Law & Order (1990) Episode Scripts

N/A - Return

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.
STUDENT 1: You think she had diseases? STUDENT 2: What do I care, man? Duh.
I don't know.
Maybe 'cause if you were with her, you'll catch one? Hey, this is Mitchy Mitch.
I don't catch anythin' I don't wanna catch, all right? Yeah, why's that? Hey, because, nitwit, I know what I'm doin', all right? Hey, are you okay? Yeah.
Too loose to break.
I'm fine.
All right, let's go.
Come on.
I wonder who left this open? Look, I don't know, man, but I don't think we should be here.
Well, I'm gonna check it out.
Dude, you're gonna get eaten by a freakin' rat.
He's out of his mind.
Hey, we're leavin'! Oh, my God.
CSU OFFICER: Two gunshots, one to the shoulder, one to the back of the head.
He had a wallet on him, $240 cash.
The name's Saul Caplan.
Becker & Caplan.
Anything missing from the store? Register's empty, looks like there might be some merchandise missing as well.
Forced entry? We found a broken padlock by the cellar doors.
There's an alarm but it wasn't set.
Yeah, I guess he wouldn't activate it until he left.
If you're through, we'll send him to the M.
E.
He was in the office, he heard somethin', he grabbed a bat.
Yeah.
Looks like the pitcher blew one by him.
(INDISTINCT CHATTERING ON RADIO) A man builds a business brick by brick, creates something out of nothing.
For this he's gunned down like a dog.
Had you been robbed before, Mr.
Becker? Couple of years ago we had a break-in.
Before that some junkie came in to hold us up.
Between Saul and me and Ronnie in the stockroom, he's lucky he's still walking.
So, Saul just happened to be here last night? He was going over the inventory lists.
He does it every Thursday.
Excuse me, one of the ones who found the body said he needs to call his parents.
Tell him we'll be right there.
Is it possible to do this another time? I need to go be with Saul's wife.
Sure.
Okay, what were you guys doing at Orchard Street at 4:00 in the morning? Goin' back to the dorm.
ED: From where? This bar.
What bar? The Bowery Bar.
Orchard Street's not between the bar and your dorm, fellas.
We were coming from a hooker's apartment.
Oh, God! ED: Where? Orchard near Delancey.
I'm the only one who went through with it, though.
Is it possible our parents not be made aware of this? Uh, my father just had a by-pass.
Oh, sure.
I'd hate to see you get in trouble, seein' as how you didn't even get your hat knocked off.
Look, look, we found the body, we called 911, we stuck around What more do you want from us? ED: What'd the hooker look like? You see anybody else last night who looked like they might have done a robbery? Nuh-uh.
Come on.
We know you were workin' last night.
I didn't say I wasn't workin' last night.
But you didn't see anybody? What kind of robbery? A leather coat store.
Oh, I don't know nothin' about that.
Okay.
We find out you're holdin' back, you're gonna take a collar a week for a year.
I ain't been doin nothin but what I'm doin'.
Don't be takin' your frustration out on me just 'cause you guys got nobody else.
Fine.
Just remember what I told you.
You guys know a tall drag queen blonde hair, used to work the trucks, named Toreador? Toreador got herself a new leather jacket last night.
And the reason I know is it wasn't the same skanky old thing she used to wear.
I said somethin'.
She was like, "Oh, I can't be bothered.
" Go check her sorry ass out, why don't you? Where can we find her? Toreador.
Can you give a girl some privacy, please? You know, they've had indoor plumbing for 2,000 years.
Officers, I am so sorry.
Is it not permitted to relieve one's self out of doors? What kind of jacket is that, Dolce & Gabbana? Oh, my.
Aren't we something of a fashionista.
How much did you pay for it? It was on sale.
Drastically reduced, don't you know.
Is that what you call murdering the storekeeper? Pardon? You wanna have this conversation here or you wanna have it down at the station? All rights, all rights.
I found it.
