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“It Wasn’t Me:” The Shaggy Defense

“It Wasn’t Me:” The Shaggy Defense

I’m somewhat fascinated by stretch-of-the-imagination defenses. To me, the idea that a girl’s sartorial choice to wear skinny jeans could absolve someone of a date rape charge in Australia and South Korea is not only hilarious and mind-blowing, but a little bit demented as well.

Similarly, the Shaggy Defense is gaining popularity here on US soil. A nod to Shaggy’s 2000 hit “It Wasn’t Me,” in which the singer shakes off claims of infidelity saying the cheater in question wasn’t him, the Shaggy Defense has been successfully argued in two distinct cases. Most notably (but not exactly in as many words), R. Kelly’s lawyers enacted the Shaggy Defense in his 2008 child pornography trial. Claiming that the individual shown on tape peeing on and having sex with an underage girl wasn’t R. Kelly, lawyers effectively, yet unknowingly enacted the Shaggy Defense.

More recently, a tractor trailer driver was accused of hitting a worker installing traffic lights in Virginia. His defense: It wasn’t me. This time, the Shaggy Defense actually gets a shout-out by US District Judge Jackson Kiser who declared that “the so-called ‘Shaggy defense’ [was] inappropriate for a summary judgment notion.”

As writer Josh Levin predicted, the Shaggy Defense might one day become a strategy taught in law schools across the country. To be honest, it really is the perfect line of defense. Passing the buck doesn’t get any easier than simply saying, “It wasn’t me.”

Posted by Amelia