I wrote about these pictures a few months ago. I love these pictures. I love Joe Hirko’s smile; he’s so happy that his eyes crinkle. And Scott looks so all-American. It is just a great picture – and devastating too, knowing what we know now.
The record offers the following facts:
In January through April 1999 a series of press releases were issued by Enron Broadband Services. These press releases were written by a capable PR professional named Claudia Johnson. At trial she states that she wrote the press releases, relying on the engineering information provided by Stan Hanks and several others. Claudia Johnson took full responsibility for the press releases at trial, and indeed said the language was “boilerplate.”
Joe Hirko, the Co-CEO, approved the press releases.
That much is known. These facts are not up for debate.
The government’s theory is that Joe Hirko, Rex Shelby, and Scott Yeager began to conspire during this time to inflate the price of stock. Already there is a problem with this theory, however. The men were not close. They were not buddies. They never saw each other except for during Hirko’s weekly status meetings. Rex Shelby and Scott Yeager knew each other before they began working together at EBS but their relationship was strictly professional. They did not hang out or have beers together or talk about anything other than work – ever. Neither knew Hirko before becoming involved with EBS. So the CEO, a strategist and a software engineer who don’t really know each other very well or have any personal connection whatsoever, begin to conspire to inflate the stock price.
But then we have the second problem. The press releases, which were the tool of their giant conspiracy, were written by someone else. Yet Claudia Johnson was never accused of any crime, or being a part of any conspiracy. So the three guys who don’t know each other very well have a conspiracy and they are dumb enough to ask Claudia Johnson actually write the fraudulent press releases for them. Instead of just asking Hirko what to say in these fraudulent press releases, Claudia goes to Stan Hanks and others and asks for information. None of these engineering sources were indicted. So Claudia writes the press releases. And we have another problem with the government’s theory.
The press releases are not sent to stock holders, but to journalists. Journalists can talk about the product, but they can’t buy or sell stock. So ultimately, the conspiracy of the Broadband Three is sort of short-range.
Yet the stock does rise.
And now we have our biggest problem: none of the Broadband Three had any Enron stock.
They owned Enron Communications options which they could not exercise at that time — and none did.
So when the stock rose, they were conspiring not to make themselves rich, but their friends at Enron? Why were they working so hard to inflate stock they couldn’t buy or sell? If they are greedy, as the government contends, shouldn’t they get something from their criminal activity?
The record is full of these absurd government theories. The truth about the government’s pursuit of Enron is much more bizarre than fiction. It would be funny if not so bloody tragic for the men who are experiencing the full brunt of the government’s attention every day.
All the Enron Broadband defendant attorneys are brilliant, of course, and they all have strengths that are unique to themselves, and which contributed to the overall strength of the defense (and this is one reason, apart from the defendants’ innocence, why I think there were exactly zero convictions.)
I do not want to tangle – ever – with Per Ramfjord because he apparently has a photographic memory. If you lie to him, he will catch you and make you pay. David Angeli is a brilliant tactician. He has some weird voodoo mind-control power that makes you act exactly as he wants you to act on the stand. Ed Tomko is low-key and friendly, which, I think, lulls
victims witnesses into a false sense of security. Zimmerman is polite to a fault. But my favorite is Scott Yeager’s attorney, Tony Canales. Tony Canales cracks me up. Tony Canales will have you laughing in the seconds before he snaps your back in two and leaves you mortally wounded on the witness stand. It is so smooth, you don’t even feel it at the time. And It might take him a whole day to get to his point but when he does, you are done. He reminds me of one of those supreme sushi chefs who will cut open a fish and leave its heart beating for a few seconds so the patrons can see that this fish is fresh.
It was Tony Canales that asked Ken Rice, “If you said that second [Shelby] tape was played at the conference you’d be a liar, wouldn’t you?”
Poor Ken Rice had no idea what was about to happen to him. None.
I’ve heard from people who know Canales that he’s a total pain in the ass, but that only makes me love him more.
In today’s venture into the Broadband trial, Tony Canales is funny because he gets his client to point out that the key slide from the 2000 AC that was in front of the jury the entire trial had a few key points on it. The entire case is based on if those specific things existed or not on that date and if not then the entire Analyst Conference was a lie. This included the notion of Shelby II but after that was blown out of the water the emphasis was on this slide.
