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I Love You, Now Die: The Commonwealth Vs. Michelle Carter

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From Deadline; ‘I Love You, Now Die: The Commonwealth Vs. Michelle Carter’ Trailer: HBO Docu Spotlights Infamous Texting Suicide Case

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HBO has released the first teaser trailer for their forthcoming true-crime documentary I Love You, Now Die: The Commonwealth vs. Michelle Carter and although there is sparse footage, it’s very chilling.

Directed by Erin Lee Carr (Mommy Dead and Dearest), the two-part documentary, which will debut at SXSW, dives deep into the texting suicide case that riveted the nation where Michelle Carter sent texts urging her boyfriend Conrad Roy to commit suicide. Carter, who was 17 years old at the time, was indicted as an adult and many thought that her actions were immoral. The documentary raises difficult questions about technology, mental health, and whether or not one teenager can be held responsible for the suicide of another. The documentary features families, friends, and communities that were forever changed by the Commonwealth vs. Michelle Carter case and follows a story that has wider implications for society at large, online and IRL.

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I realize they have produced quality documentaries but HBO seems to be on a great role even for them in the last few months.

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I have seen several shows cover this story already (Dateline, 48 Hrs, etc.), so I am pretty familiar with this case, but I am expecting good things from an HBO documentary!

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Two Part Documentary I LOVE YOU, NOW DIE Debuts This July On HBO
 

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Directed by Erin Lee Carr (HBO's "At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA GYMNASTICS Scandal" and "Mommy Dead and Dearest"), part one of I LOVE YOU, NOW DIE debuts TUESDAY, JULY 9 (8:00-9:00 p.m. ET/PT), followed by part two the following night, WEDNESDAY, JULY 10 (8:00-9:15 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO.

The documentary will also be available on HBO NOW, HBO GO, HBO On Demand and partners' streaming platforms.

I LOVE YOU, NOW DIE kicks off HBO's trilogy of two-part crime documentaries on successive Tuesday and Wednesday nights this July. "Behind Closed Doors" debuts the following Tuesday and Wednesday, July 16 and 17, followed by Liz Garbus' "Who Killed Garrett Phillips?" concluding the series July 23 and 24.

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I followed this case superficially in that I probably read that one long NY Mag (?) piece and that’s about it so I will probably have to save my full thoughts until after I watch part 2 for both the documentary and the case. 

The recordings that Conrad made on his computer are intense and heartbreaking. I can’t imagine how devastating they must be for his friends and family.

Two technical things and one completely super random one: I thought the music was too intrusive through most of it and the contrast on the text messages could have been sharper. For some reason in the videos Conrad reminded me so much of Peyton Manning.

Looking forward to finishing itthough not sure why it needed to be two one hour parts.

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12 hours ago, biakbiak said:

Looking forward to finishing it though not sure why it needed to be two one hour parts.

Same, although I suppose that's subject to change after I watch part 2.

The Blotter Presents covered this in their episode out today, and I'm so glad they mentioned the two things that really bugged me: the credits, and the seagull walking around while text messages were on the screen.

Does anyone know where to find transcripts of all of the texts between Michelle and Conrad? A quick google search only led me to find the ones from the day Conrad passed, but I'm curious about their earlier text exchanges.

My biggest criticism of this so far is that it provided nothing that the Dateline episode didn't already do. Again, maybe part 2 will change my mind, but I didn't find it particularly interesting given that it all felt like a retread.

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7 minutes ago, pigs-in-space said:

Does anyone know where to find transcripts of all of the texts between Michelle and Conrad? A quick google search only led me to find the ones from the day Conrad passed, but I'm curious about their earlier text exchanges.

Lots of good links in this article, including text messages going back to June 1, 2014.

Interesting how on June 23 she pleads with him not to harm himself, but on June 29 she's accusing him of being too wimpy to go through with it. By July 2, she's telling him to go through with it because he'll be "happy and protected in heaven." It just gets worse from there.

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13 hours ago, biakbiak said:

Two technical things and one completely super random one: I thought the music was too intrusive through most of it and the contrast on the text messages could have been sharper. 

So true. Not all of us have 65-inch screens and perfect vision! I was squinting for every one of them, and they were the primary content of the film, so it was odd.

I still don't know what to make of it. They seem to be shifting into an exploration of "why" for tonight's episode, but it's not like we're going to get any real answers since (a) there probably aren't any and (b) it's all going to be speculation.

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We gave up HBO (and all of our other movie channels) some time ago since we never watched it, and figured we'd rather spend the money on more channels and a whole house DVR, so I'm going to have to see if I can find this elsewhere.

Initially, I thought this girl was just a drama queen and an attention seeker, but after reading some of the messages and text echanges, I'm leaning more toward her being some sort of sociopath. 

My husband battles mental illness (chronic treatment-resistant depression, mild PTSD, and anxiety) and he has  threatened suicide before.  One time, in a fit of dispair, I will admit that I yelled at him "Either do it, or SHUT UP about it!!  I'm sick of hearing it!".  He hasn't threatened since (I don't believe he'd ever go through with it), and it's been a few years, but I can't fathom doing what she did.  It's like these psychos who say they wanted to know what it was like to kill someone, but she couldn't do it physically, so she played with someone's head until they did it themselves.

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1 hour ago, IndianPaintbrush said:

Lots of good links in this article, including text messages going back to June 1, 2014.

Thank you!

Those texts...wow, lot to digest. I was exhausted just reading them. Seems like a toxic combination between both of their issues, and Conrad needed professional help.

Also interesting that she had romantic feelings for a "friend" named Alice (more detail in this article). I hadn't heard/read about that at all.

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Part 2 definitely made me a little more sympathetic towards Michelle. This really was a toxic fantasy relationship, at least for her. It all made a lot more sense when they revealed the Glee/Lea Michele obsession.

I can't speak on matters of law, but just from a gut perspective - I feel like 15 mos. is a fair sentence. She can still have a life, and hopefully she gets plenty of therapy.

