Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Night Of: Muslim Rage Defense

One fascinating theme of HBO's fantastic miniseries The Night Of is the lengths to which criminal-defense attorneys will go to represent high-profile defendants for publicity.

In the most recent episode, we met Alison Crowe, a Gloria Allredeqsue attorney who's clearly at home in front of the cameras. Crowe stole Nasir Khan as a client from his then attorney, John Stone, by offering to represent Naz pro bono and savvily pitching his parents with an Indian-American associate at her side.

Like Stone before her, Crowe clearly sees Naz's case as a source of publicity. To really hold the viewing public's attention, however, she'll have to do something more sensational than merely represent him.

I think that sensational something is a Muslim Rage defense.

Think about it. The show made a point of emphasizing the casual racism toward Muslims with the comments in the first episode about "Mustafa" leaving his bombs at home. And when we meet Crowe, she's giving a speech about how another client's botched plastic surgery wasn't really "voluntary."

I think Crowe's going to pressure Naz to admit he killed Andrea but under extreme mental duress. She's going to argue the cumulative effect of anti-Muslim racism caused him to snap. That his act merits no more than a manslaughter charge, if it's not completely excused by reason of insanity.

Naz will balk at admitting to something he doesn't believe he did, opening the door for Stone to retake control of the case.