Friday, May 11, 2018

Friday diversion: Professor Paul Campos opines that it was Trump who paid hush-money to Playmate Bechard not Broidy

Though this is not directly related to "legal skills" per se, Professor Campos' recent article in New york Magazine is not only very interesting reading, but it strikes me as also being a very good example of the type of cognitive skills at the heart of a good legal education. To wit, the questioning of assumptions, pattern recognition, the ability to draw reasonable inferences, etc. In the article, Professor Campos makes a compelling argument to support his theory that the previously reported $1.6 million payment in hush-money from Michael Cohen to former Playboy Playmate Shera Bechard was not, as the press had previously reported, to cover-up Republican lobbyist Elloitt Broidy's illicit affair with Bechard (resulting in an allegedly aborted pregnancy) but instead - get this - to cover up the same deed perpetrated by Donald Trump.  Is Campos right? How the heck would I know? But if you read the relatively short article, he makes a pretty persuasive case to support his theory, particularly insofar as it serves as a better "fit" given the pattern of previous behavior by both Broidy and Trump. 

I point it out here because I could see law profs using this short article about a topical subject during 1L orientation, for example, to illustrate how "thinking like a lawyer" means always question assumptions (i.e. most of the mainstream press never questioned Broidy's confession to the affair with Bechard which, as Campos points out, could have been a false one intend to protect Trump), draw reasonable inferences from the facts, read between the lines, and think critically 

What do you think?  Does Campos make a good case? Does it reflect a good lay example of critical thinking? You can read the full text of his article here.


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