Where? By a dumpster.
You mind takin' it off so we can take a look at it? Not at all.
Ooh.
Chilly morning, though, not quite unpleasant.
The pills are female hormone supplements which are not, I don't believe, illegal.
Becker & Caplan tag.
Where'd you get it? There's only two possibilities worth considering.
One has you committing murder and robbery, the other one has you receiving stolen property.
I certainly did not murder anyone.
Then where did you get it? Where were you last night, Ronnie? Home.
Do you have anybody that can confirm that? My wife.
My kids.
My neighbor.
Your wife know about your friend, Jeffrey? I don't know anybody named Jeffrey.
Jeffrey who likes to dress up in women's clothes and calls himself Toreador? So So, what do you wanna know? When did you take the coat you gave her? Last week.
You're sure it wasn't last night? Saul was like a second father to me, all right? I mean, I took a coat, yeah.
I took a coat.
But I don't kill this man.
I love this man, okay? His alibi checks out.
He might've been stealin', but he's not our guy.
Street Crime Unit come up with anything? Nothin'.
What about CSU? No usable prints.
M.
E.
's report confirms two shots, one from about eight feet, hit him in the shoulder.
The other from two to three feet, hit him in the back of the head.
Perp was probably standing like right above him.
(PHONE RINGING) Mmm.
An execution.
He died somewhere between 11:00 and midnight.
Van Buren.
Okay, thanks.
Forensics has somethin they want to show you.
This is the lock that was found near the cellar doors.
BRISCOE: And? The lock appears to have been chiseled, like this.
I know, it looks like a lot of damage, but this kind of lock doesn't open that way.
You're sure? We tried to replicate the damage.
Remember that commercial where they shoot a bullet through the lock? Hmm.
Truth in advertising, huh? The only way to break one of these things is to sever the shackle inside.
Otherwise, it's not gonna open.
So, whoever damaged the lock already had it open.
This isn't a good time to be doing this.
BRISCOE: We apologize.
Uh, there's just a couple of things we need to ask you.
Well, we're sitting Shiva here because Saul's wife is in no condition to do it by her.
BRISCOE: That's very nice of you.
It wasn't even a question.
There's some indication that this is an inside job.
I don't believe it.
ED: Whoever accessed the basement had a key.
It's possible the key got lifted, no? We know something? Nothing.
Uh, this is my wife.
How do you do? You okay here? Fine.
Would, uh, would they like something? ED: No, nothing.
Thank you.
If you could provide us with a list of your employees, that would give us a starting point.
What, they think it was someone from the store? They don't think anything.
They're investigating, that's all.
Yeah, the bookkeeper was busted for marijuana possession.
How long ago? Hmm.
Well, here s somethin a little bit more promising.
Sal Bonafiglio, arrested five times, three times for burglary.
Did a pound at Dannemora.
So, you're sayin' you like him better than the bookkeeper? ED: See, Sal, whoever broke into the store worked in the store.
Now, you work there in the stock room, and you have felonies on your record.
It's been three years since my last arrest, all right? Mmm-hmm.
Two of which you were in jail.
Burglary three, burglary three, burglary two, and then just for variety, there's mail fraud.
Excuse me, but that was reversed on appeal.
Duly noted.
Look, I got nothin' to do with this, you guys.
I never whacked anybody in my life.
Hey, maybe you went to rob the place, and you didn't know Saul was gonna be there.
Now, tell me the truth, is this because my last name ends in a vowel? Maybe you didn't mean to rob the place.
Maybe you went there for legitimate reasons.
Caplan thinks you're gonna rob him and he comes after you, you defend yourself.
Hey, maybe I get drafted by the Giants to play linebacker.
What is it with you guys and the maybes? Where were you Thursday night between 10:00 and 1:00? I was with my nephew in Uniondale.
Whether this guy's alibi checks out or not, he's involved.
Well, he never used a gun before.
Why does he use one this time? Well, maybe he didn't.
