All News & Blogs
The former Virginia GOP leader had pleaded guilty to eavesdropping on a conference call with members of the Democratic Party.
|Visit the Photo Place|
Date published: 7/9/2003
RICHMOND--The former executive director of the state Republican Party was sentenced yesterday to three years probation, 180 hours of community service and a $5,000 fine for eavesdropping on Democratic conference calls.
Edmund Matricardi III, who pleaded guilty to one federal count of intercepting a wire transmission, apologized to Gov. Mark Warner and the other Democrats who were on the March 2002 conference calls. The Democrats were discussing strategy in their lawsuit against the new legislative districts Republicans drew in 2001.
"I stand here before you a humble man," Matricardi, who lives in Spotsylvania County, told U.S. District Court Judge James R. Spencer. "I never would have imagined that I'd be standing where I am now."
Matricardi said he accepted responsibility for what he did but never would have done it if he thought he was breaking the law.
"I never should have done it, and for that I apologize" to the Democrats, the people of Virginia and his family, Matricardi said. "With today's resolution I can begin the next chapter of my life."
Spencer said he "agonized" over Matricardi's sentence, feeling that giving Matricardi jail time would set an example.
"I think about the young Democrats and young Republicans fermenting on college campuses and getting ready to join the culture wars," Spencer said. "They need to know that the minute they put party above principle they step over the line. They denigrate the system.There is wrong and right and what Mr. Matricardi did was wrong."
In the end, Spencer added, he decided to give Matricardi "the individual treatment he deserves," rather than make an example of him.
Matricardi's attorney, Stephen Benjamin, noted that the court received several letters from people--including some Democrats - attesting to Matricardi's character. Benjamin said Matricardi had been punished enough, in that his political career is over and his law license suspended.
"Because of what he did his career is finished," Benjamin said. "His name has become synonymous with scandalI know that the conviction is punishment enoughis ruinous to this man."
As a result of this felony conviction, Matricardi cannot hold office or vote. A hearing before the Virginia State Bar is pending on whether his law license will be revoked.
Benjamin had begun to rehash his defense that Matricardi had been invited to listen to calls that should have been open to the public.