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If those 500 hours of taped phone calls don’t produce the “smoking gun” of innocence that Rod Blagojevich is promising, his attorney, Sam Adam Jr., may have another argument up his sleeve: it wasn’t really Rod on that tape.
Adam used that argument -- successfully -- for R. Kelly.
During Kelly’s child pornography trial, jurors viewed a videotape that allegedly showed Kelly violating the innocence of a 13-year-girl. At one point during the trial, Adam suggested that Kelly’s head may have been morphed onto the real pervert’s body.
“Have you ever seen the movie Little Man by the Wayman Brothers?” he asked a girlhood friend of the alleged victim.
“Sorry,” Adam continued. “The Wayans Brothers. They took the head of Marlon Wayans and put it on a midget, and it looked real, didn’t it?”
“Not really,” the witness shot back.
The courtroom busted out laughing. The judge reminded Adam that buying a $9 movie ticket doesn’t make anyone an editing-room wizard.
“Just because she’s seen the Wayman Brothers doesn’t make her an expert on video morphing,” Gaughan said.
So: Wouldn’t it be even easier to suggest that someone like Frank Caliendo was on those phone taps, impersonating Blagojevich’s high-pitched, fast-paced patter? Some of Richard Nixon’s partisans made a similar argument when the White House tapes were released during the Watergate hearings.
The R. Kelly trial made Adam's bones as the guy who can get ya off, even if they caught ya on tape. That’s probably why he's now Blagojevich's main man.
Adam got involved in the Kelly case through his father, Sam Adam Sr., a longtime associate of Kelly’s head lawyer, Edward Genson, who defended ex-Gov. George Ryan, newspaper magnate Conrad Black, and a string of Outfit guys, beginning with Jimmy “The Bomber” Catuara. (Adam came to Blagojevich the same way. Genson was Blago’s first lawyer, before dropping out of the case.)
At the Kelly trial, it was the young, charismatic Sam Adam Jr. who was chosen to make the closing argument. Adam delivered a bombastic speech that raised the question of whether he’d gone to law school or just watched Al Pacino in …And Justice For All.
He compared a prosecution witness to the devil, quoting the Bible verse, “And Satan shall come disguised as the angel of light.” He raised a laugh from jurors when he mocked a witness’s claim that Kelly carried a bag full of sex tapes, “like a porno Santa Claus.”
Adam’s closing argument was like a brilliant actor’s autobiographical one-man show: It was histrionic, it was entertaining, and it took creative liberties with the story. He bellowed, he whispered, he waved the flag like the grand marshal of a Fourth of July parade.
Given that Blagojevich enjoys quoting poetry, we can expect a literate, oratorical -- and overwrought -- defense.
It may even invoke the Wayans Brothers.