Thomas Murphy Discusses Litigation Lessons from a “Varsity Blues” Acquittal
August 2022 | Category: News
In an article published by Law360, commercial litigation attorney Thomas Murphy addressed why the acquittal in the recent ”Varsity Blues” trial against defendant Amin Khoury, was not surprising and what attorneys can learn from how each side chose to present the facts during the trial.
The federal investigation code-named “Operation Varsity Blues” stemmed from allegations that wealthy celebrities and corporate executives had conspired with insiders at elite universities in an elaborate pay-for-play scheme to gain admission for their children. Tom’s article focuses on the Khoury case, which alleged the defendant’s involvement with securing his daughter’s admission to Georgetown University.
Tom explains, “Although most of the individuals charged in the “Varsity Blues” investigation ultimately chose to plead guilty, defendant Amin Khoury was acquitted, and the way his defense team chose to frame the facts in the trial narrative is instructive.” Notably, the defense recognized that there were certain facts it could not run away from and, consequently, made the tactical decision to embrace them.
The government, on the other hand, overpromised and undelivered. Tom writes in the article, “As an advocate, it is the attorney’s job to paint facts in the light most favorable to the client. This, however, can lead to a temptation to oversell and attempt to paint the facts as different, or better, than they really are. Succumbing to this temptation can be detrimental.”