What Say Ye?
Pure Slush Suits Anthology issue 2016 Australia
March 21, 2016
“Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, have you reached a decision?
“Yes Your Honor, we have.”
The jurors did not look at the defendant; they kept their heads bowed.
The defendant looked straight ahead at the judge. The defense attorney looked at his client. The prosecutor stared at the jury foreman who stood ramrod straight looking down at a handful of loose papers. The courtroom held its collective breath.
Guards stealthily entered the courtroom and took up their assigned places; all watched the bench.
The families of the informants held hands and hugged while the defendant’s family sat behind him passing notes on where to go for dinner. Italian was leading Chinese four to three.
* * *
When the police and FBI showed up at Attorney Brownstein’s office they walked past his secretary and took the phone from his hand and hung it up. They replaced it with a search warrant and began a mass confiscation of all the computers in his office along with every file.
“Do you have a safe?” The head FBI agent asked.
“I want my lawyer,” Brownstein said.
“Call him,” the police captain said.
The police herded the staff into separate offices and read them the charges even though none of them, at this time, would be arrested. Millie was planning on leaving after work to see her sick mother. Terri and William G. were meeting for a rendezvous in New York ( against company policy), others had local plans and Brownstein was taking the company jet to South Carolina for a golf and poker weekend with some bourbon tasting thrown in.
Each person had an exit interview with an FBI agent who handed over his card and indicated the first one to spill the beans usually gets off.
Brownstein’s secretary told the agent she knew about his gambling debts. His accountant let it be known that he’d tell all to get off. His receptionist, cleaning crew and stock broker all jumped on the “tell all” bus.
Many had stories they were sure were going to get them off and put Brownstein away. There were a couple of suspected affairs, a mayoral bribe in the form of a campaign donation and a ride on Brownstein’s plane plus the Christmas gifts given to contractors, town officials, police and numerous other “cheat and graft” cases Brownstein was a part of.
Every single one of these allegations were shown as true during the trial and Brownstein’s firm kept working away with each whistleblower replaced by a new person. Only those who had been stealing from Brownstein turned on him and in doing so they confessed to their own wrong doing.
* * * *
“Mr. Foreman please read the charges and verdicts.”
In a loud and clear voice he read the charges and the verdict was unanimous.
After Brownstein shook hands with his lawyer he nodded at the police and they began cuffing the thieves while Brownstein left for Italian with his family.