Here is the slide:
Out of an 8 hour day and over 289 or so slides this slide was in front of the analysts for 32 seconds. That is it. The case is based on a slide and definitions of words on a slide that lasted 32 seconds out of an 8 hour day. That is what drove up the Enron stock on Jan 20th 2000 and caused Enron to fail 18 months later?
Also, it drives home why Yeager believed the slide told the truth, the presentation was true and the definitions the Government are forcing on the jury are wrong. Yeager did not have to stand up and say anything because he believed then and still does that everything presented was true. EBS was using real definitions of functionality, not the made up distorted ones the Government used. Those definitions were industry standard ones. The case is full of examples of crossexamination by Angeli and Per on how EBS was redefining QoS and the EIN was by definition a new kind of Network that included applications running on servers.
Here is Canales questioning Yeager on this subject:
Q. As a result of doing this study and the business plan and so forth, sir, did you reach any type of — by
January the 20th, 2000, did you reach any type of belief or an opinion that you honestly held regarding the functionality of the EIN network?
Q. And what was that belief or opinion that you reached, sir?
A. On January 20th, my belief was that we had come a long way during ’99. We had uncovered issues, dealt with them and we had, I believe, at that point, a 14-city fiber optic backbone composed of plenty of bandwidth, conduct business for Media Cast and Media Transport. We had the pooling points in place, which were critical. We had written the software for all of that. It was integrated together. We had a network control system. We had everything we needed to not only deliver those services, but to expand them and to grow new services and
Q. How did you know those things?
A. I knew them from working at the company and going around to different locations within the company. I knew them from observing the actual use of the applications and the equipment, both physically inside of our network in buildings and by going to customer locations.
Q. So, you actually traveled throughout the United States?
Q. Did you, actually, physically go to visit customers?
Q. What, sir, was your belief on January the 20th as to what the EIN network consisted of?
A. Based on what we had as a group or the company had decided to expand the definition of the EIN from earlier, it was very clear to me on that day that the EIN was fiber, servers, pooling points and software.
Q. Did you hold a belief or an opinion, sir, as to whether or not there was the existence of Network Control Software?
Q. And what was that opinion or belief based on?
A. It was based on my experience and knowing what Network Control Software does in networks and what I saw when I was at EBS.
Q. And what did you see when you were at EBS?
A. When I was at EBS, I saw the network operations control center operational earlier in ’99. I saw Jim Rowh give a
presentation in August of ’99 where he articulated all of the software that we had in place and it was up and running. I physically went to it. And then later we were building a NOC in Houston. And, so, it was a lot of different ways that I knew about it.
Q. Now, when you say they were building a NOC in Houston, is that a physical place, the NOC?
A. There is a physical thing called a: Network operations control center”, which is the term we would use with this,
and it’s a room where there’s a lot of computers and software connected through a dedicated private network to
all of the elements inside of the network.
Q. And where was it established here in Houston, this NOC?
A. Well, there’s one in Portland, but the one in Houston — There was a room in the Enron building — the main Enron building that was the room you could go into and see all the screens of all the software that was controlling the network.
Q. Well, I’ve heard something in this case — or have you heard something in this case about a location on Shepherd Street here in Houston?
A. Yes. There was also a location on Shepherd.
Q. What was that location on Shepherd?
A. My recollection is the location on Shepherd has a lot of equipment, but it was more of the staging area for preparing all the servers and the routers and the LAN switches and other things to ship out as we expanded the EIN.
Q. So, then the NOC, as you were describing it to us, was physically located in Downtown Houston?
A. Well, since the — The notion of a NOC is a little — By definition, our notion was a distributed system. The way that you could see the NOC was in a room, and the — there was a room in Houston — in Downtown Houston.
Q. In the Enron building down the street?
A. Right. But some of the servers could have been on Shepherd, they were in Portland, and they were spread all
over the United States on all the EIN POPs.
Q. What about the NOC in Portland?
A. The NOC in Portland was another — was the first instance of it. And there’s people that work in the NOC;
so, that’s why we think of it as a room, because you actually had people man the NOC.
