Law & Order (1990) Episode Scripts

N/A - Tabloid

NARRATOR: In the criminal justice system the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups, the police who investigate crime and the district attorneys who prosecute the offenders.
These are their stories.
The regular doorman always lets me deliver to the front door.
Too bad he's not on duty today.
Hey, look, I'm running a little late here.
Well, then you're gonna have to hurry around to the service entrance.
Come on, I'm trying to make a living here.
MAGGIE: Leave me alone! So am I.
(CRASHING) WOMAN 1: My God! MAN 1: Get an ambulance! I just heard the crash.
I didn't see anything before that.
She shot out in front of me, scared-like.
Scared, huh? Yeah.
Looking behind her.
Looked like she was running away from somebody.
Did you see anybody with her? I barely saw her till I hit her.
Take a look at who it is.
Margaret Abbott.
The Margaret Abbott? Maggie Abbott.
Oh, my God.
I killed Maggie Abbott.
Found this button on the sidewalk.
It was torn off her sweater.
Aside from the expected bruises and broken bones, she had a contusion around her wrist.
Like somebody grabbed her.
Mugging She was still wearing a diamond tennis bracelet on her other wrist.
Pocketbook was found on the sidewalk.
Credit cards, 20 bucks.
Hudson University Law faculty card.
She was just appointed to the appellate court.
Looks like she ran out of appeals.
WARREN: I talked to Maggie just after lunch.
We'd made plans to go out to the island early this weekend.
(SIGHS) She just walked in front of a car? It was a cab.
The driver thinks she may have been chased into the street.
Somebody deliberately what? Somebody killed Maggie? We don't know.
Abbott, the police are canvassing the area.
They're doing everything that can be done.
Your brother's taking the first flight out of Heathrow.
Did you reach Annie? No.
I left a message at the senator's office.
I'm sorry.
If the D.
's office can be of any help (WHISPERS) Thank you.
Abbott, if you don't mind, there's a couple of things we'd like to clear up.
All right.
Was your wife having any problems? At work? At home? She was busy.
It's the end of the school year.
And then there's the whole circus surrounding her nomination.
Has she received any threats? Strange calls? You mean, did she have any enemies? Detective, pick up a copy of the New York Ledger.
The Press.
The right wing nuts in this town were determined to block her appointment.
But do I think they would have killed her? No.
BRISCOE: What about your marriage? If the people who hated her didn't kill her, then the people who loved her did? Is that what you're asking? We're sorry, Mr.
Abbott, but we have to ask these kind of questions.
So, you were here at work all day? Except for lunch, yes.
BRISCOE: Where'd you go for lunch? The Yale Club.
Forgive me, but I want to see my daughter, so she doesn't hear what happened from someone else.
BRISCOE: Thank you.
In just 30, 40 minutes, this guy's assistants called every area code in the northern hemisphere.
Well, when you're through being impressed, can you connect him up to this? At the time his wife was killed, he says he was at the Yale Club.
They confirm he came in.
Had a salad.
Couldn't pinpoint the time or how long he stayed.
And the wife? As far as we know, she was on her way home from Hudson Law.
She put up a fight? Anything under her fingernails? M.
's still working it up.
Maggie Abbott.
This one's going to be a mess.
How you doing? It doesn't get better.
I can imagine.
Marrying into that family, you know you're going to be the focus of a certain amount of attention.
But recently it seemed to be getting to her.
We heard she liked to stir the pot.
Even people who violently disagreed with her respected her.
What about her relations with the students, the other faculty? Romantic attachments? She wasn't the kind of person to make that kind of mistake.
What kind of mistake would she make? Maggie had a good marriage.
She was ambitious.
Had big plans.
Best legal mind I've come across in 40 years.
You said that it started to get to her.
Anything in particular? I don't know.
She just didn't seem like her old self.
"Maggie Abbott, feminist hypocrite.
" Small potatoes.
How about this? "Bloody Maggie attacks pro-life rally.
" "Bloody Maggie-" Maggie at the opera.
Leaving some fashion show.
Even at her kid's school play.
Here's a shot of her skinny dipping off their yacht.
Imagine, everywhere you go, everything you do.