On a shallow note, Conor's dad's Massachusetts accent combined with his resemblance to JFK was messing with my head.

Edited by IndianPaintbrush
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 Agreed; as much as I didn’t want it to, Part 2 of this documentary did make me kind of feel sorry for Michelle. I mean, the way the story has been portrayed by the media, they were boyfriend and girlfriend, but in reality they weren’t even that. She just sort of asked if she could claim to be his girlfriend after he died. Having said that, I still think she needs to be locked up, and for longer than 15 months. To me she’s the digital version of a John Hinckleybor or a Mark David Chapman, with her obsessions and her potential to do evil.

Edited by Liamsmom617
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20 hours ago, IndianPaintbrush said:

Part 2 definitely made me a little more sympathetic towards Michelle. This really was a toxic fantasy relationship, at least for her. It all made a lot more sense when they revealed the Glee/Lea Michele obsession.

I can't speak on matters of law, but just from a gut perspective - I feel like 15 mos. is a fair sentence. She can still have a life, and hopefully she gets plenty of therapy.

Agreed. For one, I hadn't realized how long she'd spent trying to talk him out of it and being sympathetic. Seeing more of the trajectory of the relationship made it look a lot more like two people suffering from serious mental illness feeding off each other. She's obviously quite ill. (And I didn't realize that we don't actually know she told him to get back in the truck. From the way it's always been quoted, she texted him to "fucken get back in the truck," which she didn't. She just told someone else that she did that and has a massive history of inventing stories. That might've just seemed like the most dramatic thing to say at the time.)

I was impressed by Conrad's mother saying it was hard to be angry at someone who was so obviously unwell. That's a magnanimous soul.

 

Oh but I did like the one man in the "people on the street" interviews who had mixed feelings but said "I just know I don't want to be the next one to date 'er!"

Edited by gesundheit
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13 hours ago, IndianPaintbrush said:

On a shallow note, Conor's dad's Massachusetts accent combined with his resemblance to JFK was messing with my head.

Conor's dad broke my heart. 

Randomness:  I was fascinated by his face, skin, bone structure???  He looked like he could be David Letterman's brother.  I could look at him all day. And then, BAM!!!!...there's two of them!! Holy shit he either has a twin brother or a brother who looks identical to him.

Something off to me about the mom. Not judging as my dad took his life Sept 2003 and I'm well aware people react differently to tragedies.  I think I remember feeling the same way about her when watching the Dateline/48 Hours/20/20 episode about this case.

Edited by woodscommaelle
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I've only watched Part One but I did do some research online about the case and on Michelle/Conrad. I was stunned to learn that Conrad had suffered verbal and physical abuse at home from his father. His parents had a messy divorce and their relationship was marred by violence and physical altercations. Conrad had reported his father beat him for not putting a plate in the sink and that his grandfather (the one we see in the documentary) verbally abused him. Even more startlingly was the fact that both Conrad and Michelle were on the antidepressant Celexa which can cause/increase suicidal thoughts. Conrad had threatened suicide many times even before meeting Michelle..he had even taken an overdose of Tylenol before meeting her. A girl he had met in group therapy knew in real time he had done this and called the police.

Michelle had an eating disorder since she was 8 yrs. old. She had been a cutter and spent some time in a psychiatric hospital. Both of these kids had a plethora of mental health issues and social anxiety. This almost seems like a disaster waiting to happen. 

A lot of this is documented in police reports and Conrad's video blogs. I wish that HBO had delved into the history of Conrad's family dysfunction and his violent relationship with his Dad...also the suicide attempt he made in the past. Michelle's past is pertinent to the story...clearly she has a lot going on mentally and emotionally. Their relationship was not romantic on his end...he looked at her as a friend where she perceived them to be boyfriend/girlfriend. So much beneath the surface of this needed to be a part of the HBO show. I will watch Part 2 tonight.

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5 hours ago, Liamsmom617 said:

they were boyfriend and girlfriend, but in reality they weren’t even that. She just sort of asked if she could claim to be his girlfriend after he died. .

Am I remembering correctly? Had they only met once in person?  How many years were they talking/texting?

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1 hour ago, woodscommaelle said:

Conor's dad broke my heart.  ETA: I know there was talk of abuse, but to me it seemed like a one-off occurrence.  Reading below from @kicksave, though, and I could be very wrong about that. But I feel like the doc only mentioned the one time.

Randomness:  I was fascinated by his face, skin, bone structure???  He looked like he could be David Letterman's brother.  I could look at him all day. And then, BAM!!!!...there's two of them!! Holy shit he either has a twin brother or a brother who looks identical to him.

Something off to me about the mom. Not judging as my dad took his life Sept 2003 and I'm well aware people react differently to tragedies.  I think I remember feeling the same way about her when watching the Dateline/48 Hours/20/20 episode about this case.

Edited by woodscommaelle
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2 hours ago, woodscommaelle said:

Am I remembering correctly? Had they only met once in person?  How many years were they talking/texting?

They had met in person five or six times over the two years which is still strange because they both appeared to have access to cars and they only lived 40 minutes apart.

Edited by biakbiak
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55 minutes ago, woodscommaelle said:

Only one assault incident was reported to police by Conrad against his father...but according to other people there were multiple incidents of verbal abuse by his Dad and Grandfather and physical abuse by his Dad. His father stated that he would beat Conrad again if he felt the situation warranted it. He physically assaulted his wife and she him! What a mess.

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1 hour ago, kicksave said:

I've only watched Part One but I did do some research online about the case and on Michelle/Conrad. I was stunned to learn that Conrad had suffered verbal and physical abuse at home from his father. His parents had a messy divorce and their relationship was marred by violence and physical altercations. Conrad had reported his father beat him for not putting a plate in the sink and that his grandfather (the one we see in the documentary) verbally abused him. Even more startlingly was the fact that both Conrad and Michelle were on the antidepressant Celexa which can cause/increase suicidal thoughts. Conrad had threatened suicide many times even before meeting Michelle..he had even taken an overdose of Tylenol before meeting her. A girl he had met in group therapy knew in real time he had done this and called the police.

