Here’s a little story about Bizarro Matlock, an Illinois attorney who maybe just got a little old and started to get confused about legal strategies and psychology and how women behave when they get scorned.
It’s an old, sad story, really. A marriage of nearly forty years goes sour, the economy’s in tatters. The devastated husband feels desperate and cornered as he really gets a look at how much this is going to cost him, and how barren and lonely his life will become in the aftermath.
The alimony, the loss of his house, his estranged children. Grandchildren he’ll barely ever see. I guess he finally figures, listen – I’m not going to take this lying down.
Fortunately he’s a lawyer. A lawyer with at least some divorce experience, because as we learn in this article, he once represented his sister-in-law for her divorce. He surveys the cards in his crappy hand, knowing he’s going to have to play them just right. He’ll have to use all his wits and cunning.
So he says to his wife, listen – you need to back off of me with regards to these financial obligations, and I’ll tell you why. I had sex with your sister thirty-five years ago when she was sixteen years old, and I’ve got naked pictures of her.
See, that’s why he’s not just regular Matlock. He’s Bizarro Matlock.
The article isn’t clear exactly how surprised his soon-to-be ex-wife is by this news, but she seems to take it fairly well, so my guess is, that’s the kind of thing that she’s recently learned is right in character for him. That’s the kind of thing probably led to their recent divorce, though of course I’m just speculating.
So eventually, she agrees to meet with her husband. He produces the photographs that he’s had all this time of her naked sister.
Let’s all take a second to really think about what kind of a man Bizarro Matlock is, if he had naked pictures of his wife’s sister hidden in a drawer for the nearly four decades they’ve been together.
Probably had to deal with them sometimes, when they moved. You know, when you sort through your stuff and decide what to keep and what to toss out. Get rid of old coats and shoes, stacks of old magazines.
Hmm, better hang onto these, he apparently keeps telling himself.
So anyway, his wife says something like, so, you’re resorting to blackmail, is that it?
The road weary attorney shrugs – he has to protect himself, right? And it’s a hard world. He replies, “There’s nothing left. I’m down to no kids, no grandkids, no money.”
A cold, calculated move by a veteran attorney who doesn’t like to lose. Except of course his wife really had no motivation for protecting her sister, did she?
By then, her sister was in her forties, and had apparently never mentioned her high school affair with Bizarro Matlock. In fact, if Mrs. Bizarro Matlock had run across a stranger with such photos in the middle of her divorce, she probably would have bought them, since they would have come in handy during the hearings.
So of course she had already called the authorities, and federal agents were monitoring the meeting, when they had that conversation. And there he was, with a picture of a naked sixteen year-old girl, talking into listening devices about how he got away with having sex with her scott-free.
Which one of you is a career lawyer again, Bizarro Matlock?
Anyway, after his arrest, a series of mind-boggling legal arguments takes place.
For example, sixteen was the age of consent in Illinois back then, where the “affair” took place. So although Bizarro Matlock was in his thirties, he wasn’t doing anything illegal by having sex with his wife’s little sister.
And the Federal child pornography act wasn’t enacted until a few years after the pictures were taken. So it wasn’t child pornography yet – hooray for gross, Seventies, cradle-robbing lawyers and their enormous cameras!
Of course the only problem is, it was 2006 by the time he was attempting to use the photographs for blackmail purposes. And in 2006, it was definitely child pornography, and it was by then plenty illegal to possess it, and isn’t that a picture of a naked sixteen year-old girl in your hand there, sir?
Sure looks like it, said the federal agents monitoring the blackmail meeting. Let’s go ahead and get you fitted up with an orange jumpsuit.
So from prison, Bizarro Matlock then embarks on an appeallate court odyssey to clear his name. Some other bankruptcy fraud charges (he’s just a guy, things happen) have been dropped and so the only reason he’s still in jail is this stupid I Tried To Blackmail My Wife With My Own Personal Child Pornography charge.
The way around that is the old I Thought The Girl In The Picture Was Eighteen defense. So that’s how he tries to play it – I thought my wife’s sister was eighteen when I had sex with her and took naked photographs of her. Even though I had known her since she was in the fourth grade.
And over our three decade marriage, you know, it didn’t come up when I represented her in her divorce, this documented, adulterous relationship from her adolescence. With, you know. Me.
Well, great news. The Surpreme Court is geared to consider this case soon – I’m not joking, it’s right there in the AP article. I’ll be watching closely to see if in their wisdom, they decide to let Bizarro Matlock out of jail.