Q. Okay. There’s been a lot of testimony regarding this particular chart here. Do you have a recollection, sir, as
to whether or not this particular chart I’m showing you –And I think it’s a demo exhibit, Government’s Demo
Exhibit 1. Do you see it, sir?
Q. Now, does this same exhibit appear in the Analyst Conference?
Q. All right. Was there a PowerPoint?
A. It was a slide in the PowerPoint.
Q. All right. And I believe that slide was Slide No. — Let me see. I have it right here. Just a second.
Let’s see YD2464 at 182. Out of YD2464. Now, do you have a recollection, sir, as to whether or not this PowerPoint that we’re seeing here ending in 563, as you’ve told us, appeared in the Analyst Conference as part of the video?
Q. All right. And do you know, sir — Well, have I asked you to time how long this particular slide appeared at the
A. Yes, you did.
Q. And how long, sir, did this particular slide appear at the Analyst Conference?
A. From viewing the raw footage, it was 32 seconds.
Q. And how long did you tell this jury that this conference was, sir?
A. It was all day.
Q. Eight hours?
A. Roughly eight hours.
Q. So, you’re talking 32 seconds out of eight hours that this particular slide appears?
Q. And, sir, can you tell the jury whether or not at my request you’ve counted the number of slides that appeared at
the Analyst Conference?
A. Yes. I attempted to count the slides in there, yes.
Q. And how many?
A. There’s like 289 slides or something.
Q. 289 slides. That’s from the beginning, in the morning?
A. From the morning through the afternoon. All day.
Q. Sir, did you have any type of role or participation in the preparation of this particular slide for the Analyst
Q. Did you have any role or participation as to whether or not this would be inserted or deleted?
Q. At the Analyst Conference, sir, did you make any comments on this particular slide?
Q. Well, sir, you — Are you surprised at all, sir, that, you know, you got indicted for a slide that you did not
prepare and that was only up for 32 seconds?
MS. MONACO: Objection, Your Honor.
THE COURT: Objection sustained.
That last question cracks me up. Why did the Government object? I’d be curious to know Mr. Yeager’s answer. And I adore Canales for asking it, though he probably knew that the government would object and pro-government Gilmore would sustain the objection. He had a few of these sly insertions, which I will explore in my next post.
As much as I focus on the Broadband Three and indeed all the Enron defendants, the attorneys are also colorful, interesting and brilliant folks. To illustrate some of this, I’ll be adding more posts about the testimony to show how these men did such great jobs.
Here is funny insight about Bill Collilns’ cross by Joe Hirko’s attorney, Dave Angeli. Angeli did a brilliant job with Collins.
Angeli had a big black notebook with Collins’ 302s and Grand Jury testimony in it. These are not exhibits but can be used with a witness to show he is lying. During the cross, Collins would say something and Angeli would pick up the black notebook, and say “But previously, you said xxxxx, did you not?” The first couple times Angeli used the notebook and Collins resisted, Angeli would hand him the notebook and have him read his previous statements to “refresh his memory.” But eventually, Angeli had Collins trained like Pavlov’s dog. All Angeli had to do eventually is put his hand on the notebook and Collins would agree with Angeli. It was both funny and sad to see a grown man behave like Collins.
Collins is simply a congenital liar or medically delusional. What does it say about Kroger that he would shape his case on the words of a man in that sorry condition?
There exists a photograph of the Broadband Three taken for a trade magazine in 1999. Joe Hirko is on the left, Scott Yeager in the middle, Rex Shelby on the right; they are crammed on a stairwell and behind them are the 28 employees at EBS. Joe Hirko is positively glowing. He is smiling so broadly that his eyes are crinkled. Scott Yeager looks like he’s with his best buddies, all-American, relaxed and happy. Rex Shelby is also smiling, and he has a mustache, which lasted about a year. He has one hand on the banister of the staircase and his foot is on the step in front of him, slightly closer to the camera than anyone else, as if the photographer caught him in mid-step, rushing upward to bigger and better things. Looking at the picture, it is possible believe that time fractured in that second, that somehow a future was manufactured out of the hope in the men’s eyes and they are right now living the lives they should have had for the past nine years.
