BY BUDDY NEVINS
State Attorney Mike Satz has finally agreed it was the wrong case against the wrong defendant.
This case dragged on for so long that I wonder how much it cost us?
Satz’s prosecutors Monday finally agreed that their case was going nowhere against former County Commissioner Diana Wasserman-Rubin.
Prosecutors approved a plea bargain that will give the woman three years probation and a $3,000 fine. She pleaded to three misdemeanor counts of falsifying papers.
She faced up to 55 years in the state pen for five felonies for unlawful compensation.
The commissioner is charged with voting for grants that gave her husband Richard Rubin $45,000 in bonuses.
So what happened to this linchpin of Satz’s anti-corruption drive?
One problem: Prosecutors waited years to file the charges.
By the time they got around to dealing with Wasserman-Rubin in 2010, the alleged wrongdoing was almost a decade old. It even took prosecutors three years after she paid a $15,000 fine to the state Ethics Commission to file charges.
It looked to many like Satz, facing re-election at the time, was piling on.
While prosecutors built their case oh so slowly, Wasserman Rubin was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
She is now a very sick woman. She is in a wheel chair. Her condition got so bad by last September that she had a brain operation to control her tremors and inability to navigate.
In theory, illness shouldn’t matter. Justice is justice.
In the real world, no jury or judge would send her to jail.
In fact, Miami Dade Circuit Judge Spencer Eig has already announced he would never put the terminally ill Wasserman-Rubin in prison. That may have finally swayed Satz.
This case was a loser from the start. There were real questions about some of the evidence.
A plea bargain is a good deal.
It’s a good deal for Wasserman-Rubin. She now gets to keep her pension, estimated at roughly $5,000-a-month.
It is a good deal for Satz. This dog is cleared off his books and prosecutors can go on to more pressing matters.
It is a good deal for taxpayers, who don’t have to keep pouring money into a loser.
But whether it is a good deal for the administration of justice, we’ll never know.