Well, check his incident reports.
See who his partners-in-crime were.
B and E in Westchester.
Perp had apparently gained access to house by searching for keys under doormats.
Partner backed truck into the garage door.
What's the partner's name? Eddie Novello.
I just saw that name.
Uh "Assaulted a security guard with a crowbar" "when he and an accomplice were fleeing the scene of the burglary.
" His gun must've been in the shop.
Hey, Lennie.
There he is.
Eddie, what's happenin', man? I dunno.
We thought you were still upstate.
I been back a while.
Do I know you? You stayin' out of trouble, Eddie? Yeah.
What's in the bag? Nothin'.
Mind if we take a look? My gym bag.
Uh, we can see it's your gym bag, Eddie, we just want to look at it.
Why, you don't wanna let us? I don't care.
Hmm.
What you doin with this? Nothin'.
Where'd you get it? This guy Becker & Caplan.
Get in the car.
See, Eddie, the thing about evidence is, you wanna get rid of it.
Here's the thing, Eddie.
We got Sal's version, now we need yours.
You wanna make somethin' up, start with that coat we found in your gym bag.
Hey, what did I tell you? You keep doin' that, we're gonna put the cuffs back on.
Eddie, maybe you don't understand what's goin' on here.
We don't need your confession.
We already got enough to put you away.
We're just tryin' to let you help us out so we could help you.
You know, I killed a guy in the ring once.
With two punches, bang, boom! All right.
Time.
Time, Eddie.
See, what I don't understand is, why a guy who could fight like you needed a gun anyway? You never seen me fight.
No, but I heard about ya, though.
I heard you hit harder than any middleweight since La Motta.
Somebody said that? Yeah.
See, what I don't understand is, why a guy who could hit like you would need to use a gun.
I told Sal I don't need no gun.
I said I could take that son of a bitch out with my hands.
But he said he wanted it clean or he wouldn't pay.
What else did Sal say? That I could take what I want.
Cash in the register, merchandise.
Just make sure the guy's dead.
How much did he pay you? Five grand.
I bought my girlfriend a big screen television set.
It's over, Sal.
Eddie gave you up.
Now, unless you tell us your version, we're gonna have to take his word for it.
You ever get the feelin', when you're talkin' to him, that Eddie maybe wasn't quite right in his head? He said you gave him five grand to kill Caplan.
That's murder for hire, Sal.
First degree whether he's right in the head or not.
Guy's got eyes the size of meatballs.
He told you what you wanted to hear so he didn't have to talk no more.
You had access to the lock, plus you were arrested with Eddie before.
How the hell am I gonna get five grand? I make eight dollars an hour.
And how did Eddie wind up with the coat? I hang out with him at the gym sometimes.
He knows where I work.
He knows there's stuff in the basement.
Who left the lock open? I don't know.
You're the friggin' detective.
I haven't been back here since the night that Saul was killed, I can't even offer you a piece of cake.
We're actually all right.
We just need to ask you a couple of questions, and we'll be out of here.
Ask.
When your husband worked on the inventory at night, uh, was there anybody who worked with him? Boy, are you asking the wrong person.
The only time that Saul would talk about the store with me was if he would bring home a coat that he thought maybe I would like.
I was his duchess.
Grandma? Oh, come here, tateleh.
You all right? This is my grandson, David.
Hello.
These gentlemen are the detectives that are investigating what happened with your zeyde.
Did you ever work with your zeyde, David? No.
Did either of your parents? His father worked in the store one summer.
He's a very successful cardiologist with a big practice in Los Angeles.
He was here for the funeral, then he had to get back.
David interested in the business? I'm leaning toward film school right now.
If that doesn't work out, I'd think seriously about maybe taking over the business.
He looks just like him, this one.
We can hold 'em both for now, but Sal's right about one thing, we've got no motive.
You believe him? Well, I didn't say that but what do we have? The testimony of a mentally questionable co-conspirator.
