Thursday, August 01, 2013

We Thought Oscar Goodman's "Beef, Booze, and Broads" Slogan Was the Republican Platform

Oscar Goodman with George Anastasia. Being Oscar: From Mob Lawyer to Mayor of Las Vegas - Only in America. New York: Weinstein Books, 2013.

The author is critical of prosecutorial abuses. As a defense attorney, he often demonstrated how these abuses of the system were wrong and he would get cases dismissed against his clients. Among abuses he found were forged signatures on wiretap authorizations and the use of the same soundless tape of a meeting to claim different matters were discussed. He got an FBI agent to claim that the FBI had access to tape recorders when taking statements yet the agent then insisted in court that notes are more accurate than a recording.  He defended in one case there several police offices gave the same stories verbatim until he found an uninvolved witness who stated something completed different happened.

Goodman is upset that prosecutors lie and are able to get away with lying. Defense lawyers doing the same thing would be disbarred or disciplined. He finds this as a major fault of the legal system where one side can get away with abusing the process, especially when it violates the Constitution. Goodman notes that not all prosecutors abuse the system, yet those they are are ruining the judicial system.

As Goodman writes, “I don’t defend the guilty or the innocent I defend our system of justice and the U.S. Constitution.”

Goodman provides your legal tips. At one trial, a Judge was never ruling in his favor. He knew the Judge was a baseball fan so he had Tommy Lasorda sign personalized baseballs for the Judge and for the Prosecutor (who would be present when he gave the Judge the baseball). The Judge began ruling more often in favor of Goodman. Goodman writes that he does not know if the baseball made a difference yet, if it did, this is something they don’t teach in law school.

Goodman’s father was a prosecutor in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office. He thought his service merited a Judgeship. He became disillusioned when local Republican Party leaders stated they required a $10,000 contribution to the Republican Party organization in order to become a Judge. His father refused to pay and he never became a Judge.

Goodman is highly critical of law enforcement officials and prosecutors who use people with little credibility to trade receiving lesser penalties for their crimes in return for testifying to what prosecutors need witnesses to state. He observes this is especially abused when he sees the same people used over and over again in different trials.

During jury selection, Goodman seeks a juror who is “an independent and a non-conformist”. He also wants intelligent jurors who will follow his arguments during closing.

Goodman ran for Las Vegas Mayor in 1999. He raised $900,000 with no funds contributed by people connected to casinos. He received 495 of the vote in the first round against several opponents. He won the runoff. He got 80% of the vote in the next two reelection campaigns.

As Mayor, he had a “coffee with the Mayor” where he went to different parts of town and answered questions and listened to constituents. He then added “martinis with the Mayor” held in local bars.

As Mayor, Goodman’s film license grant policy was to only grant licenses to those filming in Las Vegas who included a role in the film for him. His first two roles were cut. He then insisted his role not be cut.

As Mayor, Goodman had a river, or as he describes it “a man made rivulet”, created. It gives people an area to relax. He also acted to preserve buildings such as the city’s post office and courthouse. These renovations were used as catalysts for downtown renewal. The courthouse became a tourist attraction known as the Mob Museum.

Goodman spoke out against able bodied homeless who begged for money which they used for drugs. He was criticized for that sentiment. He argues there has to be a distinction between types of homeless and who deserves assistance and who does not.

Goodman also made a controversial proposal to renovate an abandoned prison and turn it into a homeless shelter.

Mayor Goodman sought to avoid eminent domain. He disliked taking public property so a developer could profit. He swapped properties owned by the city with a property owner so the land could create new shops and stores in downtown Las Vegas. Goodman declared downtown Las Vegas mall as “the best dollar per square foot producing mall” even though he made up that fact, yet the press printed it without fact checking. As he puts it, “I was the Mayor, and I could say what I want.”


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