The events that happened after that picture was taken are images created by monsters. Joe Hirko, an honest, good man, has pleaded guilty to something he did not do. Scott Yeager, though he won at the Supreme Court, is not yet free of the prosecution. Rex Shelby, a software engineer who cares only about achievement, remains accused of lying about the software he created.
I want to go back to the instant the picture was snapped, and I want to warn them. I want to tell them that the company will collapse, their whole enterprise will fail, you will be accused of lying, your products will be mocked, you will face prosecution, you will go to trial, you will lose huge sums of money, your wives will cry, your children will suffer, you will not succeed!
But they won’t listen. They would never listen. You can see it in their faces. They do not believe in failure. They can not even conceive of it. All they know is success, and they are stepping up, up, up reaching out for it, and you know – though they do not – that it is not the software that will ultimately fail, it is the people are they are working so hard to serve. People will turn their backs, and turn out the lights, and leave the three good men frozen in 1999, condemned, with smiles on their faces that would break your heart.
Rex Shelby stood in the cafeteria line, trying very hard to appear indifferent to the fact that the prettiest girl in school was standing right behind him. Katie was in two of his classes but he hardly ever talked to her. While most of his friends had gone through pre-K and elementary school together, Katie had moved over the summer and appeared in the sixth grade, fitting right in with everyone as if she was one of them. She was small and efficient; something about her reminded him of a hummingbird, always flitting from one place to the next. Also: she was was the purest ivory-cream perfection, with wide-spaced hazel eyes, thick brown hair and pale skin. Under her prim blue shift, he could detect a supple developing body.
He turned around and looked at her, trying very hard to be casual. “Hi.”
“What’s up, cowboy?”
He grabbed a chicken sandwich.
Katie smiled. “I’m a vegetarian.”
He wasn’t sure what to say about that. He grabbed a carton of milk, paid for his lunch and walked to the table where Scott, Ken and Joe had witnessed the whole miserable exchange.
“She talked to you!” Joe hissed at him.
“I’m an idiot,” he said and took a drink of his milk. “I’m a complete idiot. She told me she was a vegetarian and I didn’t say anything. I just walked away.”
He glanced over at her, now sitting at a table with her girlfriends. She was smiling and laughing with the group; she didn’t even noticed that he hadn’t said anything.
He knew it as certainly as he knew his own name: he had really, truly messed up his only chance to impress her.
She was in his language arts class and science class. In science, after lunch, she sat in the middle of the classroom, her intelligent little face watching the teacher with an earnestness that made his heart ache. He didn’t understand her at all. She unexpectedly glanced over and smiled. Only then did he realize he had been holding his breath. Breathing was suddenly the most wonderful, fizzy feeling in the world; he had to smile back.
He blinked, realizing the teacher was speaking to him.
“Mr. Shelby, is something funny?”
“No,” he replied and looked down at his paper. Though he was smiling and happy, this was most definitely not funny. It was the most serious thing he had ever known. Therefore, he could not risk looking at her again.
It was fortunate that his logical side kicked in because the teacher was assigning a very big project and he had to pay attention. The task seemed crazy: “invent something”.
“It can be anything,” the teacher was saying. “It just has to be your own idea and you can not spend more than $100 on it.”
Rex wrote down, “$100″ on his paper.
“You will work in teams of four. Any questions?”
Katie raised her hand. “Is the $100 for each of us, or for the whole project?”
“For the whole project,” said the teacher. “However a company in California has agreed to partner with our school. Whoever makes the best project will get a four thousand dollar check to put toward your college education. That is one thousand dollars for each member of your team.”
Rex wrote down, “$1000!” on his paper. The number seemed incredibly huge. If his team won, he wouldn’t need to work as much through college, which would enable him to concentrate completely on his studies. This seemed like a great opportunity.
“Any other questions?”
Katie raised her hand again.
“Does it have to be, like, an actual thing or can we make an idea like a business plan?”
The teacher smiled. “There has to be some physical component. Okay? Any other questions?”
With no further questions, the teacher directed them to get into their groups and brainstorm on their inventions. Naturally, Rex, Ken, Scott and Joe gravitated together. Once he was with the boys, he didn’t look back at Katie. He was working and he took work very seriously. “I have an idea,” Scott said. “What if we make, like, a way to watch movies on the internet.”
