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What do Socrates and Strauss-Kahn have in common?

Socrates was a philosopher who lived 2,400 years ago.  Dominique Straus-Kahn is a banker and was the Head of International Monetary Fund until he got trapped in custody two days ago. So what do these two men have in common? A lawyer : Benjamin Brafman! Then the trial of Socrates was heard a new, in fact 2,410 years later in the Federal Court of New York a couple of days ago. The trial was presented by the Onassis Foundation.

The event took place at the Ceremonial Courtroom of  Manhattan’s Federal Courthouse. As the main actors of the real trial were long dead and gone, distinguished members of NY judges’  and attorneys’  elite had to corporate Socrates, his main accuser Meletus and other Athenians. Brafman was the philosopher himself – Socrates.

Socrates/Brafman in Manhattan Court

According to Time that has a very detail description of the modern version of the trial reported that the judges examined all charges against Socrates and ” evaluated the evidence with a modern perspective at a hearing that fused historical discussion with sometimes comical theatrics.”

6:46 p.m Fortuitously, we can indeed listen to Socrates, as he is channeled by Benjamin Brafman, the attorney who successfully defended Sean Combs against gun and bribery charges stemming from a nightclub melée in 1999. As there was no written record of what Socrates said, Brafman is taking some creative license as he proclaims Socrates’ harmlessness. In advising hundreds of students over 50 years, Socrates claims, only two have turned rogue. Brafman’s larger-than-life rendition has the gallery in stitches. “I’m a 70-year-old man walking in a sheet, naked,” he says. “I’m not a threat!”

7:00 p.m.Socrates/Brafman appeals directly to us, trying to guilt us into letting him go free. “How would you feel if you put me to death?” He’s running a few minutes over his allotted time, but no one seems to mind, even the judges — who’ve been sticklers for the clock up to this point.

7:04 p.m.Chief Judge Preska takes the opportunity to slam Socrates in the flesh, equating his pompousness in the courtroom with the impiety charge levied against him. She has a point: he who loves himself the most likely holds no God. With that, the judges are off to deliberate.
 
7:32 p.m. The judges emerge from their chamber and Chief Judge Jacobs hands down their decision to acquit on both charges….  the court could not find him guilty. (Read the whole trial in Time)
Socrates/Brafman is able to go free, slip back to his defense attorney role and get a new customer, Dominique Strauss-Kahn.
 
 
Strauss-Kahn in Manhattan NY Court
 
In real life though Socrates was found guilty for ‘impiety against Gods” and “corruption of the youth” by encouraging them to rebel against the city of Athens. 

In 399 B.C. , the majority of 500 Athenians jurors voted ‘guilty” and sentenced him to death. 220 jurors voted ‘not guilty’.  Socrates was sentenced to death by drinking  conium – poison.

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