Michelle had an eating disorder since she was 8 yrs. old. She had been a cutter and spent some time in a psychiatric hospital. Both of these kids had a plethora of mental health issues and social anxiety. This almost seems like a disaster waiting to happen. 

A lot of this is documented in police reports and Conrad's video blogs. I wish that HBO had delved into the history of Conrad's family dysfunction and his violent relationship with his Dad...also the suicide attempt he made in the past. Michelle's past is pertinent to the story...clearly she has a lot going on mentally and emotionally. Their relationship was not romantic on his end...he looked at her as a friend where she perceived them to be boyfriend/girlfriend. So much beneath the surface of this needed to be a part of the HBO show. I will watch Part 2 tonight.

Almost all of this is dealt with in Part 2.

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1 hour ago, woodscommaelle said:

Am I remembering correctly? Had they only met once in person?  How many years were they talking/texting?

There were dozens of texts in which they referred to each other as boyfriend/girlfriend, it wasn't just from her end. The introduction of that idea was definitely hers, though, and his response was "I guess." But later he told her he loved her all the time and said she was "the best girlfriend," etc. They were definitely boyfriend/girlfriend, just in that weird way teenagers do that today long-distance and seem to prefer it that way.

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I've only seen part one so it's conceivable I'll change my mind after part two but OH LORD Michelle Carter is evil. I realize she has mental health issues but when she started pre-gaming the friend a day before Conrad actually went missing as some sort of trial balloon to see how it would go over was totally messed up. Then texting with his mother and playing dumb while knowing full well that Conrad was already dead? Meh. I ain't crying about her meager jail sentence. She deserved a lot more.

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Just watched both parts of this documentary today-I remember hearing bits and pieces about this story when it broke, but I never really followed the case with any regularity, so much of this was completely new to me. 

And...hoo boy. This story is hauntingly heartbreaking. I actually got emotional at times watching it-the texts between them the day of Conrad's death, Michelle retreating into these TV and movie worlds to compensate for her deep loneliness (the stuff about "Glee" and Cory Monteith's death inspiring her was beyond eerie), the video diaries from Conrad,...just...damn. These kids were both clearly struggling with a LOT of shit and making some truly desperate cries for help, and it seems a lot of people around them either weren't listening or seemed at a total loss for what to do. People kept saying over and over that had Michelle not encouraged Conrad he'd still be here, and I'd like to believe that, too. I'd like to believe he would've eventually gotten the help he clearly needed.

At the same time, though...he had tried to commit suicide before, without any prompting from Michelle. So I sadly can't help but feel that his tragic end might've happened whether Michelle was involved or not. His dad was talking at one point about how, shortly before Conrad's death, he'd "seemed to be getting better", and that just sounded so much like the sort of thing you hear people say after somebody commits suicide: "They seemed so happy, they seemed to be in a good place in their lives." I think on some level, despite his hesitations he'd discussed in his texts, he'd made peace with the fact that he wouldn't be alive much longer. 

Having said all of that, however, I do agree that Michelle definitely deserves to take responsibility for the way she encouraged him and tried to manipulate the situation. It was very chilling to see how she'd been kinda testing the waters and planning in the days just prior to Conrad's death, and while it's obvious she had some serious mental issues of her own and clearly wasn't in the right place to be a proper means of support to her friend, at the same time, when you know somebody is talking about killing themselves, giving them suggestions and asking when they're going to do it is, obviously, the most wrong way imaginable to respond. The prosecution and defense kept trying to make this all black and white-Michelle was either mentally ill or she was manipulative-and I'm sitting here thinking, "Why can't it be a mix of both?" 

And given the talk about how Conrad could be just as manipulative (his constant talk of suicide to her, while genuine, did also remind me at times of the people who threaten to kill themselves in order to guilt somebody into staying around), they definitely fed off each other. The whole folie a deux thing, and all that (their discussion about seeing the devil, ye gods). 

I don't think, however, Michelle should be in jail. I don't think that's the right place for her. Rather, I think she should be getting help in a mental hospital instead, and the court should've come up with some other means, via community service, of making her realize and acknowledge the severity of what she'd done. Maybe she'd have to tell her story to high school kids, maybe she'd have to do some kind of work with a mental hospital, things of that sort. I don't see how spending time in jail is going to help in any way, and while what she did was indeed awful, the laws on this issue tend to be kinda murky (or at least, they were at the time, I don't know how much has changed in that regard since then), to where sending her to jail seems like a tough call to make. Plus, given the debate over whether or not she even told him to get back in the truck-the very thing the whole case hinged on-that makes sending her to jail even more concerning for me. 

6 hours ago, kicksave said:

I wish that HBO had delved into the history of Conrad's family dysfunction and his violent relationship with his Dad...also the suicide attempt he made in the past. 

I would've liked to hear more about that, too. And I wish Michelle's family had been interviewed as well. It really bugged me hearing the on the street interviews with some of the people*-there was that one lady talking about how this case was a sign of society "losing its morals", and it just came off too much to me like a "What's wrong with kids today" type of rant. 'Cause, y'know, it's not like there aren't plenty of examples of adults being obnoxious bullies online or anything (and some of them still get away with behaving badly online, no less, despite saying things as bad as, if not worse, than what Michelle said to Conrad). If we are going to look at this on a generational level, frankly, if anything, this case is, to me, an example of how kids today are struggling with a lot of problems that nobody seems interested in actually doing anything of any real substance about. 

*I also got really irritated with the people who kept saying Michelle should kill herself. I get that they thought they were giving her a taste of her own medicine, but...way to completely miss the point of the issue here, guys. I had the same thought about this guy as well: 

9 hours ago, gesundheit said:

Oh but I did like the one man in the "people on the street" interviews who had mixed feelings but said "I just know I don't want to be the next one to date 'er!"

