Sunday, July 03, 2005

The Story Behind the Facts ...

Adam Nossiter seems to be the AP writer in charge of corruption stories in these parts. He found enough time to do a story behind the facts piece entitled "New Orleans corruption: narrative versus facts,” and showed some serious wordsmanship:

"Three associates of ex-New Orleans mayor Marc Morial, fine suits amidst the shackles of Orleans Parish prisoners, had just pleaded not guilty to a kickback-and-skimming scheme: restaurateur Stan "Pampy" Barré, businessman Reginald Walker, and Morial's city property manager, Kerry De Cay."

He had this to say of defense lawyer Buddy Lemann:

“Lemann, perhaps the most unbridled member of the New Orleans criminal defense bar, put the government on notice: its 37-page indictment, with its careful listing of 125 separate transactions, was now up against a force possibly more powerful than any number of inflated invoices and dubious checks.

"Carefully, the defense lawyer raised the specter of a white prosecutor out to get a local black political hero. He evoked the history of white persecution with two powerful images, in case anybody missed the point.

"The federal case, Lemann said, is a "poorly disguised attempt by the acting Republican U.S. Attorney to lynch the Marc Morial administration." Morial "would be their ultimate trophy," he said. "I think it's pathetic," Lemann went on: "instead of having the local town support him, we've got this tar-and-feathering investigation."

He also has an interesting take on what it takes to win in court:

"If a New Orleans-area jury hears that story line, the government has its work cut out for it. The feds often think they can win merely by dumping the FBI's notebooks and recordings into the jury's lap, week after week. But in the courtroom, a compelling narrative trumps a prosecution that seems to have the facts on its side, but isn't capable of telling a good story -- every time."


jbv's Competitive Edge 


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