Peter Bronson on Stanley Chesley’s testimony

by Walter Olson on June 19, 2008

From the Cincinnati Enquirer columnist, a refreshingly acerbic account of the erstwhile Master of Disaster’s time on the stand in the Kentucky fen-phen trial, during which he compared himself to Tiger Woods in explaining why he should not be asked to stoop to taking an hourly fee:

Jurors have been anesthetized by six weeks of watching witnesses avoid the truth the way cats avoid a bath. …

…when [defense attorney O. Hale] Almand tried to make Chesley admit – yes or no – that he knew his own lawyer told prosecutors he would take the Fifth unless he got immunity, Chesley’s serial evasions made the courtroom squirm.

I counted at least nine tries. After the seventh, the judge twice ordered Chesley to answer yes or no.

He would not. He wheedled, ducked, swerved and danced. He blustered about attorney-client privilege, corrected the grammar of the question, and griped about how he has been mistreated by the press. …

If you’re hoping to hit a slip-and-fall lotto jackpot by suing Amalgamated Banana Peel Inc., Chesley is just the guy to take on herds of high-paid lawyers. But if you’re looking for a straight answer under oath, look somewhere else.

(“Tiger Woods of Torts”, Cincinnati Enquirer, Jun. 19).

{ 13 comments }

1 Paul 06.20.08 at 1:38 am

Walter, the article was called “Tiger Woods of Torts.”

2 Walter Olson 06.20.08 at 7:06 am

Whoops! Thanks for catching. (Typo was “Tiger Woods on Torts”, which might have been an article worth linking, too.)

3 Deoxy 06.20.08 at 10:31 am

If somebody went to those lengths to avoid a question, it’s safe to assume that the answer is whatever is something very bad. In a yes/no situation, whichever one of those answers is worse is clearly the truth.

4 Homer Siegel 06.20.08 at 8:41 pm

Although the quotes are of interest, Peter Bronson is considered a laughing stock of the editorial community in Cincinnati. When not trying to bash any Democrat, or the Clintons, or crusading for the death of the ACLU and civil rights, he typically is blathering about his hostility of any democrat. This is not a newspaper article, but an unsubstantiated opinion piece without any proven fact or support by any other newspaper article.

Take his articles with a grain of salt. He has been looking to hang Stan Chesley since his support of the Clintons.

And of interest, none of this testimony or story was corroborated by the paper. This was an editorial piece, published to be inflammatory, not for it’s information.

5 Ted Frank 06.21.08 at 12:06 am

Bronson’s reporting on the trial to date has been accurate. And he’s been the only one asking how Chesley escaped indictment, a question we should all be asking when some in Congress are complaining about politicization.

The decision of federal prosecutors to give Chesley and Bamberger total immunity is appalling. It’s permitted the three defendants to try to pin the entire scheme on the unindicted, when Chesley and Bamberger both benefited from the wrongdoing. Chesley’s testimony against his three co-counsel will be impeached by his performance in the civil deposition when he was still trying to claim nothing was done wrong in order to save the millions he scammed.

6 Allen Sanders 06.21.08 at 5:30 pm

Mr. Frank- I was just wondering if you are aware of a website visual problem here. The comments can’t be read in their entirety because the sentences run off the page, out of view. Thanks

7 Ted Frank 06.22.08 at 12:00 am

What browser are you using, Allen? The page looks fine to me in both Firefox 2.x and in IE.

8 Walter Olson 06.22.08 at 7:32 am

I know this problem is only too real since I have occasionally encountered it myself. The quick fix I have used is to enlarge the size of my browser window to something closer to full screen. Some readers may not be able to do this depending on their screen size and other factors. I’m sure this problem is addressed somewhere in the vast WordPress user literature but time has not permitted me to delve into it yet — or one of our readers may know the solution.

9 Homer Siegel 06.22.08 at 9:56 am

With due respect to Ted Frank, Bronson is not a reporter and does not purport or pretend to be reporting on the trial. He is writes an opinion piece aimed at providing maximum response with minimal objectivity. Although Chesley and others may have committed a disservice to the clients in this trial, what Bronson reports is colored by his own self serving desire to “insight the masses”. If one reviews his other opinion pieces, there is a clear and predictable bias that is colored by his own prejudices and limited writing capability.

10 Ted Frank 06.22.08 at 11:51 am

Again, instead of an ad hominem attack on Bronson, perhaps you can identify a single thing he’s gotten wrong with respect to this particular issue?

11 Homer Siegel 06.22.08 at 12:35 pm

Again, look at what is reported,

“He wheedled, ducked, swerved and danced. He blustered about attorney-client privilege, corrected the grammar of the question, and griped about how he has been mistreated by the press. …

If you’re hoping to hit a slip-and-fall lotto jackpot by suing Amalgamated Banana Peel Inc., Chesley is just the guy to take on herds of high-paid lawyers. But if you’re looking for a straight answer under oath, look somewhere else.”

This is not just reporting, this is presenting the information with hyperbole that has not been noted in any newspaper article.

Bronson is an opinion writer, who is not subject to the constraints of editorial review with respect to facts. He is only found on the editorial page.

A review of the Cincinnati Enquirer articles on this case find no similar information.

From Bronson’s own site, “Conservatives in the media are about as common as Christians at an ACLU convention, but I like to go against the current.”

12 Allen Sanders 06.22.08 at 1:25 pm

Peter Bronson could be John Grissom’s brother, he is such a talented writer. And as far as chesley goes, my family member is in the Covington Diocese case, and chesley single-handedly stold hundreds of thousands of dollars from him! My family member has to hire a lawyer to Sue chesley to recover his money. Chesley wrote in that Diocese “settlement” that “any excess funds will be returned to the Diocese, NOT THE CLIENTS! In his fen phen “testimony (perjury), he stated “Excess funds (in fen phen) belongs to the CLIENTS.” THIS is the kind of LIAR, THIEF, and HYPOCRITE chesley is. The “smoking gun” that will soon dis-bar and put chesley in prison, is his lying mouth and actions. He stold from innocent fen phen victims: many of whom (about 28) have actually DIED during the course of this litigation! He stold from priest-abuse victims: many of whom were raped by priests. This is not a human being. This is a greedy, deceitful LIAR and THIEF who does his dirty work hiding behind a “law license”. And let us never forget: he’s as great as Tiger Woods, Griffey, and Roberts!

13 Ted 06.22.08 at 1:44 pm

Bronson has given a colorful description of an attorney trying to avoid answering a simple yes-no question truthfully under oath. What’s your point?

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