Other random thoughts:

-I really liked the analysis from the Esquire writer and the doctor in particular. I think they had the most measured, rational observations of this case, and I thought their commentary on how the media treats teenage girls was especially interesting. 

-The bald guy helping to represent Michelle looked a lot like Matt Lauer from certain angles. 

-Once again I am reminded why I can't watch Nancy Grace or Dr. Oz. 

So, yeah. Just such a truly sad story the whole way around. I'm glad this documentary took the time to explore this case in depth, though, 'cause I think there's a lot of interesting issues worth discussing and debating here, both with this case in particular and on a general level. 

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I still haven't seen this yet - waiting for it to show up on another site.  So I may be off-base, but judging by articles I've read and other shows I've seen:

1) Conrad may have tried to kill himself again, but the Tylenol incident was likely just a cry for help or attention.  A) He told someone he did it.  B) He vomited up the Tylenol.  C) Tylenol is not likely to kill you by taking too many - it CAN do serious harm to your internal organs, which COULD doom you to a slow and painful eventual demise, but one incident likely didn't do serious harm, plus he was young.  So I'm on the fence there.  I'm leaning toward him being less likely to harm again without someone playing with his head.

2) I'm not a fan of putting kids under the age of 20 on certain psych meds - especialy SSRI's (Celexa is one).  My husband is an adult and can't do SSRI's because they do strange things to him.  They don't work for everyone.  That being said....while he doesn't do well on them, he never attempted to manipulate someone or drive them to suicide.  I think that level of manipulation is part of Michelle's psyche, with or without psych meds.

3)  I am in agreement that her "trial run" of telling friends that Conrad was dead a day before was disturbing.  I am equally disturbed by her continually acting like she didn't know what happened to him, contacting his family before they knew, etc.  Same with her incessant texting him after he passed.  That's not being a scared kid.  That's being intentional.  And a bit sadistic.

4) I hadn't heard before about her obsession with the girl from Glee who had a boyfriend who killed himself (I never watched that show, and am not up on celebrity culture - doesn't really interest me).  That pushed me even more toward her being a sociapath and this being intentional.  After this happened, kids paid attention to her, stayed with her at her house, etc.  She got sympathy.

5) I agree she needs to be in a psych ward, but a criminal one.  They are different.

6) I respectfully disagree on her having to speak about this to kids.  That would feed in to her need for attention, and could validate in her mind that she did the right thing.

7) I found it very telling that kids at school didn't care much for her.  While I'm not a fan of bullying (I dealt with it for many years), kids can be very tuned in to others around them, and could have picked up on her controlling/manipulating ways, or other things.  While I wasn't a popular kid, I did have friends, and for her to not have any real friends is telling.

8 )  Parents can also be tuned in, and the interview with Alice's mother was also telling.  I don't believe her mom was necessarily concerned about a romantic relationship, but rather that Michelle was not balanced.

It's eerily similar to a case in Canada where a girl posed as a different person using stolen photos on a dating site, and hooked up with another guy.  She played a lot of mind games with him, including saying she was out of the country, then coming to see him but cancelling at the last minute.  The guy she was messing with had depression and battled some substance abuse issues, but had been better.  She went so far as to make up accounts for family members and interact with them.  One night, after she again blew him off, he went to a friend's house, and mixed alcohol with a prescription, and died.  So this girl then started texting his mom, pretending to be her mom, and said that this "girl" he'd met on the dating site killed herself because she was wracked with guilt, making this guy's mother even more dispondant, saying stuff like "Now our babies can be together".  Horrible.  The mom panicked, and sent the cops to the house, to find a teenager who nothing like the person she posed to be online.  But in this case, she couldn't be held directly responsible for him dying, because he didn't intentionally kill himself.  She did get some sort of charges (I think related to impersonating someone), but she was a juvenile, and she was able to get her record cleared by participating in some court programs.

I believe Michelle pushed Conrad over the line, and she deserves what she got.

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Watched part two last night...some thoughts: I think the adults in both of these kids lives failed them. Not just the parents of the kids but also the medical professionals.

Both kids were dealing with serious mental health issues...it's so easy for psychiatrists to just throw anti-depressants at teenagers and just see them once a month. It's an abomination. No one under the age of 20-21 should be prescribed SSRI's. A family member of mine was wrongly diagnosed when he was 17 and given Prozac and then later Zoloft. He ended up having a psychotic break and was admitted to a private psychiatric hospital where he was taken off all meds including the SSRI. The psychiatrist assigned to his case said the SSRI's were counter productive for someone his age and he should never have been put on them. He had also threatened suicide several times...he left the hospital after three weeks and was put on a mood stabilizer and lithium. He improved markedly over time and went on to attend college and then went on and got his Master's degree. He found a great psychiatrist who spends time with him and adjusts his meds as needed. 

The parents of both of these kids seemed to be in denial about what was going on with their kids and I get it...it's tough to monitor and really know what your teenagers are doing when they live on their phones and online. But still, sometimes you have to be nosy. Conrad's dysfunctional family and poor parenting on the part of the father who seemed proud of beating his kid up and even said he would do it again if Conrad was alive, was appalling. Michelle's parents had a history of serious mental health issues with her and were well aware of her problems but they seemed to be complacent. Since they weren't interviewed for HBO it's difficult to know how much they knew about their daughter's social problems. She was a minor at the time and they could have contact with her therapist and psychiatrist...they should have had a hands on approach to her mental health. 

In the end, everyone lost here. The Conrads lost their son and the Carter's lost their daughter to the criminal justice system. More could have been done to get these kids through adolescence and onto a productive and happy adult life..if anything good comes out of this it should be for parents to be more proactive in their kids life...even if they pitch a fit. Also, the mental health professionals that treated these teens should have exercised caution in prescribing SSRI's...they let both families down by doing this. There are other alternatives that work for teens and young adults...the doctors for both of these kids should have been more diligent.

