Attorney References South Park’s “Chewbacca Defense” in Court

Longtime South Park fans may hear the phrase “the Chewbacca defense” and know exactly what it means, but the hilarious riff from the animated series may have just made its way into an actual United States court case for the first time. In context, the Chewbacca Defense in South Park was done as a jab at the late Johnnie Cochran, roasting his style of speaking to a jury in court cases. Their parody saw him making an elaborate statement about Chewbacca from Star Wars, tying it all together to say “it doesn’t make sense,” and then applying that statement to thee case. While the Chewbacca Defense works for Cochran in the series, it didn’t fly in reality.

According to Forbes, Assistant U.S. Attorney Arnold Corsmeier channeled the defense, which dates back to a season two episode of South Park, using it as a rebuttal against the defense attorneys of their proecution subject. The outlet reports that in a case where a man, Paul Berkins Moise, was being tried on federal tax fraud charges, Moise’s defense team tried to argue that the work done by “the IRS agents who investigated him” was “so bad” that it should be ignored by the jury. To counter, Corsmeier said:

“I don’t want to seem flip, but some of you may have seen it. I think it’s a South Park episode. And there’s a character on there who is-plays kind of a shyster attorney. And there’s a scene where he’s giving his closing, and he puts up a picture of a Wookie from Star Wars. And he said: That’s a Wookie. What does that have to do with this case? Nothing. That doesn’t make any sense. This case doesn’t make any sense.” When the defense attorneys objects, the court instructed the jury to “disregard those last couple of statements about the South Park episode.” You can watch the Chewbacca Defense clip from South Park below.


Even without acknowledging the Chewbacca Defense from South Park, or the one that they allegedly heard from the Defense Attorneys, the jury went on to find the defendant guilty. He was charged with “14 counts of filing false returns on behalf of unknowing clients and three counts of filing false returns on his own behalf.” According to the outlet, Moise was sentenced to 35 months in prison and fined over $77,000.