Michael Segal had it made.
Over the course of his career as a CPA, a lawyer, and and an insurance broker, he built a powerhouse insurance agency from scratch, propelled himself from a middle class Chicago neighborhood to an idyllic lakefront home, and was recognized among his city's most prominent citizens.
He had pulled himself up by his bootstraps. He was accomplished. He was happy.
It was not to last.
When a group of rivals conspired to wrest control of the business he had spent a lifetime building, they painted Michael as a fraud, and he soon became ensnared in a salacious web of corporate saboteurs, government agents, and legal subterfuge. Worst of all, he found himself squaring off against a labyrinthine judicial system, which revealed itself to be grotesquely unchecked, and wildly imbalanced.
Drawn from court records, exhaustive interviews, and supported evidence, Conviction at any Cost is an engrossing, true story of justice gone astray. Written in collaboration with Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Maurice Possley, this gripping chronicle of corporate and legal intrigue raises troubling questions about prosecutorial conduct, the ethical lines we sometimes allow our government to cross, the state of public concern for the law, and the illusion of due process.
Part courtroom drama and part corporate espionage, Conviction at any Cost is an illuminating, riveting read - and a cautionary tale perfectly fit for our times.
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The decision to write Conviction at any Cost was not an easy one to make. It is a difficult, upending experience to find yourself on trial. Even under the best of circumstances, a person does not emerge from the experience unscathed. Yet challenging as it was to revisit this most difficult chapter in his life, over time, it became clear to Michael Segal that there was virtue in putting pen to paper.
By sharing the details of his story, Michael aims to take readers inside the fractures of the federal legal apparatus. He is intent on bringing to light the serious problems that can, at times, fester within the heart of our courts, and undermine our cherished values of legal fairness, checks and balances, and impartiality.
The stranger-than-fiction drama and conflict at the center of Conviction at any Cost will grip readers of many stripes. True-crime fans and lovers of high-stakes courtroom clashes will find themselves caught up in an engrossing read; and the story may be of particular interest to serious students of law, social justice, government, or business - who will no doubt be astounded by this revealing record of due process gone awry.
If you would like to learn more about Michael's case, and explore the issues that formed its core, please click below.
Maurice Possley is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist and a New York Times bestselling author. Known for his work covering stories related to criminal justice, Maurice has written extensively about wrongful convictions, prosecutorial misconduct, and fundamental flaws in the American legal apparatus.
Over the course of his distinguished career, Maurice has served on staffs at the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times; worked as a consultant for broadcast programs (including Dateline, 60 Minutes, and Bill Kurtis' American Justice on A&E); and published three non-fiction books - Everybody Pays: Two Men, One Murder and the Price of Truth, The Brown Chicken's Massacre, and the New York Times best-seller, Hitler in the Crosshairs: A GI's Story of Courage and Faith.
His reporting with the Chicago Tribune was cited as playing a key role in Illinois George Ryan's historic decision to institute a moratorium on the death penalty within the state, and was cited again in 2003 when the Governor commuted the death sentences of 167 inmates to life without parole.
Maurice lives in in Southern California with his wife, Cathleen Falsani, and their son, Vasco.
Michael Segal's life is often called a quintessential, rags-to-riches Chicago story. The son of working-class parents, Michael successfully built a small, local insurance agency with less than a dozen staffers into a leader in the field, with offices nationwide, and nearly one thousand employees.
At its height, Near North National Group was the fifth largest independent brokerage in the United States. It was the country's most significant guarantor of motion picture production; the insurer of numerous Chicago icons, landmarks, and sports franchises; and it provided an array of services for multiple Fortune 500 companies.
Michael's experience defending Near North Insurance, and the story of his personal resilience amidst its eventual destruction, serves as the main focus of Conviction at any Cost.
Today, Michael splits his time between consulting, providing title and escrow services to commercial clients, and raising public awareness of issues related to legal reform.
He lives near downtown Chicago, close to his children and grandchildren.