So says convicted KC businessman Craig Glazer of Stanford & Sons fame.
“I think what the public doesn’t understand is how incredibly unfair the criminal justice system is,” Glazer says. “It should not be punishment to take your case to trial, but it is, because they say, ‘Take these five years or we’re going to hammer you.’ ”
Speaking of which, Anderson reportedly turned down a pair of 5-year plea deals before dumping a fortune in legal bills and zeroing in on a 15 year sentence.
“Nothing against Rod, but from the evidence, it looks like he’s guilty,” Glazer says. “In my case I was innocent, but my lawyer warned me that I was risking my life – did I want to risk 10 years in Leavenworth even though I was innocent. You know, a lot of innocent people get convicted. He also warned me that my legal fees, if it went to trial, would be about $250,000.”
And that’s where Anderson’s lawyers failed him, Glazer says.
“Rod’s lawyer should have looked him in the eye and told him, juries tend to convict in Federal Court. Their conviction rate is over 90 percent. So Rod’s lawyer blew it by not talking Rod into taking a plea. There was no way out for Rod, he didn’t stand a chance.”
Now at age 60 Anderson faces a sentence triple what he could have gotten .
“Because they punish you for going to trial,” Glazer says. “Now instead of five years, he’s going to do 15. And he won’t get out soon, he’ll do at least 85 percent of the time and because he’s 60, he’ll be in prison until he’s in his 70s at the very least. So his lawyer did a terrible job not convincing him to take the plea.”
Based on Glazer’s coke bust 10 years back – a legal bullet he was able to dodge – Glazer says he has a pretty good idea of what five years of legal advice and a trial may have cost Anderson.
“His retainer was minimum 50 grand,” Glazer says. “Then there were jury experts, sentencing guidelines experts, arson experts and the depositions and interrogatories for all of the witnesses. I’d say Anderson spent a minimum of $300,000 to $400,000 and probably another $50,000 to $100,000 on the appeal. Those lawyers don’t work for free. And I know that law firm, so even if (Anderson) didn’t have the cash, they would have made him put his home up or whatever.”
“I’m guessing he probably borrowed money from whoever he could – maybe his family, maybe he mortgaged his house,” Glazer says. “But he’d have been better off with a public defender because it would have been free and he could have plead.”
As for the possibility of Anderson appealing his conviction, “Federal appeals are extremely rare in a jury trial,” Glazer says. “Barring a miracle, I don’t think his appeal has a chance. And the appeal process is going to cost between $50,000 and $100,000, because it’s not just a motion. They have to submit like a 200 page document in writing and that paperwork is like a book. You have to talk about the trial and the trial’s errors. And then you have a hearing with the appellate judges, your attorneys, and you’re not there. And the odds of winning that are like one in 100 or less, it’s bad. Then if he gets a new trial, he’s got to pay for that.”
Glazer agrees with Anderson’s lawyer, who during the sentencing noted Anderson would not be going to any s0-called “country clubs.”
“First of all, there is no country club,” Glazer says. “I was at the biggest country club you could go to in Boron, California. They had a pool and they had tennis courts, but it wasn’t any country club. The pool was a piece of crap and you could only get in it on Saturdays and Sundays and nobody used it anyway, because who wants to sit around with a bunch of guys? It was really small, there’s no girls, just 30 guys sitting and looking at each other. And the tennis courts were all busted up – I mean, you could still play tennis but…
“Let’s put it this way, you do want to be in a camp because it’s less violent and they have some other guys in there like Rod Anderson. Because face it, Rod doesn’t want to be in there next to somebody who was selling crack. He’ll probably start out in a medium security prison – that’s a level 2 – and they’re not very violent. They have fights but rarely is there a homicide.
“The worst persons are in what they call super max level 6 with no movement, and level one is a camp. When you go to prison you start at a higher level and work your way down to a camp.”
“Probably,” Glazer says. “But defense lawyers love a Rod Anderson case. I mean, most of the guys they generally deal with don’t have any money. The bottom line is Rod may get to a camp pretty soon – maybe right away – but my gut level is they’re going to punish him because he went to trial, he didn’t accept responsibility and it was a violent act. And for those three negatives, he’s going to go to a level 2 or 3.”
His attorney had asked the court to put him somewhere nearby for his family’s sake.
“I don’t think he wants to go to Leavenworth prison,” Glazer says. “It may be close, but it’s a tough prison, it’s a level 5 where people get stabbed to death. It’s a high security prison, so whether his wife and kids get to visit him is a non issue. He needs to go where it’s safe.
“And everybody when they go in at first, that’s the worst. Because you don’t know the system, you don’t know what to expect and you’re hoping you’re going to get out. But that hope will go away, especially when he loses the appeal. There is Rule 35 though and that’s when the sentencing judge after one year, reviews your case and can reduce the sentence. That’s what Rod should be shooting for. It’s pretty rare, but in Rod’s case I could see him getting five to eight years taken off.”
What about Anderson’s lawyer’s press release after the sentencing that they will continue to investigate the fire, as if to say so they can fire the real culprits? Kinda like O.J. Simpson telling the world he would be looking for his wife’s “real killer.”
“I mean, I like Rod and I wish it was true, but it’s obvious that he apparently did it,” Glazer says. “And so if his attorneys have a plan, it could be to continue to raise money for his defense, but I mean, this happened five years ago. What more investigation do they need? It’s like a cold case now, what’s left to investigate? I mean, the investigator would have to be Rod and he’s in jail. His defense was horrible – there wasn’t one – I mean, but it is a conviction based on circumstantial evidence.”
Having broken a number of laws and done hard time himself, can Glazer relate to the temptation to burn one’s building for the insurance? Might he have done the same?
“Absolutely not,” Glazer says. “My business in Westport failed and I had insurance and I didn’t even think about burning it down. We took bankruptcy. Plus I have a fear of the government – you don’t mess with them – ask Syria. We even had a legitimate fire in the 1990s at Stanford’s and we were open two days later.”
Then there’s the possibility that charming though he was, Anderson was maybe not the Boy Scout we thought him to be.
“I don’t know, I think he’s still a pretty decent guy, but not a good guy maybe” Glazer says. “I mean, anything is possible, maybe he’s innocent. But if you put a gun to my head, I think he’s guilty.”
Which says what then about Rod?
“He made a horrible, horrible, horrible, desperate decision,” Glazer says. “And for one, it was done so very poorly. It wasn’t well thought out. Maybe Rod was off his rocker.
“He had three choices basically; he could run, turn his back on his family and just walk away and leave town and get a new wife somewhere. That was one choice and maybe the better choice. The second choice was to take his life and the third choice was to do something outrageous to try and get a bunch of money overnight like rob a bank or get some people to commit arson to get the insurance money. And those are all desperate acts.
“You want to know what I really think? I think he was worse off than anybody knows – he was totally broke and thinking probably of committing suicide and then he thought, ‘I’m going to take this one shot.’ ”
Anderson’s long term future?
“I think he’ll maybe go into the kitchen in prison and maybe eventually run it,” Glazer says. “And that will become his new life, kind of like in ‘Orange is the New Black.’ That’s what happens. So he’ll continue to run a kitchen, just not his own.
“Let’s put it this way; do I think he’ll ever be the Rod Anderson he was five years ago? No way. But that doesn’t mean he’s just going to fall into the gutter when he finally gets out. And he’ll meet some people in prison who can help him – I did – I mean, he’ll be talking about business deals for the next 10 years.”