Atlanta, Georgia -- The three people (one woman, two men) accused of attempting to sell trade secrets of Coca-Cola to rival Pepsi are innocent. That is, if you believe their attorney, Thomas Tellatale. Holding a press conference in front of a huge crowd of reporters and other interested parties on the steps of an Atlanta courthouse yesterday, the attorney, smartly dressed in a pinstriped suit with yellow accessories, was passionate in the defense of his clients. "They did nothing wrong," he claimed. "My clients categorically deny all charges."
After his opening statement, Tellatale was peppered with questions. "Isn't it true," a young female reporter in the first row asked, "that your client, you know, the one who's an administrative assistant, was caught on video snatching a sample of a new Coca-Cola product-in-progress and smuggling it out of the building in her purse?" Tom Tellatale replied, "Hey, she thought she might be thirsty. Is that a crime?" He laughed and pointed out several reporters armed with water bottles and other beverage containers. "If making plans to quench your thirst is a crime, then a lot of YOU are guilty."
"But didn't she also smuggle out a portfolio of top-secret documents?" an older reporter in the back asked. "The camera doesn't lie, you know." Tellatale nodded his head back and forth. "It's just a misunderstanding. My client was merely taking some work home. She's a very industrious employee and is on the job 24/7."
Next someone asked about the fact that his clients had demanded cash for Coca-Cola trade secrets. According to the attorney, that's not what happened. He responded, "My clients were testing the waters. It was merely a security check. They had heard rumors that special formulas were being leaked, and they wanted to check things out. The whole thing is much ado about nothing, I assure you." Looking at his watch, Tellatale announced that he had to end the conference and get back to work. Pointing to the table behind him stacked with large refrigerated cartons, he urged those in the audience to come up and get a free Coke.
As eight-year-old Willie Whizkid and his photographer father climbed to the top of the stairs to get their Cokes, Willie pulled at his father's shirt, and asked, "Daddy, I never heard that word. Cat-e-gor-i-cal-ly. Categorically deny, what does that mean?" His father's response was quick. "It means they definitely did it. That's what lawyers always say when their clients are guilty. Lawyers are good at telling stories." Willie smiled and grabbed a Coke. Nodding his head up and down, he looked up at his father and said, "I think I'll be a lawyer, Daddy. I love to tell stories."