7 Politicians Convicted Of Surprising Crimes, From A Laser Gun Scandal To Bathroom Sex
Politicians are expected to live up to the standards of the laws that they help craft. Unsurprisingly, the lure of such power all too often leads to corruption. Some of the most frequent crimes committed by elected officials include bribery, perjury, and — you guessed it — corruption. Occasionally, the crimes committed will be so completely bizarre and random that they not only shock constituents but even the alleged criminals themselves. These 7 politicians convicted of surprising crimes will leave you curious as to what was going through their heads. Crimes ranging from simple theft to stalking and an elaborate ploy to craft a laser gun all grace the list.Frequently, corruption is the crime du jour, however. One of the more notable recent cases that, at the least, includes an honorable mention on this list is that of former Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Mayor Stephen Reed. Earlier this year in July, Reed was charged with 499 counts that run the gamut of corruption, bribery, and deception. Seemingly no Harrisburg department was untouched by Reed's malfeasance, including the school district and parking authority. Both had half a million dollars each hidden from them for Reed's own gain. If there is one clear theme in bizarre crimes committed by politicians, it's that selfishness almost certainly plays a role in the crimes themselves.
Mary Hayashi: Neiman Marcus Shoplifting
Former California Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi was convicted of shoplifting in 2011. Hayashi walked out of a San Francisco Neiman Marcus with nearly $2,500 worth of clothing. She served three years probation after pleading no contest to the charges, which came back to haunt her during a failed Senate campaign three years later.
Wes Cooley: Lied About Army Service
Former Oregon Congressman Wes Cooley became a controversial figure after rapidly ascending to the House of Representatives from State Senate in 1994. Suspicion arose that he had lied about his military service and hadn't actually served with the Army Special Forces in Korea. Cooley maintained his innocence, stating that the proper documents needed to prove his service had been destroyed in a fire. Nonetheless, he accepted a plea deal. Cooley's conviction of lying on official documents wouldn't be his only scandal. The disgraced politician went on to rack up money laundering and false tax information charges.
James R. Lewis: Laser Gun Scandal
Former Wisconsin Rep. James R. Lewis may have the most bizarre perjury conviction out there. Lewis lied to a federal grand jury about his plans to persuade a former NASA scientist to create a blinding laser gun to be sold to a Guatemalan colonel. Profits from the gun would be used for a laetrile (vitamin B17) plant in the South American country, or so Lewis thought. He subsequently lost his seat and was sentenced to six months in prison.
Sol Wachtler: Extortion, Harassment, Threatening To Kidnap A Teenage Girl
Prior to being indicted himself, former New York State Chief Justice Sol Wachtler's claim to fame was a quip about his own power as a judge in that he could "indict a ham sandwich." Wachtler was subsequently convicted of charges entirely unrelated to food, however. Following the dissolution of an affair he'd been having with a political fundraiser, the judge took revenge by not only harassing his former flame but threatening to kidnap her teenage daughter. He pled guilty and was sentenced to 15 months.
Albert “Max” Abramson: Reckless Shooting Of A Firearm
The roommate of former Seabrook, New Hampshire Town constable Albert "Max" Abramson hosted a party in 2010 that somehow escalated into violence. While the details still aren't completely clear, Abramson was charged and convicted of reckless shooting of a firearm. He used the conviction as a political platform, running a failed gubernatorial campaign as an independent to raise awareness of wrongful convictions.
Larry Craig: Disorderly Conduct
Infamous former Senator Larry Craig was charged with disorderly conduct for his alleged attempt to solicit sex in a men's bathroom at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport in Minnesota. The scandal dominated the news cycle in 2007, earning Craig notoriety as much for his crime as for his defense. Though Craig pleaded guilty and ended up paying a meager fine, he asserted his innocence by claiming that it was his wide stance that made it appear as if he had other things in mind on his trip to the bathroom.
Dan White: Manslaughter
One of the more tragic stories of political crime, former San Francisco Supervisor Dan White was convicted of manslaughter for the shooting deaths of fellow Supervisor Harvey Milk and San Francisco Mayor George Moscone. White had initially been charged with murder, which was reduced by reason of alleged insanity. In a taped confession, White had claimed that a diet of unhealthy foods and drinks had contributed to his diminished mental state, his case bringing about the term "Twinkie defense." White served five years in prison.
Images: NY Courts (1)