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5 hours ago, funky-rat said:

hadn't heard before about her obsession with the girl from Glee who had a boyfriend who killed himself

Cory Monteith didn’t kill himself he died of a drug overdose.

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Thank you all!  I haven’t watched.  I don’t think I’ll learn anything.  I’m from the neck of the woods where this happened and the coverage was constant.  

Most from these parts think she’s a monster who should have been given the death penalty or at least life.  Few agreed with my opinion that they were both deeply disturbed and on medications that needed much monitoring, and that wasn’t done.  

Its validating to hear my opinions.  It’s a horrible tragedy.  He’s dead and she, I fear, will never get the support she’ll need to truly be a fully functioning person.

its just sad.....

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Very interesting start to finish. I think they were both mentally ill. Just in different ways. He was an obviously seriously depressed young man, the previous attempts and all the suicidal ideation makes that clear. His father gave me serious unsettling vibes and I think his home life was much darker than his family would like to admit. Her? I’m thinking her mental illness is something closer to sociopath. SSRI’s make you suicidal but they don’t make you suicidal for someone else. Her interactions with all the girls she was seeking friendship from, the direct quoting of Glee lines as her own, the want for attention and pity after he died all point to something more sinister in her. I’m sorry but whether she actually told him to “get the f back in” or just made that up for dramatic reasons when retelling it to the friend shows something deeply disturbing in her. I feel zero sympathy she is spending 15 months in jail, I fear she is not curable. While I don’t think she killed him I do think she could have stopped THIS attempt. The older man saying he wouldn’t want to be the one she dates next is spot on. 

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On 7/11/2019 at 1:50 PM, biakbiak said:

They had met in person five or six times over the two years which is still strange because they both appeared to have access to cars and they only lived 40 minutes apart.

I imagine his social anxiety was a factor. He strikes me as someone who preferred interacting from a distance. She is also socially awkward.

I did not think I would end up being sympathetic to Michelle, but part 2 really gives new insight. As Lynn Roy points out it is hard to be angry with someone that is so obviously unwell.  

As far as Conrad Roy III’s family, I found his dad to be less likable than his mom.  I did not like his reasoning for beating his son up. I also think he stood by while his girlfriend regularly insulted his son. Conrad III tells the police she referred to him as a POS.  

There are definitely no winners. 

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On 7/11/2019 at 7:54 PM, Annber03 said:

Just watched both parts of this documentary today-I remember hearing bits and pieces about this story when it broke, but I never really followed the case with any regularity, so much of this was completely new to me. 

And...hoo boy. This story is hauntingly heartbreaking. I actually got emotional at times watching it-the texts between them the day of Conrad's death, Michelle retreating into these TV and movie worlds to compensate for her deep loneliness (the stuff about "Glee" and Cory Monteith's death inspiring her was beyond eerie), the video diaries from Conrad,...just...damn. These kids were both clearly struggling with a LOT of shit and making some truly desperate cries for help, and it seems a lot of people around them either weren't listening or seemed at a total loss for what to do. People kept saying over and over that had Michelle not encouraged Conrad he'd still be here, and I'd like to believe that, too. I'd like to believe he would've eventually gotten the help he clearly needed.

At the same time, though...he had tried to commit suicide before, without any prompting from Michelle. So I sadly can't help but feel that his tragic end might've happened whether Michelle was involved or not. His dad was talking at one point about how, shortly before Conrad's death, he'd "seemed to be getting better", and that just sounded so much like the sort of thing you hear people say after somebody commits suicide: "They seemed so happy, they seemed to be in a good place in their lives." I think on some level, despite his hesitations he'd discussed in his texts, he'd made peace with the fact that he wouldn't be alive much longer. 

Having said all of that, however, I do agree that Michelle definitely deserves to take responsibility for the way she encouraged him and tried to manipulate the situation. It was very chilling to see how she'd been kinda testing the waters and planning in the days just prior to Conrad's death, and while it's obvious she had some serious mental issues of her own and clearly wasn't in the right place to be a proper means of support to her friend, at the same time, when you know somebody is talking about killing themselves, giving them suggestions and asking when they're going to do it is, obviously, the most wrong way imaginable to respond. The prosecution and defense kept trying to make this all black and white-Michelle was either mentally ill or she was manipulative-and I'm sitting here thinking, "Why can't it be a mix of both?" 

And given the talk about how Conrad could be just as manipulative (his constant talk of suicide to her, while genuine, did also remind me at times of the people who threaten to kill themselves in order to guilt somebody into staying around), they definitely fed off each other. The whole folie a deux thing, and all that (their discussion about seeing the devil, ye gods). 

I don't think, however, Michelle should be in jail. I don't think that's the right place for her. Rather, I think she should be getting help in a mental hospital instead, and the court should've come up with some other means, via community service, of making her realize and acknowledge the severity of what she'd done. Maybe she'd have to tell her story to high school kids, maybe she'd have to do some kind of work with a mental hospital, things of that sort. I don't see how spending time in jail is going to help in any way, and while what she did was indeed awful, the laws on this issue tend to be kinda murky (or at least, they were at the time, I don't know how much has changed in that regard since then), to where sending her to jail seems like a tough call to make. Plus, given the debate over whether or not she even told him to get back in the truck-the very thing the whole case hinged on-that makes sending her to jail even more concerning for me. 

I would've liked to hear more about that, too. And I wish Michelle's family had been interviewed as well. It really bugged me hearing the on the street interviews with some of the people*-there was that one lady talking about how this case was a sign of society "losing its morals", and it just came off too much to me like a "What's wrong with kids today" type of rant. 'Cause, y'know, it's not like there aren't plenty of examples of adults being obnoxious bullies online or anything (and some of them still get away with behaving badly online, no less, despite saying things as bad as, if not worse, than what Michelle said to Conrad). If we are going to look at this on a generational level, frankly, if anything, this case is, to me, an example of how kids today are struggling with a lot of problems that nobody seems interested in actually doing anything of any real substance about. 

