The Excuse of Costello

Carlo Costello, head of the Costello crime family, waited impatiently in the courtroom for his turn to defend himself and his cohorts. The judge, a very stringent man, proceeded to announce the numerous crimes committed by Costello and his accomplices.

"Twenty-five counts of extortion, fifty-six counts of murder, twelve counts of racketeering, seventeen counts of arson, forty-eight counts of assault, twenty-two counts of fraud and embezzlement..." continued Judge Williams.

Costello knew that these accusations were true; however, he had the perfect justification prepared for the witness stand. The prosecutor was smart, but he would not be able to weave his way through this rationale. This would mean that Costello was adding to his list of crimes by committing perjury, but this testimony would not fail them. He knew he would not be acquitted, but he could attempt to lighten his sentence significantly. Costello and his attorney yearned for the opportunity to expose the prosecutor's evidence and accusations as false.

"I would like to call my next witness, Mr. Carlo Costello," said the prosecutor confidently.

Costello confidently walked to the witness stand. He placed his hand on the Bible, and swore to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

"Now Mr. Costello, we are all perfectly aware that you and your rats are guilty, so there is no point in trying to convince us that you are innocent. I invite you to now tell me and the jury why you killed, stole, racketeered, embezzled, and forgec. I assure you I cannot think of one reason why any of these would be justified. Speak."

"On the contrary, there is a perfect excuse for my actions. I admit my family has committed each and every one of these crimes, and I accept full responsibility. However, they were done out of fear, not hate, greed, money, or lust for power. I am not an evil person by any means. I have a high moral standard that is my guidance in any action I take.

We, my family and I, were blackmailed by a criminal group in South America. My uncle, whom I admit was a member of the mafia, held previous connections with this group. They told us that if we did not provide them with $90, 000, 000 within seven months, we would all be killed. In order to obtain this money, it was necessary to take many regrettable steps that involved violation of not only the law, but also of my moral standards that I uphold. However, I knew that if I did not complete these felonies, I would have to see my family die, which, to me, is far worse. I would like to ask all of you, would you like to watch your family die around you? I think not. I must stress that I am not a criminal, but merely a terrified citizen of the United States wishing to save his family."

As the trial proceeded, evidence of this blackmail was revealed. Despite this testimony Costello was so confident in, it was not convincing enough for the jury. They deliberated for thirty minutes, and drew an appropriate verdict.

"We find Carlo Costello guilty on all charges, and hereby sentence him to death."





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