This, it has seemed to some observers of history, was a bum rap. So a panel of legal experts in Athens retried him. Their votes tied 5 to 5, thus narrowly securing an acquittal:
"Socrates comes before us feigning humility, yet demonstrating arrogance," said Loretta Preska, a New York district judge who presided at Friday's trial and voted to convict him.
"He is a dangerous subversive."
Pleading earlier in Socrates' defence, prominent French lawyer Patrick Simon said: "An opinion is not a crime. Socrates was searching for the truth.
He added: "My client has one fault: he likes to poke fun and is fiercely ironic. By acquitting him, you will show how solid and reliable democracy is."
Versed in Socratic literature, the legal brains came from Britain, France, Germany, Greece, Switzerland and the United States.
"In order not to complicate this trial unnecessarily, penalty will not be decided," Preska said.
That was probably a prudent decision.
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