formally admitted to, having been on-the-take at taxpayers’ expense)? Still, was there really significant tension between O’Keefe and Stadd, or did Stadd depart so he could make far more money in the private sector prior to his kids’ departure for college? That was the same reason O’Keefe cited in 2005 for departing from NASA, and yet does anyone assert that O’Keefe was fired?

    In moving along, the main posting above mentions how Cobb was repeatedly accused of stuff. Was he convicted or formally adjudicated as culpable though? Accusations fly out all the time in a semi-open democracy like ours. Why aren’t we scrutinizing more thoroughly why we forced taxpayers to finance a second criminal prosecution of Courtney Stadd(for a related transaction) when one such prosecution should have been enough, were it not for a politically motivated D.C. federal judge’s providing him sentencing leniency while sheltering herself with letters from all sorts of D.C. insiders who conveniently backed Courtney Stadd during the sentencing stage of his first trial? Even the D.C. jury had ruled against Stadd rapidly and decisively.

    George W. Bush (whom I aggressively supported in 2000) campaigned as a fiscal conservative during the late 1990’s. And yet during his 8 years in office, we saw the USA’s national debt DOUBLE even as the Defense Department’s share of the budget was only around 12% during any given year. We saw some peculiar inconsistencies emerge from his mostly Republican-controlled government, and Stadd’s prosecution comes as little surprise to me. What did Stadd personally do at NASA to actually help the overall private sector, instead of his own private business endeavors?

    We saw a subsequent posting in this thread about Walt Anderson and Charles Rangel. That point is VERY well taken. Judging from http://www.justiceforwalt.com, it seems that Walt had to plead guilty to avoid potentially being sentenced for many decades more amidst a legal system that was encroaching upon his rights on a frequent, if not daily basis. To think that Charles Rangel could get off with a mere censure makes me wonder for how much longer Washington D.C. can stave off growing secessionist movements in other parts of the current U.S. of A. Baby-boomers are about to retire in droves soon, and their demanding of entitlements payments will push taxpayers to the brink. It was my view that the USA’s best bet to avoid the worsening fiscal crisis was to make the NASA monopoly moe pro-entrepreneurial. Bush came into office preaching about the importance of “competitive sourcing”. What did his liaison Courtney Stadd tangibly do to make NASA more pro-entrepreneurial? Does the answer help reveal why some still defend him despite the verdict of a trial by his peers as well as his own formal admissions?

  4. I do not know the specifics of this case however in this day and age the legal process can be an extreme sentence in itself to the extent that prison is preferable – at least prison has financial and time limits, it has an end. Numerous obviously non criminal people do now plead guilty so as to end their torture by bureaucracy and get their life back.

    Pleading guilty no longer infers actual guilt and a guilty plea should not be assumed an admission of guilt.

  5. Blagojevich beat the rap and so did O.J. (the first time around). Plenty of others do, too. Is it that hard for the innocent to find sympathetic jury members to feel sorry for those who are victimized at the foot of oppressive bureaucracy and such? Jury members in Washington D.C. are likely particularly familiar with how oppressive it can be dealing with government regulations, and yet they overwhelmingly convicted Stadd on I believe all counts, did they not? Federal public defenders could have helped if Stadd’s finances were as bad as you seem to suggest. I know of a truly brilliant one in southern Maryland, for example… But if there’s anything that D.C. jury members are familiar with more than all else, it’s government officials who are ripping off the taxpayers. Stadd demanded a trial by his peers and didn’t make the same mistake a second time out in Mississippi (our country’s poorest state, other than the territory, or whatever it’s called nowadays, of Puerto Rico). Are you saying we must now pay to rehabilitate Stadd only for him to depart years from now as being UNrepentant?

  6. As I said I do not know the particulars of this given case enough to give an informed opinion, however I wish to generally state that pleading guilty in this day and age can not necessarily be assumed as an admission of guilt – there are often good practical reasons for an “innocent” person to plead guilty.

    I would note that most people break a law most every day. Most everyone is guilty of breaking the law and would be judged so by a court of their peers. I do not know if in this case the law that was broken was significant or that Stadd was relatively unique in his breaking of this particular law (was the law applied somewhat selectively to him?).

    An example in my own experience which leads me to not assume the general validity of any particular legal verdict (I can not rationally assume guilt beyond a reasonable doubt just because a particular legal process has come to that conclusion), was of a friend who was forced to plead guilty to carrying a hoax device into Logan airport some years ago. The object in question was a breadboard with some LEDs sticking out of it representing her name stuck on her top – a glorified name tag (MIT student, prototyping event the previous day rushing in at ~7am in the morning to pick another friend up from the airport). An information desk person went hysterical and she had a whole lot of guns pointed at her (there was no remorse on behalf of those who pointed guns at her). The legal process went on and on, the prosecution could not lose face, she lost a year or two of her life and she eventually pleaded guilty so she could get back to school. Considering I regularly transport much larger quantities of such raw electronic components (micro controllers, breadboards, batteries, LEDs, etc.) in and out of the US on international flights this all strikes me very much as a nonsense. There was no intent to carry a hoax device nor was the object in question in any way mistakable as threatening by anyone with half a clue (presumably those trained to point guns at people in such situations would necessarily be trained to have half a clue and would be accommodating when they made a mistake).

    I would tend to assume a person innocent until proven otherwise and considering its considerable failings I would not automatically assume the legal system to necessarily prove much of anything. It is the best we have and should generally be supported, however any conclusions it comes to should generally be taken with a large grain of salt – especially in less clear cut cases.

  7. “Justice” is a Tool of Power.

    Four years is a long time. I hope mercy prevails.

    I work with people guilty of even worse ethical crimes everyday. Free money has a way of degenerating the morally challenged because “your not hurting anyone”, just helping yourself and your friends out at the public trough. It happens all the time. It’s what for dinner in DC.

  8. Perhaps the potential consequences of her having surrendered were relatively minute. Not so with Stadd, who pleaded guilty anyway. Incidentally Stadd was well paid for decades by us taxpayers, whether he was inside of gubmint or steering contracts to friends who actually possessed some technological training (unlike himself). Hiring a lawyer from the public defender’s office could have happened if he’d spent all that money that we gave him. I’m not exactly sure what we got for our investment in him, come to think of it. What did he do to fix any aspect of NASA for the entrepreneurs it’s supposed to serve?

  9. I’m not exactly sure what we got for our investment in him, come to think of it. What did he do to fix any aspect of NASA for the entrepreneurs it’s supposed to serve?

    While I can not attest to his performance or lack thereof again you seem to make a defense commensurate with the rule of men over the rule of law. As far as I am aware a lack of performance is not in and of itself a criminal act deserving of a prison term.

  10. Discarding one’s prison sentence can be done a second time (as it was for Courtney the first time around in our corrupted nation’s capital) IF the person has significantly helped society. I’m not aware that he has helped it though, especially in proportion to how much taxpayers have been forced to pay to support him, and soon to rehabilitate him as well. I therefore offered up the question to see if anyone could list anything, and nobody has.

    On a different front, did you see the movie Shawshank Redemption? Remember the scene in which prisoners were asked if any had committed the crimes for which they were serving time? Nearly all said they were INNOCENT. Do you believe they were, like you’re indirectly suggesting is the case for Mr. Stadd?

  11. This guy Robins claims to be a “lawyer” and yet he uses Rand’s fine website to make these slanderous comments about Courtney Stadd. What law school did you go to Robins? Did they give out diplomas?

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