Sunday, October 29, 2006
Keith Wasserstrom's Second Defense: I Acted In Accordance With Jewish Law
In the time I've been with him, I've seen him only act with accordance to
ethics and that's why I firmly believe in this case, when all the facts come
out, I'm very confident that he'll be shown to have acted within the ethical
framework of Jewish law.
I guess Menashe Frank is saying that, according to Jewish law, it is permissible for an elected official to falsify ethics disclosure forms, and to make a few extra shekels down the road by lobbying his fellow elected officials to give a lucrative contract to a company who just happens to be his law firm's client. This might be a winning argument, if Keith was going to be judged by the Sanhedrin.
So Keith's first defense was the City Attorney said it was ok. The article does not report Keith is retreating from that defense, but it does suggest Keith's second defense: I'm a good little Jewish boy and the Torah says what I did is ok.
My parents were both Jewish, I went to Hebrew school, and I was Bar Mitzvah. My opinion: It is an insult to the Jewish religion for Keith and his friends to try to absolve Keith's apparently unlawful alleged conduct by (figuratively) wrapping him in a tallis and implying that purported conformance with some religious code trumps or excuses compliance with Florida law.
Update: On November 15, 2006, I was contacted by Menasche Frank, the friend of Keith Wasserstrom who was quoted in the October 29, 2006 Miami Herald article. Mr. Frank made the following points of clarification:
- He believes Keith did not engage in the conduct of which he is accused, and he believes Keith did not violate either Jewish law or Florida law.
- He did not intend to imply that Jewish law and ethics would permit the falsification of disclosure forms or any of the other conduct of which Keith is accused.
- He contacted the Miami Herald on his own initiative to provide a good character reference on Keith's behalf. Therefore, my post was incorrect if it intended to imply that he did so as part of some coordinated public defense of Keith by Keith and his friends.