And if her name was Maggie Jones? Here's something different.
"Iron Maggie's broken heart.
" "The latest appellate court nominee appeals to her husband, "'Leave the interns alone.
"' "Phil Marco's New York.
" I never read it.
I bet Maggie did.
Tell you the name of the intern? Are you kidding? Mr.
Marco, we're trying to solve a homicide.
Well, solve it without my sources.
You got this item from the intern herself? Look, I don't have anything to tell you about the story or the Abbotts, or the unfortunate death of Mrs.
Now, I have a deadline.
It's going to be kind of hard to make it from our interrogation room.
Oh, you pull me in for questioning, and I run tomorrow's column blank with a headline that it was delayed by a couple of storm troopers with an uncertain grasp of the constitution.
It'll be a big boost to circulation.
So pull me in, Detective.
I would love it.
Oh, I'm sorry.
Abbott isn't in the office today.
I'd be happy to leave a message that you called.
We didn't come here to talk to him.
Well, who would you like to talk to? We'll start with you.
I don't think so.
This story about Mr.
Abbott and the intern Look, I'm busy.
CURTIS: What do you know about it? The day I got this job, the first thing they told me, you know what it was? Yeah.
Don't get pulled in for questioning about your boss's wife's death.
Now, listen to this.
You tell us, we don't tell anybody.
You don't tell us, we tell your boss we have to bring you downtown.
Then you lose your job.
But you can't tell anyone it came from me.
Julianne Lowry.
When the news got out, she left.
I don't know how that rumor got started.
How do any rumors get started? So there was nothing to it? Mr.
Abbott's wife was one of my professors at law school.
My mentor.
She got me the internship at Abbott, Mitchell and Crowe.
Then why leave, Miss Lowry? Mr.
Abbott said, given what his wife was going through, he had to avoid even the appearance of anything improper.
Do you know how his wife took that article? I've gotta get back to work.
Your new job, clerking for a judge.
That's a pretty big step up for somebody still in law school.
It's part-time, and I'm very good at what I do.
Did Mr.
Abbott help you with a recommendation? If you had an affair with Warren Abbott, maybe it had something to do with Mrs.
Abbott's death.
Maybe you could end up an accomplice.
Did you tell that to Warren? I didn't think so.
You'd better talk to my lawyer.
You have a lawyer? I'll get one if I have to.
REPORTER 1: There he is! Mr.
Abbott? REPORTER 2: Come on.
Let's go! Checking back in? What are you talking about? The suitcases.
REPORTER 1: Come on, guys! Reporters were camped outside.
Yesterday I stayed at a hotel.
You sure it wasn't more like two weeks ago? When the news broke about you and your intern friend? We can check with the hotel.
Maggie and I both decided to go to a hotel.
You both stayed there? We can check that, too.
You do whatever you have to.
I'm not quite done.
About you and this intern She's a child, for Christ's sake.
Now, I'm done.
(INDISTINCT CHATTERING) The staff at the hotel remember Mr.
But they don't remember Mrs.
Do they remember Miss Lowry? No.
But room service put a couple of dinners for two on his tab.
Unless it was champagne and strawberries, I wouldn't jump to any conclusions.
My hunch is we're looking at a Staten Island divorce.
Wham, bam, no muss, no fuss.
A guy like that? A place that public? You think he'd take the chance? It's more private than the Oval Office.
's report, nothing under Mrs.
Abbott's nails.
But there was chlorine residue on her skin and hair.
Swimming pool? Well, she had a gym card in her wallet a block from where she was killed.
I can't believe it.
She worked out with Matt until 2:00 and then she did her usual What happened? She leave alone? I didn't see her leave, but that weenie from the Ledger, Phil Marco, was in here looking for her earlier.
The gossip columnist? We get a lot of celebs.
Last month we found him sleazing around here for a story, trying to sneak a photographer in here.
When he asked for Mrs.
Abbott, did he say why he wanted to see her? No.
But he asked if I'd like a 20 to let him in.
You take it? Of course.
You let him in? Are you kidding? He was out of here real fast.
Not his choice.
I can be very persuasive.
I hope you're finished.
MARCO: Just A warrant? Am I under arrest? You're a material witness in the death of Margaret Abbott.