“Like DVDs?” Joe asked.
“No, like you go to a website and you can watch movies.”
It sounded good to Rex. And more importantly, he was sure it would win the $1000.
Hours later, in Language Arts, the boy behind him tapped him on the shoulder. Rex turned and the boy handed him a piece of paper. Rex took it, holding it under the desk to keep it out of the view of the teacher. Very large blue loopy writing jumped off the page; all the loops seemed for a moment unreadable, so he looked immediately at the bottom of the page. It was signed Katie. He felt a pulse of surprise and pleasure. He squinted and read through her viney handwriting:
Hi Rex, it is me Katie. What is your project in Science?????? Our group is making a delivery service for kids we are buying Baskets for our Bikes and we are making a website where kids can make orders for things like candy or pizza or pencils or stuff like that. I want to make sure we have like pink pencils and blue pencils and green pencils and some cool pens and some nice erasers and maybe some pads of paper and like some rubber bands for girls who wear their hair back and because it can get really annoying in the Summer Time to have your hair down, it is very hot, you would not know about that because you are a boy, hahaha but you do have nice hair and I like your eyes a lot, they are very pretty, you have nice eyes. We think it is a good project. We think we will win the prize. What is your project???????
Rex surreptitiously wrote, “Movie website.” He passed the note back to the boy behind him. The note made its way across the classroom to Katie, who was sitting by the windows. The afternoon light was streaming through the windows; she looked angelic with the blue sky and fluffy clouds behind her. He watched as she unfolded the note. She didn’t smile. She didn’t appear to think the movie idea was very good at all. With an expressionless face, she read the words, then tucked the note neatly inside her book. She didn’t look at him for the rest of the class.
He wasn’t sure about this Katie girl. She didn’t act like other girls. He just didn’t know what to make of her. Anyway, he had work to do. He bent his head to the worksheet the teacher had assigned.
After the bell rang, he waited until Katie had packed up her stuff and walked with her into the hallway. “Did you like my project idea?”
She turned to him with a frown. “Yes I like it a lot but you apparently don’t like mine at all. You didn’t say anything!”
“You just asked me what our project was.”
She rolled her eyes. “I said you had pretty eyes.”
Rex was in completely unfamiliar territory. He looked at her helplessly, trying to figure out what he was supposed to say. “Sorry,” he said finally.
She smiled. “It’s okay.”
He saw Scott coming down the hallway so he said, “See ya tomorrow,” and walked away. Scott said, “What was that about?”
“She needed help with her homework.”
Later that evening, in the large dining room at Ken’s house, the boys sat around the table with notebooks.
“I’m the leader,” said Ken.
“Why are you the leader?” Joe asked.
“Because I said so.”
“I want to be the leader.”
“You can both be the leader,” Rex said. He was eager to get to work and didn’t care for the self-imposed bureaucracy of official roles.
To his surprise both Joe and Ken seemed to accept that. Scott rolled his eyes and Rex laughed.
Ken said, “What we’re going to do is, make a website where you can download videos, like YouTube but for movie companies. Rex, you’re the technology man. Scott, you’re going to find us a client.”
“What are you going to do?” Rex asked.
“I’m going to manage.”
Rex didn’t want to argue. He would concentrate on his own part of the project. He had been playing with computers since he was four; he was very certain he could put together a great website. Any obstruction to success wasn’t the bickering between Joe and Ken, it was the fact that Katie kept sneaking into his thoughts, distracting him.
The day before the project was due, Rex walked into the cafeteria and saw Katie in line. She waved at him, and he approached. “Here, you can cut in line,” she said.
“No, it’s okay, I’ll wait.”
She squinted at him.
“I can’t cut. That’s cheating.”
She shrugged. “Suit yourself.”
He walked to the back of the line and watched as she paid for her vegetarian lunch and walked over to the girl’s table.
Rex ate his lunch with Scott, Joe and Ken as they talked about their project. Ken suddenly dropped his fork. “Oh my God, we forgot to make a video to upload.”
Rex slumped in his chair. He had been so busy with the technology he hadn’t thought about the actual video. “Okay,” he said, “come over to my house after school and we’ll make some videos.”
During Language Arts, he received a note from Katie.