That's it.
Well, if Eddie's tellin' the truth, Sal either had reasons of his own to get rid of Caplan, what they are, we don't know, or he was doin' it for somebody else.
Who that is, we don't know.
Yeah.
What he said.
Go talk to the parole officer.
BELICHEK: Sal was always on time for his appointments, his urine tests came back clean, he was holdin' down a job.
Anything to suggest he had money problems? Nah.
The only time I had to sit him down was when I found out he was frequenting this after-hours joint.
I said it once, that was the end of it.
How'd you find out? This goof ball Frank works there.
He dropped a dime on him.
What did you say the name of the place was? Red's, I think he said.
It's on BRISCOE: And it's an after-hours place, huh? Yeah, doesn't open until 2:00 in the morning.
Better get in a nap this afternoon, Lennie.
(MUSIC PLAYING) We're lookin' for Frank.
Got me.
There wouldn't be any illegal substances being passed in this establishment, would there? He's in the bathroom.
You must be Frank.
You still got a little right there.
Come here.
Sal Bonafiglio, do you know him, Frank? Is this a shakedown? Listen to the question.
Sal Bonafiglio.
Right.
What about him? Do you know him? Yeah.
Good.
Now what can you tell us about him? Low-level coke dealer.
Says he's a wiseguy, but I doubt it.
Any idea who his friends are? He was hangin' around with this bald guy, Eli.
Something of a coke fiend, comes in here periodically lookin' to sell leather coats or somethin', just Says he owns a store, but I doubt it.
(CHUCKLES) Most of the people in here pretty much lie on spec.
Well, that must be pretty tough on a straight arrow like yourself.
Thanks.
We'd like to talk to your son, Mrs.
Becker.
Eli.
Uh, if you don't mind, we'd like to speak to him privately.
Sure.
This way.
How well do you know Sal? Uh, not well at all, really.
You ever go to an after-hours club on 10th Street called Red's? Yeah.
I think I've been there a couple of times.
Yeah.
BRISCOE: You ever been there with Sal? Can I ask what this is about? Well, we think he might know more than he's telling us.
Well, um, like I said, I really, I don't know the guy all that well.
I mean, I I just I couldn't really tell ya.
Did you ever sell coats at the bar? No.
Somebody said they thought you did that.
Well, people say all kinds of things.
I mean, did I ever give some chick a coat as a gift? Maybe I did.
But, I mean, that's my family's business.
I'm entitled to do that, right? What's going on? We're just asking your son a few questions.
This is a house of mourning, Detectives.
The store will be open for business tomorrow.
Ask him or me or anyone else questions there.
Please.
I have to tell you, I don't feel right doing this without Mr.
Becker here.
This search warrant covers you.
You can tell him you were legally bound.
Receipts, orders, inventory lists.
Any way you could've missed any stolen money? Every night someone stays late to check receipts against the register.
What about merchandise? Not possible.
At the end of the week I check the receipts against those inventory lists.
I would know if anything was missing.
Who makes the lists? We checked Eli's inventory lists against the orders placed by Becker & Caplan to their distributors.
It turns out Eli was accounting for coats that didn't exist.
Why hadn't anyone noticed? Well, Eli was in charge of orders, too.
As long as nobody questioned the accuracy of the inventory lists, it could have gone on for months.
How much money are we talkin' about? Five thousand a month.
If Caplan exposed him, it would have ruined his chance to take over the business.
Pick him up.
BRISCOE: Where is he, Mr.
Becker? Where's who? Your son.
He doesn't get in until 9:00.
The doorman in his building saw him leave in the middle of the night with suitcases.
Where is he, Mr.
Becker? Somewhere you can't get him.
The police pulled the LUD's from Mr.
Becker's apartment, and found a phone call to the Hoffman Travel Agency.
An agent confirmed Eli was on a flight to Israel.
Are we sure this is our guy? Eddie Novello says Sal paid him to kill Caplan.