Put that in your column.
All right.
Let me get this straight.
I ask to talk to somebody at a gym, and this somehow makes me involved in that somebody's death? You're involved because you forgot to tell us that you were at the somebody's gym.
You talk to Mrs.
Abbott when she came out? She was dodging my phone calls.
Once more.
You talk to Mrs.
Abbott when she came out? No.
I left before.
BRISCOE: What'd you want to talk to her about? I wanted to confirm something I was gonna run in Sunday's column.
CURTIS: What? Look, I don't have to tell you.
Where did you go when you left the gym? I grabbed a cab, headed down to the Trattoria.
I had a lead on another story.
Much bigger, believe me.
You want to tell us about that? Bebe Vaughn.
She was giving a birthday party for her hairdresser's niece.
She'll confirm that you talked to her? I couldn't get through Bruder.
Her manager.
Alan Bruder.
A real Visigoth.
Marco? Yeah.
He slithered in.
CURTIS: What time? We got there at 2:00, I don't know.
It might have been a half hour later.
Sit down.
Can't pin it down, huh? No.
It's a zoo.
Between the fans, paparazzi, and Bebe's people, a little too busy to watch the clock.
How did Marco seem? Unctuous.
He owes me.
I saved his life.
Bebe would've torn his eyes out if she'd seen him there.
That popular, huh? He ran a piece she was pregnant.
You know, he'd get something off the Internet, off a toilet wall.
Doesn't bother to confirm anything if it's close to deadline.
He's afraid somebody else will run with it first.
So he seemed okay to you? Nothing out of the ordinary? Yeah.
Except for the piece of tissue paper on his shaving cut.
Doesn't usually wear that on his cheek.
I don't know about you, but I don't usually shave in a taxi in the middle of the afternoon.
Well, Marco could've gotten scratched by her tennis bracelet.
All those diamonds have sharp edges.
Lennie, hold on.
It's Mallory.
Yeah? BOY: Hey, mister.
Talk to me.
BOY: Throw here! BRISCOE: Uh-huh.
What's up? Mallory's snitch claims that the drug dealer Danny Jones put out the hit on my daughter.
Tell me something I don't know.
What the hell am I supposed to do? One step at a time, Lennie.
Over the edge.
I cut myself, so what? We found blood on Mrs.
Abbott's bracelet.
You want us to go further? My client wants to cooperate.
We're listening.
I met Maggie Abbott outside the gym.
She was still angry about the piece on her husband and his little intern.
CURTIS: Was it true? I had a deadline.
We walked, talked.
About what? An unwanted pregnancy.
You can read about it if I ever get out of here to confirm it.
You talked? Like what, old friends? Not quite.
I told her I was going with the story.
That's when she slapped me.
She turns to go.
I try to stop her.
I grab her sweater.
She pulls free and runs into the street.
Taxi hit her.
And what did you do? I got scared and ran off.
At worst, my client is guilty of harassment in the second degree and assault three.
Nothing more.
Marco's facilitating himself.
VAN BUREN: Anything else going on between Marco and Mrs.
Abbott? Oh, if she promised him an exclusive and then reneged, he might have thrown a hissy fit.
So he threw her into traffic? She was good copy for him.
More valuable alive than dead.
So what do we do, take him at his word? Let him go with a slap on the wrist? Not necessarily.
Look, if there was a pattern of harassment, if he was stalking her, there might be something we can prosecute.
He's responsible for my wife's death? BRISCOE: That's what we're trying to determine.
If he was stalking her He was stalking us! He was in front of the building every other day.
He'd track us down to restaurants.
He must've been paying off waiters.
Once he showed up at one of my wife's classes.
Because of this affair? Alleged affair.
The Abbott name sells papers.
Dad, I'm home.
Laura! Hi, honey.
I got pizza.
Just stick it in the oven.
I'll be right in.
As soon as I'm done.
Sorry, Dad.
It's okay.
Did Marco ever make any threatening remarks to you or your wife? I took everything he said as a threat to my family.
He told us he was working on a story about a pregnancy.
That's why he approached your wife.
An unwanted pregnancy.
