Law & Order (1990) Episode Scripts

N/A - Ambitious

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.
JOSE: It's gotta be in here someplace.
We're supposed to be at City Hall in 15 minutes! Don't worry, baby, I'm gonna fix the flat and I'll get us there on time.
Well, watch out! If you dirty up the tuxedo, they'll make me pay for it.
I think my brother borrowed the jack.
Your brother? I'm marrying a family of morons! Maybe this guy has a jack.
There's nobody in here.
Maria! LANDERS: Door was unlocked.
This is how we found him.
Somebody did a number on his head.
Defensive wounds on the hands.
ID? Not on the body.
No wallet, no money.
I've heard that song before.
No hits, no runs, no errors.
What about the van? Registered to a Donald Gibson.
Brooklyn address.
Do we think that's Mr.
Gibson? That or his twin brother.
Oh, yeah.
I see what you mean.
Hey, do me a favor.
Make my lieutenant happy and roll his prints.
So the witness pulled in at 8:00 a.
, the van was sitting here.
Beside the bride and groom, he doesn't remember anybody near it.
Oh, from the blood smears on the floor, it looks like he was dragged in after the beating.
Anything turn up in the parking area? No blood, no murder weapon.
Hell of a way to start a life together.
Or end one.
Makes the time of death between 10:00 last night and 2:00 this morning.
How many blows to the head did he take? One.
But he got worked over pretty good before that.
Two shattered ulnae, fractured ribs.
Internal bleeding from his vital organs.
A little over-the-top for a straight-up robbery.
Maybe he forgot to say "please" and "thank you.
" Oh, my God.
That's Donnie.
Look what they did to him.
Can I get some water? You okay to continue, Mrs.
Gibson? When was the last time you spoke to your husband? Uh, yesterday morning, when he left for the office.
He didn't come home after work? Donnie meets clients at night.
We found your husband's van.
He installs audio systems? For clubs, restaurants, that kind of thing.
Was Donnie having trouble with anybody? Not like that.
BRISCOE: Like what then? We understand this is hard, Mrs.
Donnie's kind of loud.
People take it the wrong way sometimes.
But he never means anything by it.
Well, we noticed your husband was convicted in a federal court for buying stolen goods.
That was seven years ago.
Donnie bought a few amplifiers off a boat in New Jersey.
He didn't even go to jail.
Is there any reason to think that he'd be involved in something like that recently? The only reason he did that was because business was slow.
He was a good husband.
These are your husband's personal effects.
His wallet's not here.
We assume it was taken in the robbery.
Donnie kept our wedding picture in there.
I was wondering why Mr.
Gibson didn't come to work today.
I tried calling his wife.
She's at the precinct.
I hope she's okay.
Was Mr.
Gibson having any problems at work? Not that I know of.
His biggest worry was how to make the company grow faster.
Where was he yesterday? He was doing an installation in Flatbush.
A disco.
Gibson was going to get me and my boyfriend put on the guest list when they opened.
He was nice like that.
Did he come into work first? Just for an hour or so.
He stopped at the bank on his way in.
He needed some cash before he left for Brooklyn.
BRISCOE: How much cash? $4,000.
He gave me the withdrawal slip to put in the books.
He say what it was for? It came out of the business account.
It must have had something to do with the job he was working on.
Did he usually walk around with that kind of money? No.
Well, one time he bought his wife a pearl necklace.
Oh, I feel so bad for her.
SMALL: Donnie pulled in about 12:00.
Spent his day wiring the DJ booth and running sound to the bathrooms.
When did he leave? Big hurry.
Something important to take care of.
CURTIS: He say what? Nah, I'm not sure.
Take a guess.
Look, this guy is dead You don't need to worry about his reputation.
So what? He went out to go buy some audio equipment for your club here? He took out $4,000 before he came here.
Now what do you need that costs four grand? Four grand, hot? Can I get in trouble for this? Relax.
We're not looking for a stolen property collar.
For the dance floor.
Did Gibson say where he was gonna get 'em? No.
You guys didn't happen to come across four audio-acoustic 960s in that van, did you? CURTIS: Sorry.
Then I'm screwed.
So, Gibson went to pick up some speakers, at night, for cash.
Let's see if he looked up his friends from New Jersey.
LUCKY: Donnie's dead? CURTIS: He was killed Tuesday night.
You know anything about it? Oh, man, sorry to hear that.
We see you, uh, converted your criminal know-how into something more productive.
Yeah, 30 months in a jumpsuit, tie and jacket looked pretty attractive.
