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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 bribery event that continued after the target said “no”: The case of U.S. Senator Harrison A. Williams

The bribery event that continued after the target said “no”: The case of U.S. Senator Harrison A. Williams

Chapter:
(p.119) [7] The bribery event that continued after the target said “no”: The case of U.S. Senator Harrison A. Williams
Source:
The Language of Bribery Cases
Author(s):

Roger W. Shuy

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199945139.003.0007

This case is an example of how an undercover agent never managed to reach the bribery speech event’s necessary phase 4 completion. The problem phase was clear enough. The FBI agent posing as an Arab sheik claimed to want US citizenship, legally possible under the strict conditions that Williams outlined to him. The phase 2 negotiation concerned what the sheik would need to do to get his citizenship. During the phase 3 offer the sheik suddenly offered Williams a bribe, to which he responded “no” several times. Despite the absence of a positive phase 4 completion, the government charged Williams with accepting a bribe. This chapter shows how the contrasting schemas, agendas, speech acts, conversational strategies, and the absence of smoking guns argue against Williams’s indictment.

Keywords:   Abscam, speech event phases, schemas, agendas, speech acts, conversational strategies, smoking guns, impeachment hearing

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