General Question

Jack79's avatar

Should I put the evidence online?

Asked by Jack79 (10994points) January 20th, 2009

Ok, the details of the story are long and boring, but basically I am currently involved in a huge and complicated legal and moral battle. The media have been all over it (against me) from day 1, but it turns out I am right.

Other than the purely legal action, I have refrained from appearing on TV so far, and only sent one letter to one newspaper explaining the truth. Some of the most compelling evidence has not been admitted in court. Do you think I should put it online (thus making a fool out of all the people that have been accusing me), or stay quiet about it? Does it matter?

Sorry I am not making much sense, but perhaps this is a chance for a discussion on ethics, rather than the details of my particular case. The main question is, would you “rub it in their face” or just cherish the quiet knowledge that you were right all along?

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65 Answers

RandomMrdan's avatar

I’d definitely rub it in their face. It’s just in my nature to do that to those who oppose me and do me wrong. Clear your name of whatever it is the media made you out to be.

mea05key's avatar

If it is your name, i think you should clear it unless you have so much confidence in yourself till the extent you do not care about what people say about you. Take that little bit of effort to tell the truth, in the long run i believe it will benefit you. I got this perception that you seem to care less about what other people think of you. You know you are right but just didnt bother to do the explanation. is it true? or am i in the wrong direction..

basp's avatar

If you are still in litigation, I would keep my mouth shut. Afterwards, what difference would it make?
Revenge is way over rated. What goes around, comes around.

wundayatta's avatar

Revenge is a dish best served cold.

You should wait until your passion has dissipated, and then consider what you want to do.

I have a couple of questions for you to ponder:

Is vindication good enough?

Do you need to wreak vengeance on those who hurt you?

According to a National Geographic Report, humans need to extract revenge (which they call “altruistic punishment”) in order to discourage other people from doing such things in the future. The question is whether winning your court case is punishment enough, or if you need to add more. Anyway, from this point of view, you should go for revenge, so they will be discouraged from doing that shit again.

cheebdragon's avatar

Revenge is never over rated. Revenge is fun, very, very fun….

puts devil horns away

PupnTaco's avatar

Jack Thompson?

BlueDing's avatar

I’m confused…will keeping the evidence out of court mean the trial might not be fair? Maybe you should take it to the lawyers/judge? Or did the judge not let the evidence in? I’m not really sure of all the details, so I don’t really know, but that was my first instinct. I’d want to make sure I got a fair representation in trial first before I started worrying about revenge.

Jack79's avatar

basp, this cannot harm me. And Blue, this is evidence that will probably not be allowed in court, but it will certainly make the media look stupid (because it proves how they’ve been lying all along). I don’t think the media are really against me. They are just provoking me into giving an interview, so that they have something to show. Instead, all they get is a written statement that they have to read themselves. And it’s pissing them off.
The whole point is not so much about revenge. Which would be cold already, whenever I serve it. It’s more about protecting other people from them and yes, of course, clearing my own name, especially since many of my personal friends believed part of the stories.
I’m still in two minds about it. Up to now I kept this evidence as an ace up my sleeve, but now I seem to be winning the court case without it and I think part of me feels it’s such a shame to waste it.

(ok, so picture this: imagine if OJ had a video of his ex committing suicide. He got off, but still everyone is sure he killed her. Should he publish it?)

DrBill's avatar

Make sure you are right! then go ahead.

publishing false information, even on the net is libel.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

The only advice I can give to you is this: Do you feel giving the evidence would be right, on a deeper, moral level? If so, go for it. If you’re doing it for revenge, that can be a double-edged sword. What you put out may be completely ignored and if your reason for doing it is revenge, that will only piss you off even more.

Go with your heart and what you feel is the right thing to do. Because if you present your evidence because you think you should but it’s still ignored… Well, you’ll still feel good knowing you did the right thing and there’s nothing more you could have done.

Good luck.

basp's avatar

Jack
It seems you already had your mind made up about this dilema and just looking for affirmation.
Good luck.

galileogirl's avatar

Do you think that by putting your story out there that the media will automatically pick it up and if they do you will be made to look the victim? First of all unless you are Barack Obama’s love child, the only media coverage you get will be the local rag, There are hundreds of murdered children cases each year but maybe 1 makes it to the national press. You didn’t say what your case is about but it probably doesn’t have the interest of a murdered child.

