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The Language of Bribery Cases$
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Roger W. Shuy

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199945139

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199945139.001.0001

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The aborted bribery event of U.S. Senator Larry Pressler

The aborted bribery event of U.S. Senator Larry Pressler

(p.84) [5] The aborted bribery event of U.S. Senator Larry Pressler
The Language of Bribery Cases

Roger W. Shuy

Oxford University Press

Analysis of the FBI’s undercover interview with Senator Pressler highlights the usefulness of the structure and flow of a bribery speech event. The first two phases, problem and proposed negotiations, appeared to be progressing nicely, but the critical quid pro quo offer and the completion agreement phases didn’t happened, because the agent suddenly received a phone call that appeared to be telling him to abort this effort. He tried to do this, even though Pressler provided language clues that he was willing to move on to the next phase. Afterward, the judge in other Abscam cases and the FBI Director himself praised Pressler for declining the agent’s offer of a bribe, even though the phase three offer phase was never made and therefore a bribe couldn’t have been declined by Pressler.

Keywords:   speech event phases, pre-closing, schemas, agendas, speech acts, conversational strategies, smoking guns, abortion by agent

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