Well, whose pregnancy was it? Your wife's? Miss Lowry's? What a load of crap.
Nothing to it, huh? That's right.
You working for the Ledger now? Marco was responsible, directly or indirectly, for my wife's death.
What are you going to do about that? So what if he calls himself a journalist? He doesn't have a First Amendment right to chase her into traffic! I admit he's a pest.
A pest? He tore her sweater! Isn't that assault? JACK: Or self defense.
He got a cut on the cheek from her.
Reporters and stalkers, the line gets blurred.
There's nothing legit about Marco.
The guy's got a criminal record.
Harassment, criminal nuisance, even breaking and entering.
He hunted Maggie Abbott down.
His lawyer offered a plea of harassment two, assault three.
He'll pay a fine for chasing a woman to her death.
Her choice to run.
See if they'll make a deal.
First Degree harassment.
B misdemeanor, max he gets 90 days, suspended.
Is that so? Freedom of the press at any cost.
That should generate some nice editorials.
Can't have too many friends in the media.
Especially at election time.
Lay off.
The attacks on Adam are getting personal.
Feldman accused him of prosecutorial Alzheimer's.
I don't know about you, but I know I don't want to be working for Gary Feldman come November.
By the time we got to 61st Street, Mrs.
Abbott was pretty upset.
She slapped me.
Ran into the street.
I grabbed her sweater.
I tried to stop her.
She went right in front of the taxi.
I got scared.
Took off.
That's it.
I'm sorry.
Are the People satisfied? Yes, Your Honor.
Then, in accordance with the plea agreement, I'm sentencing you to 30 days suspended sentence, four weekends community service, a $5,000 fine, and two years probation.
We're adjourned.
Three shell casings a few feet from the body.
Nine millimeter.
The shooter stood close.
He didn't want to miss.
UNI: Where were you going? ZAREM: I was on my way to Morean's when I heard the shots.
How many did you hear? Three.
POP, pop, pop, like that.
You see the shooter? By the time I got to the corner, all I saw was Marco, lying there.
BRUDER: Bobby! (CHUCKLES) Hey, what happened here? Phil Marco got shot.
Dead? No kidding.
Give the people what they want.
A standing ovation.
Don't worry.
We took down all their names just in case.
There's an obvious place to start.
Assuming Warren Abbott is that stupid.
Or that angry.
Whoa! Check the box next to stupid.
Nine years ago, Abbott got a carry permit for a nine mil.
That get us a search warrant? If he's the only citizen with a permitted gun.
Guess you guys will have to find that gun the old fashioned way.
My gun? I haven't seen my gun in the last four years.
Last place being where? I'm not sure.
I'll have to think about it.
Well, why didn't you report it missing? I didn't say it was missing.
It's just misplaced.
CURTIS: Why'd you get it in the first place? I was litigating a case against Local 904.
I was advised to get some personal protection.
Advised by who? Local 904.
So where were you last night? Well, I wasn't outside Morean's shooting Phil Marco.
You know, that's exactly what we thought you were gonna say? How about telling us what you were doing.
I was at Julianne Lowry's.
The intern you weren't having an affair with? Makes me a hell of a son of a bitch, huh? She helping you get over your wife? Why don't you ask her? And if I find that gun, I'll be sure to let you know.
He came over about Until what time? He didn't want to stay all night because of his daughter.
She's home from school.
How thoughtful.
What'd you talk about? His wife, us, I don't know.
Phil Marco? Not really.
About a story Phil Marco was working on? An unwanted pregnancy? No.
Abbott didn't get you pregnant, did he? No.
Because that would give him another good reason to shoot Marco.
Look, what Warren likes me to do, you can't get pregnant from.
Okay? Okay.
Now, if you'll excuse me.
Strike two.
Be nice to know who was feeding Marco his info.
The Kennedys, Trump, Madonna, the Giffords, the entire tabloid hit parade.
Here we go.
Separate folders for Warren, Margaret, the whole mishpocheh.
Not a lot of notes.
Maybe Marco didn't want to be confused by the facts.
Well, he already knew all about Warren's favorite hobby.
What's this entry here? F.
Howard and a number.
And Laura.
Frank Howard.
He's married to one of Warren's sisters.
