Google and Yahoo are search engines of astonishing reach and daily utility but I’m a little disappointed in them tonight: they were only able to provide one picture of Aisha Gaddafi, daughter of Muammar and newest member of the rapidly growing Saddam legal team that now numbers twenty-one professional and hundreds of volunteer lawyers. If she stays on the team and can speak well in court, Aisha is going to upstage Saddam and be the star of the trial. Yes, this woman is a beauty. She’s got olive skin, an exotic Sophia Loren nose and mouth, and her (probably professionally) blond hair illuminates the aforementioned attributes. Now, in order to more powerfully position herself for pretrial publicity, Aisha needs to have cameras film her while she exercises in leotards then, when she’s more formally attired, follow as she frolics in the cafes of Paris where she attended the Sorbonne.
The biggest courtroom battle probably won’t be between Saddam and the prosecutors but between Aisha and teammate Giovanni di Stefano, an Anglo-Italian lawyer who is unlikely to tolerate being relegated to a character role. Giovanni heretofore has been the star at trials, a supremely proud “devil’s advocate” who has defended a Serbian warlord and a road rage killer, and handled the appeal of a man convicted of murdering five family members. Giovanni describes himself as a lucky man – he says he was twice late to airports, once in Pakistan and once in Kuwait, and each time his intended plane crashed – but he had a damn tough break when the most prolific serial killer in British history committed suicide and thereby deprived this enterprising attorney of the publicity that would have come from the gruesome appeal he was preparing.
Where did Giovanni learn how to be such a legal powerhouse? That hasn’t been determined. He can’t prove he was a lawyer in Italy and many in England question his credentials. Giovanni counters by waving his membership cards in the American Bar Association and International Bar Association. Why doesn’t someone simply say: where did you graduate from law school? I suppose that’s too straightforward for the world of jurisprudence.
Giovanni wouldn’t answer anyway, not a guy who’s planning to score a first round knockout by getting Saddam’s case thrown out of court because the eminent leader enjoyed “sovereign immunity… and was therefore entitled to carry out crimes.” I don’t think Giovanni’s going to get the court to go for that one. But admit it. This guy’s quite a card.
There’s a lot more legal firepower, of course. In the third corner, from Sydney, Australia, we have the esteemed John Marsden, who, upon joining Saddam’s side, cleverly proclaimed: “Everyone’s entitled to a lawyer.” Marsden, a self-described gay pot smoker who’s undergoing treatment for cancer, is most astute when defending himself. In a civil suit filed Down Under he won millions in any currency against some folks who’d wrongly accused him of being a pedophile.
They’re going to have to find a much larger courtroom than the current cracker box in Iraq. These big personalities need a lot of room, and they better not get too close to Saddam if he thinks they’re stealing his scenes.