People & Places

Staff Pick

Best Lawyer 

Hal Goldsmith

In the end, Steve Stenger and his corrupt circle of enablers have only themselves to blame for their delicious transformation from swaggering assholes to contrite schoolchildren called in front of the principal. But something tells us that as they're sitting in federal prison in South Dakota or popping in to see parole officers in St. Louis, they will think a little about Hal Goldsmith. The assistant United States attorney returned from a brief stint in private practice with white-shoe law firm Bryan Cave to prosecute the ex-county executive in a staggering case that is already a classic of political corruption. So thoroughly was Stenger nailed that he did not even put on the pretense of going to trial. He was indicted and resigned as county executive in the same day. He pleaded guilty to three federal felonies within the week. Why? Because Goldsmith was standing there with piles of transcripts, financial records and campaign documents — and because Goldsmith definitely knows how to use them. The crazy part is that we've only seen what the longtime prosecutor has dribbled out in the charging documents and sentencing memos filed in federal court. Glorious as those bits of recorded conversations were, Stenger knew Goldsmith had so much more and is not prone to bluffing. The now-ex-county executive made the right call.

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