Some kind of tree-hugger.
Oh, yeah.
He helped clean up the Hudson.
Maybe he liked to dish the dirt to Marco.
I have no idea why he'd have our number.
Neither Frank nor I would ever take his calls.
Well, somebody did.
His phone records show that he called your number the night he was murdered.
He called Betty's number.
Our daughter.
Why would she talk to Marco? She was in her room with Laura, Warren's daughter.
Warren was stuck downtown on business, God knows what, and he asked if Laura could spend the evening with us.
Did she spend the evening? She left just before 9:00.
Right after Marco's call.
Do you know where she went? I don't know.
She seem upset? Laura's high-strung.
Her mother's death hit her very hard.
I didn't want her to leave.
BRISCOE: Why not? Two years ago she tried to commit suicide.
I was afraid she might do something to herself.
You know if she's been pregnant? No.
Of course she hasn't.
You're assuming? She's been on the pill since she was 14.
I think I would have heard something from my daughter.
Laura's on the pill, and dad's girlfriend is a technical virgin.
That brings us back to Mrs.
So she had an abortion.
No big deal to her.
Who said anything about an abortion? Well, Marco just said his story is about an unwanted pregnancy.
Do we know if she was pregnant when she was killed? I spoke to the M.
Maggie Abbott had a hysterectomy right after her daughter's birth.
How do we know exactly when? Well, the procedure that was used, a Spalding-Richardson, is no longer done.
It's no longer taught.
Last time Rodgers saw it was back in 1982.
And even then it was pretty rare.
So no unwanted pregnancies since.
Are you saying the unwanted pregnancy was the daughter? Yes.
Unwanted if Abbott's not her father.
What's this? Nothing else fits.
Motive evidence straight out of the tabloids.
And how about means and opportunity? You getting that from the comic books? Warren Abbott has an alibi.
The girl doesn't.
She had access to her father's gun.
Marco called her, probably told her what he knew.
Keep in mind this is Warren Abbott's daughter.
His friends have deep pockets.
Not a constituency I can afford to alienate.
Make sure he's in the room when you question her.
Have the police pick her up and notify Warren Abbott.
Jamie Ross? Yes? It's Neal again.
He's pulling me into court over Katie's custody.
Marco didn't say much.
Just that he had some information about my mother.
What sort of information? I don't know.
He said it was important.
Your aunt said you were upset, Laura.
Of course she was upset.
Her mother's dead because of that bastard.
Abbott, we'd rather hear what your daughter has to say.
ROSS: Why were you upset, Laura? Mr.
Marco said we had to meet to talk about my mother.
I didn't want to.
I tried to hang up.
But he started to say stuff that was wrong, so I'd try to correct him, and all of a sudden I was talking to him.
If the son of a bitch weren't dead Did you meet with him? I was going to but I changed my mind.
Why? I just did.
Where did you go? I went home.
I watched some videos and then I went to sleep.
She was asleep when I got home.
Did you know that your father owns a gun? See, that's it.
This is exactly what I mean.
Abbott This is how you prosecute cases? By running head games on young girls? If you want to help your daughter, encourage her to tell the truth.
Isn't that why you went home, to get the gun? Don't answer that, sweetheart.
Arlen, we're done.
We're done.
If you leave now, Mr.
Abbott, I will have no choice but to arrest your daughter.
What! On what evidence? Her whereabouts are unaccounted for and she had access to the same caliber weapon that killed Marco.
And she had a motive.
What motive? Marco was about to publish a story about an affair her mother had Stop right there.
I want my daughter to wait outside.
Come on.
Go on.
It's all right.
My daughter has been traumatized enough.
She doesn't need to find out from you I'm not her real father.
It's true? There was a teaching assistant at Hudson Law when Maggie was pregnant with Laura.
Big crush on Maggie.
He had a wild imagination.
He started this story.
Laura called me.
She told me Marco wanted to meet with her to discuss these rumors.
I told her to go home.
I shot Marco! I'd do it again! What if he's covering for the daughter? He's not covering for his daughter.
He thinks he can beat it.
And you're confident he can't? I have his confession.
Incomplete confession.
And a room full of lawyers who charge $500 an hour.
