EXCERPT – Chapter 2
“Line four, sir.”
I picked up.
“Hello. This is Congressman Tucker.”
“Hi, Andy Pazstor with The Wall Street Journal.”
“How can I help you?”
“Congressman, thanks for taking my call.”
The voice seemed eager and cunning, but somehow, credible.
“I’ve been informed by a reliable source that pursuant to a three-year investigation by the FBI the Justice Department will be filing extortion and tax evasion charges against you tomorrow. Do you have any comment?”
This is a bad joke on a busy day.
“Who are you?”
“My name is Andy Pazstor, P-A-Z-S-T-O-R, a reporter with The Wall Street Journal.”
“Look, I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
Gotta be an old college buddy playing a sick prank. Or a friend of my father’s, trying to see what kind of stuff I’m made of. Maybe?
“The charges apparently relate back to the time when you were mayor of Compton, California in 1991. Can you think of any reason the Justice Department would want to indict you?” the reporter asked.
I let out a breath and spoke carefully. “Well, it’s an election year, and I can think of a lot of people who have political agendas.”
“So are you denying any wrongdoing?”
“Absolutely!” I felt defensive and agitated.
The whole thing was very mysterious, and yet something seemed real. Being an attorney, I knew that whatever evil was lurking out there would require an attorney.
“But, Congressman, you did serve as mayor of Compton, California in 1991, didn’t you?”
“Where’s all this coming from?”
“All I can tell you is what I know, not who I know it from.”
“Surely you can tell me who in the Justice Department is making the allegations?”
“You might want to talk with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in L.A. Other than that, I can’t help you, Congressman. I’m sorry.”
Abruptly, I hung up and stared blankly at the photos of those powerful leaders on my wall. Suddenly their internal voices rang through my twirling mind: “Don’t fret, Walter. All great men suffer trials.”
I yanked my tie loose, perspiring. I pulled a number out of my Rolodex. “Johnnie!”
There were not many defense attorneys, white or black, whose first name brought instant recognition. Attorney Johnnie Cochran, Jr. was one of them. My fingers hurriedly dialed the phone number to his L.A. office. As Johnnie’s number rang, I stared at Andy Pazstor’s name and kept thinking…three years ago…when I was Mayor. What in the world is this all about?
Title: From Compton to Congress: His Grace for my Race
Author: Walter Tucker III
Genre: Nonfiction Memoir
From Compton to Congress reveals shocking criminal charges, based on an FBI Sting, that send Congressman Walter R. Tucker III reeling, and changes his life forever. Against the great odds of overcoming the tough streets of Compton, young Tucker fulfills his goals of becoming valedictorian of Compton High School, graduate of USC with honors, graduate of Georgetown Law School, passing the California State Bar, and filling his father’s vacant seat as Mayor of Compton—all by age 33. During his meteoric rise in the political arena, at age 35 he becomes the youngest African-American from California to be elected to a U.S. congressional seat. However, the U.S. Attorney’s federal indictment against him shocks the nation. Tucker’s choice to fight the charges against him thrusts him into a criminal trial that tests the condition of his human spirit and provokes us to reflect on every man’s plight versus every man’s fight.
Walter R. Tucker, III is a native of Compton, California. He graduated Valedictorian of Compton High School in 1974. After graduating from high school, Walter studied Politics at Princeton University for two years. After receiving his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from U.S.C. in 1978, and his Juris Doctor from Georgetown Law School in 1981, Walter worked as a Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney, established his own law firm, served as Mayor of Compton, and was elected to the U.S. Congress in 1993 – all by age 35. Walter R. Tucker, III is still the youngest African American to ever to be elected to the U.S. Congress from the State of California. In 2003, Walter became a pastor of a church in Chicago. In 2012, Walter and his wife, Robin Tucker, returned to Los Angeles and founded Truth and Love Christian Church, located in Carson, California. The church currently has over 300 members and 40 ministries in operation. Walter and Robin have been happily married for 30 years. They are the proud parents of Walter, IV, and Autumn and have one son-in-law, Spencer Rodney Sr., and one wonderful grandchild, Spencer Rodney, Jr. Walter enjoys morning walks on the beach and candlelight dinners with Robin.