The correct thing to do with a potential scandal, it is said, is to have a free-ranging press conference, answer all the questions openly and freely, until you exhaust the possible questions and tire out the journalists. That’s what John Tierney tried to do today, since his brothers-in-law have implicated him in the illegal offshore gambling scheme.
There are a few possibilities here:
- Tierney knew it all; he’s lying and a crook (albeit an un-indicted one), like the Eremian brothers say.
- The brothers-in-law are lying scumbags; Tierney knew nothing at all, as he said
- He should have known, but turned a blind eye, or rationalized, or didn’t-quite-succeed-in-not-knowing-about the activity.
Anyway, the full statement is below. I think it’s pretty decent as such. I have no way of evaluating the facts or the characters involved, and I don’t find it satisfying to rely on my own hunches or impressions of candor. Do Tierney’s remarks seem credible to you?
Much depends on how credible are the Eremian brothers. What’s their motivation for fingering him? Is it spite that he couldn’t be the fixer for them, as Tierney contends? Or that he’s getting away with it and they’re not? Do they have incentive to squeal on him to get lighter sentences, or is that all by the boards?
Here’s the statement:
Thank you all for coming. I called this press conference because I want to answer any and all questions about my wife Patrice’s situation and to address recent statements made by my brothers- in-law.
The past two years have been difficult and painful for Patrice and me. It’s sad, upsetting, and frankly embarrassing to watch your extended family come apart so publicly. Throughout this ordeal, my first priorities have always been to support my wife and to continue representing my constituents. I regret that my constituents have had to watch my wife’s drama unfold on the front pages of the newspaper. But nothing has weakened my resolve to continue to fight for the people of the 6th district. Unfortunately, the situation involving my wife’s family has provided an open platform for some people to say things without regard to the source or the truth.
My wife Patrice is the most loving and giving person I know. It was her spirit of giving and kindness that made me want to spend my life with her.
Patrice has always worked hard to hold her fractured family together. She served as the de facto mother and primary caretaker for a family plagued by drug abuse, alcoholism, and tragedy. Ten years ago, after her brother Robert moved from Massachusetts to Antigua, he asked Patrice to help look after his teenage children who were still living here, but without either parent.
Robert was gone. The children’s mother was receiving treatment in another state. The children had become troubled. So Patrice agreed to help ensure that they had the necessary care including clothing, school expenses, transportation and medical care. Her brother reimbursed her for these expenses, and added her as a signatory on his bank account so that she could pay the children’s household expenses.
Let me be 100% clear, as I have said numerous times and consistently from the beginning, including the first day any news broke on this: I believed at that time that my brother-in-law was working in a legitimate, legal on-line gambling business in Antigua. I believed this because Robert’s parole officer believed it. I believed it because the US attorney believed it. And I believed it because a United States District Court Judge believed it. Each of them, the parole officer, US Attorney and Federal District Court Judge had each given him express permission in a court order to go to Antigua for that work. A copy of that court order is available for you here today.
Yes, I was aware that both of Patrice’s brothers had a history and were involved in the gambling business in some capacity in the 1990s. But clearly, the court and the authorities who oversaw his legal situation thought Robert had turned his life around.
Do I wish different decisions had been made? Of course. And Patrice has acknowledged that she subsequently made a mistake, and pled to willful blindness about the source of the funds that Robert reported on his tax returns, which his CPA signed and filed…but no one should question Patrice’s motives.
Even at her sentencing, the prosecutor said that she, “committed the offense out of some benevolent belief that she was doing this to help her elderly mother and her brother’s children.” We had hoped that after the painful price she had paid, that we would be able to move on. But this past week Patrice’s brothers made insinuations that I was aware of some sort of illegal activities they were engaged in. Remember, Daniel Eremian was claiming up until last week that he was innocent. Robert Eremian, a fugitive, still claims to be innocent. How can they claim to be innocent and at the same time say that I knew of their guilt?
This makes no sense. And in fact, it wasn’t until learning that he would get a more severe sentence than expected that Daniel’s lashed out in anger.
Let’s be clear: if Patrice’s brothers had actually thought that Patrice was withholding information, trying to protect me, or that there was anything that could shift the blame away from themselves, why didn’t Daniel’s lawyers bring it up at trial? Why didn’t they use it to destroy her credibility and undermine her testimony before the jury? Patrice spent hours on the stand as a witness. It’s not as if they didn’t have an opportunity. It was only after the sentence that Daniel’s anger turned to innuendo.
And again—I have been clear from the beginning that based on the court order, I knew that Robert was involved in a gambling business, but one that the court believed was legal.
The fact is that Robert and Daniel Eremian are simply continuing their pattern of putting their family through turmoil, and trying to blame anyone but themselves. It is unfortunate that their bitterness would continue to run to this level of anger and lies.
Their attacks fly in the face of the federal judge in this case, who went out of his way to publicly clear me of any involvement stating, and once again I’m quoting here, that I was “not implicated in this in any way, shape or form.”
Still, despite that, my political opponents have tried to make wild accusations at me and at Patrice at every opportunity. And I know that my brothers-in-law, who harbor anger and bitterness, will continue to try to attack both of us.
I’m not asking anyone to feel sorry for me. But I will acknowledge that it been difficult to endure watching Patrice’s pain and her family’s disintegration dragged into the public spotlight again and again to serve my opponent’s political motives. Having spent our lives building reputations in this community – ones of honesty and integrity– there is no joy in witnessing others try to disparage us out of personal resentment or to score cheap political points.
I love my wife. I continue to support her, and stand by her. And I continue to be driven to provide the service to our communities and the people of Massachusetts that I have worked so hard to do over the past 16 years. So, I am here to answer any questions that you have.