Your old pal Donnie Gibson only got probation.
What are you sayin'? You got cause to be resentful.
Maybe he ratted you out to get his deal.
(SIGHING) I had priors, Gibson was a virgin.
So where were you Tuesday night? Look, the only reason I'm gonna tell you this is 'cause I didn't do nothing.
I was with Gibson at a strip joint.
Guys and Dolls, on the Upper East Side.
So, it's just a coincidence Gibson was out with his old fence? I haven't been near a piece of swag since before Lewisburg.
Maybe you were brokering the deal.
Look, fellas, Gibson said he was gonna pick up some merchandise.
I told him I didn't wanna know from it.
What time was that? Around 11:00.
I hung out a while longer.
The girls will tell you.
CURTIS: You got their names? My first time there.
His girl was a blonde wearing this schoolgirl thing.
Uh, plaid mini-skirt, knee socks.
And yours? Redhead, a cop outfit.
STAHL: Lucky Martin? Our clientele don't have nicknames, detectives.
They have initials after their names, M.
, J.
And they all come here to see the double Ds.
Oh, no.
We're not a strip club.
We're a rudy club.
And what's that, a poetry reading? Is there something I can do for you guys or are you just here to poke fun at how I make a living? Did you see a guy named Donnie Gibson in here on Tuesday night? I don't know if he was here, but I know the name.
CURTIS: What? He's a regular? Three years ago, we bought the club, took it out of the gutter.
Donnie did our sound system.
Oh, detectives, my partner, Tom Wilder.
What's this all about? Donnie Gibson was killed Tuesday night.
Oh, my God.
They think he was here, Tom.
More bad press.
Just what we need with Guiliani cracking down.
You remember seeing Gibson? No, I don't.
One of your girls was with Gibson.
Blonde, schoolgirl costume.
Donnie Gibson? Hmm.
Doesn't ring a bell.
The men who come here don't usually give their names.
How about a face? Yeah.
He kind of looks familiar.
I don't remember him from Tuesday.
Gibson's friend said that you danced for him between 10:00 and 11:00.
I'm sorry, I just don't remember the guy.
I work a 10-hour shift, six days a week.
So, a lot of faces.
I have to change, so if you don't mind Oh, you an actress? Yeah.
I'm trying to be.
I've been in a commercial and two indie films.
And I take classes.
Why? Oh, I got a nephew in Hollywood.
He's an agent.
He's always looking for new faces.
Now the cop.
JENNIFER: Can you guys make it quick? I gotta cram for my psyche exam before the happy hour crunch.
Wouldn't you do better in a library? Hey, I'm covering my tuition and fulfilling a public service.
Oh, which one's that? Read the literature.
Clubs like this, they boost a man's testosterone level.
He leaves here feeling confident.
More productive.
And broke.
Then everybody's happy.
Tuesday night, you were teamed up with Kimberly? So? Look, one of your customers was murdered.
Kimberly asked me to sit with her for a while.
She said she knew one of the guys, Donnie.
How well did they know each other? I once saw them picking out a baby doll from the Victoria's Secret catalogue.
Was she seeing Donnie outside of work? We're not really close.
So the two of you just happened to be working this guy the night he got killed? She said he was a good tipper.
CURTIS: Was he? I never got a chance to find out.
Kimberly broke up the party when she went to return a phone call.
Any idea who the call was from? Not really.
Is that the best you can do? Donnie seemed to know what was going on.
Right after that, he got his coat.
And I saw him talking to Kimberly before he left.
Sounds like the phone call was Gibson's speaker connection.
Funny Kimberly forgot to mention it.
Not if she was the one who set him up.
Before we rattle her cage, let's get the LUDs from the club and find out who she called.
Tuesday night, there was nobody on the pay phone.
This would've been a little before 11:00.
We close at 11:00.
There was nobody here.
Hey, Pete, didn't that guy Sean order a pie right before we closed up? I think your head's spending a little bit too much time in the oven.
He wasn't on the phone.
You remember this Sean taking a call? Yeah, the phone rang and he picked it up.
CURTIS: Know who he was talking to? You recognize her? She an actress? She moonlights at a hooter bar when she's not playing Lady Macbeth.
I think it's time you shut your mouth, Augie.
Hey, you want to face an obstructing charge? I don't know her.
CURTIS: Where can we find Sean? Yeah.
Probably in the parking lot near the Spotsfield Mall sign.
