January 27, 2004

Three Martha Stewart things:

1. The Martha Stewart trial: sketchbook version.

2. Challenging Juror #1, the dithering housewife, former corporate lawyer, whom the defense loves.

3. A sober analysis of the jury ("Working Women Dominate the Jury For Stewart's Trial"). Leslie Eaton writes in the NYT:
[S]ome trial watchers said the jury's composition could tilt in favor of Ms. Stewart, whose lawyers, according to experts, hoped to seat a jury that would not be put off by Ms. Stewart's business success, stock market experience, or by the exacting Stewart persona itself.

While the jury members may not be as successful as Ms. Stewart, said Robert B. Hirschhorn, a jury consultant based in Dallas, "they may feel they have kind of walked in Martha Stewart's shoes."

Usually, he said, women jurors tend to be more judgmental of women defendants than men are, which suggests that the jury might favor the prosecution. But, he added, "an educated jury, virtually all employed, a lot in positions where they are required to make quick and important decisions — that all bodes well for Martha Stewart." ...

How much such details matter is always guesswork in court cases, where juries are supposed to base their decisions on the evidence and the law. But everyone involved in this case has paid careful attention to the atmospherics, and to the sexual politics of putting a powerful woman on trial for a corporate crime.
I see we're still saying "sexual politics." The female contestants on "The Apprentice" use their sexuality as much as possible, and the Times calls it "us[ing] their gender," but the way people think about a powerful, exacting woman is "sexual politics."

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