Gov. Marvin Mandel, whose two landslide victories marked him as the most popular governor in Maryland history, was jeered and taunted by members of a crowd that surrounded him outside the U.S. courthouse today shortly after he had been found guilty of political corruption.
"Bye-bye, Marvin," called several men as Mandel, surrounded by federal marshals and Maryland State Police bodyguards, shuffled silently through the crowd of 500 and into a waiting limousine.
While the mood of some of those in the crowd was plainly hostile to Mandel, elsewhere in the state there were many who felt sympathy for the governor, who some thought had been one of the best in the state's history.
In Annapolis, seat of the state government where Mandel served as governor and a state legislator for years, many expressed sadness for Mandel or unhappiness about the verdict.
Even some of the jurors who heard the case and deliberated for 13 days before reaching their verdict today told reporters they had found Mandel guilty only with the greatest reluctance.
"I can't say that I like the outcome," said juror Steven E. Campbell, 23, "I feel very bad about having to pass the verdict that we passed. But it was the only one we could pass. Everybody was wondering before the trial, 'Are they really going to do anything to this man?'"
If Mandel himself felt strong emotion, as surely he did, he did not show it. Throughout the tortuous reading of the verdict in the courtroom - guilty, guilty, guilty, read clerk Earl Graham 18 times to charges against Mandel - Mandel sat motionless.
Twenty feet behind him, out of view of spectators who had crammed the courtroom, his wife Jeanne was equally stoic. When she first heard the word guilty resound through the hushed courtroom, Mrs. Mandel bowed her head, bit her lip and squeezed the hand of her husband's son, Gray.
As the seemingly endless recitation of "guilty" continued, Mrs. Mandel folded her hands on her tailored skirt and clutched a handkerchief. She barely blinked. At one point, she spotted a reporter observing her and forced a smile.
When the tense drama ended, she walked briskly to the governor, and in a rare genuine public show of emotion, they gripped hands and then threw an arm around each other before heading for the privacy of an anteroom.
Inside that room, the six defendants, among whom are included some of the most powerful men in Maryland politics, and their families braced themselves for the crowd they knew awaited them outside. There were few tears, according to one person who was in there.
"We all stood tall," said defendant W. Dale Hess.
Even in the privacy of the small place, surrounded by his closest friends, the private Mandel was as enigmatic as the public Mandel, observed Hess, whose friendship dates back to their days in the legislature in the 1950s.
"I never heard Marvin say, 'Thank you.'" said Hess, recalling all his years as a friend and public supporter. "He's just not that kind of guy."
Nor was anyone to hear Marvin Mandel say he was sorry today. At a press conference later in the day, the governor expressed his public thanks, as politicians do, but he repeatedly denied that he had done anything wrong. He also did not resign, something Hess said Mandel had told him as recently as last night that he would do immediately upon being found guilty.
"I am not in any position to answer any questions about the future," Mandel said at the start of the brief appearance before the press.
"There hasn't been time to really sit down and consider it all. I can just assure you I'm going to cooperate in every way possible with the officials of the state, including the lieutenant governor - acting governor - on any transition that has to occur.
He then thanked people who had attempted to call him since the verdict was returned and said:
"I want to say to the public of this state that I have never during the tenure of my office ever defrauded the people or the public of the state of Maryland of anything."
A short time later, back at the courthouse, chief prosecutor Barnet D. Skolnik paced the eighth floor conference room of the United States attorney's office and praised the five investigators who worked on the Mandel case.
"You may think that I am being modest, but it is true that without them there just would not have been a case," Skolnik said.
"Justice was done," said assistant U.S. Attorney Ronald M. Leibman in a remark that came closest to a victory statement from the team of three subdued prosecutors.
Skolnik was the ferocious courtroom figure whose zeal in pursuing the case had been denounced by the governor and his wife. Both had called him a liar and said he was "praying" for a conviction, but today he was impassive.
Had the trial been a personal battle between the prosecutor and the governor? Skolnik was asked.
"It was never that," Skolnik said.