(LOUD POP MUSIC PLAYING) BRISCOE: Which one of you is Sean? (SWITCHES MUSIC OFF) Hey, you don't like the band? Not at 100 decibels.
Where you guys from? NYPD.
Didn't yous guys see the sign on your way here? This is Westchester.
We're looking for Sean.
Well, Sean ain't here.
So why don't you guys go back where yous came from? Shut up, Jason.
I'm Sean Russo.
Why don't we go somewhere where there's a little more ambiance? Gonna take a warrant.
Oh, let's see if we can arrange that.
This your Explorer? Yeah, pretty nice, huh? Oh, what's this, Rey? An open 40 on the front seat? You're under arrest for having an open alcoholic beverage container in your vehicle.
You're sure you wanna do this? Damn sure.
Never heard of this Donnie Gibson.
CURTIS: Sit up.
He was banging your movie star girlfriend.
Which one's that? Kimberly, from the strip joint.
I whacked this mope 'cause he's getting some from Kimberly? I'm gonna let you in on something.
Half the girls in Spotsfield rock harder than that Barbie.
We know Kimberly called you back at the pizza joint Tuesday night.
Big deal.
CURTIS: You had her set Gibson up with a phony speaker deal.
Gibson met you and you wailed on him.
The four grand he was carrying was a bonus.
This is what happened.
I left the mall, went straight home.
CURTIS: By yourself? I live with my mother.
Go do some police work, she'll tell you.
We pulled your sheet, Russo.
You've been picked up three times for assault.
You and your friends, you settle your disagreements with baseball bats.
That's it.
Interrogation's done.
Hey, why don't you have a seat, Counselor? Maybe we can get a couple of straight answers outta your client.
Do you have any idea who this is? A punk kid who spends his life drinking beer in a parking lot? Dominic Russo's son.
Dominic "The Sledge" Russo? Yeah, that's my pop.
BRISCOE: Too bad he's doing life.
You charging me with something? Write Mr.
Russo a citation for the motor vehicle violation and send him on his way.
I want these sons of bitches sued.
We'll talk about it on the way home.
And this one, I want his badge.
(CHUCKLES) Like they say, genius always skips a generation.
If that's the future of the mob, we got nothing to worry about.
Tell that to Donnie Gibson.
Why would I lie? I see Sean around the club.
That's as far as it goes.
BRISCOE: He filled us in on the two of you.
What'd he say? Oh, you two think the world of each other.
Why'd you lie to us? Because you were seeing Donnie Gibson and Sean Russo at the same time? I wasn't seeing Donnie.
He just likes a little attention from a pretty girl.
It's not what you think.
What did Russo think when he saw you in that slinky baby doll you and Gibson picked out? Baby doll? CURTIS: Yeah.
Uh, no.
That was a Valentine's present for Donnie's wife.
Hey, we got the phone records from the club.
You forgot to tell us you called Russo Tuesday night.
Well, I didn't mean to.
You were covering for Russo.
You set Gibson up so that Russo could stomp him.
You want to see how he bashed Donnie's head in? No, don't show me that.
BRISCOE: Look! Please! Start being straight with us.
I think I'm just gonna keep my mouth shut.
Oh, Russo's got you scared to talk? My shift starts in 15 minutes.
Stahl gets mad when I'm late.
Well, he's just gonna have to learn how to manage his anger.
First we're gonna check out your story.
Donnie got me a baby doll for Valentine's Day.
Why is that important? Well, we think your husband might've been having an affair.
With who? Her name's Kimberly.
Uh, she's a stripper.
Well, we just thought the name might be familiar, maybe she called? Kimberly? No.
Well, could be we're jumping to conclusions about your husband.
It sounds like it.
Donnie wasn't like that.
Um, did Donnie ever mention a guy named Sean Russo? No.
Who's he? BRISCOE: A mobster.
(EXHALES) What did Donnie get himself into? Hey, right now everything's very vague.
We'll call you if we find out anything.
Oh, I was gonna call you.
This came in the mail this morning.
It's Donnie's wallet.
Our wedding picture's still in there.
CURTIS: Do you still have the envelope that it came in? Uh, yeah.
No return address.
This stain here, was it on the envelope when you got it? Yes.
It's blood, isn't it? The envelope's postmarked Morningside Station, southwest Harlem.
That's 20 blocks north of where Donnie Gibson's body was found.
So latent didn't get a hit on the prints off the wallet or the envelope.
But that stain, it's pig's blood.
There's that wholesale meat district around a 125th Street on the West Side Highway.
