The Carpetblogger’s quest to get John Kasich elected has gone to the gutter.   “Scoop” now claims, citing no source, that the Governor’s Chief Legal Counsel is allegedly in plea negotiations over the thwarted tobacco bust at the Governor’s mansion.

Keeling’s story is so poorly sourced, he doesn’t even say who Markus would allegedly being negotiating with since NOBODY HAS PUBLICLY ACCUSED Markus of any criminal act, let alone charged him with one.  The matter is still being investigated by the Inspector General, who doesn’t have the legal authority to bring criminal charges.  As such, there’s no prosecutorial authority for Markus to allegedly negotiate with.

Never mind the fact that there’s no crime… (get to that in a sec).

Keeling’s claim that a thwarted smuggling bust is the same thing as a multi-million public financing scandal involving a criminal conviction of a former sitting Governor and nonfeasance by the then State Auditor and Attorney General that resulted in multiple federal and state convictions is just laughable.

But what Keeling seems to ignore is that there’s two reasons why the Patrol… yes, not the Ohio Department of Public Safety, but the PATROL itself squashed the idea of letting someone throw an unknown object for the use by convicted felons onto the grounds of the Governor’s Mansion while the Governor was there:

1) Read that last sentence.  The Patrol is first charged with the safety of the Governor and the First Lady.  You don’t allow people to just throw unknown objects into the Governor’s Mansion grounds.

2) There was strong evidence that this alleged plot wasn’t criminal.

Yes, you read that right.  One of the major problems with allowing the plot to proceed and then raid everyone is that there was a serious question that none of it constituted an arrestable offense.

According to my sources close to the investigation, the whole tip off started with an intercepted communication between an inmate who was working at the Governor’s residence and the woman involved in the smuggling plot.  The written statement’s language strongly suggested to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation & Corrections that the smuggled item would be tobacco.

Although inmates are not permitted to have tobacco products in prison, it’s an administrative rule, not a violation of a criminal statute.  And there’s no criminal statute implicated by a plot to smuggle tobacco to an inmate.  None.

R.C. 2921.36 only makes the following a criminal act of illegal conveyance of prohibited items into a detention facility:

    (1) Any deadly weapon or dangerous ordnance, as defined in section 2923.11 of the Revised Code, or any part of or ammunition for use in such a deadly weapon or dangerous ordnance;

    (2) Any drug of abuse, as defined in section 3719.011 of the Revised Code;

    (3) Any intoxicating liquor, as defined in section 4301.01 of the Revised Code.

At best, they could have charged the woman with littering (except since she knew it would be picked up, it’s a question of whether even THAT charge could have stuck.)

In fact, the Columbus Dispatch has reported that one of the issues the Inspector General is investigating is the subsequent discovery of “contraband” tobacco hidden by inmates on the Governor’s mansion.  Coincidence?

The vast majority of indications are that this alleged “bust” would have been over something that was nothing more than a misdemeanor littering crime, at best.  The Highway Patrol doesn’t lay in wait to bust someone for littering on the Governor’s lawn.  Does it?

And there’s absolutely nothing I can imagine Ken Markus could have done as the Governor’s Chief Legal Counsel that could possibly subject him to criminal liability over an overhyped plot to litter.  Keeling continues to just make stuff up.

If Keeling wants to play lawyer, maybe he should learn the concept of libel per se. He really shouldn’t accuse someone of a felony without good cause.

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