"You are among friends here," Rick Wagner told his radio guest Scott McInnis Thursday. "No one is going to try to pick at you because I know there is a limited amount you can say about it."
Wagner kept his promise, stroking McInnis for about 15 minutes, even saying that McInnis' plagiarism "was brought up by his primary opponent in the election, which of course was the Denver Post. I believe they were running for governor." (McInnis has also blamed the Post for his downfall.)
Feeling comfy, McInnis told Wagner that last week's regulatory decision not to strip him of his law license was "kind of bittersweet news" but, still, "gave us complete vindication."
"Just a little too late," he said.
Why did McInnis wait until it was too late? Why didn't he release the emails that allegedly instructed Rolly Fischer not to plagiarize? That's the question everyone's been asking, and of course Wagner didn't ask it.
But McInnis seems to think he had provided proof of his innocence all along, but no one listened!
"And at the beginning, we obviously stated exactly what had occurred, and we were vindicated by the Supreme Court that came out with the same kind of findings," McInnis told Wagner, who interviewed McInnis Thursday on KFKA' s Amy Oliver Show (1310 AM in Greeley). Wagner was substituting for Oliver.
Wagner should have pointed out that the report of the state's Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel, whose record has been questioned by Westword, did not exonerate McInnis. It allowed him to practice law, but it didn't clear him of plagiarism or of fraud.
As the Denver Post's Dean Singleton said on KHOW's Caplis and Silverman show last week, McInnis is still a plagiarist, even if the plagiarism was executed by his assistant Rolly Fischer. This conforms with the view of Prof. Bob Steele, a journalism ethics guru, who pointed out last year that even if text is given freely to a writer, word-for-word use of it still constitutes plagiarism. And in McInnis' case, Colorado Supreme Court Justice Gregory Hobbs did not authorize McInnis to use his words.
Neither has McInnis been cleared of misrepresenting his water-musings articles to the Hasan Family Foundation, which he described as "original," leaving him open to charges of fraud. Seeme Hasan acknowledged on KHOW's Caplis and Silverman show that contrary to what the Foundation stated last year, McInnis did inform her, on a fax cover sheet, that he had hired an assistant to work on the water project. But Hasan says the assistant could have been answering the phones, for all she know. She did not know he would be writing the water musings, and she would not have allowed this had she known, she told KHOW.
With these issues unaddressed, it was easy for McInnis to tell Wagner, who's a conservative columnist for the Grand Junction Sentinel, that "Laurie and I are very thrilled" with the attorney-regulation report.
Looking ahead, McInnis told Wagner that he thinks the attacks on him were so successful that they will be replicated.
"Look at the destruction that it did to us," McInnis said. "And I think you're actually going to see this tool utilized even more in the future."
Is McInnis thinking there are more candidates out there who got paid $300,000 for a two-year fellowship, hired a research assistant to do the job, and didn't have the time or inclination to make absolutely sure the final product wasn't copied from a Supreme Court Justice? And then tried to blame everything on his research assistant?
We don't know, because Wagner didn't ask.
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