Dominic Russo has a brother in the meat business.
Yeah! The legit side of the family.
So they say.
Our love triangle theory didn't pan out.
So, what? We think this is a mob hit? After The Sledge went to jail, couple of guys were found in the swamps.
There's been a power vacuum in his old crew.
Yeah, but how did Donnie Gibson get sucked into it? My man found it out back Wednesday morning.
I got the address on the driver's license and stuck it in the mail.
So why didn't you try to call, Mr.
Russo? Why didn't I call? What do you think? This guy got killed here? This is where his wallet was found.
You sayin' I did this? There's no return address.
Well, why would I kill the guy and then mail his wallet back to his wife? Because one of your workers picked it up.
You just don't believe that I would do anything decent.
Let me explain something.
This last name I got, I'm me, that's them.
Two distinct situations.
Well, why don't you just show us where your guy found the wallet? I came out here to take a smoke.
And it was layin' right there.
Looks like blood.
Well, we hose down our trucks back here.
We'll bring our technicians up here just to be sure.
Oh, great.
You tape off this area, where am I gonna park my trucks? It's the price of being a good citizen.
Is your nephew Sean ever up here? Yeah, he worked for me part of a summer when he was in high school.
He couldn't handle the work.
Too much blood and guts.
He got over it.
Time to check Sean's alibi.
First you take away my husband from me for life.
Now you want my son? We're just trying to establish his whereabouts, Mrs.
I got the number of my husband's lawyer somewhere.
BRISCOE: Uh, once the lawyers get involved, then we have to start with search warrants, the arrest warrants, the subpoenas.
I mean, you went through all that with your husband.
Yes, I did.
But Sean is not like his father.
Dominic promised me he would never let Sean get involved in that life.
Well, if he's got nothing to hide, Mrs.
Russo, then you can't mind telling us where he was last Tuesday night.
He was with his friends.
I heard him come in about 11:30.
What, you still wait up for him? I couldn't sleep.
I was watching TV.
Oh, yeah? What were you watching? A movie.
I can't remember the name.
Where's your TV? In my bedroom.
What? You don't believe me? CURTIS: Your bedroom's upstairs? Yeah.
Sean's is where? Sean's room is down here.
But I heard him come up to use the bathroom.
Why? Because in a house this big, there's no bathroom down here? What do you want from me? That's what happened.
Forensics says the blood outside the uncle's meat business matches Gibson's.
Can you put Russo at his uncle's place? His mother gives him some half-baked alibi.
Oh, I'm sure she's had lots of practice with her husband.
I'd like to get a look inside Russo's Explorer.
Well, it sounds like we have enough for a search warrant.
Marijuana residue under the driver's seat.
Yeah, we already rang him up on a nuisance charge.
Anything else? Not to the naked eye.
I sent some swabs down to the lab.
I'm waiting for a callback.
You got something big I can stretch out in? SEAN: When's my car gonna be ready? Getting all worked up won't make it go any faster.
If there's anything wrong with my car, these jerks are liable, right? That's right, Sean.
I want my car, now.
Boy, this thing is loaded.
Two alarm systems, cell phone, CD player.
Yeah, he's got three kinds of radar.
Yeah, maybe you could accidentally disable a few of them.
(PHONE RINGS) Jackson.
BRISCOE: How's the patient? I'd check his blood pressure.
JACKSON: Driver's side.
I'll let 'em know.
Lab didn't find any blood off my swabs.
But the driver's side floor mat showed traces of ammonia and liquefied Freon.
Is that unusual? Yeah, this time of year.
Most likely source, the driver stepped in a puddle from a refrigeration unit.
Russo was killing Gibson near his uncle's meat trucks.
Where's my car? We'll be supplying your transportation from now on.
You're under arrest for the murder of Donald Gibson.
You have the right to remain silent.
First you get me out, then you get my car.
CURTIS: You have the right to an attorney.
If you cannot afford one, one will be appointed.
"Docket number 89254, People v.
Sean Russo.
Murder in the First Degree.
" Mr.
Russo is being railroaded, Your Honor.
I'll take that as a not guilty plea.
Let's talk bail.
The People have a solid case, Judge.
The defendant lured the victim to an isolated area.
Forensics connects him to the murder scene.
The People request remand.
SKLAR: The People's forensic evidence could have come from a thousand places.
Russo intends to fight this to the bitter end, Judge.
He's not going anywhere.
He's got strong ties to the community as you can see.
Given Mr.