Sal didn't have the means or the motive.
No question Eli was behind it.
Where's Sal now? He's being held at Rikers.
Once we get Eli back, we can turn them against each other.
Has a formal request for extradition been made? Yeah.
We submitted it to the Israeli Consulate.
Let's see what they do.
Israeli law grants non-extradition to a citizen of Israel who is also a resident there.
How can Eli Becker be considered a resident of Israel? Well, he maintains an apartment in Tel Aviv.
Wait a minute, Israel is violating its reciprocity agreements to harbor a murderer? No.
We intend to cooperate fully with your office and conduct atrial in Israel.
That's unacceptable.
This is murder for hire committed on American soil.
The only reason Eli Becker is in Israel is to avoid prosecution in an American court.
In 1935, the Nazis established the Nuremburg Race Laws, depriving German Jews of their rights of citizenship.
It was the beginning of the discrimination that would lead to the Holocaust.
Now, when Israel was founded, we established laws to protect Jews from being judged by non-Jews.
Uh, given the current political climate in Israel, the tenuousness of Barak's coalition, the power of the religious parties, it would not be a good time to stand accused of violating these principles.
Even when it comes to a murderer.
He completely manipulated the system.
If we can poke holes in his residency claim, maybe the Israelis will send him back.
Okay.
Let me see what I can get from the parents.
What was Eli doing in Israel back in 1995? Living in Tel Aviv, same as now.
No, what was he doing? Living, working, what anyone does.
Who was his employer? Do me a favor.
Talk to the lawyer.
He was working for himself, um, trying to get established.
Established in what? Um, jewelry exporting, I think, and I think he was starting to do some concert promotion.
Sylvia, we don't need to be doing her work for her.
Can you tell me when he applied for his travel visa? I can't tell you anything.
Mr.
Becker, after you purchased Eli's plane ticket to Israel, you refused to tell the police where he was.
Now, that's obstruction and it's a felony.
You're trying to send my son to jail, do you think I'm going to help you? Even though he had your partner murdered? That's what you say.
Are you aware your son has a drug problem? (SCOFFS) That was years ago.
It's over with.
We also have proof your son was stealing from your store.
Now, if I have to, I'll come back with detectives and a search warrant.
I don't care if you come back with the United States Army! SYLVIA: Nathan.
That's it! What's the matter, you people don't have enough to do? Oh, no, councilman, we have plenty to do.
Please.
What is so terrible if this person is tried in the state of Israel? Everyone's equal before the law.
You can't treat one murderer like he's special.
I have a murder case starting next month with a defendant who's Korean.
Shall I send him back to Korea? Oh, so now I have to give a history lesson on what it means to be a Jew? JACK: I have a guy who's looking at a lot of years in prison.
I imagine he could give you a pretty good one about what it means to be Korean.
You might remind your deputy here this is not the Debating Club at Dartmouth.
I have a great many people living in my district and all through the City of New York who understand full well what it means to be a Jew.
And no, it is not the same as what it means to be a Korean.
That a Jonathan Pollard sits in an American prison for tryin' to help the state of Israel is a disgrace! And whoever finally manages to free him will have themselves the undying support of the Jewish people.
What about a Samuel Sheinbein? What about him? Did allowing him to be tried and sentenced In Israel when he murdered, dismembered and burned his victim in Maryland earn anyone the undying support of the Jewish people? His exercising his right as a Jew to return to Israel hasn't prevented him from being punished.
As we speak, he's in an Israeli prison.
Well, the way I see it, as soon as you murder someone, you lose your right to return to Israel or anywhere else.
Not according to Israeli law.
Councilman, I uphold the law of the State of New York.
I want Eli Becker extradited.
Becker, Eli.
Father helped him apply for a travel visa on September 12, 1995.
What if he was working there? How long could he stay in Israel on that visa? Travel visa lasts three months.
If he wanted to stay longer, or if he wanted a work visa, he would apply in Israel.
Okay.
