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Murphy's Law XI

May

31

by

Closing Arguments, Conspiracy Theories, Hot Dogs & Heart Burn

1:00 PM — Fallon and I are sitting on a bench in downtown Buffalo. It’s an incestuous ghost town. There’s not many people on the streets, but they all seem to know each other. Most of them are wearing some bureaucratic lanyard or another. They’re all stakeholders in this repugnant perversion of justice. I eat a hot dog.

We speak briefly with Joel Daniels. He’s a hotshot lawyer who’s helping Dr. James Corasanti get away with murder. The Doc got drunk and ran over a teenage girl on a skateboard. It’s the talk of the town. Daniels’s suit is very expensive.

We speak to another lawyer. She gives us the skinny on Donna Donovan. She married into a Buffalo Police legacy. Her father-in-law was Police Commissioner two Mayors ago. And Eagan’s connected like the Mob.

The jury’s been out for about an hour. The heartburn’s climbed so high it’s eating away at my enamel. Fallon’s phone rings.

***

10:00 AM — This is it. We’re first. I think I’m going to puke. Fallon thanks the jury for their service, and gets right into the first half of our closing argument, which I wrote:

“Gentlemen of the jury,

Now, I know that the prosecution has made what I’m about to ask you to do very difficult, but I want you to pretend – for a moment, disregarding your own common sense – that the people’s case against my client is 100% accurate.

Do this, and you should still find Mr. Murphy completely innocent.

Disregard, briefly, all the evidence or lack thereof, and all the prosecution’s contradictory witness testimony. Forget that Pastor Gillison testified that he never once saw my client that day. Forget the Pastor explicitly stated that the nature of the event on the steps of City Hall that day was listed on the permit as a, quote, “Rally.” And pretend that my client doesn’t appear in any of the submitted photos or videos protesting anything at all. I know it’s hard, because the exact opposite is true, but use your imagination.

Do this, and you should still find Mr. Murphy completely innocent.

When did it become illegal to protest public events in the United States of America? When did, “Exercising one’s First Amendments rights,” as Pastor Gillison referred to the activities of the counter-demonstrators, become a crime in our country? If a purported “religious event” in public, on the steps of City Hall, is immune to protest, what’s next? Should it be illegal to protest Wall Street greed? War? The government? Should we just criminalize protest itself – in any form?

As Americans, we all know the answer to this question: No. Not now. Not ever.

While we’re at it, despite a total lack of physical evidence, pretend for a moment that Mr. Murphy was meandering through the crowd, phallus in hand, and conducting multiple interviews. Imagine, for a moment, that all of these people were offended and upset – and you’re going to have to use your imagination extra hard here because the prosecution has not been able to find or present a single one of these people.

Now, should we criminalize everything that upsets people? Should juries be in the business of deciding what’s humorous, and what is merely offensive? My client, and millions of other Americans, are more offended by a book – the bible – that states that homosexuals should be stoned to death than they are offended by seeing a sex toy. So I ask you: the next time a Jehovah’s Witness, knocks on my client’s door – his private property, mind you – and sticks a bible into his hands, is that person breaking the law?

No. Of course not. Not even a little. That’s not what our country is supposed to be about.

Now this is going to be your most difficult excursion into fantasy land, but I ask for your sincere cooperation. Imagine, if you will, that absolutely everything that arresting officer Donna Donovan says about my client is completely accurate.

I told you this one would be hard. But try, please.

Forget the video that clearly depicts her attacking Mr. Murphy’s associate Josh Bunting. Forget that she ridiculously claims to have thought the video camera might have been a gun – even though she’s on tape saying, “I don’t want my picture taken!” Believe her when she says she didn’t strike the camera, even though your very own eyes tell you otherwise. Believe every word she says. And she says that she arrested my client for calling her, and her fellow officers, “assholes.” My client, and all of our witnesses vehemently deny anything of the sort occurred that day, of course, but, please, humor me. Because there is one thing Officer Donovan testified to that is unequivocally true: You can believe her when she says that calling a police officer an “asshole” is not illegal.

So having accepted, against your own better judgment — based on all that you’ve witnessed and failed to witness during this trial — that the People’s case against Mr. Murphy is 100% true, you should still find my client 100% innocent of all the charges against him.

But, now, back in the real world: you and I both know that the prosecution’s case is an incredible insult to your intelligence, to my client, the First Amendment, and to the very concept of justice…”

Unfortunately, that ellipses represents a full hour and a half of redundant arguments. I frankly regret not writing the whole thing. While he delivered the first bit with passion, the second half was regrettably…Fallon-esque. Dude pays me to tell the unvarnished truth, so I hope he doesn’t get too mad at me, but it shouldn’t be news to him that sometimes he sounds like an American André the Giant with a mouthful of marbles. How does he do his lawyer thing? You may wonder, as I have more than a few times. “I’m the Michael Clayton of Redacted, Redacted & Confidential LLC.,” he said. I had no followup.

