Social Media “Witness Intimidation” Cited In The Jodi Arias Murder Trial


For three days this week, a domestic-violence expert witness named Alyce LaViolette held her own against prosecutor Juan Martinez in the Jodi Arias murder trial in Phoenix, but in cyberspace LaViolette was annihilated, says the Arizona Republic. The Arias case is an international phenomenon, reduced to a parable of good and evil relayed in 140-character Twitter posts. Travis Alexander, the secret lover she killed in 2008, has become a cause célèbre. Arias has become a pariah, and everyone associated with her is considered evil by thousands in the social-media audience. LaViolette was hired by the defense to convince the jury that Arias was a victim of abuse from Alexander. As of Tuesday, there were more than 500 posts, calling LaViolette a fraud and a disgrace. Sree Sreenivasan, chief digital officer and professor of journalism at Columbia University, said he had never seen anything like the attacks on LaViolette. “This is a logical extension of witness intimidation, taken to an extreme conclusion,” he said. He believes we will see it again. “I imagine this is going to be standard operating procedure in prominent cases,” he said. Arias, 32, admits killing Alexander, 30, but she claims she did it in self-defense.

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