Mystery Author Is Center Of Holiday Mock Trial

, New York Law Journal

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'Twas the week before Christmas and all through the Rensselaer County Courthouse denizens are abuzz in anticipation of an upcoming trial.

Granted, it's only a mock trial, but for the City of Troy and Troy residents it's a matter of local concern. The issue: Who really wrote "A Visit from St. Nicholas," the epic holiday poem known internationally as "'Twas the Night Before Christmas."

Local lore and most historical accounts attribute the poem to Clement Clarke Moore, a biblical scholar from Manhattan who claimed authorship of the work published anonymously in the Troy Sentinel newspaper on Dec. 23, 1823. But others, including Don Foster, a Vassar College professor and literary forensics expert, believe that a gentleman farmer named Henry Livingston Jr. was the true author.

On Wednesday, Livingston v. Moore will be argued before former Appellate Division, Third Department, Justice Bernard Malone Jr. and a jury chosen from the audience.

The defendant is represented by E. Stewart Jones Jr. Jack Casey, an attorney, author and former state Senate parliamentarian, and his daughter, Molly Casey of Thuillez, Ford, Gold, Butler & Monroe in Albany, will argue for the plaintiff in a courtroom named in honor of Jack's father and Molly's grandfather, former Third Department Justice John Casey.

Duncan Crary, a local author and public relations consultant who is hosting the event, said the mock trial is attracting considerable interest. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Crary at (518) 274-2723. http://www.duncancrary.com/St_Nick/

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