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The Language of Bribery Cases$
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Roger W. Shuy

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199945139

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199945139.001.0001

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The coded bribery event of Federal Judge Alcee Hastings

The coded bribery event of Federal Judge Alcee Hastings

(p.184) [11] The coded bribery event of Federal Judge Alcee Hastings
The Language of Bribery Cases

Roger W. Shuy

Oxford University Press

After being acquitted in a bribery trial, the US Congress believed (but couldn’t prove) that the evidence tapes in his case contained coded references to the bribery. I was asked to determine whether that their recorded language showed evidence of being coded. The speech event took the form of a progress report in which the speakers’ topics were consistent in their schemas about getting some reference letters supporting a mutual friend. However, the way they communicated their topics and responses, including excessive use of pause fillers, checks on confirmation of mutual understanding, missing follow-ups, and unusual anaphoric referencing, were key to the conclusion that the conversations indeed were conducted in a hastily constructed, partially disguised code. Hasting then was impeached and removed from the bench.

Keywords:   progress report speech event, schemas, strategies, smoking guns, agendas, partially disguised code, pause fillers, confirmation checks, discourse follow-ups, referencing

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