Jewish World Review Jan. 23, 2004 / 29 Teves, 5764
Saddam's trial set for Modesto
Blunts economic impact of losing peterson case, locals say
Despite mounting protests from Iraqi Shiites demanding that the U.S. turn over Saddam Hussein to them
for trial, interim administrator Paul Bremer III announced today that the former Iraqi dictator would be put
on trial this spring in Modesto, California.
"We needed to find a place where jurors were likely to give Saddam a fair trial," Mr. Bremer explained to
reporters. "In Modesto, almost no one has heard of Saddam because the only news they have been
getting for the last year has been about Scott Peterson."
In contrast with the Shiites, who took to the streets to protest the decision, Modesto residents were
jubilant at the prospect of hosting the high-profile trial, especially after losing the Peterson trial to San
"The economic impact of losing the Scott Peterson case was devastating," said Ryan McCoy, who owns
a café in downtown Modesto and sells gallons of Evian water to visiting journalists. "That's why it's
such a good thing that we got Saddam - whoever he is."
But even as Modesto residents celebrated landing the Iraqi madman's trial, legal experts worried that
locals here may not know enough about Saddam Hussein to sit on his jury, with many prospective jurors
believing that Saddam was somehow implicated in the Peterson case.
When asked the question, "Who is Saddam Hussein," Modesto resident Jan Clarke, 35, gave a typical
response: "Is he the guy who rented the boat to Scott?"
In Baghdad, Mr. Bremer said the U.S. was exploring a number of scenarios to compensate the angry
Shiites for the loss of Saddam, including moving Michael Jackson's trial to the southern city of Basra.
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JWR Contributor Andy Borowitz, a former president of the Harvard Lampoon, is a regular humor columnist for Newsweek.com, The New Yorker, The New York Times and TV Guide. Recognized by Esquire magazine as one of the most powerful producers in television, he was the creator and producer of the hit TV series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and producer of the Oscar-nominated film Pleasantville. He is the author of the just released "Who Moved My Soap? The CEO's Guide to
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