After Joe Waldholtz pleaded not guilty to 27 counts of bank fraud Friday, he only had one thing to say: "Happy Mother's Day" to his estranged wife, Rep. Enid Greene, R-Utah.
"To my wife, I'd like to say, Happy Mother's Day. It's not exactly how I would expect her first Mother's Day to be. But I hope she can at least have a wonderful day," Waldholtz told reporters after his arraignment."Hopefully, next time I'm in Washington, she will allow me the same luxury she has, that is the opportunity to spend time with our daughter, Elizabeth," Waldholtz said.
Enid's attorney - Charles Roistacher - stood in the crowd shaking his head in disbelief. It was reminiscent of the first time Waldholtz appeared outside court after an arrest in November - when he wished Enid and Elizabeth a happy Thanksgiving.
But other statements by Waldholtz and prosecutors on Friday suggest he may be trying to cut a deal to testify against his wife - which isn't exactly the nicest of allMother's Day presents.
While Waldholtz said his attorneys instructed him not to say anything about his case, he did say - before his holiday greetings - "I will continue to cooperate with federal authorities."
When federal prosecutor Craig Iscoe was asked about that comment, he said, "In many cases, as you know, once a defendant is arrested and charged with a crime, we then consider whether in return for his cooperation we will . . . help reduce his sentence in some way."
Iscoe added, "That is something we obviously will explore, but we haven't made any determination on that."
He added, "What we're seeking is to find out the truth about what happened regarding all of the allegations. If his cooperation can help us to determine the truth, then we will seek his cooperation . . .. Discussions have been ongoing off and on for a period of time."
Greene, of course, has repeatedly said she is not guilty of any crime and blames all wrongdoing on Joe. Iscoe said the investigation into their finances and possible campaign violations is continuing and may yield more charges later.
Waldholtz was indicted last week on 27 counts of bank fraud and an additional forfeiture count - even though press releases from the U.S. Attorney's Office incorrectly said then that 29 counts of bank fraud had been handed up by a grand jury.
During a 25-minute arraignment Friday before Judge Norma Hol-lo-way Johnson, Waldholtz's attorney, Pamela Bethel, entered not guilty pleas for him on all of counts.
Johnson did not require Wald-holtz to post bail for release because prosecutors said he has been willing to appear in court when ordered. But she still ordered Waldholtz to be formally booked at the District of Columbia central cell block by the FBI after his court appearance, then immediately released.
Waldholtz agreed to release conditions including that he may travel only between Washington and Pittsburgh (where he is living with his father); that he check in with the FBI daily and with District of Columbia Pre-Trial Services once a week; and that he surrender a lost passport if he ever finds it.
Before Waldholtz raised his right hand to swear he will abide by those rules, Johnson told him, "I'm taking your word. That's all I have" - but warned if he ever misses a court date, "I will never accept your word again on any matter" and will have him arrested.
Johnson also scheduled a May 30 status hearing, when she said she will likely set a trial date.