Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Pity the Cool Guy on the Hot Seat

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Pity the Cool Guy on the Hot Seat

Article excerpt

STRANGELY ENOUGH, I found myself rooting for Amiel Cueto as he faced off against Assistant U.S. Attorney Miriam Miquelon in the federal courthouse in East St. Louis Tuesday morning.

It was an involuntary reaction on my part. I don't like Cueto. In this very space, I have called him a bully. I have used the words "sleazy" and "arrogant" to describe him.

But as Miquelon gathered her papers and notes on the podium and prepared to begin her cross-examination, I glanced at Cueto and in my mind's eye, he seemed transformed. Suddenly, he seemed almost heroic. Slouched in his chair, he was cloaked in the same sort of nobility that comes naturally to a treed animal. How can you root against such a creature as it stares down impassively at the hounds baying beneath it? The nobility of the almost-doomed. "Good morning, Mr. Cueto. My name is Miriam Miquelon," the prosecutor said. As if he doesn't know, I thought. For almost four years, these two have gone after each other. Miquelon was the lead prosecutor in the case against Thomas Venezia, Cueto's one-time client and business associate. She was vilified and lampooned in Cueto's East Side Review. He allegedly used his considerable political muscle to obstruct the investigation against his client. Those alleged efforts, of course, are what this trial is largely about. Despite Cueto's prominence in St. Clair County politics, we have, sadly enough, learned little inside information on that particular topic. It is said that St. Clair County has its own rules, and it is impossible for an outsider to understand them. If this trial has shed any light on those rules, I have missed it. Instead, I keep thinking of high school. In a manner of speaking, I went to high school with both Cueto and Mique lon. We all did. In the high school that is St. Clair County, Cueto runs with the cool kids. He's in the in-crowd. But in every in-crowd, there is one kid who is a mystery. He is neither good-looking nor a member of the football team. Yet, there he is, universally accepted as cool. That's Cueto. Not only is he in the in-crowd, he is best friends with King Kool. In St. Clair County High, that's Congressman Jerry Costello. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.