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November 15, 1979 - Image 9

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1979-11-15

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

The Michigan Daily-Thursday, Novembe

er 15, l979-Page 9
e5 \ EVERYTHING YOU NEVER EXPECTED FROM AN APPLIANCE STORE.
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T c Diggs
...will appeal again
'D S
conviction
upheld by
2-1 ruling
(Continued from Page 1)
'troubled congressman defrauded the
government of nearly $103,000. He in-
flated the salaries of three staff mem-
b ers so they could kick back part of the
,money, which went to pay his House
expenses and personal bills.
The jury also found that Diggs placed
,.two persons on the government payroll
_who did little or no work for the House
his personal accountant and a
,pookkeeper at his Detroit funeral home.
-HIS LAWYERS had asked the ap-
peals court to overturn the conviction
off grounds it is not specifically illegal
for a congressperson to accept kick-
acks from his or hgr staff.
But the court said, "The defendant's
argument > erroneously equates a
congressman's discretion to define the
duties of an employee with the unfet-
tered power to divert monies intended
for one purpose to another, completely
inauthorized purpose.
' "His conduct amounted to no less
than a scheme to take illicit kickbacks
from his employees in the form of
jayments of his personal or
congressional expenses," said Judge
,Wilkey, writing for the majority.
DIGGS, IN a statement issued by his
office, said, "Because the three-judge
panel of the court of appeals was
divided, we will ask the full U.S. court
of appeals to consider the case and
reverse the conviction.
"In the meantime, I will continue to
serve my constituents. I will pursue all
legal remedies available to me and no
conviction is final until all remedies
have been exhausted.'
In a dissenting opinion, Circuit Judge
1ffarold Leventhal said Diggs should
have been given a new trial, because
the government failed to differentiate
between kickbacks for personal expen-
ies and those for his official House ex-
1enses.
LEVENTIJAL SAID the law was un-
clear on whether "clerk hire" funds
uOed to pay House employee salaries
could be used for office expenses as
well.
"The jury should have been allowed
to separately consider whether or not
Diggs acted with fraudulent intent in
using the clerk hire funds for
congressional expenses," said Leven-
thal.
THE IIOUSE censured Diggs for his
financial misconduct in July, but only
charged him with misuse of funds for
his personal expense.
Diggs was convicted of 11 counts of
mail fraud for mailing out fraudulent
paychecks. The other 18 counts accused
him of making false statements to the
House.
Last August, the Justice Department
filed a civil suit seeking to force Diggs
to pay at least $240,456' in civil penalties
because of his illegal financial
manipulations.

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