Russo's three assault arrests and his reputation for violence, he poses a distinct threat to our community.
When you don't have a case, you argue reputation Would you ask Mr.
Sklar to get his finger out of my face! Both of you, enough.
$1,000,000, cash or bond.
(GAVEL BANGS) CARMICHAEL: Russo commanded an audience.
Half the wise guys in the five boroughs.
They were treating him like he was the heir apparent to his father.
The heir apparent to Dominic Russo robbed and killed a man for $4,000? Then what's he doing with Bernie Sklar? Sklar's made a career out of representing high-level mobsters.
Maybe we need to re-examine our theory about motive.
First spend time increasing his bail.
One million's not enough? I want him off the street.
If this punk is trying to step in his father's shoes, now's the time to close him down.
SKLAR: $10,000,000? The District Attorney's on a vendetta here.
Bail's been argued and decided.
You do need to demonstrate some change in circumstance, Mr.
It's apparent from his arraignment that Mr.
Russo has ascended to a dominant position in his father's crime family.
There's no crime family run by Dominic Russo.
He was convicted on multiple counts of racketeering, extortion and ordering the murder of his Mafia rivals.
That term is an ethnic slur concocted by law enforcement and adopted wholesale by the media.
And the KKK is a civic organization? Show me where the mafia's existence has been proven in any court of law.
Save it for your summation, Mr.
Your presence here belies your argument.
Bail is raised to $10,000,000, cash or bond.
We'll be ready to post by the weekend.
If Mr.
Russo plans to post collateral by third parties, I want a surety hearing.
Why? To intimidate anybody who's gonna stand up for my client? No.
To insure they're not intimidated by Mr.
Russo, or pledging property obtained from the proceeds of criminal activity.
You've been there before, Mr.
Hearing's set for Monday.
We'll need discovery first.
Ah, don't worry, Jack.
I'm not gonna stiff you.
JACK: Russo's ambassadors of goodwill.
Just in case the bail guarantors forget why they've put up their life's savings.
The discovery I promised you, Jack.
Five minutes from the hearing, Bernie? Oh, they don't get it to me, I can't get it to you.
Nobody had to tell us what to do.
My wife's brother-in-law's a first cousin of Sean's father, Dominic.
So you've offered to post a $500,000 piece of real estate for a distant relative? Dominic's been very good to us over the years.
We decided it was time to repay his favors.
Did one of those favors include giving you a bag full of cash for a down payment on your house? No.
I got that money from my parents (SIGHS) No further questions.
Who's next? Jeffrey Stahl.
How did you acquire the property you're pledging for bail, Mr.
Stahl? My partner and I put down $500,000 in 1995 to purchase the building where our nightclub's located.
Where did you get the money? We solicited certain qualified investors.
But we drew the bulk of the money from our own savings.
Were any of these investors associated with the Russo crime family? Object to the characterization, Your Honor.
The witness will answer.
Our investors are high net-worth individuals who work on Wall Street.
How about your initial working capital, where did that come from? STAHL: Family and friends.
JACK: Then I'm a little confused, sir.
Why are you pledging your company's main asset for an accused murderer like Sean Russo? Mr.
Russo is a customer in my club who I've come to know and respect.
I feel he is deserving of my assistance.
Did he or any of his friends pressure you to pledge this collateral? Absolutely not.
Just a moment, Your Honor? Donald Gibson filed a mechanic's lien against Guys and Dolls for $12,000 three months before he was killed.
JACK: What for? Work performed and not paid for.
Nothing more specific.
Stahl, you owed $12,000 to the victim in this case, didn't you? Objection.
What's this got to do with anything? Goes to the relationship between the witness and the deceased.
How does this debt relate to Mr.
Russo's bail? I'd like to explore that.
SKLAR: It's a fishing expedition.
Looks like that to me.
Objection sustained.
Anything more, Mr.
McCoy? Then I'll rule on the surety issue.
Russo is very gratified at his release.
By going forward with these unfounded charges, it's obvious the D.
Is still trying to punish his father.
Beyond that, we have no further comment.
Thank you.
(REPORTERS CLAMORING) It was a long shot anyway, Jack.
At least we turned up that 12,000-dollar debt.
Stahl owes Gibson money.
Russo murders Gibson.
Let's get the story behind this mechanics' lien.
Guys and Dolls was billed 15,000 at the beginning of the year.
We got checks the next three months, Nothing's come in since then.
They still owe Mr.
Gibson $12,000.
Wait a minute.
The payments stopped a couple of months before Mr.