A plea offer, Adam, for cold-blooded murder? Marco contributed to his wife's death and he was ready to humiliate what's left of his family.
Murder two, 15-to-life.
ROSS: His friends will be grateful.
ADAM: Hope so.
Feldman's talking about an October surprise.
We make this deal and Marco's colleagues will give Feldman all the press he needs.
Who reads the papers anyway? (SIGHS) This looks like fun.
Motion to suppress Abbott's confession.
I was expecting that.
That's just the appetizer.
Then we have a dozen other motions, to introduce Marco's employment records, gossip columns, criminal record.
Mostly just throw-away arguments.
A smokescreen.
Brief it all.
I got a custody hearing at 1:00.
I'll get started.
Go kick Neal Gorton's ass.
There's absolutely no basis for suppression.
Abbott confessed freely and voluntarily.
At the time he wasn't even a suspect.
His daughter was.
Arlen, if I may My daughter was facing a murder charge.
I was desperate to protect her.
I spoke rashly.
That goes to weight, Your Honor, not admissibility.
If Mr.
Abbott wants to repudiate his confession, let him do it on the stand.
Your Honor, this so-called confession was an off-the-cuff remark, made in the heat of passion.
If you let it in, we may as well go straight to sentencing.
I'm going to let the jury decide this one, Mr.
The confession's in.
What's the next item on this laundry list? LEVITT: Mr.
Marco's criminal record.
Completely irrelevant to the charges.
As are the victim's work records, his writings.
It's res gestae, Your Honor.
Marco's own work set the stage for his death.
The jury should hear about it.
How much of his work are you seeking to introduce? Everything.
I want to put his whole career before the jury.
It's a ploy, Your Honor.
The motion papers limited themselves to acts that took place starting two weeks prior to Mrs.
Abbott's death.
Now Mr.
Levitt wants to extend it.
Your Honor, I should at least be allowed to explain all the circumstances that led to Mr.
Marco's death.
All the relevant circumstances.
Why not let the jury sort it out? (SIGHS) Please, Your Honor, give me some chance to defend myself.
This one's yours, Mr.
I'm granting that request.
That was a gift.
(SCOFFS) Whatever.
About your offer of 15-to-life, thanks, but no thanks.
You have another number in mind? Any time away from my daughter is too much.
You take a plea, the circumstances of her birth won't be splashed across the tabloids.
Don't be naive.
The blood's already in the water.
It's just a matter of time.
It's no plea, Mr.
It's your funeral.
Abbott (INDISTINCT CHATTERING) I was Marco's editor ever since he came over to the Ledger.
He wrote a daily gossip and human interest column.
Daily? That's a lot of gossip, isn't it? Well, the public has an insatiable appetite for stories about famous people.
You say there was a lot of competition to get the hottest item? You have no idea.
So Mr.
Marco was under a lot of pressure to come up with stories.
That's true of any journalist.
And certain people, certain families, like Mr.
Abbott's family, are targeted, isn't that right? Targeted is a loaded word.
Well, in the last year didn't your paper publish 538 stories about Mr.
Abbott's family including his siblings, his spouses, his uncles, his cousins? And not because they discovered the cure for cancer.
Well, if the public has a particular interest in certain people, yes, we tend to give them what they want.
LEVITT: Thank you.
Now, in this highly competitive business, what limits, if any, did you impose on Mr.
Marco in his pursuit of stories? He had to adhere to the accepted standards of journalistic ethics.
Really? Such as following a subject, that's acceptable? Yes.
And taking pictures, also acceptable? Yes.
Taking pictures of their children? If it's newsworthy.
Spying on them in their homes using telescopes? As long as they don't trespass.
Going through their garbage? Yes.
Invading their privacy? As I said, as long as they don't trespass.
Defense eight.
This is a deposition given by a hotel maid in a lawsuit brought by Mr.
Abbott's nephew, Gregory Abbott, against the Barrington Hotel.
In it, the maid states that Mr.
Marco bribed her to let him into the suite in which Mr.
Abbott's nephew was staying.
Now, did you discipline Mr.
Marco for taking such action? No.
Well, then, I ask you again, what limits, if any, did you impose on Mr.