And in a civil or criminal case it is 1 in a million that the defendant is a total innocent. If you are trying to get back at a govt agency or large corp, think it through. When it comes to David and Goliath, before you use that slingshot Goliath can squash you like a grape. Do you want an ex-spouse, former employer/employee or feuding neighbor to be interviewed for dirt. If you are in a civil suit you may have to sign a confidentiality agreement before you collect damages.

If it is a criminal case, do you want your past criminal record splashed all over the place?

The thing to do is to win a suit for damages. Money goes a long way toward assuaging hurt feelijgs.

Vincentt's avatar

You’ll probably have to get the media to publish it to clear your name anyway – I don’t think just posting it on the internet will do much good. Perhaps you could find a media outlet that hasn’t been lying :)

Anyway, I would definitely wait until the trial is over and done.

Notices the subtle overlooking of PupnTaco’s comment. It’s OK, you can just say you won’t comment on your identity ;-)

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

I would not put it online without checking with your attorney. You could make compelling evidence inadmissable by tainting the perception about it.

Your choice is self-vindication vs. compromising legal proceedings. Would it be worth screwing up a lawsuit—or appeals?

Knotmyday's avatar

Jack Thompson or Thomas?

Sounds like you may have a lucrative book deal cooking, my friend. keep that in mind.

I know I want to know the real story, sounds like an adventure novel. Best of luck.

Trustinglife's avatar

I would definitely wait till after the trial. To respond to your OJ analogy, if I were him and had such a video, I would publish it. But… I’d do so only if I had nothing to lose. There would still be some who would spin it in a way to keep their opinion of you. And others would be swayed. What a challenging situation, my friend.

augustlan's avatar

Since you’ve said the media has been all over it, why not point us to some sources so we could see what the case is all about? I understand that it would require revealing who you are, but it would certainly clarify things, and help us determine your best course of action.

OTOH, if you are winning your court case anyway, I’d just wait until it’s over and then do what you feel you need to do.

susanc's avatar

Book deal—> huge material gain, a delicious revenge and you get to tell the story too.

Jack79's avatar

ok, first of all basp: I have not put it online yet (6 months already) and no, I have not really made up my mind. Or rather, I made up my mind to NOT do it, and now I’m having second thoughts.

I did write an article which a national newspaper ran last Saturday. It had the effect I wanted: everyone started questioning the media coverage, and all the TV shows read my article themselves, rather than having me on the show to state my opinion (and then corner me).

I have refused to make any public appearance since August.

The legal side of it is pretty clear: I’m winning the case on technicalities. The evidence I mentioned (videos) is not admissible in court anyway, but people seeing it would know that I was right all along and didn’t just win legalistically. It’s a moral vindication (which is why I used the OJ analogy). No, I have nothing to lose, but that’s not the point. And it really is not about revenge. The media here have too much power, and I am possibly the only person that can stand up against them. But of course the main reason would be to clear my own name. And the question here in fluther has to do with people’s opinion on the ethics of the matter, not the details of my particular case.

I am in fact writing a book, though it’s more like a collection of children’s stories, with just an indirect reference to the case. And all the money goes to charity, so it’s not about money. I’ve even delayed publishing my latest CD so that people don’t think I’m using the publicity.

And no, my real name is not Jack, and I don’t want to tell you what it is (I’m not famous in America so you wouldn’t know me anyway).

Thank you for your answers.

basp's avatar

Jack I don’t believe it was me that indicated you had already pit the information on line. I did, however, point out my observation that you have already made up your mind.
Anyway, good luck with things.

Jack79's avatar

no, I understood that. Sorry if my last post was not clear: I was merely stating that I have not made up my mind to put it online (if so, I would have already done it at some point in the last 6 months). I have been tempted very often, especially everytime I hear or read some new lie about it. Which is why I don’t have a TV set and refuse to read anything on the case unless I really have to. But recent events have forced me to deal with it personally. And, even though I am not a vindictive person and did not want the whole thing to end up in court, I now have several libel charges against the TV stations and individuals who falsely accused me, as well as charges against 2 judges and a prosecutor who didn’t do their job right. The case even reached the parliament, and some (not me) have asked for the resignation of the minister of Justice.

