• Cocktails

    Gin Van, Joan Collins and Rare Earth

    Friday is upon us, so a few notes about cocktails. The cocktail snob is suffering a (deserved) backlash, as Robert O. Simonson of the New York Times points out in When Bad Drinks Go Good: Just as the cocktail renaissance has brought renewed fame to classics like the martini, the Manhattan and the Negroni, it has heaped fresh infamy on a rogues’ gallery of less classy concoctions, most of which emerged during the final decades of the last century. Now a backlash of sorts has begun, as some high-end bartenders apply their skills to a new challenge: doing bad drinks well. Bars like Holiday Cocktail Lounge in New York; Pépé Le Moko…

  • Crime Fiction,  Film,  Privilege,  Trials, Judges and Jurors

    White-Collar Motive, Gun Crazy Movie

    In 1950, producers Frank and Maurice King released Gun Crazy, a sometimes surreal Bonnie-and-Clyde story with an introverted, pacifist gun lover (Barton Tare, played by John Dall) and an English femme fatale sharpshooter  (Annie Laurie Starr, played by Peggy Cummins).  Carried forward by his lust for and fascination with Annie, the non-violent Bart — without thinking or planning — becomes a robber and, eventually, an accessory to murder. A classic American film noir, Gun Crazy has merited a book (Eddie Mueller’s Gun Crazy: The Origin of American Outlaw Cinema) and much commentary by film buffs.  It also gives us insight into a common question in white-collar cases: “Why did he [or she, but usually…

  • Search Warrants

    Search Warrants and Russia Raids

    The execution of a search warrant on a residence owned by Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign director, raises some interesting questions.  Search warrants are rarely necessary in white-collar cases, yet their use seems to be more and more common. Here was my take on Brian Williams’s MSNBC show The 11th Hour: As I told Michael Schmidt of the New York Times: “A search warrant is very bracing for the person who is being searched,” said Jack Sharman, the former special counsel to the House Banking Committee during its Whitewater investigation of President Bill Clinton in the 1990s. “It’s very invasive and sends a loud statement from the prosecutors to the…