Gibson was killed.
Did your boss usually take out a lien when someone owed him money? Only if they gave him a hard time.
You know, as a last resort.
So why'd you owe Gibson the money? Well, what does that got to do with anything? You were having a billing dispute with the victim of a murder.
Look, it wasn't a dispute.
The mayor's crackdown forced us to re-configure space so we brought Donnie in to redo the sound system.
But you never paid him for the work.
Oh, I'm getting to that.
We made several payments.
We had a cash flow problem.
This new law hurt our business.
So Gibson dropped a mechanic's lien on you.
He filed it to protect his interests.
Standard operating procedure.
That's not what his secretary says.
I don't know what to tell you, Miss Carmichael.
She's wrong.
You still haven't paid.
And I'm sure his widow could use the money.
We plan on paying her in full with interest.
Now does that answer your questions? Let me see if I understand this.
You're in financial trouble, defaulting on your obligations, but instead of tapping into the equity on your building, you pledge it to get Sean Russo out of prison.
I explained that in court.
Your explanation makes even less sense now than it did then.
Well, maybe it'll make more sense coming from my attorney.
We're done here.
My partner told me you were snooping around.
He doesn't even want me speaking to you.
By not cooperating, you only increase our suspicion.
For God's sake, we are just a couple of businessmen trying to make a living.
You own a strip club.
Do I look like some degenerate, Miss Carmichael.
I would have rather bought the Blue Note, it wasn't for sale.
Jeff talked me into this.
Did he talk you into co-signing Russo's bail pledge? I can't go into that.
If there's anything illegal going on, you're responsible.
There's nothing going on.
Then why go to bat for Russo? Jeff explained it to you.
Unless you do a better job than he did, we're putting your business under a magnifying glass.
You're not from New York, are you? You're being extorted.
Is that why you put up the building? Do you know what you're dealing with here, Miss Carmichael? How'd it go? Well, Wilder won't say it directly, but he and Stahl are paying Russo to stay in business.
Even so, putting up the building for bail's above and beyond the call of duty.
And there's something else bothering me.
If Gibson knew the club was mobbed up, why would he continue to go there after hitting them with a mechanic's lien? You're looking for the answer in Gibson's business records.
Well, maybe he had ties to Russo.
Gibson did some work for one of Dominic Russo's underbosses, Vincent Carpignano.
Gibson put in a sound system in Carpignano's house in Staten Island.
Carpignano I don't remember him being in court to pay homage to Sean Russo.
He knew Gibson, he knows Russo.
It's worth a shot.
I hired Donnie because of some work he did in this club I managed.
For Dominic Russo? Hey, that's all behind me now.
We're not interested in Dominic, Mr.
Carpignano, just his son.
Pee Wee I call him.
That's not a term of endearment.
We noticed you weren't in court for him.
If Pee Wee whacked Donnie, good luck putting him away.
Did he have anything to do with you leaving the business? You might say that.
I remember Dominic telling me one day Pee Wee became a made man.
I was sorry to hear that, I told him.
He should've put the kid in a real business, like I did with my boys.
Did Dominic know Sean was shaking down Guys and Dolls? It was known.
By Donnie Gibson? Well, I knew Donnie was doing work there.
I might've said something.
Wasn't he worried? Donnie was a very cocky guy.
Said he had friends who could protect him.
JACK: What kind of friends? Government friends.
From years back when they grabbed him buying swag.
Thank you for speaking with us.
Don't mention it.
You think Donnie could mention his government friends to collect a debt? What are you saying, Jack, that Stahl and Wilder panicked and ran to Russo? If I'm wrong, they can tell me why.
A jury will see right through this, Miss Carmichael.
Legitimate businessmen don't have a contractor killed over a few thousand dollars.
But your clients aren't legitimate businessmen.
It's just a matter of time before we turn up evidence of payoffs to Russo.
Assuming you do, it's a minor league rackets prosecution.
Not if Donnie Gibson threatened to take it to the feds.
It's a motive for murder.
You can't prove that.
Complete cooperation against Russo, we'd offer man one.
On what theory? Maybe your client's only intent was to have Russo break a couple of kneecaps.
I don't care if you're offering jaywalking.
I'm not interested.
JACK: We charge you with murder, you're looking at life without parole, if not the death penalty.
Highly unlikely.
But not impossible.
Twenty-five to life is my fall-back position.
I can't go to jail.
Then convince us you shouldn't.
(SIGHS) They approached us while we were still under construction.
CURTIS: Who did? Sean Russo and his friends.