I still strongly feel that fighting is wrong, even when you are right. On the one hand I feel the moral obligation to point out the injustice done and yes, perhaps a personal satisfaction in exposing all those who attacked me. But at the same time I have neither the energy nor the will to go into these petty fights. I just want it to be over, and somehow feel that “revenge” as some have called it would only taint my own soul.

Agtain, I would like to stress that I started this thread hoping for a philosophical/ethical discussion, and sorry if I have said too much about my own case, which is merely an example.

galileogirl: so far there have been 2 local newspapers with several articles on my case, but also 4 nationwide, hour-long tv shows, including two documentaries. That’s on one state channel and one of the largest private channels in the country. Both of them also broadcast internationally via satellite. The private channel also ran another 5–6 shorter stories on the matter, and almost all the major TV stations have mentioned the subject at least once. The latest development was a full page in the country’s largest circulation newspaper last Saturday, and another half-hour show on national TV during prime time zone. Not to mention the countless references on other programmes that simply report what the others said. So yes, I am Barak Obama’s love child.

galileogirl's avatar

Didn’t OJ win on technicalities the first time?

Jack79's avatar

exactly.

Anyway, thank you all for the answers. It did not really help me decide what to do in my case (I’m still leaning towards keeping quiet regardless of the personal cost), but it did teach me one thing: it is impossible to have a reasonable fluther discussion without knowing all the details. Sorry I could not be more specific and thanks again for participating :)

augustlan's avatar

I hope everything turns out the way you hope. Will you let us know when it’s all resolved?

shadling21's avatar

Very interesting.

If I was in your position, I would consider the pros and cons of using the Internet to get the message out. It’s cheap, and it makes distribution simple, but many people don’t trust what they see on the Internet. You’ll have to attach your face to it. A short documentary with the video evidence in it would work.

I’d have no moral qualms about putting video evidence online, especially if the videos belonged to me. The truth deserves to be shown, and if media companies aren’t showing it, then it’s time to take a stand. However, how you do it is extremely important to the success of the thing. The way people receive the message will affect their judgment of it.

I wouldn’t openly attack anyone online. Reasonably state your case and show the internet audience how assumptions and exaggeration have negatively affected your life. Don’t whine about it – make it into a plea for people to question what they see on television.

Would putting this evidence online screw up your libel cases? Are you dropping those and forming your own brand of justice? That’s the only thing that would worry me, really. Don’t want to get into legal trouble over Internet content. That just seems to complicate matters.

Jack79's avatar

Once again: I am winning the case anyway. Two judges and a prosecutor are in trouble, and so is the minister of justice. The case has even been discussed in parliament. There have been human rights violations. It’s huge. It’s not just a libel case.
The evidence I have was inadmissible in court anyway, but putting it online would show people that I am not just a liar who won on technicalities, but someone who was teling the truth all along.
The media are not exactly “against” me. They’ve done all this in an effort to challenge me into giving them this evidence, because that would mean huge advertising revenues for them. I don’t want to play that game. The truth should not be sold.

Let’s just stick to my OJ analogy, it’s the only thing that makes sense. So if he really hadn’t killed those two people, and had evidence that proved it but was not admissible in court, should he show it?

btw I’ve decided to not use it anyway. And I heard that in theory videos could be accepted as court evidence, if I can get a specialist to testify that they are original and not tampered with.

shadling21's avatar

Oh, sorry. I thought there were multiple cases being referred to here.

Trustinglife's avatar

@Jack79 I really invite you to question your motivation for posting the video.

Are you wanting to simply get the truth out?
Are you wanting to clear your name and reputation?
Are you wanting to make the bastards pay for their lies?

None of these is wrong. But different motivations carry different energies, and whoever watches your video would be influenced as much by your intention as by the video itself.

There is no right or wrong answer here. What would feel best to you? What do you really want, deep down?

I know you wanted hypothetical answers to this question. Sorry.

