According to the law, Dennis Kozlowski (search) would be entitled to an acquittal if the government could not prove that he knew it was wrong that he rewarded himself with hundreds of millions of dollars — including $6,000 shower curtains — as compensation for running Tyco Corporation.
In other words, if Kozlowski felt entitled to all those millions, if he felt it was fair he was rewarded that handsomely... then he couldn't have violated the law.
On the other hand, if he had any sense of what it means to be an ordinary American — let's say an employee of Tyco (search) — and he knew that a fat cat executive who raked in hundreds of millions of dollars was wrong, then he violated the law.
The issue is intent... and to have intent to steal, you have to know that taking the mountain of money is wrong. If you don't know it's wrong, then it's impossible to form the necessary intent to commit a crime.
This is how O.J. got off. Seriously. It's logic like that which makes it possible for a guy like Kozlowski to justify an outrageous paycheck and be technically innocent of a crime.
Now I'm not accusing Kozlowski of a crime. I'm just saying that anybody taking as much money as Kozlowski did has to know... there's something not right about this.
So if he's acquited, we'll have to settle for the explanation that he didn't intend to steal, because — after all — he thought he did something to deserve all those millions.
So all you have to do is be blissfully unaware that your crime is a crime. If you are unaware, you can't form the intent to commit the crime.
That's My Word.
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