Hi it’s me Katie!!!! Are you finished with your project? We are finished with ours. We are going to win the prize tomorrow hahaha I hope you do well though!
He picked up his pencil and wrote:
Do you want to come over to my house this afternoon to help us with our videos?
He passed it through class. It returned thirty seconds later:
YES COOL OKAY!!!!!! OKAY I WILL BE THERE AFTER SCHOOL OKAY THANKS!
That girl was a spaz. But she was cute.
By three o’clock all the boys and Katie were in Rex’s room. Katie looked uncomfortable. She looked somehow smaller without the context of school. Maybe it was just because there were four boys and only one girl. “Okay, we need to make a video,” Scott said. “What should we do?”
“I’ll just talk about the technology,” Rex said. “Then we can upload it onto the website and show it for our final presentation.”
“What do you need me for?” Katie asked.
“You can introduce us,” Rex said. What he was thinking is that he would get extra points for having a member of another team on the video.
They went into the living room to film. Katie sat on the sofa while Scott filmed the introduction. Then he turned the camera to Rex. Rex talked for two minutes about the technology. He described what the technology could do right now, and also how it could be expanded to be even better.
“That’s it,” Scott said and put the camera on the table.
“I’m thirsty,” Joe said.
“There’s soda in the fridge.”
Scott, Joe and Ken went into the kitchen. Katie sat very still on the sofa. Rex sat down beside her. “You looked really cute,” Katie said.
She smelled nice, like Hershey kisses and cherry lip gloss. He picked up her hand, and she looked at him. He made his move and kissed her.
He pulled back just as Joe came around the corner. “You want a soda?”
“I have to go,” Katie said suddenly. She said goodbye and ran out the front door.
Scott grabbed his camera. “I have to go too.”
Rex said goodbye to his friends and slumped down on the sofa. He was excited about the project but he was also worried because Katie didn’t seem happy. “Girls,” he muttered, “what do they want?”
The next morning, Scott cornered Rex before first period. “The video,” he hissed. “It shows you kissing Katie!”
Rex betrayed no emotion. “Are you sure?”
“Dude, I think I would know if I am seeing you kiss Katie.”
“Okay, well we can’t show the video then.”
“We have to. You explain how the technology works.”
Rex shook his head. “I’m not going to embarrass Katie that way. No way. Just don’t use it.”
“You think we can still win?”
“Sure. But don’t use the video. And don’t tell Katie.”
Scott said okay.
When Rex saw Katie at lunch she was already sitting at the table with the girls. He smiled and she smiled back. He was feeling better about the whole thing.
During science, he watched Katie’s group give their presentation. The girls had hand-made some baskets for the handlebars of their bikes and handed out papers that showed a business plan for their delivery service for kids.
After they were finished, the teacher called Rex’s group. Each of the four boys spoke about their video system.
They didn’t show the video, but Rex was pretty sure they did okay. The students clapped wildly and the teacher even said it was amazing. They would have to wait until Monday to find out their grades, and who won the $1,000.
During Language Arts, he sent Katie a note:
Hi Katie, you look pretty today.
Within seconds, the note returned to him with her large, blue, loopy, crazy handwriting:
Hi!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was worried because you didn’t talk to me during lunch after you kissed me yesterday. Hahaha you kissed me, that was nice I really thought you were very sweet but when you did it it surprised me so I hope that’s okay that I left like I did but I felt shy and I thought your friends needed to finish the project and today I see that you did a lot of good work!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You have a great project and I am sure that you will be getting a 100 but I hope our team wins the $1000 because I would spend it on books, I want to go to medical school!!!! I want to be a heart surgeon because they make a lot of money and are good people!!!!! XOXO Katie
On Monday, as soon as Rex sat down at his desk in algebra, he was surprised to hear his name called over the loud speaker with Joe, Scott and Ken. The four boys convened in the principal’s office. “You’ve been accused of cheating,” the principal said. “The website doesn’t do what you claim it does.”
Bewildered, Rex looked to Scott, who shrugged.
“The teacher is willing to give you an opportunity to re-do the project. Meanwhile, you’re all getting detention.”
Rex stood in mute shock.
“Rex, apparently you showed a video about the technology?”