Jack79's avatar

I guess it’s all of the above. At the same time, I don’t want to taint my soul, if that makes any sense. Which is why I have refrained from answering in public. I did write a newspaper article though, but again not directly accusing anyone of anything (just stating that the TV failed to portray the truth). I feel that getting into the fight would only do harm.
My real problem is that all this affects my daughter (whose case you are vaguely familiar with). I have not seen her since Christmas and will not be able to until all of this is over. Which is I guess the real reason why I’m looking for shortcuts.

Trustinglife's avatar

Do you think that posting the video could be a shortcut?
If so, do it. It sounds like that’s what your heart wants, above all else.

If not, and posting it wouldn’t be a shortcut, my suggestion would be to meditate on your motives until you’re clear. I admire your willingness to hold off this long.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

Have you thought about creating a blog and discussing the intellectual aspects of the case and the process without actually posting the evidence? And then post it when the time is right? If you’re thinking about writing a book about it, this could be helpful in that endeavor. I know I always refer people to this site one particular site, www.happiness-project.com, but it’s always for different reasons. Gretchen Rubin is a fantastic blogger for many reasons, and in this case, the blog was started in conjunction with a book that she has coming out.

Intellectual discussion on the OJ factor, the fact that evidence does exist, the legal process, and how one ends up in the position you’re in, is sure to be well read if the case is receiving a lot of press. It’s a good way to air your side of the story without journalistic interpretation.

cheebdragon's avatar

What are you being accused of?

augustlan's avatar

I like Alfreda’s idea. Blog now, post evidence after the case is resolved.

Jack79's avatar

The media are accusing me of anything they can imagine, but it has nothing to do with the case. I am accused of being a gay (yet somehow womaniser) drug-dealer that beats up people. I have learnt to ignore all that from the time when I was a singer. Legally there are no actual accusations against me, I am the one taking everyone else to court, including the entire legal system for not doing their jobs right. But the process will take ages.
My practical problem is that nobody believes me, and the media are challenging me to show them the evidence for their own (financial) reasons.

Sorry I have said too much. I really don’t want to go into details. I’ll tell you all about it when it’s over.

Alfreda, once the book is ready (many months from now) I would certainly need all the help I can get. I have a friend whose dad owns a publishing company, but there’s a whole board that decides on what to publish and of course they’d need the final product, not just an idea. The book is not about the legal case, it’s a children’s story with indirect references to what was going on.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

It sounds like the media is subjecting you to the Napoleonic Code. To me, the whole idea of reading about the process of maintaining normal when you’re a public figure would be fascinating to read. So many lives spin out of control, like Britney Spears. Others live entirely private public lives. How does that happen?

Celebrity hype is rather foreign in these parts, but celebrity presence is not. Our community has a reputation for affording celebrities a good measure of privacy when out in public. (I sat right behind Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Carpenter-both from Dexter- at a movie last Christmas. People pretty much left them alone, beyond a lot of hellos and a few “like the show”) and Jim James waits his turn in line at Target with the rest of us. When I was first married, Ben Vereen’s mother-in-law lived in our building, and we would see him on holidays in the hallway, being sent to the grocery, etc. OJ was refused service at a restaurant here.

Trustinglife's avatar

Where do you live, AP?

galileogirl's avatar

How can you be ‘accused’ of being gay? How are you bing persecuted if you are the one taking everyone to court?

cheebdragon's avatar

michael jackson?

Jack79's avatar

media accusations are not necessarily legal, and vice versa. I am not persecuted directly, but people I love are. No, I am not Michael Jackson, though it was an interesting guess. I am not all that famous, sorry to disappoint you.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

I, for one, am quite relieved that you’re not Michael Jackson. :-D

galileogirl's avatar

Has anybody else figured it out yet? It is a child custody case.

augustlan's avatar

@galileogirl Are you saying you know the specifics of this case, or are you deducing in a general way?

