Jurors want to do the just thing, so appeal to their sense of justice.

Edward Bennett Williams does that perfectly in his closing argument in United States v. John Connally. Below is an excerpt of it:

“We have been together now for three weeks, and for you the case is just three weeks old. But for this defendant it is over a year old. It has been a year of accusation, of humiliation, of anguish, as the result of this assault that was made on his integrity.

Three weeks from now the case will have perhaps faded into the recesses of your recollections, the far recesses of you recollection. You will have gone back to your other concerns, the prosecutors will be on to new matters, and the court will be handling new cases.

But what you do in this case in your jury room will place an indelible mark for the balance of his life. Nothing in a life that has been filled with glory and tragedy can so mark as what you do in your jury room on this evidence and on this record.

It is an awesome responsibility. But His Honor will help you discharge that responsibility when he tells you that the burden in this case, as in every case of this kind, rests squarely on the prosecution to prove to each and every one of you beyond a reasonable doubt the defendant’s guilt. And if they have failed to sustain that burden, there is only one verdict under your oath as jurors, and that is a verdict of not guilty. . . .

This case is styled United States against John Connally, but I want to tell you something. The United States will win this case. The United States will win this case.

I saw one day on the wall of a courthouse, the oldest courthouse in England, the words, “In this hallowed place of justice the Crown never loses because when the liberty of an Englishman is preserved against false witness, the Crown wins.”

After tramping for 30 years across this country in federal courthouses all over the land, I tell you the United States never loses because when the liberty and reputation of one of its citizens is preserved against false witness, the United States wins, the United States wins the day.

I think, members of the jury, the greatest experience, the greatest exhilaration, the greatest fulfillment that a human being in this life can have is to lift the pain and anguish off another if it can be done in justice.

I ask you at long last to lift the pain and anguish, the humiliation, the ostracism and the suffering from the false accusation and innuendo, vilification and slander from John Connally and his family, and if you do, the United States will win the day.

I ask you tomorrow to return a verdict in this case of acquittal for John Connally on both counts of which he is charged.”

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