Rex shook his head. “No, I didn’t.”
“He did!” Ken exclaimed. “He did! He lied about the technology. It was his idea. He said in the video that you could buy movies from big movie companies but really you couldn’t. It was like YouTube and he was saying it was like Comcast OnDemand.”
Rex listened calmly. He did not understand what was happening. Why was his friend, and the project leader, lying about him? Why would he do that?
“Go back to class, boys.”
Rex walked back to class with a heavy heart. He kept trying to figure out what happened. He got a partial answer at lunch. Ken wasn’t at the table. Scott and Joe looked as depressed as he felt. “The principal is saying if I admit to cheating, I can serve a week detention and be done with it,” said Joe. “If I don’t, he’s threatening to fail me for the year.”
“What are you gonna do?” Rex asked.
“I can’t admit to something I didn’t do,” Joe said miserably. Rex thought of Joe’s family. His mom and dad and siblings were all very accomplished people. If Joe failed sixth grade, they’d be extremely upset.
Scott was angry. “This is bullshit! This is totally bullshit! I’m going to the superintendent. I’m not letting these assholes get away with this. No way.”
After lunch, Rex saw Katie in the hallway. He pulled her out of the flow of traffic to the lockers. “I guess you heard that we’re accused of cheating.”
She smiled. “I know.”
“Ken said we did. And I think Joe is going to say so too.”
“I know you didn’t.”
He nodded. “Okay.”
“I have to tell you something,” she said. “Our team won the $1000.”
Rex was genuinely happy for her. He thought of her in medical school, mending people’s hearts. It seemed to fit. Spontaneously he leaned forward and kissed her again. “You’re gonna get us in trouble!” she laughed.
He shrugged. There was nothing anyone could do to him. He was innocent.
As of this writing, Ken was given detention and released.
Joe confessed to cheating and is expected to receive his detention in the next six months. He is expected to graduate with the other sixth graders.
Scott took his case all the way to the Superintendent. The superintendent will rule on Scott’s case in the next month.
Rex maintains his innocence. The principal has agreed not to assign Rex to detention until the superintendent rules on Scott’s case.
Katie has changed her mind about medical school and plans to get an MBA instead, so she can implement her idea of a delivery service for kids.
If someone had described this suit and necktie combination to me, I would cut them off and say, “No. Just no.” Seriously, goldish-brown necktie and charcoal suit? Nothankyouverymuch.
But wow, he looks effortlessly great here. The suit looks terrific on him. I love how long the sleeves are – they fall on his wrists beautifully. The necktie has color but is unobtrusive. And wow, that shirt is dazzling white. Scott Yeager bats it out of the park with this one. He represents the Broadband Three very well.
More impressions of the Scott Yeager oral arguments at the Supreme Court have come in. Basically the consensus seems to be that the Justices appeared to favor Yeager, which, of course, is great news.
The transcript of the argument can be found here.
While scanning the transcript, I could detect the “spaces” where Buffone could have made some great points – the same misses that my first spy found.
I’m wary of guessing what any Justice thinks – it’s impossible to know the minutia of how they arrive at their conclusions – but based on the news reports, the transcripts, and what my peeps are saying, I think Scott Yeager and Rex Shelby have a good chance (maybe, 70%?) of prevailing on Yeager’s collateral estoppel argument. If indeed they win on this, it means that Shelby will have to go through an appeals process to have the new or clarified law applied to his case.
And it also means the Broadband Two will have won, and the Government will once again be handed a big slice of Failure Pie.
My spies at the Supreme Court have reported back. Though it’s always difficult to figure out what the Justices are thinking, the initial impression is that Scott Yeager’s attorney, Sam Buffone, gave a lackluster performance, missed several opportunities to make excellent points, and didn’t reply to several direct questions from the Justices.
Chron has a much more optimistic take, however. A quote from super liberal Justice Steven Breyer delivers the ray of hope that I was hoping for: “I can’t think of any reason for allowing the government a second bite at this apple,” Associate Justice Steven Breyer said during oral arguments in the case today.”
It’s my hope the article is closer to reality and that the Justices will rule that collateral estoppel must be applied in the case of Scott Yeager, and to Rex Shelby.
More as more details become available.