What kind of documentation did he show you to get this visa? Birth certificate.
Born January 5, 1965.
New York Foundling Hospital.
In 1996, Eli Becker was granted Israeli citizenship based on the fact that he's Jewish.
But he was adopted.
His birth mother was a woman by the name of Mary Elizabeth Kelly.
She's as Jewish as I am.
And given that the religion of the mother is controlling, we may have an opening.
Did he convert? Well, he didn't belong to a synagogue on his own.
And according to the rabbi at his parents' synagogue, he hasn't been seen or heard from since his Bar Mitzvah.
Which means maybe he didn't satisfy the requirements for an orthodox conversion.
Well, the Israeli Attorney General wants to extradite.
Now, if he can provide proof to the Ministry of Religion that Becker's not a Jew, it may do the trick.
So, we turn over the information on the adoption, and if the conversion is defective, there's his proof.
No.
Information from us won't satisfy the religious parties.
What, it has to come from a rabbi? Exactly.
There are rabbinical courts in Brooklyn that settle divorces, contract disputes While the final say is with the Ministry of Religion, let's give it a shot that they'll take the word of a few rabbis in Brooklyn.
Good morning, Rabbis.
My name is Abbie Carmichael.
I'm here representing the District Attorney's Office of New York County.
Before you are copies of a birth certificate attesting to the fact that Eli Becker was born to a Mary Elizabeth Kelly, a Roman Catholic.
He then was adopted by Nathan and Sylvia Becker when he was six weeks old.
That is correct, Mr.
Feldman? Yes, Rabbi.
Now, it's my understanding of Halachic Law that there are three requirements for conversion.
Circumcision, Hebrew naming, and a ritual bath known as a mikvah performed by a rabbi.
Please forgive me if I've mispronounced anything.
You're doing fine.
Having reviewed the documentation provided by Mr.
Becker's attorney, it's our position that a conversion did not, in fact, take place.
I don't know the basis for Ms.
Carmichael's presumed expertise in these matters.
All I'll say is that before you is a physician's affidavit attesting to Mr.
Becker's circumcision, a rabbi's affidavit attesting to his Hebrew naming.
As for the mikvah, we don't have documentation, we trust that won't be held out as a fatal defect.
Mr.
Becker, while not exactly frum, had Hebrew training and was Bar Mitzvahed.
Rabbis, it's our position that Mr.
Becker's seeking refuge in Israel is a cynical attempt to avoid the consequences of the murder of his father's partner.
Except even a murderer is entitled to return to Israel if he's Jewish.
With all due deference, Rabbi, forgive me, but was it ever the intention of the Law of Return to allow a criminal to avoid having to answer for his crime? Let him answer for his crime, assuming he committed one, in Eretz Yisrael as is his right.
He committed this crime in the City of New York.
It's the obligation of my office to the family of his victim that he be tried here.
We offer no opinion on the sincerity of Mr.
Becker's beliefs.
Or on who's entitled to try him where and for what.
This is not up to us.
All we can determine is whether the standard for conversion has been met.
Without proof of a mikvah, we have to say it has not.
Also, we see no evidence that to this point Eli Becker has been living what we would call a Jewish lifestyle.
Accordingly, Eli Becker is ruled not Jewish.
A shande! Rabbis, Rabbis, can I be heard? A ruling will be put into writing and made available to both sides by the end of the day.
I had half my family die in the ovens! Who the hell are you to tell me that my son is not Jewish? SYLVIA: Nathan.
Sorry, Mr.
Becker, this is not up to us.
A stinking technicality and these monsters will hang him for it! The Talmud has no technicalities, Mr.
Becker.
Only laws.
Drop dead! Nathan.
Israel's sending him back.
I'm willing to make a deal if Sal agrees to testify.
Right now all you've got on my client is the word of Eddie Novello.
In court that counts for zero.
You don't have time for games, Sal.
You're bluffing.
There's no way you'd do all this to get Becker back then not go after him.
