Tag Archives: court

Cashing In On the Conrad Murray Trial

Now that both the defence and prosecution have rested their cases in the Dr. Conrad Murray manslaughter trial, we are thankfully edging closer to the finish line. Closing arguments are expected to begin today, after which the case will be handed over to the jury for deliberation.

I think the court proceedings have been educating and entertaining so far.  And Judge Michael Pastor has done a great job in maintaining a relaxed, and yet, business-like courtroom.

When this trial commenced a few weeks ago, I was hoping for a pretty griping trial, somewhat similar to the 1995, O.J. Simpson criminal trial. I was also looking forwarding to some brilliant courtroom displays, especially from the defence.  But once the prosecution rested its case and it became clear that the defence case lacked substance, my interest in the trial began to wane.

Let’s face it, Dr. Conrad Murray’s defence team isn’t particularly in the same league as the celebrated defence lawyers who successfully represented O.J. Simpson in his criminal trial 16 years ago (collectively called the “dream team”). Each individual member of the “dream team” was an ace lawyer in his own right. The team included the late great Johnnie Cochran; F Lee Bailey; Robert Shapiro and Alan Dershowitz. But given Dr. Conrad Murray’s widely reported financial health, it is doubtful that he would have been able to afford anything near the astronomical $3-$6m price tag O.J. Simpson’s defence is thought to have cost.

But there’s another dimension to my harking back to the O.J. Simpson trial.   Quite a handful of those involved in that trial went on to profit from their involvement in the case. And this includes court staff, witnesses, jurors, as well as defence and prosecuting lawyers.

Unless there is a future judicial ruling prohibiting jurors, witnesses and lawyers from profiting from the Dr.Conrad Murray trial, it is almost impossible not to expect a similar raft of trial-inspired books from key participants at the end of the trial.  Now, I am not contending that it is right or wrong to profit in this way, but if acquitted of the involuntary manslaughter charge, we can certainly expect Dr. Conrad Murray to give his own account of events in a book. But of course, a book deal would be furthest from Dr. Conrad Murray’s mind while his fate hangs in the balance. In the pursuant of justice, one can only hope that the members of the jury focus, initially, on the job at hand and defer drafting their memoirs until after the end of the trial.

For information, the nine books authored or co-authored by key participants in the O.J. Simpson criminal trial are listed below.

  1. Madam Forman: A Rush to Judgement? –  By Cooley, Amanda; Rubin-Jackson, Marsha; Bess, Carrie; Cravin, Willie; Hampton, Tracy; Harris, Jeanette; Kennedy, Tracy; Knox, Michael; Byrnes, Tom; Walker and Mike Walker.                     (Eight former jurors )
  2. Murder in Brentwood – by  Mark Fuhrman       (Prosecution Witness)
  3. The Private Diary of an O.J. Juror: Behind the scenes of the Trial of the  Century – by Michael Knox (Former juror)
  4. Without a Doubt – by Marcia Clark (Lead Prosecutor)
  5. In Contempt – by Christopher Darden (Co-Prosecutor )
  6. Journey to Justice – by Johnnie Cochrane ( Defence Lawyer)
  7. The Search for Justice: A Defence Attorney’s Belief on the O.J. Simpson Case – by Robert Shapiro ( Defence Lawyer)
  8. Reasonable Doubts: The Criminal Justice System and the O.J. Simpson Case by Alan Dershowitz (Defence Lawyer)
  9. Evidence Dismissed –  by Tom Lange (Prosecution Witness)

Every Dog Will Have Its Day In Court

Seemingly, some of us think that wealthy and powerful men are well-cultured and have better moral values than the rest of the male specie. Those who endorse this line of thinking fail to understand that while a wealthy man may not necessarily be a chicken thief, he may not be a saint either.

In the wake of Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s arrest three weeks ago, for allegedly sexually assaulting a maid in a plush New York hotel, there has been mixed reactions from around the globe on what actually happened. While some have slammed Strauss-Kahn and the prevailing climate in France, alongside other countries, which makes it easy for powerful men to get away with sexual crimes, others have opinioned that the maid  simply cooked up the story for her own ulterior motives.

There are also some French pundits who think the incident was orchestrated to politically damage Strauss-Kahn. Worse yet, are those who suggest that it is okay for powerful men to sexually attack women, as long as they are African women. Whichever way you look at it, there is no denying that the Strauss-Kahn sex sensation has resulted in one mammoth free-for-all.

Strangely enough, approximately two weeks after Strauss-Kahn’s arrest, another well-heeled hotel guest, former bank chairman, Mahmoud Abdel Salam Omar, was arrested in New York for sexually assaulting a maid at the Pierre Hotel.

My aim is not to pass judgement on Strauss-Kahn. Hopefully, the jury will do a good job of that when the trial gets underway. I strongly believe in the rule of law. However, it doesn’t help when consummate politicians like the British  Justice Secretary, Kenneth Clark, make inappropriate remarks about how some incidents of rape are more serious than others. You don’t need to have a PhD in Psychology to know that all sexual assaults are indeed serious and traumatising for victims, some of whom never fully recover from their ordeal.

As they say, there are positives to be taken from every bad situation. And as  someone who is au fait with the hotel industry, these recent, high-profile, alleged sex assaults have highlighted the occupational risks to which female hotel employees are constantly exposed. Every time a female hotel employee goes into a male-occupied guest room, to service it, deliver room service or even collect laundry, there is a possibility that something untoward may happen to her. Hopefully, the publicity surrounding the Strauss-Kahn case will prompt hoteliers to review their current arrangements for mitigating the risk of sex attacks on  female employees in the work environment.

I also hope that justice prevails in this case. If Strauss-Kahn is guilty of the charges filed against him, then it is only right that he pays for his crime. On the other hand, if it transpires that the maid made it all up, then she should face the music for wasting US public funds, police time, and ruining the career and reputation of an innocent albeit wealthy and powerful man.

Earlier this week in a New York court, Strauss-Kahn pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted rape. For some weird reason, I feel that this trial may come to resemble the 1995 O. J. Simpson murder trial. Those who recall that trial will remember how the issue of race, as well as the handling of the investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department, had a significant bearing on the outcome of that case.

For now, one thing I can say with definite conviction is that every dog will surely have its day in court.