Say a little prayer for Pat: In the wake of his indictment on racketeering, extortion, conspiracy and money-laundering charges, Assemblyman Pat Nolan (R-Glendale) said his colleagues and constituents have rallied to his side, with letters of support, unspecified contributions to defray anticipated legal bills and a spiritual appeal.
Indeed, one gesture was reminiscent of a scene described in "The Final Days," when on the eve of his resignation a sobbing Richard Nixon supposedly knelt to pray with Henry Kissinger, his secretary of state.
Likewise, a week before the grand jury action Nolan confided to Sen. Newton Russell (R-Glendale) that he expected to be indicted, and they joined in prayer. "So, we prayed together at that point . . . that the Lord would give him wisdom and strength and sustain him in this struggle," Russell said. Nolan declined to elaborate, saying, "That's personal."
Unlike Nixon, Nolan is apparently not about to resign. He said he is not letting the indictment derail efforts on immigration legislation and conservative causes.
Assemblyman Stan Statham (R-Oak Run) asserted, "Nothing will stop Pat Nolan except the Good Man upstairs, because he is the definition of grit."
It was a view shared by Assemblywoman Paula Boland (R-Granada Hills), who characterized Nolan's attitude in this way: "There's a confidence in the air about Pat."
She suggested that if anything caused Nolan anguish, it was his wife Gail's latest pregnancy. Nolan's indictment was delayed a few days because of complications with their third child. But on Monday in Sacramento, Gail Nolan gave birth to a healthy baby boy, James Patrick, and on Wednesday the beaming lawmaker was handing out bubble-gum cigars at a committee hearing to mark the occasion.
With mother and son doing fine, Nolan, a lawyer, could turn more of his attention to the charges against him. And on Wednesday, the staunch conservative declared his innocence at his arraignment before a federal magistrate.
Nolan is not content simply to rely on divine intervention to win the courtroom fight. He said that even before the indictment, he had scheduled a $200-a-person fund-raising reception for next month at the Castaway restaurant in Burbank. The event will feature Ed Rollins, who ran Ronald Reagan's 1984 reelection campaign and for a period co-managed Ross Perot's presidential bid. Now, Nolan plans to use at least part of the money to mount his legal defense. "There's no doubt I have to spend money," he said.