Next Sensation: Jailhouse Rock

‘Toronto Star’ headline reads ‘Glitterati plead for Drabinski’ as video camera and CBC mike sit nearby

July 7, 2009, Courtroom 4 – 9, Toronto

Only ten minutes into the second day of sentencing hearings for Garth Drabinsky and his partner Myron Gottleib on their convictions for

1 × fraud over $1000
2 × fraud over $1000
3 × utter forged document

and we hear that Mr. Drabinsky appears on a CBC television show.

Eddie Greenspan may well be the best lawyer in the history of our country.
Everyone is in awe of him. Karlhienz Schrieber loves him.
He seems the most grounded person in the room, regardless of his ample girth.
He’s wearing sandals in court today. The epitome of calm. (and as we already know, that’s not good television.)
He’s very smart and very thoughtful. (Which does however make for good radio.)
At the moment, Eddie is explaining to an Ontario Court judge that in the course of production for a show called Triple Sensation (which comes off like a very trivial pursuit indeed in these circumstances), Mr. Drabinsky became aware that there were at least 34 schools for artistic talent that might benefit from a tour by him, lecturing and inspiring and telling the students “what happened to him.”
It would be one way of compensating for the harm he has done, instead of sending him to prison.
You’ve got to love Eddie, and his careful choice of words.
Seven years after he was busted, and now conclusively convicted, Garth has yet to admit to his crimes.
At trial, the defense suggested that the books had been cooked entirely by the head accountant, a man with very little to gain from all that effort of false record keeping and money transfers that kept the lie going for a significant number of years.

Greenspan is one smooth…
He has the Crown agreeing that the crimes were not motivated by greed, but rather with a view to keeping the company going.
Why, Your Honour, he was practically doing a public service.

It’s several more minutes before Eddie clarifies that indeed when Garth tells the students what happened to him, he’ll be sure (here it comes) to tell it “straight.”
It’s a subtle message to the judge, while Garth sits expressionless, refusing still to admit that he lied.
The defence has already thrown in Drabinsky’s polio, (his extremely crippled walk which the judge probably never gets to see), as a reason not to sentence him to a chain gang.
Instead, consider letting him tour the country at his own expense.
The idea is so silly that even Eddie distances himself from it by saying it is not a “suggestion” coming from the defence, just one alternative.
They produced laudatory letters from dotty Martha Henry (“He’s the real American hero: larger than life”), amply rewarded with royalties E.L. Doctorow (“I came to admire the man for his inexhaustible energy”), and that handsome fop Christopher Plummer (“I have known him to be steadfastly loyal and exceptionally generous”), each an eloquent and understated way of saying “the cheque cleared.”

But the judge here is smart and alert.
She acknowledges and responds to everything in a clear and confident voice.
The question before her is simple, is it ok to lie, to falsify documents and cheat people out of hundreds of millions of dollars?

What do you think?

An entirely rhetorical question, like one you might hear in a play.
Still, Myron and Garth won’t get the unavoidable answer until August 5th.

Tonight we welcome a new judge to our panel…


  1. Another Year Another Plan
    Posted July 9, 2009 at 4:08 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Allan is that a cheap battery from a country that is known for its lead in toys? Be careful it doesn’t explode.

  2. Anonymous
    Posted July 9, 2009 at 3:41 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    If your white, rich, powerful and educated you can get away with anything. White Collar crime is one sure way you will never see the inside of a prison. Except if your Martha Stewart, but chances are she went to the slammer because she’s a woman. Sick society.

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