Wednesday, July 6, 2011

No Criminal Charges: The Vermont Attorney General Announces Conclusions About Entergy

Today, William Sorrell announced that he was not filing criminal charges against Entergy. He announced this with as much anti-Entergy innuendo as he could manage. While newspapers describe a person caught red-handed as the "alleged" murderer, Sorrell speaks as if he is sure that Entergy is guilty of a crime, but he just couldn't find the evidence.

None of this innocent-until-proven-guilty stuff for Sorrell. He explains that perjury is SO hard to prove, he lacks "the smoking gun evidence"... "to prove that this untrustworthy behavior was criminal," and so forth. He goes on to say that the "active phase of the investigation" is over, "more evidence" may come to light in the future allowing him to file criminal charges against Entergy.

You can watch the whole thing on the video above; I don't have to repeat it here.

Sorrell's short report is also available. There's no new information in the report, as far as I can tell. If you want, you can compare it against the other three reports exonerating Entergy. (You can find links to those reports in my previous blog post.) Frankly, why bother? I have better things to do with my time than check whether, in 17 months of investigations, Sorrell found an email that I had not seen before.

Also, whatever emails Sorrell includes, he concludes that he does not have evidence to file criminal charges.

My Smoking Gun About Sorrell

According to AP, Shumlin "respected Sorrell's conclusions." Then Shumlin took his usual cracks at "Entergy Louisiana" whose "pattern of misinformation" is "not how we expect businesses to act here in Vermont."

Speaking of misinformation, how is a Vermont Attorney General supposed to act? I believe I have a smoking gun about serious inconsistencies in Mr. Sorrell's statements about the investigation.

Sorrell wants to convince us of two things, which are basically contradictory. He wants the people of Vermont to believe:
  • He did a thorough, lengthy investigation (17 months, millions of pages of documents, interviews, etc.)
  • His investigation cost the taxpayers very little money.
In his press conference, Sorrell declares that both these things are true, despite the obvious contradictions. He describes a year and half of legal investigations of a major company, in a complicated situation....but the whole thing cost---wait for it---$100,000.

That's right. As far as I can tell, $100,000 per year is less than a full-time State's Attorney would receive. (I moused around the Vermont state job board to determine this.)

How did Sorrell do such a lengthy investigation and spend so little money? Did he charge-back the investigation to Entergy somehow? I don't think governments can charge people or companies for investigating them. Governments can certainly charge fines, but that implies a trial and conviction.

There's a smoking gun here. Sorrell isn't saying everything about his investigation. In my opinion, this $100,000 number is part of Sorrell's pattern of misleading the people of Vermont. I'm a taxpayer in this state, and I don't like it.

Update: I recommend the post The Entergy Investigation by John McClaughry of the Ethan Allen Institute, newly posted at Vermont Tiger. In full disclosure, the Energy Education Project I head is part of the Ethan Allen Institute.


George Angwin said...

I am a Vermont taxpayer and I am incensed that my public servants should spend money and energy fishing for a crime. Mr. Sorrell has clearly been on a hunt for a crime, meanwhile ignoring events in my home town of Hartford that suggest that the police have no respect for the 4th ammendment to the U. S. Constitution, the affirmation of the "right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, . . .". Where is our Attorney General when we need him?

nor850 said...

As one of the named I appreciate your support. I was shocked when I realized what was testified to and even more shocked to know that I contributed to it. To put it simply I misread a document and answered a question that was not asked while neglecting to answer the question that was. This appears to have resulted in wrong testimony by persons who I have great respect for.
However, misunderstandings and inaccuracies do not constitute deliberately misleading statements. During the investigation
I was very frank with not only Entergy's attorneys but also with those of the AG's. I fully acknowledged where I contributed to this whole issue. As a professional engineer I can do nothing else.
If there was a smoking gun here it was my failure to fully comprehend the questions asked and responded to.

Meredith Angwin said...

Thank you both for your comments. My husband George rarely comments on my blogs, and it is a treat when he does.

About the Hartford police: he is referring to three incidents over the past year and a half.

The latest incident was a few days ago where a man ran his car into a ditch near his home. He got out of the car and walked home and decided to to take care of the car in the morning. (He was probably a bit drunk IMHO). The police found the car. In the middle of the night, the police came to his house. He told them about the car, but he wouldn't let them in to his house without a warrant. They pulled him from his house, put him face-down on his gravel driveway, (his face had several cuts from the gravel) and beat him with a flashlight.

As George said--there ARE things the AG could investigate without going on a fishing expedition!

Nor850, thank you for your comment!

Atomikrabbit said...

Can a VT state AG be impeached for lying to the public? How many signatures does it take to get started? Then with that experience you can get to work on Shumlin.

jimwg said...

God knows I'm no lawyer, but I wonder can a plant be shut down primarily based on speculative fears? That is the core of this issue, isn't it? Fear of what worst you _assume_ will occur with a nuclear reactor rather than the evidence of over sixty years worldwide nuclear power use with incredibly low worker/public casualty tallies -- including the most infamous meltdown failures which on an industrial scorecard would make nuclear energy a no-brainer firesale bargain for power use. Emotional qualms regarded over Historial Record and Proof? Is that legal?

James Greenidge

Meredith Angwin said...

James. It may turn out to NOT be legal.
Thank you for your support.