A (Mock) Court in Pittsburgh Just Put Luke Skywalker on Trial for Murder

Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved
Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved

A court in Pittsburgh has acquitted Luke Skywalker of 5999 murder charges for causing the destruction of the Death Star.

The trial put the two highest-ranking rulers of the Galactic Empire, Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine, on the witness stand, along with the top leaders of the Rebel Alliance—Han Solo, Princess Leia, and Skywalker himself—to recount the events leading up to the explosion of the Galactic Empire star base.

While Skywalker (attorney Matthew Feinman) and his counsel did not deny the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s charge that “on or about May 25, 1977,” the Jedi fired a proton torpedo at a design flaw in the industrial celestial object, leading to its complete destruction and the deaths of most crew members, Skywalker claimed the action was justified, given the Death Star’s recent use as a weapon of planetary destruction.

“I destroyed it because the Empire was posing a threat to the entire Rebel Alliance and the galaxy as a whole,” Skywalker, waiving his Fifth Amendment right, told the courtroom. “The Death Star could destroy an entire planet. If I didn’t destroy it, millions or even billions of lives could have been lost. The dark forces have no regard for human life and would destroy everything in their path.”


Photo courtesy of Mark Hensler

The jury believed it. Said jury was a made up of Pittsburgh-area grade-schoolers, many of whom were wearing Star Wars T-shirts for the occasion, so it was arguably a tainted jury pool. Still, the Tatooine farmhand-turned-political radical left the courtroom as free as an unsaddled Bantha.

The “trial,” which took place on April 13, 2019 at Dormont Public Library, was one in a series of the Allegheny County Bar Association’s annual “Fairy Tale Mock Trials,” meant to give kids an introduction to the legal system, via material they know, and also allow local lawyers to show off their cosplay skills. (Last year, the Bar Association tried Harry Potter for the death of Professor Quirrell. The kids let The Boy Who Lived walk, too.)

“When they deliberate, they can be so thoughtful that I think a few of them could become interested in law,” attorney Catherine S. Loeffler, one of the event's organizers, said.

The prosecution’s key witnesses emphasized the loss of life on the Death Star and in what Emperor Palpatine (attorney Casey Rankin, who specialized in toxic tort defense) characterized as an “unprovoked attack.”

“Without warning or provocation, Luke Skywalker and members of the Rebel Alliance attacked us and the Battle of Yavin ensued,” Palpatine/Rankin hissed. “Our men fought valiantly but they were overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of the Rebel Alliance.”

Under questioning from “prosecutor” John Ogden, Palpatine put the cost of the destroyed property at “a gazillion galactic credits.”

“It sounds like you have a civil suit on your hands,” Ogden retorted.

“The Empire has much to settle,” the hooded galactic overlord agreed.

A scene from the mock trial of Luke Skywalker at Pittsburgh's Dormont Public Library
Photo courtesy of Mark Hensler

Darth Vader (attorney Stephen Elek) recounted the crack to his imposing sense of calm and control on day of the alleged crime. “I looked out the window and I saw the entire Rebel Alliance armada,” he said. “There must have been over 200 ships right outside the Death Star.”

However, Vader and Palpatine proved to be unsympathetic witnesses when, under questioning from Skywalker’s attorney, Brian Shepard, both admitted to using the Death Star in planet-wide massacres.

When Shepard asked if the Empire’s agenda consisted of "blowing up their planets, destroying cities, and killing thousands of people,” Vader angrily retorted: “Yes, but it was a greater purpose yooouuu wouldn’t understand.”

The testimony of Storm Trooper Number 12 (University of Pittsburgh postdoctoral associate Wynn Meyer) may have struck a few heartstrings. “They surrounded us from all sides with a strategically coordinated attack,” the servant of the Empire, who testified in uniform, said. “It was clear they had been planning this for a while, definitely premeditated. They were heavily armed and many of my best men were killed before my very eyes.” She admitted that as the rebels advanced, “it was hard to hit anyone.”

