Rule #1: Everyone is expendable.
A Hughes County grand jury met in Pierre Tuesday to hear evidence on fake U.S. Senate candidate Annette Bosworth's fraudulent petition circulation oaths. The testimony presented convinced the grand jury to affirm the charges on which Bosworth was arrested June 4 with a formal indictment.
Bosworth's husband Chad Haber has temporarily abandoned his wife, leaving her to fight this indictment alone while he is on what Bosworth spokesman Lee Stranahan calls a "planned vacation" to Alaska. Haber will have to phone in his advice to Bosworth as she heads to court alone on June 23.
Bosworth currently lacks professional legal help for her court case. She has apparently jettisoned her lawyer and friend Joel Arends. At a press conference yesterday (because when you're facing felony indictments, any good lawyer will tell you the best defense if lots of press conferences #sarcasm), Bosworth and Stranahan blamed Arends for advising her to falsify her circulator's oath. This accusation is a retraction of a retraction Bosworth issued in April, pre-indictment, pre-arrest, and pre-primary, when she backed away from her first inartful attempt to throw Arends under the bus.
Joel Arends has not responded to the wheel tracks on his back. A source tells me Arends appeared at the Hughes County courthouse Tuesday and was perhaps the only witness summoned who brought an attorney with him. As a lawyer with a lawyer, Arends probably double-knows that he should not and need not wage war with Bosworth on her terms in the media spotlight.
But Arends has friends who will pick him—and simple truth—over Bosworth any day. Bosworth's longest-lasting campaign consultant, Patrick Davis, has taken to the blogosphere and the press to refute Bosworth's predictable and absurd allegations. Bosworth and Stranahan are suggesting that Arends's connection to the Rushmore PAC, which supports Attorney General Marty Jackley and Bosworth's successful primary opponent Mike Rounds, demonstrate that he was serving those other parties' interests by somehow sabotaging her campaign. Bosworth also claims she didn't know about Arends's Rushmore PAC connection until fellow GOP candidate Rep. Stace Nelson told her about it.
"Because of Joel Arends' advice, Dr. Bosworth was indicted," said Lee Stranahan, Bosworth's current spokesman.
Arends did not immediately return a call seeking comment. But Patrick Davis, Bosworth's former campaign manager, said she was wrong about Arends' role.
"Anybody who knows Dr. Bosworth for even five minutes would know she takes advice from no one," said Davis. "She did not get advice from anyone about signing those petitions."
...At the very first meeting of the campaign, Davis said, Arends disclosed to him and Bosworth his connection to the Rushmore PAC.
"He said, 'Because of that, I can't be involved in a day to day basis with the campaign,'" Davis said. "She knew, before day one of the campaign, that he was involved" [David Montgomery, "Bosworth Blames Attorney Arends for Illegal Signatures," Political Smokeout, 2014.06.18].
Bosworth staged a little emotional drama at yesterday's press conference, saying the whole thing is "painful" and walking out. But it's not painful, not after years of practice. As her former Democratic consultant Steve Hildebrand notes, turning on friend and attorney Joel Arends is standard procedure for Bosworth and Haber. Bosworth and Haber use people. They exploit talent, vulnerability, and loyalty. They break their promises, don't write paychecks, and when it's useful to them, they accuse and malign those who trusted them.
In his Monday podcast, Stranahan ignores Bosworth and Haber's sociopathic exploitation and declares Annette and Chad to be his brother and sister in Christ, "real thinking Christians... really interesting, good people." Either Stranahan has been completely hoodwinked, or he is a hoodwinker on a par with Bosworth and Haber. Stranahan says in the Monday podcast that before his foray into South Dakota politics, his family was broke and three months behind on rent. He says his work for Bosworth (paid $5,000 in May) and Jason Ravnsborg ($4,000 paid late April and early May) has almost restored his family's finances. Stoking the Bosworth story further seems quite profitable, because Lee, like Annette, knows his audience. Why not stick around in South Dakota and angle for a few thousand more from a woman who has so exploited and alienated those closest to her that she has almost no one left to turn to in her hour of direst need?
But remember, Lee: in the family you've entered, everyone is expendable. Get your money up front, and hit Eject before Chad and Annette do. Because no matter how nicely you play with them, no matter how loyally you work for them, when the heat is high enough, when a prosecutor and a judge finally look Annette and Chad in the eye and say, "No, really, we're talking fines and jail time," they will throw you out, just like they are doing to Joel Arends.