It may be more a comment on society, but even though he raised some important points, it went on way too long. The jurors were nodding off. Even I stopped paying attention.

***

Swanson begins his closing by saying he was “confused” by Fallon’s summation. It doesn’t ring entirely untrue.

Fuck. I’m going to jail.

“Mr. Fallon did not talk about Mr. Murphy as a journalist.” He did. “Their intent is to divert your attention away from Mr. Murphy’s conduct that day,” Swanson continues, “and turn this into something political.” Then the ADA talks a bit about how prayer + song = “religious service.”

“Let’s talk briefly about Mr. Beck,” he says. “How in the world would Mr. Cercone know that Mr. Murphy knew Mr. Beck?” He assures the jury, “There is no conspiracy.”

Well, as detailed in my last report, Rebecca Watson had written about my arrest before I’d even left the slam:

Of course, judging by this pic snapped by Ed Beck minutes before Ian’s arrest, the charge may very well be “disrupting a religious ceremony by filming the police with a dildo as a microphone.” So who knows?

As you can see, Beck deleted that tweet, but in it he referenced yours truly. Between that and familiar tone of Watson’s piece, it wouldn’t be a stretch to conclude that we knew each other. And if you search for “Ian Murphy” + “Ed Beck” you find a BEAST article from last year which credits Ed for some photos. Once you know where Beck works (using this new thing called “the Internet”), a quick BEAST search for “Center For Inquiry” or “CFI” results in scads of hits which, when read, clearly show I have some ties to the place.

“There is no conspiracy here,” Swanson keeps saying. It’s pretty obvious that the DA’s office did conspire with Mr. Cercone, but Americans have been so conditioned by retards like Jesse Ventura and Alex Jones to think that anything labeled a “conspiracy” is so impossibly idiotic that it should be immediately discounted. My peers — my actual peers know damn-well that playing the “conspiracy theory” card to try to refute a cogent argument is strictly for assholes without facts. It’s unadulterated sophistry. My actual peers would lol pretty hard at Swanson’s mediocrity. These shits in the jury, however, ain’t even smiling.

Fuck. I’m going to jail.

Swanson repeats the “disgusted” bit of Buntings testimony, that we were trying to “PROVOKE a humorous response,” and gives the impression the jury should believe Josh’s words. Then he does a 180 and says both Bunting and Beck have “a dog in this fight.” You know, because Donovan is totally impartial. No dogs. Just her job.

He talks about police investigations, and how it sometime takes months to charge people with their “crimes”– you know, in case the jury was wondering why the hell the charges against me are dated October 6, 2011. And then he does it. The thing. The thing that fills me with violent thoughts. The thing that makes me want to hunt down Assistant District Attorney Patrick Swanson, and choke the life out of him with my bare hands while I stare into his eyes and smile. I won’t do that, of course. But I’ve never wanted to hurt someone more. This is it, the thing: knowing that Judge Eagan hasn’t let us bring up the erased video camera, Swanson tells the jury, we were recording video for 45 minutes before I got arrested, so why haven’t they seen the footage?

Fallon objects. Eagan overrules, and shoots him an icy glance.

Fuck. I’m going to jail.

Swanson mentions that it’s not a “conspiracy” a few more times, tells some folksy anecdote, and wraps it all up in 35 total minutes. The man’s a professional liar, who deserves to have the life choked out of him, but he understands the modern attention span.

Fuck. I’m going to jail. It’s up to my “peers” now. Fuck. I’m going to jail.

The Dishonorable Judge Susan M. Eagan reads an incredibly long set of jury instructions, which detail all facets of the charges against me, and what points need to be satisfied to find me guilty. For some reason, they’re not given a copy of this document. They’re expected to remember he whole thing.

Fuck. I’m going to fucking jail.

***

1: 30 PM — We’re back outside. False alarm. The jury only wanted to hear the instructions again. Double-Dawg says it’s a good sign. They haven’t looked at any of the submitted evidence. Phone call.

2:30 PM — The jury wants to know the definition of “obscene gesture.” The judge won’t tell them. It’s totally subjective. I sack out in the hallway for a while. “Is he OK?” the janitor asks Fallon. “Yeah, considering,” he says. I stand up just to keep the acid down. I need a coffee. Fallon and I go downstairs, outside, and I smoke.

3:45 PM — Double-Dawg pops his head around the corner and says, “They’re in.”

My heart starts racing. Fuck, I think. I’m going to jail.

______________________________

 

 

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