*I also got really irritated with the people who kept saying Michelle should kill herself. I get that they thought they were giving her a taste of her own medicine, but...way to completely miss the point of the issue here, guys. I had the same thought about this guy as well: 

Other random thoughts:

-I really liked the analysis from the Esquire writer and the doctor in particular. I think they had the most measured, rational observations of this case, and I thought their commentary on how the media treats teenage girls was especially interesting. 

-The bald guy helping to represent Michelle looked a lot like Matt Lauer from certain angles. 

-Once again I am reminded why I can't watch Nancy Grace or Dr. Oz. 

So, yeah. Just such a truly sad story the whole way around. I'm glad this documentary took the time to explore this case in depth, though, 'cause I think there's a lot of interesting issues worth discussing and debating here, both with this case in particular and on a general level. 

Both of these kids were on meds that are know to fuck you  up. Suicide or otherwise. Way too quick to prescribe poisons today. A bandaid instead of intense therapy. Conrads family seemed messed up. I wish they delved into it more also. And more on Michelles family.

Dr Oz and Nancy Grace are both shysters. Total fakes and assholes. 

So something that bothered me, a little off topic but included in the documentary. How does an 18  year old kid get a pilot license on a tug boat? I don't think that is possible, experience and training wise.

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On 7/10/2019 at 2:37 PM, gesundheit said:
On 7/10/2019 at 12:42 AM, biakbiak said:

Two technical things and one completely super random one: I thought the music was too intrusive through most of it and the contrast on the text messages could have been sharper. 

So true. Not all of us have 65-inch screens and perfect vision! I was squinting for every one of them, and they were the primary content of the film, so it was odd.

I can't understand why the filmmakers made the text messages so hard to read.  Having a white background and gray text does not make easy reading. 😞

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On 7/12/2019 at 7:01 PM, biakbiak said:

Cory Monteith didn’t kill himself he died of a drug overdose.

Sorry.  I never watched Glee - not my cup of tea, and I'm not in to celebrity culture much, so when I read "overdose" on an article, I assumed intentional overdose (it didn't say "accidental overdose").

On 7/13/2019 at 7:37 AM, sadie said:

Very interesting start to finish. I think they were both mentally ill. Just in different ways. He was an obviously seriously depressed young man, the previous attempts and all the suicidal ideation makes that clear. His father gave me serious unsettling vibes and I think his home life was much darker than his family would like to admit. Her? I’m thinking her mental illness is something closer to sociopath. SSRI’s make you suicidal but they don’t make you suicidal for someone else. Her interactions with all the girls she was seeking friendship from, the direct quoting of Glee lines as her own, the want for attention and pity after he died all point to something more sinister in her. I’m sorry but whether she actually told him to “get the f back in” or just made that up for dramatic reasons when retelling it to the friend shows something deeply disturbing in her. I feel zero sympathy she is spending 15 months in jail, I fear she is not curable. While I don’t think she killed him I do think she could have stopped THIS attempt. The older man saying he wouldn’t want to be the one she dates next is spot on. 

THIS.  I have sympathy for her because she battles mental illness, but there's something deeper that to me, makes her more sinister.  My husband wanted to kill himself when on various SSRI's (Celexa and Prozac were the biggies), and one day was tempted to drive head-on in to a tractor trailer on a two lane road, but he said he swerved back over because he was afraid that the man driving the truck wouldn't be able to live with himself, and he didn't want that.  He never, at any time, wanted to cause harm to someone else.  I still think she should either be in a criminal psychiatric facility or go to a psychiatric facility straight from jail, becuase I have concerns about her being rehabilitated.

I know SSRI's are often blamed for Columbine, but again, I will forever believe the one boy was a sociopath, and the other was a weak-minded joiner-inner.

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I went into this having a very strong negative opinion of Michelle and by the end I was able to find some empathy for her (not her actions mind you).  I thought the documentary did a good job of showing both sides even without the actual participation of Michelle or her family.  The older psychiatrist (psychologist?) and the Esquire reporter had really good insight IMO.  Before I watched the second half, it was obvious with Michelle and Conrad having a 95% texting relationship without the human contact made it easier to do and say things that if they were actually seeing the person face to face. She wasn't thinking in terms of real life consequences which played a huge part in this.  I am not sure it would have had the same outcome if they had a typical relationship where they saw each other on a regular basis.  I also wondered why they chose not to see each other but a handful of times.  After watching the second half, my empathy came in seeing how obviously desperate she was for friends and even the pictures they showed of Michelle and the other girls, it was like she was on the outside clinging to them.  I am sure it was painful hearing their testimonies although Michelle had an incredibly stoic face a majority of the trial.  I saw her as SO many different things throughout and I am still not sure my exact feelings.  I was, however surprised they were able to convict her on this because the key thing seemed to be how she 'said' she told him to get back in the f'ng car when that was one of the FEW things that wasn't in their text exchanges. Combine that with the fact they both seemed to have lied about various things (especially Michelle) I just could not fathom she was found guilty by the judge.   She did deserve punishment in some form but I am not sure jail will reform her.  SO many things factored in to this story, the parents, the violent episodes, the relationship with Alice, the many prior suicide attempts, the drugs, desperation, lonliness etc....

I am SO glad for these forums because i was wracking my brain trying to figure out who some of these people looked like and y'all were able to provide the answers......my husband and I did think the father could have been in the Wahlberg family although I could totally see Kennedy after it was pointed out.....

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58 minutes ago, AnnieHeights said:

I went into this having a very strong negative opinion of Michelle and by the end I was able to find some empathy for her (not her actions mind you). 

complete opposite here.  I live in Massachusetts, so this story's been all over the place for the past few years.

At first I thought she was so immature that she thought she was helping Conrad, thinking that depression wasn't going to get any better and that only she understood how terrible his life was.  

