The Man Behind DSK's Defense

By Chloe Sarnoff All anyone can talk about these days are the allegations of attempted rape against Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the now former Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).  Stories about DSK, and others involved in the case, have appeared on the front page of nearly every newspaper and news website since his arrest.  Everything about this case is juicy and high profile and would make anyone raise an eyebrow (if not two).  The Forum has a particularly vested interest in the upcoming trial because one of our very own film festival guest speakers, Benjamin Brafman, has been named lead defense attorney for DSK.  Brafman is no stranger to highly publicized cases, and is well versed in how to handle celebrity clients. While DSK may not have been considered a celebrity, his recent stay at the Sofitel Hotel in New York City has made him the type of well-known


An Important Step For Legal Content

By Ben Falk There has been an interesting development in the way users consume cultural products. It seems, for the first time, according to the network-management software company Sandvine, that legal content distribution represents the largest percentage of Internet use. Specifically, Netflix’s streaming service is responsible for this transformation. For a long time, peer-to-peer networks represented the largest share of Internet use, much to the consternation of the entertainment industry. A great deal of the content “shared” over these networks is copyrighted, such as songs, movies, TV shows, etc, which, as can be imagined, does not sit well with many content creators. However, it seems the old Internet adage that people will always choose free content over content they must pay for is finally proved false. That Netflix and real-time entertainment consumption now represent the largest share of Internet traffic is a harbinger of greater things. Essentially, it means that the


Happy Birthday Dr. Death

By Chloe Sarnoff Time may be running out for former Forum Film Festival guest, Jack Kevorkian, or as others call him, Dr. Death.  Kevorkian, who turns 83 years old, tomorrow, May 26th, has recently returned to William Beaumont Hospital in Detroit, Michigan to be treated for pneumonia and kidney problems.  Kevorkian became famous (and in some circles infamous) during the 1990’s for advocating and administering physician assisted suicide.  His face was front and center of countless newspapers and magazines and his controversial beliefs were the subject of many talk shows.  In 1999, Kevorkian was found guilty of second-degree murder and sentenced to 10-25 years in prison for assisting the suicide of 52-year old Thomas Youk, who suffered from severely advanced ALS. Youk’s death was filmed and aired on national television and created even more polarized debate on Kevorkians advocacy of physician assisted suicide. Kevorkian rejected legal aid from attorneys and


He can bail out the global economy, but can he bail himself out? Dominique Strauss-Kahn on trial

By Erica Zaragoza Known as “The Great Seducer,” Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), earned this not so endearing moniker through allegations of sexual misconduct, forcible attempted rape, and affairs dating back years. It also appropriately describes DSK’s latest indictment for attempted rape for an incident at NYC’s Sofitel Hotel victimizing a maid. The scrutiny to which these affairs have been investigated, since the rape allegation, have caused increasingly mixed emotions. On one side you have those outraged, condemning DSK for his behavior and demanding an immediate replacement to assume responsibilities at the IMF, and on the other you have those defending the accused saying it’s all a conspiracy. Unsympathetic onlookers from Paris believe the maid’s allegation is part of a conspiracy to get DSK out of power. DSK was an influential banker, known by his confidants and colleagues as a master of persuasion and mediation.


Was the Moral Lawyer Hiding in LA?

For the tried and true New York native fan of Law & Order, there seemed little to look forward to with Law & Order: LA. Regardless of whether the structure would be the same, the idea of Los Angeles as a character in the show (the way New York very much was) left a good deal to be desired. Considering the national perception of the area, it seemed as though it would be difficult not to focus on movie stars and the wealthy in order for people to “buy” the “LA-ness” of the new series. “Ripped from US Weekly” or some other tabloid simply seemed silly when compared with storylines ripped from the New York Times. And yet, Law & Order: LA had a different trick up its sleeve. Granted, it was after a hiatus for a revamping, but the show returned with a new attitude. More specifically, Deputy District


Taboos in Film: "Burning Palms"

