Today's Daily Journal (no link) features a front-page piece on John Stodder, the indicted former Fleishman-Hillard executive turned blogger who I began telling you about last month. Erin Park reports:
John Stodder Jr. may be waiting to go on trial in April for fraud, but for the first time in his life, he's free.
More than a year ago, the former executive with Fleishman-Hillard, a public relations firm that had strong ties to Los Angeles City Hall, was accused of overbilling the Department of Water and Power, cheating taxpayers out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. He denies the charges.
Stodder had made a career out of being invisible. He was paid to work behind the scenes, make the boss look good, keep the client happy.
But now, for the first time in his life, Stodder is untethered. Gone are the days when his opinions would be associated with those of his bosses or clients.
"I'm a free man. I can say what I want," he said.
Well, not really. The former reporter (City News Service) and political aide (Mayor Tom Bradley, Supervisor Ed Edelman) can't talk about the case, or shouldn't. Conviction could send him to federal prison, and in the piece defense lawyer Charles Lindner says "the defendant who posts his own blog has a fool for a writer." Prominent lawyer Harland Braun disagrees, in somewhat of a surprise. He quit the Robert Blake defense team citing the defendant's plans to go on camera with Diane Sawyer. Blogs, he argues now, allow less slips of the tongue and can level the playing field for someone facing charges: "Prosecutors are a constant propaganda machine. They have their news conferences, their perp walks. It's kind of nice to hear the other side."
Previously: Way back before Paris