Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Psychic's trial now in jury's hands

Paula McMahon has been covering this fun (it's all relative) trial.  Here's the latest article with excerpts from the closing arguments:

Jurors heard from both the prosecution and defense that, in the Romani or Gypsy culture, mothers have a long tradition of teaching their daughters to develop psychic and other skills to help them become fortune tellers.
And while the prosecution said the mixing of family money in Marks' bank account and checks from one family member's client being sent to Marks were evidence of money-laundering to conceal the source of "dirty" money, the defense quoted an expert who said Gypsy families share money among the extended family more commonly than other cultures in the U.S.

More from the prosecution:

Prosecutors urged jurors on Wednesday to find "psychic" Rose Marks guilty of orchestrating a massive con — regardless of how outlandish the allegations sound and whether jurors think the victims were gullible.
"Don't blame the victims, and don't let them blame the victims," Assistant U.S. Attorney Larry Bardfeld said of Marks' defense in closing arguments in the month-long trial.
The victims were "not stupid," but were preyed upon by uncaring scammers who exploited vulnerable people in times of crisis — when they were bereaved and grieving, ill or looking for true love, he said.

And more from the defense:

While prosecutors cast everything in a negative light, Schwartz suggested they could not prove that Marks took money from clients under false pretenses, never intending to return it. He pointed out that she paid back large sums of money to several clients, but said she was unable to make payments after she was arrested and barred from working as a psychic at least until the criminal case is over.
"She doesn't have to prove she intended to pay it back, they [prosecutors] have to prove she didn't intend to pay it back," Schwartz said.

I thought this jury instruction looked interesting:

Jurors were also told that courts have ruled that fortune telling is free speech that is constitutionally protected by the First Amendment.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I really hope they go down on this one