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It is hard not to feel sympathy for a seventy-one year old man whose world has come crashing down around him as completely as Jim Black’s. Allies who not long ago defended him at the tops of their voices have abandoned him, the Attorney General is demanding he repay the state $30,000 in legal fees, and the Republicans are out to strip him of his pension.

Here is some unsolicited – and probably unwanted – advice.

First, former Speaker Black may have a brilliant attorney, but his lawyer saying the money he took in bribes ‘meant nothing to Black’ – or that Black needs a vacation in the Bahamas’s – isn’t helpful.

Second, Black made mistakes. He plead guilty to offering Michael Decker a bribe. But he is also one of the victims of the corruption endemic in North Carolina politics. He can’t wipe the slate clean. But by cooperating with prosecutors he can put the memory of taking cash from chiropractors in men’s rooms behind him.

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