Marco in his pursuit of stories? Would none be an accurate answer? Miss Sanger? It's all right, Your Honor.
She doesn't have to answer.
Miss Sanger, this is a copy of your paper.
From two years ago, yes.
People's 19.
Would you describe Mr.
Marco's column from that day? The highlighted item? Mr.
Marco reported a rumor that a Borough president had charged the city for an intricately carved mahogany headboard as a gift to a woman, not his wife.
A rumor? Yes.
At the time.
But it resulted in an investigation, isn't that right? Yes.
It uncovered a systematic abuse of city funds.
The Borough president was forced to step down.
So, a rumor in a gossip column resulted in serious political consequences.
For the Borough president, certainly.
How did Mr.
Marco uncover his story? He went through the Borough president's garbage.
If we were to operate under a slew of restrictions all we would ever print would be press releases.
Thank you.
When you have no case, attack the victim.
Especially when the victim represents everything that's wrong with journalism.
The public still remembers a mangled car in a Paris tunnel.
If they don't, Levitt'll remind them, with Marco's criminal record, his writings It should have all been suppressed.
Sorry to do this to you again, Jack, but I've got to meet my lawyer in 15 minutes.
Neal's driving me up the wall.
He claims if I get married, Katie'll spend more time with David than with me because of my long hours.
If you get married? He's got a judge convinced Katie'll be better off with him than with David.
So it's David or the job.
Neustadt, you hold the Wilson chair at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, is that right? Yes, sir.
Are there any generally accepted rules that govern legitimate reporting? Of course, as there are in any profession.
Could you tell us what they are? Well, before you file a story, you make sure that any fact is confirmed by at least two sources.
And if it's a controversial story, at least three or more.
Do you ever pay these sources? Absolutely not.
What about reporting on private lives? If it affects the story, yes.
Yes, you can go with it.
But if it is just gossip? Then it's just that.
It is gossip.
It's not journalism.
Eavesdropping, telephoto pictures? Some tabloids use these methods, but they debase the profession.
They create a tendency to focus on trivia like a politician's intimate life rather than his policies.
That is not news, that's noise.
It's licentious.
It corrupts journalists.
Thank you.
Who makes the rules governing journalists? Well, no one makes them.
They're customary.
Well, then, who decides when the rules are broken? Reasonable men and women can agree on reasonable restraints to irresponsible journalism.
In your courses, do you teach the work of Ida Tarbell, Lincoln Steffane, Upton Sinclair, and more recently, I.
Stone? Yes, I do.
And isn't it true that all of them published exposes about, for instance, the meatpacking and oil industries, which at the time were widely regarded as irresponsible? Yes, that's right, but history has shown that these journalists were in fact acting responsibly.
And how can we be sure that history won't be equally as kind to a reporter like Mr.
Marco? Well, we can't.
And aren't there generally accepted responses for someone who doesn't like what he reads in the newspaper? Letters to the editor? Lawsuits? Yes.
Would you say that murder was one of the generally acceptable responses? Of course not.
But there are countries where journalists have been shot for what they've published.
Yes, but we have a free press, and the whole point of the First Amendment is that no one can control the press.
Thank you.
Defending Marco makes my skin crawl.
Levitt's backed us into a corner.
I know how he feels.
Yesterday, The Observer ran a squib about me and Neal.
I feel sorry for Abbott's kid.
"Abbott's secret's out!" "Abbott's struggle to survive Marco smear.
" "Lovesick teacher's aide started wild rumor about Maggie's love child.
" Let me see that.
What? Dig up all the clippings you can find about Abbott.
WARREN: My daughter's had counseling, but emotionally she's fragile.
When Mr.
Marco called her that night, asking to meet her, she called me.
She was in tears.
I went to see Mr.
My wife was dead.
There was no reason for him to pursue the so-called story of my daughter's birth.
I asked him to leave her alone.
He refused.
I offered to pay him.
He said that'd make an even better story.
I told him it could drive my daughter to commit suicide.
He didn't care.
He tried to leave.
I grabbed him.
He said he'd love for me to hit him.
He said he'd get it on the front page.
That's when I shot him.
I didn't mean to kill him.
