Back when I was practicing law for a living and doing this as a hobby that went from paying nothing to paying a little to paying enough to stick my law license in the cushions of a couch and burn it, I’d explain at the start of the trial that the opening statement is the picture on the cover of a puzzle box, and that the jury eventually will piece the puzzle together to make that very picture.
For the trial of three men accused of stabbing Steelers tackle Mike Adams, the pictures on the puzzle box couldn’t be much different.
As explained by Paula Reed Ward of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the prosecution claims that three men stabbed Adams last year during an attempted carjacking. The defense claims that Adams was drunk and obnoxious, that he bumped into one of the men, who dropped his cell phone and shish kebab, and that a fight ensued.
The lawyers representing the defendants continue to insist that Adams is lying to protect himself at work.
“Mike Adams has a huge, multimillion-dollar motive to lie,” attorney Fred Rabner said. “Being out at 3 o’clock in the morning, drunk, is not the Steelers’ way.”
Strengthening the defense is the fact that Adams had a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.185 percent, more than twice the legal limit of 0.08 percent.
Adams still ended up being stabbed, but it will be difficult to eliminate reasonable doubt on the pending charges of attempted murder, conspiracy, and attempted robbery, especially in light of Adams’ inebriation. Not only does his alcohol content make the defendants’ theory of the case more likely but it also makes it hard to rely on Adams’ recollection of the events in question.
The defendants also claim that Adams’ story has changed along the way, which again makes it hard to eliminate reasonable doubt.
It’s still early, but the prosecution in this case is facing an uphill climb. The best chance of a conviction could arise if one or more of the three defendants opt to take the stand, and if they can be caught in one or more lies while testifying.