Blog of Mass Distraction

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

The Verdict is In

Two men have been found not guilty in the longest, most protracted trial in Canadian history. Ripudaman Singh Malik and Ajaib Singh Bagri were both acquitted on charges of being involved with the 1985 bombing of Air India flight 182. The verdict, which was some 20 years in the making, crushed the hopes for justice for families of the victims. During the course of the trial there were many calls for an inquiry by the Canadian government into what was, until 9-11-2001, the worst act of airplane terrorism in the world. But those calls were dismissedd pending the outcome of the extended trial; now the calls are being dismissed because the trial was so extensive it's already covered everything, or so says Public Safety Minister Anne McLellan. The cases against Bagri and Malik were known for some time to be circumstantial at best because of problems with the witness testimony. The crown has not decided about an appeal yet. A third man, Inderjit Singh Reyat pleaded guilty to making the bombs that were meant for the Air India planes. He's serving out his sentence.

South of the border, former WorldCom (aka MCI) CEO Bernard Ebbers was found guilty of massive fraud. The CEO was convicted of cooking the books at WorldCom (in order to save his personal fortune in stock) to the tune of $11 billion US. While he'll likely appeal the convictions on numerous charges, the only defense that Ebbers could muster was ignorance, he claims he didn't know about the funny math and left running the business to underlings. Ebbers, already in his 60s, could be sentenced to serve up to 85 years in prison. This doesn't bode well for former Enron chief Ken Lay who has yet to go through his ordeal. Both Lay and Ebbers faced similar circumstances and both had their CFOs cut deals for agreeing to testify against them.
Martha Stewart, who was found guilty for other charges in her trial some time ago, has already been released from prison.


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