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Spinning The Law: Trying Cases in the Court of Public Opinion

by Kendall Coffey

Published by Prometheus Books

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High-profile courtroom dramas fascinate our nation, especially when they concern the rich and famous. And while the American public has come to realize that the spin factor is a prime ingredient in political tactics and marketing campaigns, many are unaware of the strategies for shaping public opinion when it comes to major courtroom battles.

This behind-the-scenes analysis of media strategies presents intriguing and often entertaining insights into what they do not teach in law schools or journalism classes. As the lead counsel in some of the country's most notable cases and a savvy legal commentator with hundreds of television appearances, author Kendall Coffey brings a distinctive combination of depth as a legal practitioner and experience as a media analyst to this illuminating, provocative, and practical book.

He begins with a historic election fraud trial, relying on his personal experience with the basics of law spin. He then masterfully guides the reader through an abbreviated, engrossing tour of spinning cases through the ages -- including the trials of Socrates and Joan of Arc, as well as the Charles Lindbergh kidnapping case. Modern cases include the author's firsthand experiences in the international Elian Gonzalez controversy -- and his thoughts on the possible overwhelming effect that that controversy had on Florida in the 2000 presidential election between Gore and Bush.

Coffey also examines the most famous cases of recent times -- those of Michael Jackson, Kobe Bryant, Martha Stewart, Scott Peterson, and former governor "Rod" Blagojevich.

Along the way, Coffey exposes many of the myths associated with the law, debunking assumptions about legal concepts ranging from circumstantial evidence and cooperating witnesses to so-called prosecutors' vendettas.

Coffey's many entertaining examples and engaging explanations make this book ideal reading for everyone fascinated by celebrity legal problems: all of us who make up the court of public opinion.

pub date: 2010-09-07 | Hardcover | 9781616142100