Then call my bluff.
You need Sal's testimony.
And Sal will never be in a better position to negotiate than he is now.
Someone's gettin' life, Sal.
You get to choose if it's gonna be you or Eli.
(INAUDIBLE) What's your deal? Man one.
15-to-25.
Not much of a deal.
You want to take your chances standing trial for murder? The answer to that would be no.
Can you make it 10-to-20? He's got to testify, and that means truthfully with nothing left out.
You got it.
If the case depends on the jury believing a career criminal who's cut a deal, I'd say we're in trouble.
We have a defendant who left the country rather than stand trial.
Which the defense will attribute to a combination of panic and religious fervor.
Well, we could also establish that he was stealing from the business.
A business his father half-owned.
Are you suggesting that we offer him a deal? After what we went through to get him back here? Not on your life.
Did your husband ever confront Eli about his stealing? He spoke to him about it but not rough.
That was not the way that Saul did things.
Just to let him know that he wasn't fooling anybody.
Except for Nat.
Eli's father didn't know? I'm sure Eli begged Saul not to say anything and my grandfather, being the soft touch that he was, didn't.
He has a lot of problems, Eli, he always has.
Most of his problems of his own making.
You're talking about drugs? Oh, not just the drugs.
Eli was adopted.
He knew he was adopted, so he was all the time trying to make certain that he wasn't being treated different.
Did it seem to you that he was being treated differently, or was that just something in his mind? I know Eli a long time.
Probably the less I say the better.
Do you think he might be responsible for your grandfather's murder? I don't know.
Do you want to know? Mr.
Ortega, you make up the inventory lists? Yeah.
And what do you do with them? I give it to Eli.
He takes the numbers, puts 'em in his computer, then he prints out a list to give to the manager.
Did you ever see the lists after Eli printed them out? Yes.
What did you notice about them? They were wrong.
We had all kinds of merchandise that wasn't listed.
If someone were stealing, would keeping merchandise out of the inventory be a way of concealing it? Objection.
Speculative.
JUDGE: Overruled.
The witness can answer.
I guess it would.
Did you bring this discrepancy to anyone's attention? Yeah, I told Mr.
Caplan.
JACK: I have nothing further.
You ever take any merchandise, Mr.
Ortega? I squared whatever I did with Mr.
Becker and Mr.
Caplan.
Let's try again.
Did you ever take any merchandise? Yes.
You give it to your wife? Objection.
Irrelevant.
JUDGE: Sustained.
Are you acquainted with a certain transvestite prostitute, that was he or she the recipient of any of this merchandise? JACK: Objection.
Irrelevant.
Sustained.
The night Saul Caplan was killed wasn't one of the nights you were stealing, was it? No.
Nothing further.
It started out, I'd get Eli coke.
Once in awhile I'd set him up with a hooker on account of he was afraid to approach one on his own.
Did there come a point at which Eli had you stealing from the store? Right.
At first, he'd throw me somethin as a tip kinda.
When I told him I could move some quantity, he got hip to the money there was to be made on the side.
How much was that? Like 5,000 a month.
Would you describe the conversation that took place between yourself and Eli on October 18th? I saw him at the club.
He said Caplan found out we were stealin'.
He asked if I knew someone who could take him out.
What did you take that to mean? Have him murdered.
Is that when you contacted Eddie Novello? Right.
Eli gave me 10 grand, I gave five to Eddie.
I told Eli to leave the basement doors unlocked so Eddie could get in.
Nothing further.
You're not new to burglary, are you, Mr.
Bonafiglio? Not really.
In fact, you've been convicted, uh, three times.
Now, if Mr.
Caplan found out that someone was stealing from the store, doesn't it make sense that he would accuse the convicted burglar workin' for him? Only Eli had a lot more to lose.
You had access to the basement doors, and being a three-time felon, you had every reason to make sure Caplan never had you arrested.
The whole thing was Eli's idea.
