U.S. Attorney’s Harsh Memo Might Spare Arenas From Worse Punishment
Earlier today, the Washington Post is reported that Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh wrote a “scathing” 50-plus-page “Aid of Sentencing” memo, which is usually required in criminal cases … the memo part, not the scathing part … as a recommendation from the prosecution for Gilbert Arenas’ formal sentencing at 9:00 am this Friday. Arenas’ defense team, in turn, released a 200-plus page memo, which includes 32 testimonial letters pleading for sentencing leniency from Judge Robert E. Morin.
As part of Arenas’ plea deal on January 15th, prosecutors agreed to recommend low-end sentencing guidelines, which would include six-months or less in prison. In his memo, Kavanaugh specifically recommends three months in jail, three years probation and 300 hours of community service. Arenas’ defense team requests “a term of probation with a community service component,” but no jail time … obviously. Of course, it’s always been known that Judge Morin could put Arenas in prison for pretty much however long he pleases, but less than the 5-year maximum sentence for a felony gun charge.
But back to this “scathing” part. In the memo Kavanaugh writes, “The defendant’s conduct since the time of the incident establishes that he has shown little genuine remorse for anything other than how this incident may affect his career.”
Uh oh. The fun-loving, “who me?”, revisionist/contradictory history Gilbert Arenas who has continued to rear his ugly head might be coming back to haunt him in the form of increased time behind bars.
Or, might the harsh nature of Kavanaugh’s memo actually help Arenas receive less time in jail than he would have?
First, Arenas’ actions, including a seemingly minor shrug of the shoulders at his impending sentencing earlier this month, have likely not gone unnoticed by the prosecution and the judge. Unlike the team that signed him to a $111 million contract and was forced to put up with him in exchange for his basketball ability, those with Arenas’ legal fate in their hands don’t have to put up with his antics … especially the ones where Arenas thinks he can turn what is serious to others into an innocent, childish joke, or a text message cover-up.
Personally, I can’t tell if Arenas has showed genuine remorse or not. With him, who knows what’s genuine anyway? We know he can “genuinely” be himself, the candid character. But how do we know when he genuinely takes a situation serious or not? Much of what has come from Arenas’ “camp” (mostly his op-ed in the Post), has seemed rather contrived, if not vastly different from Arenas’ personality.
I’ve maintained that true remorse, a real apology to the remaining Wizards fans, and to the fans of Arenas who just happen to like the team he is on, should come in the form of a live, non-scripted public appearance. Otherwise, Arenas’ show of remorse has fallen way below satisfactory, especially because of the manner in which he made light of the situation after the fact. And no amount of after the fact testimonial letters can really change that.
Still, the U.S. Attorney’s office might have done Mr. Arenas a favor in offering a harsh criticism of his remorse, or lack thereof, but then only recommending three months of jail time, half the maximum agreed upon in Arenas’ plea deal with prosecutors.
Early speculation indicated that Arenas might ultimately receive a month of jail time … however plausible that was. Either way, the likelihood of him receiving some jail time has been and continues to be very high. No District of Columbia judge, in good faith, can excuse the fact of a felony gun possession with a slap on the wrist of community service and probation.
So in a sense, Kavenaugh’s memo, and the strong opinion behind it hedges a bet for Arenas against a potentially longer sentence. It makes sense that Judge Morin is more likely to adhere to a prosecutor’s recommendation that is so strongly worded and less likely to make a further example out of Arenas by sentencing him to jail for a longer period of time. But just like anyone else not named Robert Morin, my opinion is purely speculation.
In any case, the bar has been set at 90 days. And that only brings more questions. Does such a sentence make it more likely that the Wizards will attempt to void Arenas contract? Or, where will Arenas be sentenced? And will he be apart of a general population or in some sort of protected custody? Even after Friday, this thing is far from over folks.
In his letter to Judge Morin, Arenas’ father, Gilbert Senior, writes, “I think locking him up for any amount of time would destroy him.” But perhaps being going to jail is something Gilbert should have already considered, maybe before his initial path of joking destruction, but especially in his irresponsible aftermath.