Your honor, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I thank you for the opportunity to address you today.
It’s been said that a man who represents himself in court has a fool for a client, but I know that only I can relay the truth in such a way that you understand it properly, and I have neither doubt nor fear that, once you’ve heard me out, you will find me completely innocent of all the charges that bring me here today.
I stand accused of the attempted murder of my ex wife, and I have no doubt that the prosecution will put together many eloquent arguments in support of this accusation. Nor do I doubt that he will give an impressive performance. He is, after all, a gifted public speaker, as well as an experienced legal expert.
He will also, I admit, bring a large amount of physical evidence collected from the scene of the crime into this courtroom, and several eyewitnesses.
Are these witnesses reliable? That will be up to you to judge. Is the evidence credible? Perhaps. I’d call it circumstantial in the extreme, but I’ll have to await your verdict to find out if you share my point of view.
The fact remains, however, that the sheer amount of evidence collected against me is daunting. The very weight of it might well be enough to convince some of you, if not all, that I am guilty beyond any reasonable doubt. I know this, and I’m resigned to it. It is my burden to shoulder during this trial.
And what, pray tell, could I offer to combat the charges laid before me? Not much, I fear. Only… me.
I intend over the course of the coming days and weeks, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, to allow you to get to know me, to really know me, and to that end I’ll be bringing in the people who know me best, my family, my friends, and having them tell you what sort of man I really am. They’ll tell you of my warm, good humor and willingness to drop everything to help a friend in need. They’ll tell you about my quickness with a joke, about the work I’ve done for charity and, perhaps, about my singing voice. And as they do, you’ll develop a picture of the man that the prosecution claims tried to run his ex wife down with his car in front of a downtown restaurant.
And I intend to ask you once I’ve done all this if you really believe that I’m the sort of man who could possibly be guilty of this sort of crime. I’ll ask if any of what you’ve heard about the content of my character implies to you that I could be capable of this sort of violent act. Because character counts, ladies and gentlemen, character counts. And I believe in my heart that, once you’ve truly grown to know me, you’ll understand that I am not.
I am the kindest, gentlest sort of man, as you will soon agree, and as you grow to understand this, you’ll realize how ridiculous the accusations leveled against me are. And when you do, I am confident, you will exonerate me completely.
Yes, I will be found not guilty, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, and I will walk out of this courtroom a free man. Of this I am certain.
And once I have, I will go straight to that bitch’s house and finish what I started…