This, should it occur, would strike me as a form of extortion, a brazen manipulation of the criminal-justice system in order to settle a civil claim by forgoing a criminal charge. This would be the reverse of the Powers Fasteners indictment, which raises the suspicion that the company was indicted in order to strengthen the Commonwealth's position in its civil litigation by deflecting blame from the Highway Department. In either case, one has to approach with healthy skepticism the prosecutors' charging decisions and analyze carefully any ulterior motives.

As the legal scenario unfolds over the coming months and years, appearances may not always reflect realities, and careful students and reporters will have to delve into the real motives of the players, rather than rely on what's said in news releases and at press conferences.

In other words, stay tuned, and don't rush to judgment.

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