“The big question, of course, is whether you’re interested. It would mean a lot of changes in your life.”
Adam Warner was aware of that. If he won the election, it would mean moving to Washington, D.C., giving up his law practice, starting a whole new life. He was sure that Mary Beth would enjoy it; Adam was not so sure about himself. And yet, he had been reared to assume responsibility. Also, he had to admit to himself that there was a pleasure in power.
“I’d be very interested, Stewart.”
Stewart Needham nodded with satisfaction. “Good. They’ll be pleased.” He poured himself another cup of the dreadful brew and casually broached the other subject that was on his mind. “There’s a little job the Disciplinary Committee of the Bar Association would like you to handle, Adam. Shouldn’t take you more than an hour or two.”
“What is it?”
“It’s the Michael Moretti trial. Apparently, someone got to one of Bobby Di Silva’s young assistants and paid her off.”
“I read about it. The canary.”
“Right. Judge Waldman and Bobby would like her name removed from the roster of our honorable profession. So would I. It reeks.”
“What do they want me to do?”
“Just make a quick check, verify that this Parker girl behaved illegally or unethically, and then recommend disbarment proceedings. She’ll be served with a notice to show cause and they’ll handle the rest of it. It’s just routine.”
Adam was puzzled by something. “Why me, Stewart? We have a couple of dozen young lawyers around here who could handle this.”
“Our revered District Attorney specifically asked for you. He wants to make sure nothing goes wrong. As we’re both aware,” he added dryly, “Bobby’s not the most forgiving man in the world. He wants the Parker woman’s hide nailed up on his wall.”
Adam Warner sat there, thinking about his busy schedule.
“You never know when we might need a favor from the D.A.’s office, Adam. Quid pro quo. It’s all cut and dried.”
“All right, Stewart.” Adam rose to his feet.
“Sure you won’t have some more tea?”
“No, thanks. It was as good as always.”
When Adam Warner returned to his office he rang for one of his paralegal assistants, Lucinda, a bright, young Black woman.
“Cindy, get me all the information you can on an attorney named Jennifer Parker.”
She grinned and said, “The yellow canary.”
Everybody knew about her.
Late that afternoon Adam Warner was studying the transcript of the court proceedings in the case of The People of New York v. Michael Moretti. Robert Di Silva had had it delivered by special messenger. It was long past midnight when Adam finished. He had asked Mary Beth to attend a dinner party without him, and had sent out for sandwiches. When Adam was through reading the transcript, there was no doubt in his mind that Michael Moretti would have been found guilty by the jury if fate had not intervened in the form of Jennifer Parker. Di Silva had prosecuted the case flawlessly.
Adam turned to the transcript of the deposition that had been taken in Judge Waldman’s chambers afterward.
DI SILVA: You are a college graduate?
PARKER: Yes, sir.
DI SILVA: And a law school graduate?
PARKER: Yes, sir.
DI SILVA: And a stranger hands you a package, tells you to deliver it to a key witness in a murder trial and you just do it? Wouldn’t you say that went beyond the bounds of stupidity?
PARKER: It didn’t happen that way.
DI SILVA: You said it did.
PARKER: What I mean is, I didn’t think he was a stranger. I thought he was on your staff.
DI SILVA: What made you think that?
PARKER: I’ve told you. I saw him talking to you and then he came over to me with this envelope and he called me by name, and he said you wanted me to deliver it to the witness. It all happened so fast that—
DI SILVA: I don’t think it happened that fast. I think it took time to set it up. It took time to arrange for someone to pay you off to deliver it.
PARKER: That’s not true. I—
DI SILVA: What’s not true? That you didn’t know you were delivering the envelope?
PARKER: I didn’t know what was in it.
DI SILVA: So it’s true that someone paid you.
PARKER: I’m not going to let you twist my words around. No one paid me anything.
DI SILVA: You did it as a favor?
PARKER: No. I thought I was acting on your instructions.
DI SILVA: You said the man called you by name.
DI SILVA: How did he know your name?
PARKER: I don’t know.
DI SILVA: Oh, come on. You must have some idea. Maybe it was a lucky guess. Maybe he just looked around that courtroom and said, There’s someone who looks like her name could be Jennifer Parker. Do you think that was it?
PARKER: I’ve told you. I don’t know.
DI SILVA: How long have you and Michael Moretti been sweethearts?
PARKER: Mr. Di Silva, we’ve gone all over this. You’ve been questioning me now for five hours. I’m tired. I have nothing more to add. May I be excused?
DI SILVA: If you move out of that chair I’ll have you placed under arrest. You’re in big trouble, Miss Parker. There’s only one way you’re going to get out of it. Stop lying and start telling the truth.
PARKER: I’ve told you the truth. I’ve told you everything I know.
DI SILVA: Except the name of the man who handed you the envelope. I want his name and I want to know how much he paid you.
There were thirty more pages of transcript. Robert Di Silva had done everything but beat Jennifer Parker with a rubber hose. She had stuck to her story.