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“Then there’s me. The joker. The goofball. The magician.”

come-ON.jpgRecently, a lawyer filed a motion in limine (a brief and narrow pre-trial motion) seeking to preclude the defense attorney, who is also a professional magician, from performing magic tricks in front of the jury. The plaintiffs’ attorneys claimed that such hijinx would be highly prejudicial and confusing to the jury. The magic attorney, Steven G. Leventhal, argued that this was bunk:

Although Leventhal conceded in his brief that he does perform magic tricks regularly in trials, during his opening and closing speeches, he insisted that there’s nothing wrong with doing so.
Every trial judge, Leventhal noted, has a standard jury instruction that makes that point.
And innovative lawyers, Leventhal argued, know that they must “hammer their trial themes home” by using tactics that illustrate and entertain such as anecdotal stories or references to pop culture icons.
“That the undersigned counsel opted to travel the globe to learn a special set of performance skills rather than wasting his brain cells drinking his summers away at the Jersey Shore should not be held against him,” Leventhal wrote.
“No degree of showmanship can change the facts,” Leventhal argued, and juries are “smart enough to understand that the facts make or break a case.”

What kind of tricks does Leventhal do, you ask?

In one trick, Leventhal, who works exclusively for defendants, said he slowly folds a $1 bill while explaining to the jury that the parts of the plaintiff’s case just don’t tie together. When he unfolds the bill, he said, the astonished jury sees a bizarre bill that appears to have been cut apart and pasted together the wrong way, with the corners in the middle.
In another trick, Leventhal said, the slowly folded $1 bill is revealed to be a $100 bill and then, to the jury’s collective amazement, changes back to a $1 bill.

Sounds kind of silly to me. And if I were the attorney on the other side, I’d probably let him put on his little show, and I’d just talk to the jury about how their case is just an illusion and that when you look behind the curtain it all falls apart, etc. And I’d also note that the magician attorney is an asshole — what the hell’s wrong with spending your summers boozing it up at the Jersey Shore?

Not a damn thing, that’s what.

| Comments (2)


Yes, but does he bring scantily-clad girls with him to prance around and distract the jury?

If by some glorious twist of fate I got to be the foreman on that jury, before reading the verdict, I would scream, "It's the FINAL COUNTDOWN!"