Jack79's avatar

not exactly galileo. Even though abduction is part of it. It is a child molestation case actually. And has become a huge issue since it involves a child protection agency, 5 break ins, several attacks including attempted murder, embezzlement and bribing as well as fraud. 2 judges and a prosecutor are already in trouble, and I am basically taking on the world. The media chose to present only one side of the story, not because they didn’t know the other one, but because it would be more profitable to present it as a surprise twist in the plot of the show they are trying to sell.

galileogirl's avatar

OK jack views it as parental abduction and I infer that it is international but in custody cases unless you know all the facts things can be a little twisted. People who are separated from their children are in such stress they may have a lot of fear about the child’s safety. When the laws of another country are involved it makes things worse. The situation may seem as bad as the children taken by parents in the Peoples’ Temple (who were murdered) to family that lost a child in a political situation like Elian Gonzales (who has lived a very good life)

Jack79's avatar

It is not really a case of perception. It is quite clear that my daughter has a phobia of her mother. And I know exactly why. Two of the people in that household are known paedophiles, and these are the better people. I do not simply “interpret” my ex-wife chasing our daughter with a knife as violent behaviour. It is violent behaviour anyway you look at it. And when a group of people hold a child for ransom it is not simply abduction, it is kidnapping.

I do not expect you to know about this case, nor do I have a problem (anymore) with people jumping to conclusions. It’s what I’d do too. This case is so extreme that it is incredible. My own sister didn’t believe me for 3 years, my own father for 5. Most of my friends still think I’m exaggerating. So why would you just buy it? I wouldn’t.

btw I did put the evidence online, but then took it down again. I realised straight away that I didn’t feel right about it. As someone here said, it felt as if I was doing it for the wrong reasons: revenge, proving myself, being sick and tired of people doubting me. It may or may not have helped my daughter, but it just didn’t feel right in my heart. I’ve been collecting witness statements the last couple of days. Hopefully things will start moving.

galileogirl's avatar

When we were first separated, my husband was upset because he didn’t want a divorce. He also had a lot of ties to another country. Whenever he was late returning our child, I would be worried that he had taken off with her. Over time I realized the fear was coming from me and I had to be very careful to make sure she didn’t pick up anything from me. I have seen contentious divorces where the parents believe the child is not being exposed to the nastiness but in fact a neutral party can see the child is being biased by words and emotions rather than actions. That is why we need professionals to referee. Both spouses’ negative attitude, anger and fear translates into a child’s reality.

cheebdragon's avatar

The suspense is killing me…....

Jack79's avatar

you are talking about something completely different galileo. Your divorce sounds like the normal divorce most couples go through, with the usual nastiness. I keep hearing all sorts of “hard luck” stories and wish mine was that simple. People get divorced about little things such as cheating and then complain about the child being returned late or eating too much chocolate.

I won’t even tell you about the way these people have treated my daughter in the past. The criminal investigation case file is almost 500 pages. This does not even include the evidence I am referring to. I come here to try and forget all this, but apparently I can’t.

cheebdragon: today one of my lawyers called. Things are moving forward. The cop in charge of the investigation has been replaced, the prosecutor is about to lose his job. There’s an inquiry into the way things were handled and several people are going to be in trouble soon. Unfortunately this still doesn’t get me my daughter back, but at least people will be more careful next time. We should be extra careful when dealing with children.

I was going to get full custody a couple of days ago (3rd Feb) but now all that will be pushed back. It could take months. But at least it seems it will all work out in the end. I’ll just have an uphill struggle to heal her wounds after it’s all over. Been there twice already and I know I can do it :)

Trustinglife's avatar

@Jack79 My heart goes out to you.

Jack79's avatar

thanks again man, you’ve been always there. I appreciate it. Things are looking up :)

Jack79's avatar

My latest update on those following the story: the new prosecutor agreed to meet me next Monday (23rd). Hopefully I’ll clear up some points with him and start the legal process. And at least get to see my daughter temporarily for now. Apparently she’s been constantly crying for the past two months, which breaks my heart, but at the same time is actually useful both in and out of court.

And the evidence I was talking about will probably be admitted after all, as it is characterised as a criminal case, not just a custody battle or libel or something. My only worry is that it will take so long that the damage will be irrepairable. But I am confident about the final outcome. And I somehow find the strength to stay calm and keep going, for now at least.

