There are certainly more than enough credibility issues to go around in the latest eruptions of the sordid saga involving Congressman John Tierney's brothers-in-law.
And there is every reason to believe that last Thursday's federal courthouse steps comments by Daniel Eremian alleging that Tierney is "a liar" who long "knew everything that was going on" about the brothers' illegal offshore gaming enterprises and the financial ties to them through Patrice Tierney, the congressman's wife and the Eremian's sister, were motivated — as the congressman suggests — by bitterness and "old family grudges."
But, in trying to refute the charges, Tierney doesn't help his own credibility when he suggests the judge at Patrice's sentencing in 2011 essentially exonerated him from having any knowledge of the case. For that interpretation of the judge's remarks indeed represents a stretch, at best — and at worst, as challenger Richard Tisei's campaign suggested, deliberately distorts the judge's words and intent.
At the core of all this, of course, is what Tierney may have known and when he may have known about his wife's involvement with her brothers' illegal gaming, which at this point, landed her a month in federal detention last year and has now landed Daniel Eremian three years' in prison, while the other brother, Robert Eremian, remains convicted but a federal fugitive.
Tierney has argued that he had no knowledge of his wife's tax evasion and financial gaming dealings, yet Daniel and Robert Eremian — who backed up his brother's comments over the weekend - contend otherwise.
In denying the brothers' allegations, Tierney points to the January 2011 words of Judge William Young as exonerating him from any wrongdoing, when the judge was, in fact, telling prosecutors he didn't buy their plea agreement that would have spared Patrice Tierney any jail time.
What did the judge say? According to the court transcript, here goes:
"Let me say it back to you, because I'm not sure I understand it. You're saying that because she's married to a congressman, who is not implicated in this in any way, shape or form, but simply because of that marriage, not surprisingly this generates some media interest, and because of that you're saying sort of the shame and the general public awareness that this individual has pleaded guilty and owned up to a crime that warrants probation — where someone not in the news at all would get some jail time? That can't be the argument."
The key phrase, of course, is the idea of Tierney not being "implicated." But is the judge taking a stand that Tierney truly had no role or even any knowledge of the case? Or is he, as Tisei campaign manager Paul Moore says, merely framing the idea of letting Patrice Tierney walk, essentially because she is married to a congressman.
"The matter at hand was the sentencing of Patrice Tierney for her illegal conduct, to which she had plead. That was the 'this' to which the judge was clearly referring," Moore claims. "Judge Young was not then examining a matter that might involve John Tierney. It was Patrice's sentencing, it was her name on the docket, and Patrice's illegal conduct for which she had admitted guilt."
That, frankly, has more credence than Tierney's claim of judicial exoneration.
Look, if the Eremians have proof that Tierney has long had knowledge of Patrice's role in their financial schemes, they should share evidence. Daniel Eremian claims Tierney himself has knowingly joined bookies in the boxes of Fenway Park; it that's true, let's see a photo or two. The fact is, a convicted offshore gambling thug and his fugitive brother don't have lot of credibility on which to stand.
But Tierney's stretching of the judge's comments suggest he's exaggerating as well, and perhaps protests too much.
That doesn't exactly inspire confidence.