Once I saw this documentary, though, now I wonder if it wasn't a manipulation.  (the "trial run" made my blood run cold, for example)

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38 minutes ago, teapot said:

complete opposite here.  I live in Massachusetts, so this story's been all over the place for the past few years.

At first I thought she was so immature that she thought she was helping Conrad, thinking that depression wasn't going to get any better and that only she understood how terrible his life was.  

Once I saw this documentary, though, now I wonder if it wasn't a manipulation.  (the "trial run" made my blood run cold, for example)

I can totally see how you having the opposite opinion going into this than I did made you look at it differently as well.   I think the documentary did a great job of showing things without slanting it completely one way or the other.  Michelle seemed to be two different people, I saw her as a lonely, desperate for acceptance teen in a sympathetic way and also in a very unsympathetic way.  She also seemed to lack any remorse.          

I loved how the reporter said everyone there was looking to not be blamed (or however he said it exactly).   

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2 hours ago, AnnieHeights said:

I was, however surprised they were able to convict her on this because the key thing seemed to be how she 'said' she told him to get back in the f'ng car when that was one of the FEW things that wasn't in their text exchanges. Combine that with the fact they both seemed to have lied about various things (especially Michelle) I just could not fathom she was found guilty by the judge. 

But she did text someone else that she told him to get back in the car. They were her own words and they are in writing. As far as I know, the defense team never tried to refute what she said. I'm not sure how that would be possible except by putting Michelle on the stand, and obviously that's a risk they couldn't take.

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On 7/15/2019 at 1:14 PM, IndianPaintbrush said:

But she did text someone else that she told him to get back in the car. They were her own words and they are in writing. As far as I know, the defense team never tried to refute what she said. I'm not sure how that would be possible except by putting Michelle on the stand, and obviously that's a risk they couldn't take.

Yes, but I think the point the defense is making is the prosecution made a big spectacle out of saying the girl made up stories and is a liar...yet there is no proof she said it to him.  She claimed she said it to him to a friend...months later...and she could have been making it up.  The defense is saying you can't cherry pick when she's a liar and when she's not to fit your narrative.  She either can't be believed or she can.

And I agree with them.

I have a very different outlook on this case than most of you.  I think if she's in jail for what she did then his parents should be as well.  I think the only reason they're not is because they are playing the "grieving parents" card when they are both terribly guilty of not parenting effectively.  

Conrad's father obviously beat him and verbally abused him and I think the proof that he did it on a routine basis is that he saw nothing wrong with it when he was interviewed - on camera - for a documentary knowing full well people would see it.  He thinks hitting your kids is how you discipline them.  

And Conrad's mother is a liar who was appalled at the messages this girl sent to him and claims she didn't know he felt as shitty as he did but she contradicted that narrative through the entire documentary.  She knew.  Any kid who attempts suicide FOUR times has some issues.  She claims she didn't know it was that bad, yet they discussed him dying in which she guilt tripped him by saying if he died she would want to die as well.  Please with her crocodile tears about how she "just didn't know" and "how did Michelle know when she didn't"?  Gimme a break lady...you knew.  She flat out told Michelle she knew his dad and their family were abusing him yet she did nothing to stop him from going over there?  

Michelle is no saint and she's not innocent but the adults in this situation are a million times more at fault than she is, IMO.  I can give Michelle's parents a slight pass because it seems obvious this girl was a good actress who wasn't talking to her parents about her issues.  But Conrad's parents get no sympathy from me.  His dad is a piece of shit and his mother is a poor excuse for a mother.  

Michelle's actions were naive and manipulative.  It is clear she is mentally unwell and needs some serious psychotherapy which I hope she gets.  But she is not the reason for Conrad's death.  

This case makes me angry because it took away the onus of ones actions and made unseemly things said in text messages a crime.  It also painted Michelle to be some vixen who focused her feminine wiles on poor unsuspecting Conrad.  They were messed up kids who got together and licked their wounds.  Michelle was arrogant enough to believe she had the answers and mentally ill enough to think this would get her the attention for which she'd been starved.  But Conrad acted on his own.  And if the conviction of Michelle is based upon her pushing him into it then his parents should be in jail right next to her.

Very dangerous and slippery slope this case is on.  I hope it gets overturned and she wins her appeal.  Not because she's innocent of being an asshole but because I don't think someone can be prosecuted for what was said in a private text message.

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Finally finished watching this and my main takeaway was that on paper I thought going with a bench trial was smart I think there was a good chance there would have been a hung jury.

Edited by biakbiak
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On 7/16/2019 at 8:33 PM, outofbounds said:

This case makes me angry because it took away the onus of ones actions and made unseemly things said in text messages a crime.  It also painted Michelle to be some vixen who focused her feminine wiles on poor unsuspecting Conrad.  They were messed up kids who got together and licked their wounds.  Michelle was arrogant enough to believe she had the answers and mentally ill enough to think this would get her the attention for which she'd been starved.  But Conrad acted on his own.  And if the conviction of Michelle is based upon her pushing him into it then his parents should be in jail right next to her.

I agree completely, with one exception. And while I'm not a legal expert in any sense, I do have experience with the situation where someone is encouraging your child to commit suicide. Many years ago, when my bipolar daughter was in middle school, she realized she was bisexual and came out to a few friends. One of those so-called friends came from a religious fundamentalist family, and took it upon herself to try to convince my daughter that God thought of her as an abomination and she should kill herself. Over the course of a couple of months, she sent over 100 emails to my daughter, all of which were variations on that theme. And then turned her sights on another girl, which was the point at which my daughter lost her temper and eventually told me what was going on, and showed me the emails. 

Now, if my daughter had succumbed to the hatred and intolerance underlying those emails and killed herself, I would absolutely have been furious at the other girl. But even back then, I knew that if my daughter ever did commit suicide, and there were times she had pretty severe suicidal ideation and I was terrified of what would happen, it wouldn't be because of external forces but because of her own internal struggles with mental illness. 

