He was known as one of the most successful and wealthy individuals in the country, and his fame seemed to grow as quickly as his profits. He was the envy of his acquaintances, the bane of his competition. So when the accusations were leveled against him it was an absolute shock. He was accused of murdering a seventeen-year-old girl and the evidence against him was incriminating.
He hired the best defense lawyer – The introductory fees alone were upward of five million dollars. But it was pocket change for the defendant and the lawyer was surely worth it.
The prosecution knew that they would be hard pressed to defeat the defense lawyer. To date, the lawyer had never lost a case, even when his client’s case was weak at best. A young District Attorney took up the challenge.
The case quickly morphed into a media sensation. Journalists from all across the world were on hand to hear “the case of the century.” The D.A. did a masterful job interrogating and proving the prosecution’s case. When he completed his litigation the defense lawyer arose to present his defense. But to the shock of the court he began asking the witnesses seemingly ridiculous questions. “How do you know the murder took place at 3:00 p.m.? What kind of watch was it? What color? How do you know the battery wasn’t dying and the time was off?”
The spectators couldn’t believe what was happening. The prosecution objected to the defense lawyer’s questions on grounds of irrelevance, and the judge was quick to sustain the objection. The judge repeatedly demanded that the lawyer explain the logic for his inane questions.
The case dragged on for weeks, and the same pattern recurred repeatedly. The D.A. would present poignant litigation and proof for their accusations. Then the defense lawyer would follow with trivial and ridiculous questions. The defendant himself was convinced that his lawyer had lost his marbles and that he was a goner.
Finally, after many weeks, it was time for the closing remarks. The D.A. faced the jury and made his impassioned statement. “Ladies and Gentlemen, the face you are looking at is the face of a murderer. We have offered conclusive and undeniable proof that he has committed this heinous crime. But he did not just murder a seventeen-year-old girl. He also murdered her children and her children’s children, and all of the lives she could have touched, but now never will.”
When he sat down and the defending lawyer arose to make his closing remarks the tension in the room was palpable. Yet the lawyer was as calm and composed as ever. With finesse and poise he emphatically stated, “Your honor and distinguished members of the jury, it is hardly a secret that for the duration of this case I have made a mockery of the trial. I now reveal to you that the reason I did so is because this trial is indeed just that – a mockery. You see the girl was never murdered. I have been in contact with her all along. She feigned the whole story so that she could run away from home without being followed. To prove it in ten minutes she will walk through the door and enter the courtroom.”
A collective gasp escaped the room as the defendant smugly sat down. They all waited with bated breath as the minutes ticked by. But then ten minutes turned into twenty, and then thirty, and then an hour. Finally the judge ordered the defense to present some proof or he would be held in contempt of court.
The defense lawyer arose again. “Your honor, and ladies and gentlemen of the jury, as you are all well aware the law states that a defendant cannot be prosecuted unless it can be proven – beyond a reasonable doubt – that the defendant committed the crime. My friends, by virtue of the fact that you have all been wordlessly staring at the courtroom door for the last hour proves that you all have a reasonable doubt. Therefore, I believe you cannot prosecute my client.”
The courtroom was launched into an uproar. The journalists could not get over the brilliance of the lawyer. He had outfoxed the prosecution and the jury would have no choice but to pardon the obviously guilty defendant. Indeed the jury returned after a mere five minute recess with their verdict.
About the Author: Rabbi Dani Staum, LMSW is the Rabbi of Kehillat New Hempstead, as well as Guidance Counselor and fifth grade Rebbe in ASHAR, and Principal at Mesivta Ohr Naftoli of New Windsor. He can be reached at email@example.com. Visit him on the web at www.stamtorah.info.
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