He said he knew a few tradesmen who needed work.
Could we accommodate them? It didn't seem like a big deal.
We needed the work done anyway.
Were any threats made? Not then.
After we opened, Russo recommended a liquor wholesaler we should use, then a laundry service for the linens.
Recommended? It wasn't presented as an option.
The next thing we knew, we were paying Russo a cut of the coatroom revenues, the vending machines.
How much were you paying out? Over 100,000 a year.
They were bleeding us.
That's why we couldn't pay Gibson on time.
Why didn't you just sell the club, get out from under Russo? Jeff and I put everything we had into this.
Our dream was to own a night club.
We had customers from the movie business, all the sports teams.
It was a blast.
And we were in the middle of it.
And the prerequisite was going into business with mobsters.
I thought I was giving them an inch.
I didn't realize I was giving them a yard.
Then one night I came home, there was a bullet on my coffee table.
I was living every day in fear.
Either we'd get caught, or Russo would do something violent.
And that's where Gibson came in.
He threatened us with exposure, said he knew someone at the FBI.
And you told Russo? Not directly.
I talked it over with Jeff.
He went to see Russo.
Did you try and stop him? Jeff wasn't asking for Gibson to be murdered.
I never thought that this would get so out of control.
Can you help me out of this? Please, Mr.
McCoy? Wilder says they only wanted to scare Gibson off.
The whole thing got out of hand.
CARMICHAEL: You believe him? Wilder made some bad decisions.
I don't see him premeditating a murder.
Well, we can offer him manslaughter in exchange for his testimony.
That's a problem.
Wilder wasn't privy to his partner's conversation with Russo.
We don't have the last link.
And Stahl won't cooperate.
Progress on the Russo case? JACK: Two more arrests.
The partners in the strip club who set the murder in motion.
There's another player on the field.
The feds are ready to indict Mr.
Russo for racketeering.
Who's handling it for the US Attorney? Bob Gervits.
From the car-dragging murder.
This should be pleasant.
Make sure it is.
No hard feelings, Jack.
But now it's payback time? You think that's why I'm going after Sean Russo? Three days after we arrest him, you convene a grand jury.
Our investigation was in the works long before Russo murdered Gibson.
But you want first crack at him, I can wait.
That's refreshing.
Makes my life easier if you convict him.
Loosen him up for a plea on my racketeering indictment.
Just keep me in the loop.
Not to look a gift horse in the mouth, but anything less than a murder conviction against Russo and Gervits looks like he's cleaning up our mess.
You're getting the hang of this, Abbie.
But it's not going to happen.
Stahl might change his mind about cooperating once he knows his partner gave up the store.
JACK: It's simple, Mr.
You testify against Russo and we cut you a break on jail time.
That's nice.
If Russo's boys don't get me in prison, they'll be waiting for me when I get out.
You'll serve your sentence in a secure facility and you'll get federal witness protection after you're released.
I already told Miss Carmichael, I can't do it.
I'm going to testify, Jeff.
Against Russo? I have to.
Don't be so stupid! With or without you.
So I get screwed, too? I'm sorry, Jeff.
You've got to hang in there.
We can beat them.
I've got a family to worry about.
I've listened to you all along.
Look where we are.
Damn it, Tom, I'm not moving to Arizona and working in a Kmart.
Don't you get it? It's over.
This isn't going to have a happy ending.
(SIGHS) I can't believe this is happening.
JACK: It's already happened.
You made your choices.
Now you only have one left.
(SIGHS) What do you need to know? At this time, the defendants would like to withdraw their not guilty pleas and enter pleas of guilty to manslaughter in the First Degree.
Wilder, are you prepared to allocute to the reduced charge? Well, I Judge, I ask that Mr.
Russo and his attorney be removed from the courtroom.
This is a public proceeding, Your Honor.
The constitution gives us every right to be here.
Not if you're here to intimidate these defendants.
SKLAR: If they tell the truth, they have nothing to be afraid of.
JACK: Given that Mr.
Russo is about to be implicated in their allocutions, his presence here is highly inappropriate.
Are you going to let Mr.
McCoy run your courtroom, Your Honor? Please.
Sklar, you can stay and report the proceedings to your client.
Russo will have to leave.
Hey, McCoy, what kind of deal you giving these guys to lie for you? Donnie came in one day to ask why the payments stopped.
He said I had till the end of the month to come up with the whole thing or he'd go talk to his FBI friend about what was going on at the club.
