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Reid knows his guilt, and from the time CL began talking to him more than five months ago, he never attempted to hide it. But the legal maneuvering and his own naivete made his next choice a difficult but obvious one.
One end, one beginning
On Dec. 11, Reid walked into federal court accompanied by his new lawyers, Bernard Taylor and Joe Whitley, and pleaded guilty to one felony count of conspiracy to accept a corrupt payment.
It isn't advisable for Reid to speak with the press but in a last comment for this article, he said about the secret hearing before Judge Richard Story: "I've never felt as bad in my life. It was devastating." On Wednesday, his attorneys issued a statement that explained his contrition.
"I sincerely apologize to the people of Atlanta for my actions," the statement reads. "I know that I have disappointed you. Words cannot express how sorry I am."
Reid feels those sentiments -- for his city and for himself -- and as the pressure mounted to accept a plea, the strain showed. He wouldn't talk on his cell phone or even meet at an out-of-the-way restaurant for fear he was being wire-tapped or followed. Reid has a 28-year-old wife and two young children. She didn't want him to back down and join a prosecution that was more than prepared to go forward with the case against him just two weeks ago.
"She wants me to fight it," Reid said at the time. He didn't have the money or the moral conviction to do it.
Now Reid must fulfill his obligations to the U.S. Attorney's Office and the city of Atlanta. His sentencing will depend on how well he plays that role. He also has written a letter to the Presbyterian Church acknowledging his guilt, admitting his "immoral, illegal and unethical actions." He may be disciplined by the church as well.
Reid is rankled by the perceived hypocrisy of defense attorneys trying to shift the focus away from their clients by calling into questions his truthfulness and loyalty. And he knows his performance in the coming months will determine where the curtain opens on the next scene.
"This is not an act where I'm trying to save my ass," Reid says. "I'm not trying to get anybody. I'm just going to tell the truth, admit my part and take whatever punishment comes my way."
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