The Cupid Caper

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With the Tyco and Stewart trials getting underway, 2004 has already been a busy year for New York federal courts. And the pace is about to get even more hectic: jury selection started yesterday for yet another corporate executive. In what may set new legal precedent, Archer “Little Bow” Cupid, founder and CEO of Valentine, Inc., stands accused of love in the first degree.

Prosecutors have charged Mr. Cupid with four counts of obstructing a government investigation by indiscriminate matchmaking. They also allege his publicly expressed fondness for heart shaped chocolates and candies with silly sayings is nothing more than an attempt to artificially bolster the stock of his company, Valentine, Inc.

Legal experts argue that the government is courting heartbreak by pursuing the case against Mr. Cupid. “They’re aching for a conviction,” says one.”But the truth is he’s guilty of nothing more than sappy romanticism. Their evidence is as flimsy as tissue paper.”

The case hinges on the testimony of four newly married FBI agents. While interviewing Mr. Cupid during a probe into the stock trading activities of his conglomerate, each of the agents met and fell in love with their present spouses. In separate depositions, each described the unexpected relationships as “a bolt from the blue.” The government contends Mr. Cupid was behind the romances, and that his desire was to mire the investigation in passion.

Mr. Cupid is ardent in proclaiming his innocence. He turned down a sweetheart deal offered by prosecutors, and says he’s just a sociable guy who’s been misunderstood. “Can I help it if people fall for each other when I’m around?” he asked during a phone interview. “Romance happens. It’s not like I’m some sort of love god.”

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