My client, Ron Morgan, had committed two illegal acts as we approached the jury trial in which I was defending him for fraud. The first was forgery, where he had forged invoices in order to charge his client more in an interior decorating job. The second was what in Texas is called a crime of moral turpitude; in this case, having sex with another male in a downtown theater where both participants were caught, charged, and paid a fine.
Less than two days before jury selection, I began to think I could not put Ron on the stand to testify about the forged invoices from the Dallas Market and the overcharging that resulted. If he denied fabricating those invoices and they were proved to be forged, he could be charged with the felony of lying under oath. As if that were not bad enough, if he took the stand, his sexual activities in the theater could be used by opposing counsel to cross-examine him and attack his credibility. It was a serious trial strategy quandary.
Then I began to think that even if he showed up at the courthouse or in the courtroom, opposing counsel could place him on the stand as an adverse witness and go through the same process, setting the felony trap and debasing my client before the jury. This was a hell of a position to be in. In fact, in my entire career as a trial lawyer, I had never been placed in this type of position
I write of this trial, called the Verlander trial, in my book: Observer: The Ronnie Lee and Jackie Bancroft Spencer Morgan Story, a tale of people, greed, envy, manipulation — even crime“
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