Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Sentinel finally reports a story

Well it took weeks of pressure from the blogosphere, but it looks like the Knoxville News-Sentinel is finally reporting that the Harbergate scandal is a real news story. Mind you, certain bloggers were already all over this story in the days before the Halls Shopper News even published a word of it. Betty Bean deserves high marks for the courage to stick with this story to the point where it can't be ignored any longer. If this entire affair has shown anything, it has shown the local press if not the world that bloggers and citizen-journalists and editorialists cannot be ignored. We are the people on the ground where the news is happening.

I note that Ragsdale's spokesman told a half-truth in the KNS report:

Van de Vate also noted that the Sheriff's Office has investigated Harber for more than a year and a half, including using computer forensic technicians and "highly ranked staff attorneys." He said the attorney general has reviewed the case at least twice.

"If all of this didn't find a problem, what will a commission investigation accomplish? Who will actually investigate for the commission? Will they take over the computers and the rest of the evidence the sheriff has? Will they re-interview the witnesses? Will they question the detectives assigned to the case?"

First of all, the Sheriff's office has investigated Harber and Adam Groves for some time now, I am not sure that it has been quite a year. What's more, they had plenty of information, enough to nail people to the wall-and it is Randy Nichols who refused to act on the matter. Just because the DA refuses to act does not mean a case doesn't exist. As I pointed out at least once here, Groves is reported to have "sang like a canary."

The Sheriff's office has more than enough information about this affair to make a case out of it. As for the rest of Dwight Van de Vate's question about whether the Commission will ask for the Sheriff's evidence-I am almost certain they will, and I am equally certain that Sheriff Hutchison will happily provide it. I am also quite sure that this may be precisely what certain people in the Knox County Mayor's office are afraid of.


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