Scenes From a Southern Gothic Murder Trial
October 26, 2012
Americans love a good procedural, and the Jeffrey MacDonald murder case is right up there with O.J. Simpson in the true crime genre. Ever since MacDonald, a Green Beret doctor at Fort Bragg, was arrested for allegedly murdering his wife and two young daughters over 40 years ago, Americans have been captivated by the sordid tale, and bitterly divided over its meaning. The result of the military's initial investigation was that the evidence and charges against MacDonald were "not true," so he was released.
Whitey Bulger: Why Bostonians Are So Obsessed With Him
June 29, 2011
I doubt the rest of the country is as preoccupied with all things Bulger as we are here in Boston. After several days, still the chit chat—everywhere—is about getting Whitey. (Do you think the FBI wanted him not to be found?
In my line of work, giving advice, people write to me … but when someone with a problem is so overwhelmed by publicity, I just assume he would have written if he’d had the time. So herewith, I offer, unbidden, my counsel to Representative Weiner during this clearly tumultuous and regrettable period in his life. First, ignore everyone making fun of your name. Most people with a handle that is also a nickname for one’s privates do not wind up in the middle of a sex fiasco.
The Blago Trial, Day 3,793
August 17, 2010
What is there to say, except George Carlin’s seven dirty words? The Blago jury’s inability to progress beyond agreement on two counts in 13 days makes the whole lot of them seem like they’re two sandwiches shy of a picnic. In addition to having gotten precious little done, they haven’t even considered the wire fraud counts—the crux of the government’s case. To put it another way, the tapes played for the jury (out of 500 available hours of wiretaps) have not been discussed!
The Blago Trial: The Defense’s Hail Mary Pass
July 28, 2010
Click here to read Margo Howard’s assessment of the opening statements in the Blagojevich trial and here to read about the craziness that occurred during the first round of closing statements. Click here for her first, second, third, and fourth dispatches from the actual trial. Oh, thank goodness Sam Adam, Jr. has returned to deliver the defense’s closing, even after Judge Zagel impugned his legal masculinity at the end of the last session.
The Blago Trial: Closing Statements
July 27, 2010
Click here to read Margo Howard’s first, second, third, and fourth dispatches from the Blagojevich trial. And click here for her assessment of the opening statements. After two months of testimony, closing arguments in the Blago trial finally began in a packed courtroom (carried by speaker to a larger, overflow room). The line for seats available to the public started forming at 4 a.m. It felt like a Twilight premier for adult dorks. Before Assistant U.S.
Dispatches From the Blago Trial (Part 5)
July 21, 2010
Click here to read Margo Howard’s first, second, and third dispatches from the Blagojevich trial. And click here for her assessment of the opening statements. So where were we? When last I was in Chicago, it was early June for the opening of the Blagojevich trial. It really had everything. An impeached blabbermouth showman of a governor who favored 2-to-8 hour work weeks. A foul-mouthed wife. 500 hours of wiretaps. $400,000 spent on clothes. 24 corruption charges. Two chiefs of staff turned government witness. A key associate who offed himself.
Dispatches From the Blago Trial (Part 4)
June 11, 2010
Click here to read Margo Howard’s first dispatch from the Blagojevich trial. Click here to read her second. And here for her assessment of the opening statements. Even though I think I’m an opening statements kind of girl, I did want to stick around to see the first witnesses. Number one was Daniel Cain, the the FBI agent who oversaw all Blago-related wiretaps. Formerly an accountant, he answered questions like a federal agent from central casting: precise and almost without inflection. His area of specialty is white collar crime, public corruption, drugs, and fraud.
Dispatches From the Blago Trial (Part 3)
June 10, 2010
Click here to read Margo Howard’s first dispatch from the Blagojevich trial. Click here to read her second. A note about Mrs. Blagojevich and the bathroom, and Mrs. B. and the courtroom. I encountered her in the loo again, only there were more people than last time. I did hear her say, once more, that it’s tough to hear people tell lies about you. I guess that’s how she responds to “how are you?” Also, I wrote yesterday that she would not be allowed in the courtroom once the trial began because she would be a witness.
Dispatches From the Blagojevich Trial (Part 2)
June 09, 2010
Click here to read Margo Howard’s first dispatch from the Blagojevich trial. Chicago—Well, the games have begun. That is, the trial that has the potential, per political consultant Kevin Madden, “to be the ultimate clown-car spectacle”: United States v. Blagojevich, et al. (The part of “et al”will be played by the former governor’s brother, Rob.) There’s a very large press contingent here, this being about as jazzy as corruption cases get. I guess the prototype would be Louisiana’s Edwin Edwards, another “colorful” governor convicted of extortion and racketeering in 2001.