The film “Burning Palms,” directed by Christopher B. Landon, features five vignettes that explore taboos in five affluent Los Angeles area neighborhoods.  “Burning Palms” displays the conventional personas the characters portray on the surface and the gritty events that occur behind closed doors.  The film examines an array of poignant social issues in a darkly comedic manner. “The Green Eyed Monster” takes place in Santa Monica, and centers on the relationship between Dennis Marx, played by Dylan McDermott, his 14-year-old daughter, and his fiancé.  Marx and his daughter have an unusual and inappropriate relationship, and when Marx’s fiancé meets his daughter for the first time and sees the nature of the relationship, his fiancé becomes so jealous and disturbed that she is driven to suicide. “The Little Piggy” features the relationship of a young couple in Westwood.  Chad asks his girlfriend, Ginny, to perform an odd sexual act, and she


Oliver Stone — 2011 Film Festival Guest!

Legendarily acclaimed film producer and director Oliver Stone will be making his Forum debut at the 2011 Film Festival in October. Stone has proved to be a controversial storyteller and a profoundly resonant movie maker, with films such as Platoon, Wall Street, JFK, World Trade Center, The People vs. Larry Flynt, The Joy Luck Club, Any Given Sunday, and Natural Born Killers, just to name a few. To his credit these movie titles elicit more emotions than most films can attain in full. He has made a career on resilience and personal experience that has created the man, the legend, Oliver Stone, Academy Award winning filmmaker. I remember being in a history course surveying the 1960s the first time I watched Platoon. Simultaneously, we studied the massacre of innocent civilians in the town of My Lai, the massive United States cover-up, and the reverberating consequences of the war in Vietnam


Osama Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Adolf Eichmann — and Revenge

With the assassination of an unarmed Osama bin Laden and questions arising whether he should have been abducted and brought to the United States to stand trial, the distinctions between justice and revenge once more confuse and confound the law abiding. Fifty years ago Israel’s spy network kidnapped Hitler’s most trusted henchman, Adolf Eichmann, from a suburb in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he had been hiding for 10 years. The Israelis drugged and disguised him as an El Al flight attendant, and spirited him to a Jerusalem courtroom where he would become known as the infamous man in the bulletproof glass booth. Read the full article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/thane-rosenbaum/osama-bin-laden-saddam-hu_b_858390.html Thane Rosenbaum


The Concept of Relevancy from a Moral Justice Perspective

There is a Law & Order episode in which a defendant is on trial for murdering his business partner, with whom he ran an illegal gambling operation.  During the proceedings, the defendant admits to stealing money from the illicit venture, and further acknowledges that his partner; the “muscle” of the operation, found out about his theft. This evidence is admitted under the pretense that it is relevant; it goes to demonstrating the defendant’s motive for the murder. The more interesting exchange occurs when the defendant is asked what he did with the money.  As it happens, the defendant was sending the money to Israel to buy medical supplies in order to assist citizens harmed by anti-Semitism.  The now deceased partner was portrayed as some brute standing in the way of this noble pursuit. As one with a legal predisposition would imagine, this testimony was objected to by District Attorney Jack


"Michael Clayton" – A tale of the moral lawyer

No film of recent memory does a better job in portraying the moral dissonance carried by the modern corporate lawyer than “Michael Clayton,” a legal drama starring George Clooney. In the film, George Clooney’s character (Michael Clayton) plays “the fixer” in a white shoe New York firm. As “the fixer,” his job is not to litigate cases or go to trial, but instead, Michael Clayton serves as the first responder to touchy situations where the firm needs a person to run immediate damage control and work to cover up incriminating evidence. Indeed, the firm calls Michael a “janitor,” due to his knack for cleaning up messy situations. Without a doubt, Michael Clayton’s job runs counter to the Moral Paradigm described in “The Myth of Moral Justice”. Instead of working to reveal truth, Michael’s sole job description is to hide the truth and protect his client’s from future liability. The film