How Lady Justice Failed Martha Stewart
By Rachel Marsden | Bio
I’ve woken up every day this week feeling absolutely terrific. I couldn’t have said the same thing last week—oh no. But today, the world is an infinitely better place now that domestic diva Martha Stewart has been sentenced to some hard prison time. It’ll be five months in the Crowbar Hotel for Martha, unless she wins her appeal. What a relief.
Give me a break. If you’ve been following this story in the media for the past 2 ½ years like I have, and have managed to cut through all the froth and hype, it seems that the only real crime she’s guilty of in the view of most people is being a bitch. Here’s the real message folks: If people think you’re a bitch, watch out, because sooner or later you’ll be doing some prison time.
If you think I’m kidding, I’m not. I’m serious. The feds set out to investigate Martha for insider trading related to the personal sale of Imclone company stock, but they couldn’t for the life of them find enough evidence to charge her.
Martha’s biggest mistake was talking to the feds who were actively trying to nail her on insider trading charges, which they were ultimately unable to do. If she would have kept her mouth shut and not talked to them, then they wouldn’t have had any statements to use against her in the form of perjury and obstruction of justice charges--which is all they were able to muster up.
The investigators asked her if her stockbroker told her Imclone CEO Sam Waksal was dumping his stock, because if he did, then she had committed insider trading. She said no, so they told her the broker had already admitted to them that he had given her the heads-up and that she was now guilty of lying to investigators. Lots of defendants lie to the authorities, but you don’t see a significant number of them charged with doing so. Martha wasn’t an ‘insider’ at Imclone. It was her broker who told her that the CEO of her stock’s company was going to sell, not Waksal himself. Who in their right mind wouldn’t have dumped that stock faster than gigolo John Kerry dumps women worth less than 100 million bucks?
Since Martha obviously felt confident that she hadn’t done anything wrong when she was approached by investigators, she had no problem talking to them. She probably figured that she was helping them get to the ‘truth’ with respect to the insider trading allegation for which they were investigating her, not knowing that the whole time, they were angling to hook her with her own words because they couldn’t find anything to use against her on their own. Hell hath no fury like a blood-drunk department of Justice that needs to save face and justify a witch-hunt.
The Martha Stewart situation is a clear case of entrapment. If there isn't enough evidence to make a case that someone even committed a crime, then it doesn’t make any sense to charge the person with lying about it. I can tell you, if this wasn’t Martha Stewart, none of this would have been carried as far as it has.
So the big lesson learned the hard way by Martha Stewart--which is a great lesson for anyone, even if they think they may never become a target of an investigation--is to never, ever talk to law enforcement authorities unless you're in imminent danger. They are not your friends, and they are not there to help you or to uncover the ‘truth’. It may be about scoring enough points to get that department-issue toaster oven, but it likely doesn't have much to do with truth and justice. It doesn’t matter how honest you are or how perfect and clean your life has been up to that point.
After Martha was pursued relentlessly by the prosecution and charged with lying to the feds and bureaucrats, she was convicted by a jury which I believe lowered the hammer out of envy for her success and for her perceived bitchiness--which has been played up to the hilt in the press.
Do you really think that same jury that convicted Martha Stewart on those questionable charges would have convicted an average Joe or Jane who was just like them? Not a chance. One juror by the name of Chappell Hartridge called his verdict a “victory for the little guys.” Clearly he saw himself as the “little guy” and Martha as the big tycoon who needed to be brought down to size—facts of the case be damned.
The problem with juries today is that many competent jurors know how to get out of jury duty--and those are really the only people you’d actually want on a jury if your life was in their hands. Anyone who does not know how to get out of jury duty probably registers a flatline on the brainwave scale. So who’s left? According to scientific studies, a lot of people who end up serving on juries get dazed and confused by the whole process.
Dr. James Ogloff, a jury expert who has served as the president of the American Psychology Law Society, conducted a three year study of 545 participants in ‘mock jury’ simulations. His findings: “Overall, without a doubt, the results indicate that people have a great deal of difficulty comprehending jury instructions," says Ogloff. "These results raise very serious questions about the extent to which the accused can be guaranteed, in the case of a jury trial, that they are 'proven guilty according to law in a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal'. Quite the contrary, the findings here suggest that study participants often rendered their verdicts in ignorance of the law and legal standards."
A different study found that, among other disturbing things, a juror sitting in judgment of a person on trial for aggravated assault figured that the “aggravated” part meant simply that the offender was “angry”.
Yes indeed, folks. These are the centerpieces of our sacrosanct ‘justice’ system.
Let’s face it, Martha Stewart has just been sentenced to 5 months in prison, 5 months house-arrest, 2 years probation, and a $30,000 fine for being Martha Stewart. Not even for being the real Martha Stewart, but for being the bitch seen by the masses--including the investigators who dogged her and the jurors who convicted her--in tainted media coverage.
And if you need any more proof that she was indeed convicted for simply being disliked, just take a quick surf through cyberspace and check out what people have been saying since her sentencing. No one can articulate what she really did that was so criminally wrong or how her lies were even ‘material’ (which is a requirement if lies are to be criminally prosecuted) but nearly everyone feels that, in any case, “the bitch deserved it.”
Rachel Marsden is a political strategist, columnist, commentator and radio talk show host in the USA and Canada. Her website is www.rachelmarsden.com
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