There is the court of law and there is the court of public opinion.
The victor in the court of law is, theoretically at least, the party that has evidence and is on the right side of the law. The scales of justice are tipped by well-reasoned legal arguments and proof.
Victory in the court of public opinion has two paths.
The more difficult path is for the party to persuade the audience with well-constructed legal and moral arguments that appeal to the mind as well as the heart.
The second is an easier path, that of demagoguery. As we have witnessed with Trump, in such instances facts do not matter, morality and character do not matter; what matters will be the ability of the party to bully, threaten, interrupt, shout down and make all sorts of accusations against their adversary. Force of personality plays a large part.
It is interesting that the famous Hotman Paris — who is now representing Maybank in a case in which e-sports star Winda Lunardi and her mother allege that the branch manager had embezzled them of Rp22 billion, and in which Maybank has refused to take any responsibility to compensate them — now wants to shift the case to a court of very public opinion.
Why is he doing so?
Apart from all the free publicity he would get if a TV station was to take up his offer of having all parties – with their lawyers present, of course – duke it out on prime time, there is the prospect that he could put his powers persuasion to work no win the case.
But which path do you think he will take? That of moral suasion or that of demagoguery?