A United States senator's aborted perjury charge

Roger W. Shuy

in The Language of Perjury Cases

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780199795383
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199919314 | DOI:
A United States senator's aborted perjury charge

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When Barak Obama was elected president of the United States, it was the Illinois governor’s task to appoint somebody to replace him as the senator from that state. Governor Blagojevich was suspected of trying to sell this appointment to the highest bidder and when he eventually appointed Roland Burris to that seat, there was considerable suspicion that Burris had made the best offer. Meanwhile, the FBI had been secretly tape-recording all calls made in and out of the governor’s office, including one call between the governor’s brother to Burris, which the government thought might implicate Burris in a crime. When Burris was called to testify at the governor’s impeachment hearings, he said that he could not remember having any contact with the governor’s office, but the FBI indeed had taped that one call. Burris was about to be indicted for perjury, but after analyzing this conversation, the prosecutor decided not to pursue it further. This chapter provides a linguistic analysis of the conversation that supports the prosecutor’s effective intelligence analysis.

Keywords: perjury; topic analysis; agenda; deception; memory; lexicon

Chapter.  4421 words. 

Subjects: Sociolinguistics

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