Just to make sure he wasn't bluffing, we confirmed that Donnie got off easy in federal court.
That's when I told Sean about the problem.
I just wanted him to talk some sense into Donnie.
You know, frighten him off.
I knew he might rough Donnie up, something like that.
But, uh I never believed this would end in a murder.
McCoy, are you ready with a sentence recommendation? We'd like to hold off until after the defendants have testified against Mr.
Pleas of guilty to manslaughter in the First Degree are accepted.
Sentencing deferred.
Sklar, we'll start your client's trial on the 15th.
(GAVEL POUNDS) Wilder and Stahl have been cooped up for a week.
They're on pins and needles.
They'll be fine once they take the stand.
Did you prep the forensic witnesses? Last night.
The stripper's coming in this afternoon.
Bob Gervits.
He wants to talk about Russo.
Now? Tell him we'll be by after lunch.
Leonard Sklar just called me with the last minute jitters.
He's desperate to cut a deal for Russo on my racketeering indictment.
How desperate? Russo's prepared to name enough names to put what's left of his father's organization on life support.
That'll make Adam happy.
How many years are you recommending? Assuming complete cooperation, 10.
Plus whatever he gets on the state murder conviction.
That's what I wanted to talk to you about.
To get Russo to sign off, I need you to get on board.
On board what? Let him plead down to man one on your murder charge, six to 12.
We'll stipulate the terms be served concurrently.
Ten years for everything? He's giving up a dozen other guys.
We've got him dead to rights on Murder One.
Let me convict him first.
Russo says it's now or never.
Let's see what he says when he's staring at life without parole.
He'll deal on 25 to life.
I'm not risking my case on that.
I've lined up Stahl and Wilder and they're ready to put their necks on the line.
Out of the goodness of their hearts.
You don't have the stomach to call Russo's bluff.
I can't make this happen without you.
I'm giving my opening statement tomorrow morning.
What's up, Adam? I just got off with the United States Attorney.
She called you an obstructionist.
Under the circumstances, I consider that a compliment.
She wasn't passing compliments.
She wants you to clear out so they can flip Russo.
Does she want us to offer him an apology? You're just one piece in the puzzle.
Their puzzle.
Russo will be getting a free ride for a murder.
I understand that.
He's also putting an organized crime family out of business.
I already told Gervits no.
Tell him you changed your mind.
I haven't.
Then I'll tell him.
Don't pretend it's coming from me, Adam.
If you want to undermine me, do it out in the open.
Consider it done.
Jack? Call our witnesses, tell them we won't be needing them.
Forces beyond our control.
You should hear this.
Gervits just filed a racketeering indictment against Wilder and Stahl.
That son of a bitch.
Withdraw the indictments against Stahl and Wilder.
I can't do that.
If it wasn't for them, Russo wouldn't be talking to you about cooperating.
As soon as they became targets, you should've given me a head's up.
Why? You were handling the state murder charge.
My claims are federal.
Don't hide behind jurisdictional niceties.
You ambushed them.
They should've considered the consequences before they went into business with Russo.
You sat there while I made a deal with them.
They held up their end and plead guilty.
GERVITS: And they deserve to go to jail.
You promised them witness protection.
You reneging on that, too? I don't consider them witnesses anymore.
So that no longer applies.
You lied to their faces! That's not the way I see it! You made me a party to it! I'm sure you'll get over it.
I have my priorities, you have yours.
The front page of the newspaper? You give me way too much credit.
You planned this back when you gave us first crack at Russo.
You played me.
If that's the way you want to look at it, guess we're even.
And it's out of your jurisdiction.
What about the promises you made, Mr.
McCoy? You still have your deal for manslaughter.
What about witness protection for my family? As things stand, there won't be any witness protection.
What? We're going to federal prison as rats? Wrong, Tom.
We couldn't even make it as rats.
Russo's gonna have us killed in there.
You know that, don't you? And it's going to be on your head.
How is this possible, Mr.
McCoy? We gave you everything you wanted.
Now the feds are going to use our guilty pleas as evidence against us.
Tom, you should've kept your mouth shut.
Now we have nothing left to offer anybody.
Jack, there must be something you can do? I can make a few calls.
WILDER: That's not good enough.
I wish I could do more.
I'm sorry.
Is that all you can say? WILDER: All we wanted was to have a business.
McCoy, how could you let this happen to us? Please, I'm begging you.
CARMICHAEL: It's not your fault.
Stahl and Wilder swam with the sharks.
They got bit.
They're not the only ones.