By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Who needs an agent?
Virtually lost in the guilt-addled celebration of Timothy McVeigh's death sentence was more evidence that Dallas author--and former Dallas Observer staff writer--Dick Reavis may be one of the most ingenious book promoters Buzz has ever seen.
Reavis left the Observer to write a book on the David Koresh/Waco meltdown. Since it was published, Reavis has become a Zelig of the anti-government scene, always surfacing in the background as the evil feds battle patriots determined to foil the secret machinations of one-world government. Wherever there's a black helicopter sighting, there will be Dick, and there will be Dick's book.
Buzz has to admire this guy's ambition. Reavis first plugged his work before Congress during the hearings on Waco. Then, when the Montana Freemen were holding the federales at bay, Reavis trudged across the snowbound prairie to offer the Freemen a copy of his book.
But in his greatest coup to date, Reavis actually got to plug the book from the stand during McVeigh's trial.
Defense lawyers called Reavis as a witness during the punishment phase of the trial, as they desperately fought to save McVeigh from the golden needle. Given his research into Waco and anti-government organizations, Reavis was supposed to educate the jury about the literature and propaganda on Waco that might have whipped McVeigh into a building-bombing frenzy.
On the witness stand, Reavis toed a fine line between polite and cantankerous. He said "howdy" when prosecutor Pat Ryan rose to cross-examine him, and only once did the judge have to admonish Reavis to answer Ryan's questions.
Reavis apparently wasn't even rankled when Ryan quoted a Washington Post review that called Reavis' Waco book "a loosely woven and often loosely documented account of events." In fact, Reavis asked for a copy of the review.
But the exchange that has to be the envy of book agents everywhere went like this:
PROSECUTOR RYAN: If a person was truly wanting to find out information and factual information about what occurred at Waco, what kind of source material would they have at their disposal?
AUTHOR REAVIS: My book would be the best thing.
So there it is, in sworn testimony at one of the biggest criminal trials in recent history. If you're wondering about the title of Reavis' book, though, Buzz ain't saying. Dick will figure out a way to let you know. Just keep watching C-SPAN.
Buzz will at least give these guys credit for some--relative--measure of honesty. Invitations to the firm's grand opening party last week noted that all door prizes would be subject to the firm's standard contingency fee arrangement, a lawyer's way of saying he gets one-third of everything.
Among other prizes, the firm offered three dozen golf balls (the firm kept 12) and a case of wine (the firm kept four bottles). If you see any drunken lawyers on the golf course, duck.