Professor Charles Ogletree
Prominent Harvard Professor called sentencing fair and just
As one of his defense attorneys, Professor Charles Ogletree joined a chorus of Karl Rodney’s supporters in praising the Judge’s sentencing.
Throughout Karl Rodney’s trial, there were always supporters, family and friends who showed up at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to lend their moral support in his time of need. But according to one of his attorneys, Harvard Law Professor Charles Ogletree, “Karl Rodney lived a remarkable life that not only demanded probation, but deserved it.” Ogletree not only verbalized it, but he also suggested it to the court in the papers that he filed earlier this month on behalf of his client.
And obviously the court agreed; according to court documents in addition to probation, the Judge ordered Rodney to pay a $2,500 fine and to perform 500 hours of community service. Last Friday July 22, Rodney appeared before U.S. District Court of Judge Emmet Sullivan at a hearing that brought to an end more than three years of investigations and legal proceedings by the U.S. Congress and the U.S. Department of Justice. At a previous hearing at the District Court for the District of Columbia held on April 14, 2011, Mr. Rodney acknowledged before Judge Sullivan that he had improperly completed a form according to newly minted rules governing the participation of Members of the U.S. Congress in privately sponsored events related to the Annual Caribbean Multi-national Business Conference.
But who is Karl Rodney whose presence in U.S. District Court compelled the overwhelming support of so many people who journeyed to Washington from as far away as California, New York and the Caribbean to stand with him? He is a highly respected journalist, publisher of the New York-based, Carib News, international entrepreneur, civil rights leader, philanthropist, husband and father of three. After receiving probation in a plea agreement, Rodney addressed the more than 80 supporters who included a parade of other lawyers, civic and business leaders, political officials and celebrities; many of whom had submitted character letters to the court urging not to punish Rodney with a prison sentence.
They included humanitarian and social activist, Harry Belafonte; former New York Mayor David Dinkins; Susan Taylor, Editor-in-Chief Emeritus, Essence Magazine; Danny J. Bakewell, Sr. Former Chair of NNPA; Ambassador Carl Masters, President Goodworks International; Ambassador Susan Johnson Cook, US Ambassador for International Religious Freedom; Lloyd Williams, President Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce; Ambassador Richard Bernal, former Ambassador Jamaica; Dr. Una Clarke, former NYC Council Member; Dorothy Leavell, former Chair of NNPA Foundation; and Basil A. Paterson, Attorney at Law
The quality of Rodney’s character can be best summed up via his words and those said and written about him on his behalf, by his family friends and supporters. With his family and wife of fifty years at his side, Rodney was visibly moved saying: “We can now put this behind us”. First, I want to thank my beautiful wife Faye, and my children for their love and courage. They never left my side, not even for a single moment. I want to thank our countless numbers of friends and supporters for their prayers and generosity. Thank you for your unyielding faith. Throughout this ordeal, you stood firmly in my corner.” He also added, “Words cannot express my gratitude to my lawyers, Professor Ogletree, Deveraux Cannick. Truly I could not have navigated this storm without them.”
Ogletree said, “The judge saw that he was a man of extraordinary commitment to the community and that influenced his ultimate decision. Karl Rodney received over 200 letters including Mayor David Dinkins, Harry Belafonte, Danny Bakewell, Ambassador Adrian Young and Susan Taylor.” And that said a lot.
Harry Belafonte wrote in part: “”…I have been a long-time friend of Mr. Rodney. I would testify to his character and to the many good deeds he has done personally and for the community.”
Danny J. Bakewell Sr.: “Karl Rodney is a compassionate and sincere man with a warm and giving heart. I will not ask that you take his heart into consideration because I understand that your job is to adhere strictly to the law. However, I would ask that when the time comes for him to receive his sentence that you please take into account the magnificent contributions that Mr. Rodney and his work provide to our society…”
Susan L Taylor: “No words written or spoken can fully express the esteem I have for Karl Rodney. During the 27 years that I served as the chief editor of Essence magazine, I came to know Karl and his family well. I have seen up close his fierce dedication to the African American and African Caribbean communities; how he has tried to bridge them to bring gravely needed business development to communities here and throughout the Caribbean.”
Basil A. Paterson: “Karl Rodney is a very special person…. He and his family have not only published a newspaper with special emphasis for those of Caribbean connection, but he has participated in innumerable civic activities. The breadth of his outreach and the volume of support correspondence is indicative of his commitment to, and involvement in the social, economic, and political progress of our community.”