Our justice system depends on witnesses raising their hands and swearing to tell the truth. Yet a perjury epidemic has swept our country, undermining the very foundation of our courts.
James B. Stewart, author of Tangled Webs: How False Statements are Undermining America: From Martha Stewart to Bernie Madoff gets at the truth behind the lying phenomenon in a public conversation on Thursday, June 14, 2012, at 6:30 p.m. at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St.
Based on extensive interviews with prosecutors, investigators, and other participants in major court cases, Tangled Webs delves into the trials of media and homemaking entrepreneur Martha Stewart, top White House political adviser Lewis "Scooter" Libby, home-run king Barry Bonds, and Wall Street money manager Bernard Madoff.
Why, the author asks, would household diva Martha Stewart (no relation) risk prison, put her entire empire in jeopardy, and lie repeatedly to government investigators to save a few hundred thousand dollars in stock gains?
Stewart sheds new light on the Libby investigation, making clear how far into the White House the Valerie Plame CIA scandal extended, and why Libby took the fall.
San Francisco Giants home-run king Barry Bonds is on trial over his testimony before a grand jury investigating illegal steroids in sports. Bonds faced no criminal charges over his alleged steroid use, yet he is accused of lying under oath about that use.
Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme is infamous, but less well known is how he eluded detection for so long in the face of repeated investigations. Of the four figures Stewart discusses, Madoff is the only one who has admitted to lying.
Stewart argues that the perjury outbreak is symptomatic of a broader breakdown of ethics in American life. Tangled Webs explores the age-old tensions between greed and justice, self-interest and public interest, loyalty and duty. At a time when Americans seem hungry for moral leadership and clarity, Tangled Webs reaffirms the importance of truth.
James B. Stewart is the author of Heart of a Soldier, the bestselling Blind Eye and Blood Sport, and the blockbuster Den of Thieves. A former Page-One editor at The Wall Street Journal, Stewart won a Pulitzer Prize in 1988 for his reporting on the stock market crash and insider trading.
Admission is free. The event will be preceded by a 6 p.m. reception. RSVP online  or call 816.701.3407. Free parking is available in the Library District parking garage at 10th & Baltimore.
Major funding for programs at the Kansas City Public Library is provided by a generous grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.