I think it’s where the clear conscience is helping. People do not realise how important that can be in such cases. So I don’t regret anything. Thanks again to everyone here :)

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

Jack, my heart goes out to you and your daughter. Courage. Keep us posted.

Jack79's avatar

It’s already end of March…still nothing significant. The trial was going to be tomorrow but will be postponed. :(

augustlan's avatar

Sorry to hear that, Jack. Let us know when you see some progress.

{hugs}

Jack79's avatar

1. I’ve been cleared of all charges
2. The evidence is piling up against them already, and the authorities have started to notice
3. I’ve managed to keep the media out of it, even though they’d be on my side now
4. It’s 100% sure that a lot of people will be in trouble when this is over (anytime between May and God-knows-when), and at least 6 of them are in serious danger of ending up in jail.
5. My ex wife will be arrested tomorrow (or perhaps Friday if I prefer that).
6. Unfortunately, none of the above does my daughter any real good. Revenge was never my aim, even though it does feel good when people believe you for a change. Support has been mounting recently, and that is touching. But she is still not well yet.

augustlan's avatar

Will you get your daughter back soon?

Jack79's avatar

Meeting the prosecutor tomorrow. She is been held captive illegally and against her will, but the police don’t want to get involved and everyone else simply doesn’t care enough. My lawyers are trying to do the whole thing as smoothly as possible so that she is not harmed. At least for now she’s safe, even though she’s not very happy. We’re afraid of anything on our part that might trigger violence (the people holding her have been known to beat up people for fun, and recently threatened to burn down the police station).

augustlan's avatar

Sending good thoughts your way.

Jack79's avatar

thanks again :)

Trustinglife's avatar

Me too. Hoping for a clean resolution, with you reunited with your daughter, and you putting this all behind you. Good luck.

shadling21's avatar

Yeah, glad you’ve had some luck so far. Wishing you the best…

Jack79's avatar

August update on this old question (for those still following):

I eventually put the evidence online after all. Some of it was admitted in court eventually, but the judge ignored it, as she ignored all witnesses (26 on my side and 6 on theirs). She also ignored all other evidence, such as documents, medical reports, psychological examinations, DNA evidence, photographs and of course the law itself. I have taken the case to the Supreme Court for a mistrial.

Meanwhile, putting the evidence online didn’t do much anyway. I got one response from a teenage girl that asked for details, and another from an NGO which is fighting for a similar cause and wants to join forces. But nothing practical. Everyone’s on holidays and the case itself is forgotten. Looking back, it may have been the right choice to have used the media when it was all still warm, and try and turn them around when they cared. It’s not that they’re against me now, they’re simply indifferent, as this is yesterday’s news to them. Luckily, if I do decide to go down that path, I’m a former journalist so I know how to create a new angle, plus I have the right connections if I need to use them. I’m also planning a public stunt that will help a lot. Whether it will work is a long shot, but if it does it will automatically gain me worldwide support and above all, respect. Nobody will dare talk badly about me after that.

Two nights ago I got beaten up by a group of people that were sent by the other side to deliver “a message”. Even though this happened in broad daylight in a busy street, there is very little the police can do (I recognised all 4 of them and there were several witnesses). But it means they’re losing control.

Trustinglife's avatar

@Jack79 Wow. This whole situation sounds intense and all-consuming (is that true?) Still wishing you the best. Thanks for the update.

Jack79's avatar

Of course it’s all-consuming. My daughter was kidnapped by these people 8 months ago and nobody has done anything to help her. She’s been crying every single day, everyone knows where she is, the neighbours are all freaking out, the police have not lifted a finger. What’s worse, exactly because the prosecutor didn’t do her job right when she ought to, the judge is now covering up for her. There have been a series of irregularities along the way too, concerning a variety of public officials who either got bribed, got scared, or were simply too lazy to do their job. And the longer this takes, the more they try to cover it up rather than solve the problem. But they’ve only managed to do this under a very thin veil of media misrepresentation of the events. Public opinion (at least locally) has already seen through that, and it’s only a matter of time before it turn into rage, but I have to harness it properly. It’s not about getting revenge, it’s about getting my daughter out of there in one piece.

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