Flight to Nowhere


So . . . the Government puts on this witness, see? And this witness, she works for Air France, right? So the Government puts her on the witness stand in a federal jury trial, and asks her about airfares. They want to know what the lowest fare from Houston to Port Harcourt was in April 2007. So they’ve got this printout from the Air France computer showing the various fares available from Houston to Port Harcourt between April 1, 2007 and June 15, 2007. With me so far?

So the Government has this nice lady on the stand — lots of years’ experience with Air France — and gets her to talk about the various fares on this printout — first class fares from Houston to Port Harcourt, economy class fares from Houston to Port Harcourt, fares with an advance purchase from Houston to Port Harcourt, fares without an advance purchase from Houston to Port Harcourt, fares with stays of various durations from Houston to Port Harcourt, all between April 1 and June 15, 2007. And the lowest fare for that trip — Houston to Port Harcourt — during that time period — April 1 through June 15, 2007 — was $1,536. Good enough. The point, I figure, is that the accused didn’t choose the easiest, least expensive route from Houston to his hometown of Port Harcourt, or some such.

Anyway, the defense lawyer gets up to cross-examine. We don’t know whether this fare was available when the accused bought his ticket, yadda, yadda, yadda. Then — and I really don’t know how this comes out — the nice lady mentions that the Port Harcourt airport was closed because of civil unrest.

Okay, the defense lawyer asks. How long has the Port Harcourt airport been closed? Since sometime in 2006.

Port Harcourt Airport. Closed. Since 2006.

For those of you who might be employed as federal prosecutors, and therefore having some trouble keeping up: Even if the accused had wanted to take this flight, he couldn’t have.

Sheesh.

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0 responses to “Flight to Nowhere”

  1. Turk, this is Air France. They raised the price to a closed airport, at least for people coming from Texas.

    And Mark, kinda lucky for the defense that the witness opened up, eh?

  2. I bet Southwest flies there. I mean, they fly everywhere, right?

    So when the witness was done, did the judge excuse her by saying “You are now free to move about the courtroom.”????

    I would have, but that’s probably why I’m not a federal judge.

  3. Shawn, I think there might be other reasons you’re not a federal judge. (Don’t you have to be a certain age to be a federal judge?)

    The government just rested. My learned friend is arguing the Rule 29 motion now. Then he’ll present our case.

  4. Really? I can’t think of any. I guess I’ll just have to grow into the job.

    And I think the appropriate phrase is “Why I’m not a federal judge, yet.”

  5. Any facial expression from the judge, or did an possible appearance with the judicial ethics folks keep it hidden?

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