"It was the United States of America against six defendants," said Leibman. "Nothing more, nothing less."
"It is unfortunate that all public officials are tarred with the brush of a few that end up in the headlines," Skolnik said.
How did he react when he first heard the clerk say the work "guilty" after Mandel's name. Skolnik was asked, "I put an 'X' on the sheet and waited for count two," he said.
U.S. District Court Judge Robert L. Taylor, who hopes to return to his home in Knoxville on Thursday for the first time since May 31, said his "first intimation" that there was going to be a verdict today came about 9:15 a.m. when a U.S. marshal handed him a note from jury foreman Howard O. Davis.
Taylor acknowledged that he smiled when he opened it and saw that it said "something like 'the jury says it's agreed on a verdict.'"
In the bar at the Baltimore Hilton Hotel an hour after the verdict had been returned. Dale Hess sat with his son Buzzy ( Dale Jr.), 24, his wife Marie, and his lawyer, William G. Hundley.
"He may throw the book at me, but I got a fair trial from the judge," said Hess, as he discussed preparations that need to be made if he goes to prison, as he expects. He faces a maximum sentence and fine of 125 years and $67.000.
"He (Mandel) was found guilty - he is guilty - but there's no question that Marvin Mandel is one of the most progressive and great governors this state will ever have," Hess said.
As he sipped on his second glass of white wime. Hess reminisced about his modest beginning as a Hartford County farm boy. "My mother told me there was no shame in going to school with a hole in your pants. Just don't go dirty," said the man who parlayed political insight and political influence into businesses worth several million dollars.
Dale and Marie, sweethearts at Bel Air High School, borrowed $1,000 from his parents to buy furniture, and two years after their marriage. Hess cut down trees from the family farm and trucked them to a local sawmill where they were cut into lumber for their house. The Hess' still live in that house, although it has had several additions over the years, plus a swimming pool and tennis courts.
"Two people are going to have to go to work" said Hess, glancing at his son and his wife. "I'm not sure I remember how," said Mrs. Hess, noting that she worked five years as a secretary for the Baltimore Gas & Electric Company before their first child was born.
Hess said he and codefendant William A. Rodgers heard about the possibility of a verdict today when they called Rodgers' attorney, Michael E. Marr. from an office in Towson where they were meeting with a customer of their Tidewater Insurance Agency.
While others can operate the insurance agency, controlled by fellow defendants Hess and Rodgers and his brother, Harry W. Rodgers, Hess also has several business ventures on his own, including a motel and restaurant near his home in Fallston.
As Hess talked to his wife about taking over the family business, he managed a joke: "Tell Alice not to back-date anything," he said, a reference to evidence in the trial that Hess' former secretary, Alice H. Riley, backdated a letter five years in an attempt to show that Hess owed legal fees to the governor.
Hearing that, Mrs. Hess, who was sipping a soft drink, abruptly changed the subject with a grin: "I'll take a Chivas (scotch) and water."
The first defendant to leave the courthouse today was Ernest M. Cory whose wife, Ann, heared the verdict alone. Mrs. Cory had been the most faithful in attendance of any of the spouses throughout the two separate trials. When a clerk read out the string of "guilties" after announcing her husband's name today, Ann Cory was sitting all alone. She finally was comforted by Harry Rodges' wife, Bobbi, who whispered to her and patted her gently on the back.
"Ernie's astounded, We all are. He's pretty shook. He's 63 and he's got problems. We gave him a tranquilizer after we got home. We've got to protect him," Mrs. Cory said last night from their estate on Corn Island.
"It's not the first time an innocent man has been convicted," she went on."Ernie's a good boy, a fine boy, everybody who knows him knows he's innocent," she said. "We'll face it (prison) when we have to."
Kovens, the governor's oldest friend, emerged from the courtroom and offered a paraphrase of an Adlai Stephenson: "I guess I'm too unhappy to laugh and too old to cry," Kovens said.
Kovens spent last night having a quiet dinner with his family in the fashionable northwest Baltimore apartment building where another tenants is Mandel's first wife, Barbara, who remains a good friend of the Kovens family.