An online article in Bloomberg Law (January 15, 2019) by Nathan J. Hochman, former Assistant Attorney General of the DoJ’s Tax Division and now a partner in an LA law firm, provides a perspective on an increasingly popular legal strategy, and uses the recent Starkey trial as its prime example. In the trial, one of the prime strategies of the defendants’ attorneys was to attack the character of Starkey Founder and CEO Bill Austin and President Brandon Sawalich.
“As the defense theory goes, if the jury dislikes the victim, then they are more likely not to convict the victimizer,” writes Hochman. “This strategy, however, has certain limits and may backfire in front of a criminal jury where the jury sees through the smoke and noise and reaches a verdict based on the facts and law.”
The jury did. Hochman goes on to describe how Austin and Sawalich were attacked mercilessly in court in what he says was a clear effort to detract attention from the defendants’ misdeeds, while “the media ran stories based on the unsubstantiated accusations.” In the end, the four primary defendants in the case either pleaded guilty or were convicted.
To read the full Bloomberg Law article, click here.