The defense’s strategy hit a snag when key witness Han Solo (attorney Adam Rosenthal) was offended that defense attorney Ogden had not heard of his smuggling vessel. “You haven’t heard of the Millennium Falcon?” Solo asked, perplexed, when Ogden asked him to describe the ship that took part in the attack. “That’s the ship that did the Kessel Run in [less than] 12 parsecs.”

Judge Amanda Kraft (a business attorney by day) interrupted proceedings to halt the cross-talk about the Millennium Falcon.

Princess Leia is sworn in to take part in the trial of Luke Skywalker
Photo courtesy of Mark Hensler

The defense’s final witness, Princess Leia (attorney Lea Lach), returned to a point of moral clarity by mournfully describing the destruction of her home planet, Alderaan, via the Death Star.

“By destroying the Death Star, we saved lives,” her highness said. “Darth Vader and the Empire should be on trial. My home planet was a peaceful place with no places or military bases. They killed millions of people and we killed 5999 to stop them from killing millions more. This trial is an outrage. It’s unfortunate those lives were lost, but we were doing it for the greater good.”

After deliberating with a court officer, the 3-foot-tall jury spokesman agreed. “We find Luke Skywalker innocent and think Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader should be on trial.”

Somehow, Skywalker and his defense team managed to turn the prosecution’s star witnesses into the defendants—a Jedi mind trick if there ever was one.

Pottery Barn Is Launching a Friends-Inspired Furniture Line That Includes Rachel’s Iconic Apothecary Table

To celebrate this fall’s 25th anniversary of the premiere of Friends in 1994, Pottery Barn is releasing a line of furniture inspired by the beloved NBC sitcom, Deadline reports.

The collection will feature accessories, furniture, and tabletop items, including Central Perk mugs. One highlight is a replica of the apothecary table that made a name for apothecary tables everywhere with its spotlight-stealing performance in the season 6 episode “The One with the Apothecary Table.” In it, Rachel purchases an apothecary table from Pottery Barn and, when she finds out Phoebe hates Pottery Barn, tells her the table is an antique from the “days of yore.” It gets more complicated (and hilarious) from there.

Pottery Barn's 'Friends' furniture collection
Pottery Barn

According to BuzzFeed, the episode was actually part of a product placement deal with Pottery Barn, and Entertainment Weekly even ranked it first on their “Best Product Placement” list for Friends.

You can shop the collection beginning on July 30, with prices starting at $12.50. If you’re a diehard Friends fanatic looking to celebrate its 25th anniversary in a way that Rachel Green would be proud of, you can also enter Pottery Barn’s sweepstakes for a chance to win a free trip for two to Los Angeles, complete with a $1000 shopping spree to Pottery Barn and a Warner Bros. Studio Deluxe Tour which includes, of course, a visit to the Central Perk set.

And, if you haven’t seen “The One with the Apothecary Table,” you can watch it on Netflix before Friends leaves for WarnerMedia’s new streaming service HBO Max in 2020.

[h/t Deadline]

Target Has Launched a Harry Potter Line of Clothing, Accessories, and Home Goods

Target
Target

No more blending in with the mediocre Muggles—now wizards can decorate and accessorize like the magical creatures they are with Target's brand-new line of Harry Potter clothing and home goods.

Target shoppers will feel like they’ve stepped through Platform 9 ¾ at King’s Cross Station as they wander the Harry Potter-stuffed aisles. Popsugar reports that Target will carry more than 500 Harry Potter-themed items, including socks, lanterns, pillows, dolls and much more.

You’ll be able to wake up in your Hogwarts sheets, have your morning coffee in a Slytherin mug, and take a ride on a foam Nimbus 2000 replica while rocking a Potter t-shirt. Not sure what house you’re in? No sweat! Target is even carrying a real-life sorting hat.

Whether you need a gift for the kiddos, or just want to treat your inner witch, Target is sure to have the perfect find in its Wizarding World line.

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