The excuse: “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.“
Eve, in Genesis 3:13, after she bit off a chunk of apple in the Garden of Eden.
The excuse: White’s compulsive diet of candy bars, cupcakes, and Cokes aggravated a chemical imbalance in his brain.
Psychiatrist Martin Blinder in 1979, in testimony on what led San Francisco supervisor Dan White to kill the city’s mayor in 1979. This came to be known as the Twinkie Defense.
The excuse: “That fucking bitch, why didn’t she leave me alone?“
Alleged words Robert Chambers (a.k.a. “the Preppie Killer“) spoke to his father in 1986, before being booked for the murder of Jennifer Levin, who he claimed sexually assaulted him by demanding “rough sex.“
The excuse: “These are troubled kids in a very difficult and grotesque home environment, and they cracked.“
Menendez brothers’ defense lawyer Leslie Abramson in 1996, arguing that years of sexual abuse drove them to kill their parents.
The excuse: “Bitch set me up!“
Washington, D.C. mayor Marion Barry in 1990, moments after FBI agents saw a video from a hidden camera of him lighting up a crack pipe and busted in the door.
The excuse: “I was using ecstasy, a lot of ecstasy.“
Amy Fisher, on Entertainment Tonight in April, recalling shooting her boyfriend’s wife, Mary Jo Buttafuoco, in the face.
The excuse: “My lace is broken!“
Tonya Harding, as she propped her leg up on the judges’ table at the 1994 Olympics after blowing a triple jump. Harding got a do-over but still finished in eighth place.
The excuse: “He didn’t love me and never would. I had a very hard time accepting that.“
Susan Smith in 1994, on why she drowned her two young children in 1994; her boyfriend wouldn’t marry her because she had kids.
The excuse: “This is my career. . . . I got children to raise and he keeps butting me. . . I got to retaliate.“
Mike Tyson, after chomping down on Evander Holyfield’s ear during a fight in 1997.
The excuse: “It’s not the first hooker that I’ve helped out...I was being a good Samaritan.“
Eddie Murphy, on why he picked up a transvestite prostitute in West Hollywood in 1997.
The excuse: “I don’t think anyone could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center.“
Condoleezza Rice, briefing reporters in May 2002 about missed intelligence cues before 9/11.
The excuse: “Why would I put a scarf over the baby’s face if I was trying to throw him off the balcony? I was kind enough to let them see. I was doing something out of innocence.“
Michael Jackson, in a 2003 interview about why he dangled his baby over a crowd below his Berlin hotel room.
The excuses: “Both racial preferences and racism played a role.“ And “I was drunk on assignment.“
Disgraced New York Times reporter Jayson Blair in 2003, on why he fabricated stories at the newspaper.
The excuse: “When he said it was flaxseed oil, I just said, Whatever.’“
Barry Bonds, after he tested positive for steroids in 2003, claiming he didn’t know what products his trainer was using on him.
The excuse: “My truth is that I am a gay American.“
New Jersey governor James McGreevey, after stepping down from his post in 2004 following reports that he’d had an affair with a male employee.
The excuse: “It was a blackout night. No sex, just a drunken night that got out of control.“
The Insider host Pat O’Brien in 2005, to Dr. Phil about leaving drunken, kinky messages on a woman’s cell (and then checking himself into rehab).
The excuse: “I don’t think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees.“
President Bush in 2005, when Diane Sawyer asked if he was satisfied with the pace of the Katrina relief effort.
The excuse: “[Michael Chertoff did not know] the first thing about running a disaster.“
Former head of FEMA Michael Brown in 2006, deflecting the blame for the Katrina disaster onto his boss, the head of the Department of Homeland Security.
The excuse: The plaster that grazed her head is giving her migraines. She thinks she might have a concussion. And Ereka called her the N-word.
First season Apprentice diva Omarosa Manigault Stallworth in 2004, on why she couldn’t participate in a team challenge.
The excuse: “Bored“ and out of work.
Former Full Housestar Jodie Sweetin in February, explaining to Robin Roberts of Good Morning America about why she began using meth.
The excuse: Harry Whittington didn’t “announce himself.“
Ranch owner Katharine Armstrong, on why Dick Cheney shot his hunting buddy instead of a quail last February.