Albany bar owner Timothy Rankin has been acquitted of ordering two men to attack the local paper's restaurant critic, Steve Barnes, who'd written some negative things about Rankin's bar. Every single person involved in the attack got off easy.

In 2008, two men ran up on Barnes in a parking lot and beat him up. The attackers' penalty:

Two brothers from Troy, Jason and Gerald Spiegel, a mixed martial arts fighter, admitted assaulting Barnes and [his friend] Carr in the parking lot of Creo Restaurant. Jason Spiegel pleaded guilty to an assault charge and did not serve any jail time. Gerald Spiegel's criminal case was thrown out by a Guilderland town justice for what the judge said were procedural missteps by prosecutors.

Barnes had reported some negative stories about Rankin's bar. One of the attackers said he did it so he could get free drinks at Rankin's bar. Two chefs who worked for Rankin said he'd made threats against Barnes. And one of the attackers called Rankin's cell phone "minutes" after he beat up Barnes. But the evidence was circumstantial. So in the end, nobody got punished much at all.

[Albany Times-Union]