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« Courtroom Update, Part 2 | Main | Higher, Dire Education »

Thursday, February 28 2008

Closing Arguments Close Out

Charles_enderlin2aThe closing arguments are over and our Take a Pen colleague, Endre Mozes is happy to be out of the courtroom where Philippe Karsenty and France 2 went head to head over the al-Dura video. No verdict was delivered. That'll happen on March 21.

"It was a fight of the institutional thinking," said Mozes. "The strongest argument France 2 could come up with is that Charles Enderlin is an institution in this country. They said that [Jamal] Al-Dura was visited by Jordan's king, which shows how important this case is. France 2 wanted to show how respected personalities participated. They hardly challenged the facts and preferred to play up the players and institutions involved."

Mozes said the French TV network's lawyers also sought to discredit Karsenty with handwriting analysis, treating him him as lightweight. "They ridiculed him, like, how dare he criticize an institution like France 2" Mozes said.

Will the three-judge panel break from the conventional wisdom? That's the million dollar question. "It'll require a lot of courage," Mozes said, crediting Judge Laurence Trebucq for giving Karsenty time and leeway to show all the material he wanted.

Although Mozes described Karsenty's presentation as "cool and articulate," Mozes suggests Karsenty may have overprepared. "There are so many strong arguments showing that something isn't right with the video. Karsenty got lost in a huge number of arguments, rather than hammer home at three or four."

Talal_abu_rahmaOne of the evening's surprises was Charles Enderlin's revelation that he relied on the Shin Bet's assessment of cameraman Talal Abu Rama (pictured, right).

"In the Israeli press, there's a general belief that Palestinian journalsts and photographers are unreliable. Enderlin said his experience is that they are reliable. He said he asked the Shin Bet about Talal Abu Rama and they said he was clean. When the Shin Bet says he's clean, they only say he's not involved in terrorism that but doesn't vouch for the reliability off his journalism. But for Enderlin, it was enough."

Watch this exclusive interview with Mideast expert and media analyst Tom Gross about the al-Dura controversy.

UPDATE March 1: We received incorrect information about the verdict. The court's decision will be handed down on May 22.



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The French court is to rule on the Al-Dura case on March 21. Purim. How appropriate.

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