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Wealthy fund manager avoids felony charges after running over cyclist because of… wealth

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A fund manager for Smith Barney is getting off without felony charges after he allegedly ran over a cyclist with his Mercedes and fled the scene in Eagle, Colorado, because, the DA says, felony charges would be bad for the fund manager’s business.

Martin Joel Erzinger will not be charged with a felony because “Felony convictions have some pretty serious job implications for someone in Mr. Erzinger’s profession,” according to District Attorney Mark Hurlbert.

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Erzinger oversees over $1 billion in assets for “ultra high net worth individuals, their families and foundations,” according to Worth.

Erzinger fled the scene July 3 after allegedly striking Dr. Steven Milo with his 2010 Mercedes Benz sedan on Highway 6, according to court documents. Erzinger later called the Mercedes auto assistance service to ask for his vehicle to be towed but did not report the accident to law enforcement. He claims he was unaware the cyclist had been hit.

“Mr. Erzinger struck me, fled and left me for dead on the highway,” Milo wrote in a letter to the District Attorney. “Neither his financial prominence nor my financial situation should be factors in your prosecution of this case.”

“Milo suffered spinal cord injuries, bleeding from his brain and damage to his knee and scapula, according to court documents,” Randy Wyrick for reported Vail Daily. “Over the past six weeks he has suffered ‘disabling’ spinal headaches and faces multiple surgeries for a herniated disc and plastic surgery to fix the scars he suffered in the accident.”

“He will have lifetime pain,” Milo’s lawyer, Harold Haddon, wrote. “His ability to deal with the physical challenges of his profession — liver transplant surgery — has been seriously jeopardized.”

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Hurlbert explained that charging Erzinger with a felony could affect his job and ability to pay restitution. “When you’re talking about restitution, you don’t want to take away his ability to pay,” the DA said.

Richard Masoner of Cyclelicious is hoping cyclists will boycott a race in Vail next August.

“Stage 3 of the 2011 Quizno’s Pro Challenge on August 25 will be a time trial in Vail, Colorado,” Masoner wrote. “I’m making my travel plans for a visit to Colorado next August, and I will absolutely avoid the Vail stage. I encourage you to do the same, and to let the Eagle County Attorney’s office, Vail Valley Tourism and the Vail Chamber of Commerce know why you plan to skip a visit to Vail next August.”

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Change.org has organized a petition titled “Don’t Drop Felony Charges Against Hit-and-Run Wealth Manager.”

The petition reads:

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Traffic laws exist to motivate all drivers to act in a manner that is safe for other users of the road, including pedestrians, cyclists, and other drivers. To those of us who rely on bicycles for transportation and recreation, enforcement of laws that ensure our safety on the road is vital.

The enforcement of traffic laws should not differ depending on a driver’s ability to write a check, but rather on the ability of the law to motivate drivers to drive safely. What Martin Joel Erzinger is accused of doing is clearly criminal, but dropping felony charges will set a message to drivers that the penalties for neglecting the welfare of others on the road, causing life-altering injury, and showing no concern for the victim might not be as serious as the law indicates.

While Martin Joel Erzinger would like to write a few checks and move on with his life, we must ensure that actions such as his are punished to the full extent of the law. Please do not drop felony charges against Martin Joel Erzinger.

But Reuters’ Felix Salmon doubts the petition will have much effect.

“In other words, Erzinger has bought his way out of a felony charge, over the strenuous objections of his victim; it’s very unlikely that online petitions will do any good at this point,” Salmon observed. “Just another thing to add to the list of things that money can buy, I suppose.”

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Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan to give up royal titles — ‘the hardest #Megxit possible’

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Britain's Prince Harry and his wife Meghan will give up their royal titles and public funding as part of a settlement with the Queen to start a new life away from the British monarchy.

The historic announcement from Buckingham Palace on Saturday follows more than a week of intense private talks aimed at managing the fallout of the globetrotting couple's shock resignation from front-line royal duties.

It means Queen Elizabeth II's grandson Harry and his American TV actress wife Meghan will stop using the titles "royal highness" -- the same fate that befell his late mother Princess Diana after her divorce from Prince Charles in 1996.

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GOP senator tells home-state press that impeachment trial must be ‘viewed as fair’: report

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Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) spoke to local reporters on Saturday about her role in the upcoming Donald Trump impeachment trial.

Murkowski explained she would likely vote with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on an initial vote on whether to allow witnesses. However, she left the door open to voting for witnesses after House impeachment managers make their opening case.

"I don't know what more we need until I have been given the base case," she said. "We will have that opportunity to say 'yes' or 'no' ... and if we say 'yes,' the floor is open."

Overall, Murkowski said it was important for the trial to been viewed as fair.

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White House press secretary urged to do her job: ‘We don’t pay you to be a Twitter troll’

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White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham was blasted on Saturday over the confusion resulting from her refusal to hold daily press briefings.

CNN senior media reporter Oliver Darcy was alarmed that Grisham's assistant, Hogan Gidley, was forcing reporters to refer to his remarks as coming from a "sources close to the President's legal team."

Darcy noted that Trump had repeatedly questioned the veracity of unnamed sources, making it problematic for Gidley to demand to be quoted as such.

https://twitter.com/oliverdarcy/status/1218704788432572422

Grisham responded to the criticism and asked Darcy to "stop with the righteous indignation.

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