But, God help me, I wanted to stop him.
I couldn't let him do to Laura what he'd done to Maggie.
Thank you very much.
You recognize this? Yes.
That's an article about my daughter's sweet 16 party.
People's 21.
Did the photographer and reporter sneak into your house? No.
I invited them in.
Why, if you treasure your privacy so much? It was better than having them climb trees and jump fences.
People's 22.
This profile of you appeared in a national business magazine last year.
You allowed the reporter to observe you spending an intimate evening at home with your family.
Isn't that right? Yes.
I remember that.
Didn't this article coincide with the opening of a branch office of your firm in Los Angeles? Objection, Your Honor.
I fail to see the relevance of this.
Objection overruled.
The article happened to coincide with the opening of my Los Angeles branch.
Is it fair to say that you've managed the news and used your private life to advance your career? Absolutely not.
People's 23.
Do you recognize this? Yes.
It's an article about the smear directed at my daughter and my late wife's reputation.
An article arranged by you? Absolutely not! You had nothing to do with its publication? Nothing.
The article refers to a rumor started by a lovesick teacher's aide.
Other than you, how many people knew about the origin of this rumor? I have no idea.
Do you have a publicist? Yes.
I use her to clarify and correct stories that appear now and then.
Isn't it a fact that your publicist contacted the reporter who wrote this article? Your Honor, Mr.
McCoy has no right to attack me, to attack my private behavior.
Please, Mr.
To be dragging my private life into this.
He's no better than that son of a bitch, Marco.
The right to free speech is not more important than the right to privacy, the right to be left alone.
Which one of you would like to be secretly photographed while sunbathing? Or while on your honeymoon? Or coming home with a newborn baby? Mr.
Marco pursued Mr.
Abbott's wife, he hunted her down, until she ran in front of a taxi.
And what did the State do? A rap on the knuckles, and let him go.
Let him go to hunt down Laura Abbott.
He set her in his sights as surely as if he held a gun.
Now, Mr.
McCoy has pointed out that there are ways to respond to what you read in the press.
Letters to the editor.
That's all fine.
But Mr.
Abbott was facing life and death.
His daughter's life and death.
No time to write letters.
Abbott shot Mr.
But he did it in the heat of the moment.
Marco provoked my client.
He drove him to fire that gun.
Of course, people should be protected against gross invasions of their privacy.
There should be limits.
But there must also be constraints on what a man can do when his privacy has been invaded.
Even when his family's privacy has been invaded.
Now, you may like Mr.
Abbott and sympathize with him.
And you may not like Mr.
From what I know of Mr.
Marco, I don't much like him.
And I don't much like what he was going to do.
But that cannot be a justification for what happened to him.
We may not like tabloid journalism and the cult of celebrity that it feeds.
The hunger for fame over virtue, for gossip over integrity.
To us it may seem an unpleasant, miserable, disgusting game with which we would prefer to have nothing to do.
But Mr.
Abbott participated in it willingly.
It was only when it turned against him that he took out his gun and shot Mr.
We may not want a world in which celebrity and gossip are all mixed up with news.
It's messy.
But our society can survive the mess.
What it cannot survive without is the free and easy exchange of information.
All kinds of information.
Even if it's unpleasant.
Even if it's irrelevant.
Even if it's just gossip.
We sort it out and we blunder on, but we blunder on free.
The only alternative is a world in which people, if they're smart enough, rich enough, powerful enough, likable enough, can stop the truth from being told.
Warren Abbott shot Philip Marco to shut him up! With premeditation.
In cold blood.
Because he didn't like what Mr.
Marco was going to write.
Has the jury reached a verdict? Yes, we have, Your Honor.
JUDGE: On the first count of the indictment, murder in the Second Degree, how do you find? The jury finds the defendant, Warren Abbott, not guilty.
On the second count of the indictment, manslaughter in the First Degree, how do you find? We find the defendant not guilty.
On the third count of the indictment, manslaughter in the Second Degree, how do you find? We find the defendant guilty.
(INDISTINCT CHATTERING) Man two, seven years max.
Want to give odds he doesn't do even that? I see Abbott isn't trying to prevent the press from doing its job today.
Today, it's news.