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Private Fetishes

Max Mosley, one of the two architects of modern Formula One racing, has won a judgment for invasion of privacy in British court against a tabloid newspaper that accused him of having a Nazi-themed orgy with hookers. Mosley was awarded a record £60,000 compensation after winning his privacy action against the News of the World, which had accused the 68-year-old son of 1930s Fascist leader Sir Oswald Mosley of taking part in a “sick Nazi orgy” with five prostitutes. Turns out, of course, that Max is just into heavy S&M. Max Mosley Case: How Girls Described Fetish Scene In Court [Sky News]. His defense was that he liked to do this, in private, and it was no one’s business.

Yeah, right:

Mr. Justice Eady, who sat straight-faced through a revelation that sessions sometimes involved a man dressed in a judge’s gown, heard that [the hooker’s] wardrobe included a nurse’s outfit, a maid’s outfit, a schoolgirl outfit, a peasant girl outfit and an army girl outfit. It is ironic that Mosley’s action for invasion of privacy had the effect of letting daylight in on what [another hooker] called “private experiences in private places.”

That’s not the only irony. Now Mosley’s private — and rather embarassing — peccadillos have been exposed for the whole world to see. The tabloids are having a field day! Max Mosley Case: Inside the Hidden World of the Women Who Cane ‘Little Boys’ for Cash [Mail Online]. And among others, three-time F1 world champion Jackie Stewart said today that Mosley must step down. He may not be a Nazi, but little Maxie’s days in motorports are clearly numbered.

Liar, Liar Pants On Fire

Michael Jackson’s ranch manager conceded on Tuesday that he lied when he told police that the singer never slept with children. Jackson Defense Witness Admits Lying to Police [Reuters.com]. He also testified that Jackson had a collection of bondage dolls, after first denying that he had ever seen Jackson with “adult materials.” And this was a defense witness! Reuters reported that:

Asked whether Jackson had female friends aside from his two wives, [Joe] Marcus again faltered before naming actress Elizabeth Taylor and singer Liza Minelli.

“So, we’re up to two?” a sarcastic [prosecutor Gordon] Auchincloss said, prompting an objection from defense lawyer Robert Sanger.

Marcus . . . appeared uncomfortable under cross-examination, often looking to Jackson before answering difficult questions.

Lawyers can’t always control their own witnesses on cross-examination, but this is stupidity at its worst. Calling as a defense witness a person who lied to the police about the central witness in the case is really inexcusable. Of course, this may be all that Tom Meserau and his team have to work with. Not much.

Rules of War In Occupation

The Department of Defense is prosecuting a Marine Lieutenant, Ilario Pantano, for murder arising out of the shooting death, at an Iraq checkpoint, of two suspected “insurgents.” Allegedly, Pantano ordered other troops to remove the suspects’ handcuffs and look away, and then shot the pair in the back, vandalized their vehicle and hung a sign over their corpses bearing a Marine slogan: “No better friend, no worse enemy.”

Pantano protests that it’s impossible to differentiate between innocent civilians and potential terrorists in the environment of “post-war” Iraq. The problem, here, hoewver, is that both sides are at least partially right. As the 1968 Mi Lai scandal in Vietnam shows, a civilized society must have rules of behavior even in warfare. But the situation in Iraq is poised precariously between war and police-state security. More than 1,700 of our troops have been killed, the majority in car bombs and other “IED” attacks, after “major combat operations” ended in May 2003.

How in hell are these young men supposed to know who the bad guys are? Isn’t this just second-guessing combat decisions made in the fog of war? Genocide is one thing, but in the aftermath of Abu Ghraib, this prosecution strikes me as one making a scapegoat of a solitary solider in order to offer a patina of legitimacy to the atrocious inhumanity of what’s really going on over there.

America decided long ago that we could not be the “world’s policemen.” Now the miltary is doing just that in Iraq. The “rules of engagement” need to be changed, fundamentally, so the troops can defend themselves and do their jobs without being blown up by rag-heads whose idealogy is to kill Westerners, not matter why, just because they are not Muslims. As long as America remains an occupying power in Iraq — which is what we are in reality — this problem will not go away by itself. Even worse, Pantano gave up a lucrative career as a New York investment banker to enlist in the Marines to defend this country. He deserves better thanks than a trumped-up murder prosecution.

Johnnie, We Hardly Knew ‘Ye

Johnnie Cochran closing argument

Johnnie Cochran, O.J. Simpson’s lead trial lawyer in the infamous L.A./Brentwood murder trial, died quietly last night of an inoperable brain tumor. Yes, he was gaudy, liked fancy suits, bling and publicity, and talked a lot (actually, an awful lot), but his closing statement in 1995 for O.J. was one of the best performances — and by far the best televised closing argument — by a trial lawyer ever. “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.” Wow! Listen for yourself.

Now O.J. is all alone in his quest to find the “real killers.” It’s so sad (NOT)! What’s refreshing, however, is that — despite his star-studded clientelle and amazingly high income — Cochran always took on free legal cases for the disdvantaged, saying that his most rewarding efforts were in representing what he called the “No-J’s.” That’s class and integrity, even if he did get a murderer off with flim-flam rhetoric and snake oil.

He’s Really Sick

Michael Jackson “Really Was Sick” Judge Says [Reuters.com]. It’s a good thing juries decide these cases, because Jacko’s “flu-like symptoms” hardly justify a week-long delay in jury selection in his child abuse trial. It’s also probably a really stupid defense tactic, as it allowed the jury pool to watch ABC’s “Michael Jackson’s Secret World” last Thursday night, with all its pedophelia overtones and weird behaviors, filmed and otherwise, about the pop music legend. And remember, the child by his side at that 2002 interview — where Jackson unabashedly spoke about sharing his bed with young boys — is the same boy who is now the centerpiece of this criminal trial.

Maybe the judge got the tense wrong. It’s not that Jackson was really sick last week, it’s that he is really sick.

WorldCom is Dead

So Bernie’s fiasco is finally over. They’ve taken his ranch and now are mothballing his corporate name. It’s just a shame that the once-proud MCI brand will apply to the sad remnants of such a sordid band of scum. [Washington Business Journal]

WorldCom made it official Monday morning. It is dumping the WorldCom name and adopting MCI as its official corporate moniker. The Mississippi-based company is also officially relocating its corporate headquarters to Ashburn, Va.