Continuing my discussion of Elliot Weinstein and Stephanie Page’s complaints of legal media analysts’ commentaries of the Entwistle trial, from my previous post:
Fact: On the day the verdict was delivered, talk radio was abuzz with news of the verdict, especially WRKO-680AM/Boston. Almost all callers to the Howie Carr Show (the flagship program on that station,) that day were in strong support of Entwistle’s conviction, and overwhelmingly critical and disparaging (to say the least) of the defense team. I called in on the air to defend the criminal justice system, and the performance of these two lawyers in particular, stressing that criminal defense lawyers are ethically bound to zealously defend their clients. This, too, apparently escaped notice by Weinstein or Page in their Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, (“MLW”) interview of 7/14/08. On the evening that the verdict was delivered, while a guest on WBZ-AM 1030’s “Nightside With Dan Rea”, (a syndicated program broadcast in multiple states) I again defended these attorneys, advising listeners that constitutionally, the defense is never required to put on a case. This too seemed to escape notice or comment by Weinstein or Page.
Fact: On June 24 2008, I was asked by a Boston Herald reporter if I thought the fact that the jury had not yet returned a verdict, bode well for either the prosecution or defense. In that Boston Herald story published June 25, I indicated the jury could go either way, and stated: “They have a man’s life at stake. They hopefully will be methodical.” This, too, apparently escaped notice by both these attorneys. What didn’t escape their notice, however, was a piece in the Boston Herald the previous day, on June 24 – and that’s where things got interesting. In responding to a reporter’s question on whether I thought the defense’s strategy to not call Entwistle as a witness was a wise decision or not, I said that it was wise, and opined, “One of Neil Entwistle’s worst enemies in this trial has been has own mouth. He’s not insane, he’s just narcissistic.”
I made that comment based upon a number of patently conflicting statements Entwistle made to state police investigators both before and after his arrest, regarding his activities surrounding the murder. These conflicting statements are a matter of fact, they speak for themselves as to how much they would have harmed Entwistle as a witness, and I stand by my comments. Notwithstanding, Stephanie Page didn’t like this comment, and approached me outside the courtroom the next day to question me and complain about the comment. Not one word from either of these lawyers was offered before this comment, but protest aplenty came forth immediately afterward. Selective review of my media coverage and commentary? It certainly seems so to me. I find it hardly fair, and not at all a balanced response.
Weinstein/Page assertions in MLW: MLW’s story discusses at length the subject of Ms. Page’s cross-examination of Medical Examiner William Zane, and the “wave of criticism from legal analysts” that she received following her suggestion that Rachel Entwistle may have killed herself. Weinstein observes that “There was a lawyer who offered an opinion with 99 per cent certainty about why it was that Stephanie conducted the examination of the medical examiner. He was 99 per cent certain, but he was 100 per cent wrong.” In my interview with MLW, I acknowledged that I indeed wrote this opinion in one of my blog postings (June 20 2008.). Page is quoted as saying that the theory I offered, i.e., that it was she who was chosen to cross-examine the medical examiner and suggest a murder-suicide theory (instead of Weinstein,) “included a preposterous premise that Weinstein refused to participate due to his objection to the strategy” (of suggesting murder-suicide; bold emphasis added.) That is an entirely false and incorrect characterization of what I wrote.
Fact: In my June 20 2008 blog post I wrote: “I would most certainly not have wanted to be the one advancing this (suicide) theory… I am not saying it was unprofessional, simply that it was unavoidably unseemly, and I cannot imagine anyone in that courtroom, other than Neil Entwistle, appreciating it. I can only imagine the conversation that must have taken place between Elliot Weinstein and Stephanie Page, over planning for whom between the two of them was going to… advance this line of questioning. I doubt it was very pleasant, and I’m 99% sure that it was Ms. Page who was ultimately awarded the role, due to the fact that she is a woman, and might be perceived by the jury with a greater degree of receptiveness than Mr. Weinstein, in suggesting that many women suffer from depression and some commit suicide.” (Bold emphasis added.)
I never wrote, or even suggested, that Weinstein “refused to participate due to his objection to the strategy” (of suggesting a murder-suicide.) I simply opined that such a harsh strategy might have been judged to be less offensive if offered by a woman, on the central subject of women and suicide. Further, I based my opinion largely on the fact that, up to that point, it was Weinstein who had conducted at least 90 per cent of witness cross examinations, and not Page.
These two lawyers zealously defended their client, who received a fair trial. They had their 15 minutes of fame, with a case almost no one could win, and they lost. I wish them the best of luck with their appeal. Now would they please do the rest of us a favor? Stop complaining and fade to black.
Let us all now put this matter to rest, and put it behind us. Case closed. (Pending appeal.)