SALEM — Standing at a podium at the Hawthorne Hotel yesterday, embattled Congressman John Tierney tried to save his political career and convince the public that he knew nothing of his in-laws’ illegal, multimillion-dollar offshore gambling operation.
“Let me be 100 percent clear. As I have said numerous times and consistently from the beginning, including the first day any news broke on this: I believed at that time that my brother-in-law was working in a legitimate, legal online gambling business in Antigua,” Tierney said in an opening statement, before reporters grilled the eight-term Democrat from Salem for nearly an hour.
“I believed this because Robert (Eremian’s) parole officer believed it,” Tierney said. “I believed it because the U.S. attorney believed it. And I believed it because a United States District Court judge believed it.”
Tierney went to great lengths yesterday to distance himself from Daniel and Robert Eremian, his brothers-in-law who were indicted on federal racketeering and illegal gaming charges in 2010.
Appearing more emotional and personal than in previous public interviews about the controversy, Tierney said he has seen the Eremians only a couple of times over 16 years, and the few times he did meet Daniel Eremian, he said, “It did not end well.”
At one point, when a reporter accidently referred to Eremian as Tierney’s “brother,” Tierney quickly interjected, saying, “Don’t ever confuse these people with my brother.” Tierney’s brother, Michael, died in a car crash in 1998. It was one of a few times yesterday that the congressman seemed on the verge of shedding tears.
The other came when he described watching his wife, Patrice, go through the public controversy with her family. Patrice Tierney, the Eremians’ sister, pleaded guilty in 2010 to aiding her brother Robert by filing false tax returns. She was sentenced to 30 days in prison and, in the process, admitted to being “willfully blind” to the actual source of her brother’s millions.