Best-selling author James B. Stewart's newsbreaking investigation of our era's most high-profile perjurers, revealing the alarming extent of this national epidemic.
Our system of justice rests on a simple proposition: that witnesses will raise their hands and tell the truth. In Tangled Webs, James B. Stewart reveals in vivid detail the consequences of the perjury epidemic that has swept our country, undermining the very foundation of our courts.With many prosecutors, investigators, and participants speaking for the first time, Tangled Webs goes behind the scene of the trials of media and homemaking entrepreneur Martha Stewart; top White House political adviser Lewis "Scooter" Libby; home-run king Barry Bonds; and Wall Street money manager Bernard Madoff.
The saga of Martha Stewart's conviction captured the nation, but until now no one has answered the most basic question: Why would Stewart risk prison, put her entire empire in jeopardy, and lie repeatedly to government investigators to save a few hundred thousand dollars in stock gains? Moreover, how exactly was the notoriously meticulous Stewart brought down?
Drawing on the accounts of then-deputy attorney general James Comey and U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, Stewart sheds new light on the Libby investigation, making clear how far into the White House the Valerie Plame CIA scandal extended, and why Libby took the fall.
In San Francisco, Giants home-run king Barry Bonds faces trial due to his testimony before a grand jury investigating the use of illegal steroids in sports. Bonds was warned explicitly that the only crime he faced was perjury. Stewart unlocks the story behind the mounting evidence that he nonetheless lied under oath.
Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme is infamous, but less well known is how he eluded detection for so long in the face of repeated investigations. Of the four he is the only one who has admitted to lying.The perjury outbreak is symptomatic of a broader breakdown of ethics in American life. It isn't just the judicial system that relies on an honor code: Academia, business, medicine, and government all depend on it. Tangled Webs explores the age-old tensions between greed and justice, self-interest and public interest, loyalty and duty. At a time when Americans seem hungry for moral leadership and clarity, Tangled Webs reaffirms the importance of truth.
©2011 James B. Stewart (P)2011 Penguin Audio
63 year old service connected disabled Air Force veteran, served during Viet Nam Era and returned to active duty in 1976 to 1979.
Lying has become so common place in American life and business that we don't think of it as wrong until some one gets caught and charged with a crime. The lie itself is not in itself so bad but the cover up that follows is often worse than the original lie.The lengths these wealthy people have gone to to save what amounted to a fraction of their overall wealth and put their freedom and empires on the line and risked it all out of a sense of entitlement and that is what it is all about an underlaying sense of entitlement that makes lying alright.
Stewart walks us through several high profile cases involving, amongst other things, perjury. The Martha Stewart and Bernie Madoff segments were particularly interesting, in large part due to the tremendous detail that was included. Narration was first rate.
The author knows how to tell a non-fiction story so that it unfolds with the suspense of fiction. Characters are lucidly drawn, facts presented to support the narrative, and the moral of the story elucidated. These are all stories we followed in the press, but no newspaper account included the amazing detail (never tedious) and the day by day snippets never contributed to the spellbinding narratives one gets here. Very competently read. Easy to segment with the four self-contained stories.
In “Tangled Webs: How False Statements Are Undermining America: From Martha Stewart to Bernie Madoff,” James B. Stewart begins with this premise: perjury is a national epidemic and a review of four of our highest profiled perjurers: Martha Stewart, Scooter Libby, Barry Bonds (and Marion Jones and others) and the king of them all, Bernie Madoff, may provide insight into why everyone else does it so freely. Maybe. Probably not. Forget the theme, or the reason, or the motivation, this is a book you simply cannot put down. Stewart’s great skill is the ability to take these “tangled webs” and bring them into sharp focus leaving the reader walking through this distempered world with intimacy unrivaled. He is a quote machine providing extended reference to transcripts, documents, interviews. When they sing, they really sing, and usually lie then, too. Despite his under-theme that a failure to fully prosecute encourages more and damaging the very fabric of our society, everyone here, save Bonds, suffered consequences that overwhelmed what would have resulted had they told the truth: Martha Steward lost nearly $1 billion of net worth. As they say, with a “b.” (Poor thing, she is down to her last $130,000,000.00-still and all.) All to save about $45,000. But then, she has producers box up food she cooks on shows to take home with her. And for Martha, rules are for other people, for suckers. And don’t cross her. Scooter went to prison and his Commander in Chief, to the great anger of the prince of darkness himself, Mr. Cheney, refused to grant pardon and thereby, in the words of Cheney, “left a soldier on the field.” Libby is the one guy I most wonder about. His lies did little for him (except to save his job and reputation once he started) and he wasn’t even the guy who leaked Plame to Novak (the unpunished Rove and Armitage did). But he was the guy who learned who about Plame’s identity directly from Cheney (which he denied) who was mad as hell about the state of the Union and Plame’s husband’s allegations that Cheney buried the truth about yellow-cake uranium. Libby was loyal. The real story of Madoff is not in his deception (catastrophic) but in the SEC’s colossal failure to uncover it. Rarely has there been so much over-looked perjury. Madoff was not talented. He could not keep his stories straight and lied to the same people. The SEC was lazy and uninspired. They cared more about a closed investigation than uncovering a crime. Remarkably, they never even asked who was on the other side of all these trades or made a single call to see if any trades had even happened. They hadn’t. Had they made one call, his scheme would have collapsed at a time when he managed $20 billion. When he called the FBI to confess (the SEC never caught him), that number was $65 billion. Another $45 billion lost all because the regulators simply did not care. This is a great work for all those who hear the politicians roar that government regulators are killing us. Wow. No regulation has ever preceded bad behavior. It responds to it. Take it away and the Bernie’s thrive like weeds. So do the Kochs. Little wonder they are selling you regulation is bad baloney. Which leaves us with Bonds, and Jones, and the rest of the BALCO steroid legion. Bonds is really a stunning guy. No one ever liked him. He doesn’t like himself. Or anyone else. His father was famous and he was talented. Everyone else can go to hell. Everyone. And yet, his personal guy, Anderson, the man who brought him the drugs, refused to testify, went to jail, still is silent, life ruined. And Barry, for all that so-called loyalty, doesn’t speak to him. This is a work that reveals and reveals. Tell the truth.
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