All of this to say: I don't see that encouraging someone else to commit suicide, whether by text, skype, or in person, should be prosecuted as a crime. Should encouraging someone to keep living, even if staying alive is against that person's best interests (for example, someone with a terminal illness who is in great pain that cannot be effectively alleviated), also be a crime? If the argument is that encouraging someone to commit suicide is recklessly endangering that person's life, then what about encouraging someone to go swimming, skydiving, or bungee jumping when that person has minimal or no expertise in those activities?

I can't get past the reaction of the two cops when they read the text messages. They were obviously morally outraged and decided to push the law to punish this girl, who was seriously fucked up herself, because they didn't approve of what she said. They even made some remark, that if it wasn't for Michelle Carter, then the boy would still be there. Based on what evidence? They completely disregarded the fact that this kid had tried to kill himself four other times, without any encouragement from her. 

For me, what it comes down to is that Conrad chose to end his life. Sure, he was influenced by Michelle, but at all times he could have simply chosen not to go through with the idea. Short of her being physically there and threatening to harm or kill him unless he continued to inhale the exhaust from the truck, Michelle had no way to force him to commit suicide. Was it a horrible thing to do, to send him texts encouraging him to die? Maybe so, although it seemed to me as if she had simply come to accept that Conrad was miserable being alive and wanted death, and was trying to support him in that decision. Yes, she wanted and craved attention and used the drama leading up and following Conrad's death to gain attention and sympathy. But I would take any odds whatsoever that absent Michelle, Conrad would have eventually killed himself within the next year anyway.

I wouldn't want to see the parents in jail either, but my sympathies for them are pretty limited. The father admitted on camera that he beat Conrad and said he would do it again. I doubt he sees any connection between his own abuse of Conrad and Conrad's death. The mother seems a little less culpable, but she seized upon Michelle's actions as a convenient excuse for Conrad's death. It's a pretty serious case of denial and self-deception when your son has tried to commit suicide four times previously, and you blame his online GF when he carries through on the fifth attempt. Both parents are shirking any moral responsibility for their son's death, and while I know full well that sometimes kids are suicidal even with extremely understanding and supportive parents, Conrad's parents should be reflecting on what they could have done differently to get him help for his depression, rather than using someone who sent text messages, no matter what those text messages said, as a scapegoat. 

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Wow this was riveting on both ends. 

The Esquire guy breaking down Michelle's disconnect from reality (ie, her relationship with the girl from camp and Glee) really was quite well said and striking.

I too thought Michelle was this terrible and awful person who had no empathy from faraway but when you go through every text and see it from a bigger perspective you see how broken she was. She's VERY guilty of not getting him help and encouraging him but she was not well. I wish we heard more about her family life and if that had any impact on her, only that she couldn't make connections with friends outside school and she was desperate to be accepted. 

Conrad's family was VERY dysfunctional and I had no idea how bad his home life was. The father seemed to dismiss it too easily and I wanted him to take responsibility for all that. I thought his mother was more understanding of Michelle and knew she wasn't well but in these cases I always wonder where the parents are? But as a society we accept the constant texting and phones as a way of life. If only they asked more questions....

So so tragic. 

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On 7/11/2019 at 5:54 PM, Annber03 said:

*I also got really irritated with the people who kept saying Michelle should kill herself. I get that they thought they were giving her a taste of her own medicine, but...way to completely miss the point of the issue here, guys.

I actually hoped Michelle would commit suicide, and every one of those assholes prosecuted for encouraging her to do it, and especially prosecuted under a theory that's not really in the law.

On 7/16/2019 at 7:33 PM, outofbounds said:

Yes, but I think the point the defense is making is the prosecution made a big spectacle out of saying the girl made up stories and is a liar...yet there is no proof she said it to him.  She claimed she said it to him to a friend...months later...and she could have been making it up.  The defense is saying you can't cherry pick when she's a liar and when she's not to fit your narrative.  She either can't be believed or she can.

And I agree with them.

I also agree, but in his verdict, the judge, as the finder of fact, found that it happened.  He didn't say why he believed she said it, but his finding that she did say it was the basis for his decision, which was not based on encouraging him to commit suicide, but instead, on her failure to act where she had a self-created duty.

Here's a Harvard Law Review article about it, criticizing the judge's holding that Michelle's failure to act was criminal.

https://harvardlawreview.org/2018/01/commonwealth-v-carter/

Quote

Very dangerous and slippery slope this case is on.  I hope it gets overturned and she wins her appeal.  Not because she's innocent of being an asshole but because I don't think someone can be prosecuted for what was said in a private text message.

At the end, it said her appeal was denied.  That's why the judge ordered her sent to jail immediately. 

I think he wanted her appeal to be granted, to let a higher court deal with the issues.  I think that's why he stayed her sentence pending the appeal--because he wasn't at all confident in his verdict and if her conviction got reversed, she would have spent time in jail for a crime she wasn't convicted of.  In fact, I wonder if he looked for a reason to find her guilty because she had clearly done some heinous things and he thought she should be punished, but there was no clear law that her acts violated, so he came up with the theory he did, and it would all come out in the wash when an appellate court wrote a decision.

And as others have pointed out, the "get back in" wasn't in a private text message, and I'm bringing it up because, as the doctor said, almost everybody thinks she said it in a text message, and almost nobody knows she just later claimed to have said it verbally, a claim that was made amidst lots and lots of lies, so there's no proof whatsoever that she actually said it.  It's possible to infer that she did, but that's a far cry from the common belief that there's proof that she did, yet people (including the judge) pin their opinions on her having said it.

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10 minutes ago, StatisticalOutlier said:

a claim that was made amidst lots and lots of lies, so there's no proof whatsoever that she actually said it.  It's

Did she or the defense ever deny that she said it? I thought they acknowledged during one at least one part that she did say it which would mean that it wasn’t something the prosecution had to prove.

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