Tall tale for a short sale: The unraveling

In May 2010 we posted a report on (Democratic) Michigan Supreme Court Justice Diane Hathaway under the heading “Tall tale for a short sale.” With the assistance of reader and Philadelphia attorney Martin Karo, who provided an account better than any to be found in the press either now or then, we noted that Hathaway had “screwed her bank and the taxpayers who bailed it out.”

We quoted Steve Fishman, an attorney for Justice Hathaway and husband Michael Kingsley. Fishman denied any illegality in the transactions: “These were personal matters that involved persons close to her, and she is not going to discuss personal matters in the press. I’m satisfied there was nothing underhanded.” Not exactly a ringing declaration of innocence.

Now comes word that federal prosecutors have filed a fraud charge against Hathaway just a few days before she leaves the court amid the scandal. The charge appears to be the predicate of a forthcoming guilty plea. Fishman has clammed up. On Saturday he declined to comment.

One has to read to the end of the AP story on the fraud charge to find the implication — the story never directly states — that Hathaway is a Democrat. In Journalism 101, reporters are taught to reserve the less important details for the bottom of the story.

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