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February 23, 2004

Martha, this is risky

The Wall Street Journal ($) reports that Martha Stewart's legal team is seriously considering not putting Martha on the stand during her defense of the criminal case against her. The Stewart defense team apparently thinks that the prosecution's laborious month long presentation of its case against Martha chloroformed the jury. Accordingly, the defense team is considering a minimalist defense that could be done by the end of the week.

Although understandable given the prosecution's apparent mishandling of this case, not putting Martha on the stand is a risky strategy. Particularly in white collar prosecutions, jurors want to hear from the defendant. If the case is a closer call than what it appears, then Martha's failure to defend herself on the stand could tilt jurors against her.

Posted by Tom at February 23, 2004 6:23 AM |


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