Lawyer Arthur Aidala continues his practice-building and attention-getting media tour. And in so doing he continues to arguably undermine the interests of his newest client, Hall of Fame linebacker Lawrence Taylor.
In a Friday afternoon appearance with Mike Francesa of WFAN, Aidala made several key — and possibly unwise — concessions.
First, and most importantly, Aidala acknowledged that ignorance of the alleged victim’s age is no defense to the charge of third-degree (i.e., statutory) rape. “100 percent,” Aidala said, even if the woman lied about her age.
Aidala then explained that, if the alleged victim admits that the defendant was concerned about her age and that she lied about her age, it could be a mitigating factor in plea negotiations. (Aidala cited his own experience as a prosecutor in support of this point.)
But Aidala overlooked one important aggravating factor — the Plaxico phenomenon. A big fish caught red handed helps advance in dramatic fashion law enforcement’s mission to deter crime. The intense media coverage that the case has received and will receive sends a powerful message to every man (or, theoretically, woman) who may be inclined to purchase the services of a prostitute that there are real risks, and real consequences, for this supposedly victimless crime.
Later in the interview, Francesa was marveling at the fact that the judge opted to read the charges verbatim during Thursday’s televised arraignment, assuming that the judge was merely looking for his “10 minutes” of air time. Aidala joined in the speculation without acknowledging the mindset that he surely applied as a prosecutor — if clear evidence of guilt falls into the lap of the law regarding a high-profile defendant, the law realizes that the process can have far-reaching benefits when it comes to scaring low-profile people into not committing crimes.
So if ignorance isn’t a defense, what will the defense be? Apparently, Aidala hopes to argue that Taylor did not have “sex” with the girl but, presumably, “Clinton sex.” We’ve yet to research whether the law contemplates intercourse only or whether it applies to some other form of sexual contact, but it appears that Taylor plans to admit that something happened. “The evidence is gonna show that there was some contact between the two and that they did not have sex,” Aidala said, explaining that by “sex” he meant intercourse.
Part of the problem here is that, before L.T. got “lawyered up,” he gave a statement to authorities. Aidala has yet to receive a copy of the statement, and Aidala made it clear he’s prepared to attack any aspect of the statement and the manner in which it was gathered in any way that these things can be attacked.
Aidala also promised to investigate “every aspect” of the case, and even though Taylor’s agent, Mark Lepselter, dismissed the possibility of a “set up” during a Friday appearance on Today, Aidala mentioned the possibility of extortion at least twice during the interview.
In all, it was informative and it was entertaining. But we still don’t understand how any of this benefits Taylor. Surely, prosecutors are listening to everything Aidala says, making strategic plans and decisions accordingly. At best, Aidala’s visit with Francesa has let us all know that we can fully expect him or Taylor to answer a question by saying that it “depends upon what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.”