By Chris Lane
By Jeff Balke
By Aaron Reiss
By Angelica Leicht
By Dianna Wray
By Aaron Reiss
By Camilo Smith
By Craig Malisow
While it would have been fascinating if McKamie had won his case and therefore got to open the Lakewood/Osteen books, a lot of impossible things would be fascinating if they somehow happened.
So all McKamie's "10 percent" claim accomplished was to cement in the public's mind the utter Hutz-ness of it all.
After the trial, in the brief interview he gave us (which, to be sure, was more than Hardin would do), McKamie was his usual eloquent self: "Well, what you have to understand is...a money judgment is the only thing the court can provide. And that's, that's all the jury system can do," he said. "As we said all along, we wanted the jury to determine what that should be. And as imperfect as the justice system is, that's all that can be provided."
Oooooh-kay. As to how you get to 10 percent, McKamie was less forthcoming.
But we imagine a very scientific process. Involving a dartboard.
Commandment the Ninth:
Thou Shalt Not Utterly Baffle the Jury During Final Argument
Convinced — somehow — that he had not yet done enough to fatally cripple his client's case, the wily McKamie went to his ace in the hole — a bizarre closing argument.
And by "bizarre" we don't mean simply that he tried several times to talk about things that had not been brought up as evidence during the trial. By this point, the over/under on how many objections Hardin would successfully raise during McKamie's final argument was a solid seven.
No, much more bizarre was the apparent decision to a) first insult the jury's intelligence by showing rudimentary pictures of things like a hammer (don't ask), and then b) make them question your sanity by introducing a groundbreaking legal theorem in which a plaintiff's damages are determined through a ratio involving how much Vincent Van Gogh paintings are being sold for.
The Van Gogh theorem was magisterial; it showed McKamie was willing to go where no lawyers had yet dared to tread. Joe Jamail, of course, decided to ask the jury for a billion dollars in damages in the famous Pennzoil case because of a Picasso sketch he saw once, but he didn't have the balls to tell the jury about it. Instead he just used a lot of accounting mumbo jumbo.
McKamie, on the other hand, went for the jugular. Because Van Gogh paintings were worth a lot of money, and because Van Gogh was kinda insane, and because his client may have been pushed in the tit, his client should get $400,000 in mental-anguish damages.
There is a long, long, long leap of logic on the winding journey that is that previous sentence, but McKamie was not only gladly jumping it, he was asking the jury to come along on his Evel Knievel ride.
Sadly for McKamie, sadly for his client, they chose instead to remain on the "not-crazy" side of the ledger.
But even now, law schools across the country are introducing courses that are helping attorneys determine damages in their slip-and-fall cases by a close study of Sotheby's auctions. ("Your honor, Monet would ask for nothing less than $50,000 for the soft-tissue neck injury my client developed from this fender-bender!")
You know, if someone would have told you, before the final argument, that McKamie would not make his "10 percent of net worth" claim, you'd have said, "Ah, he's finally coming to his senses."
And you would have been wrong.
Commandment the Tenth:
Thou Shalt Not Wallow in Self-Aggrandizing Self-Pity. Please.
Okay, so you've been the subject of a nuisance lawsuit. You've been exposed as someone who gets a little high-handed with the help on a first-class trip to Vail. You've been accused of having the ability to induce hemorrhoids.
We're sure the whole experience was annoying. But, if you were to listen to the Osteens in the celebratory Sunday services after the jury came back in their favor, you'd think Victoria had actually undergone the Stations of the Cross and incredibly survived.
"I'll probably never speak of this again, but if it can help anyone it's worth it," she somehow summoned the strength to say August 17. (By "probably never speak of this again," we assume she means "unless we've got another book to sell, that is.")
Victoria offered this to the frantically cheering audience: "I remember praying some days, and I would anoint myself with oil. I felt like, I wish I could go in and just anoint that whole courtroom." Anoint the whole courtroom with oil? On what planet are these people living? (Don't answer, we already know — Planet McKamie, named after the God of Odd Statements.)
According to Victoria, the entire ordeal almost made her give up preaching. We believe this segment is taken from the Book of St. James Brown, wherein the star leaves the stage only to oh-so-reluctantly return for the sake of the fans: "The truth is, I didn't want to come back [to preaching]. The truth is, I wanted to stay home. I wanted to forget it. I thought, 'You know what, God, maybe you are trying to tell me this isn't what I'm supposed to do. Maybe you're trying to tell me I need to sit home.'"