I never would've done it except for him.
Mr.
Bonafiglio, did the D.
A.
offer you a deal for your testimony? Yeah.
No further questions.
I don't know that he killed my grandfather.
Well, it sounded like you suspected that he might have.
Not really.
Because it isn't in his nature? Right.
What if he thought your grandfather was about to blow the whistle on him stealing? I don't know.
You'd rather we didn't put you in this position.
You're right.
I'd rather just make my little film and not have to think about it.
You think maybe your grandfather deserves better than that? Eli took me to clubs, he introduced me to girls.
I was this wide-eyed doofus and he showed me the ropes.
That was the old days.
He's the next witness up, David.
We want you to tell us what you know.
Are you saying you need me to? We wouldn't be here if we didn't.
FELDMAN: What's your relationship with Sal Bonafiglio, Eli? I know him from work.
That's pretty much it.
You ever see him outside of work? I ran into him at a club called Red's one night.
And did you talk to him? Yes, I did.
Would you tell us what you talked to him about? Well (CHUCKLES) I'd had a pretty bad day that day.
I was stressed, frustrated.
I had a couple of drinks.
I was lookin' to unload.
Sal was there, so I unloaded on him.
What'd you say? Something to the effect of how I wished that my father and Saul would both retire, so I could run the business the way I wanted to.
Did you say you wanted Saul Caplan dead? Absolutely not.
Did you offer Sal Bonafiglio money to kill him? Absolutely not.
Did you pay Sal Bonafiglio money to kill him.
No, I did not.
No further questions.
We've heard testimony that together with Mr.
Bonafiglio, you were stealing merchandise from the store and selling it on the side.
Is there any truth to that? None whatsoever.
So when Ronnie Ortega testified there were discrepancies in the inventory attributable to you, that was a lie.
Oh, there might've been discrepancies, that doesn't mean I was stealing.
Are bars and after-hours clubs customary outlets for leather coats that started out at Becker & Caplan? Look, sometimes, the merchandise in the store doesn't move, okay? You order more than you can sell, a new shipment's coming in, and you got to make room.
We've heard testimony from half a dozen witnesses that you sold coats to get money for coke.
We've heard from the individual who sold you the coke, who witnessed, with his own eyes, the transaction from which you got the money.
Are you sure you want to sit up here, under oath, and tell us you were just making room in the store? What, am I the only person in this room who's ever used drugs? I've used drugs, okay? On occasion, I have bought cocaine.
I'll tell you what I've never done.
I never murdered anybody because I I was worried about getting caught stealing.
I mean, stealing from who? The store's half mine.
Do you know the victim's grandson, David Caplan? Sure, I know him.
At some point, did you offer to buy out his interest in the store with promissory notes? Assume I did.
And when he declined to sell, did you resort to physical intimidation? Physical intimidation? Come Look We're like a family, okay? We had a misunderstanding and he got upset.
I ask that this be marked into evidence, Your Honor, as People's exhibit number 14, a police report in which David Caplan claimed that Eli Becker threatened to have his legs broken.
So ordered.
So what, is he feeding you all this? Did you threaten him? No, I didn't threaten him I mean (STUTTERING) The least little argument, this kid, he overreacts.
You've led a very sheltered life, tateleh, you know that? Hey, let me ask you something.
Have you ever lifted a finger? Have you ever tried unloading a truck? Have you ever tried selling? Have you ever worked a day in your life? The keys to the kingdom, this kid, he gets because he looks like his grandfather.
Did you ever think that if you were not adopted that the keys to the kingdom might have been yours? No, I never thought that.
You're 35 years old, you've worked in the store since you were a teenager.
It never struck you as a little odd that your adopted father didn't see fit to reward your efforts with a piece of the pie? If I'd ever asked, my father would've given it to me.
Except that your father had to answer to his partner, and so you knew not to ask because to them you were just an employee, like Sal Bonafiglio or Ronnie Ortega.
Someone to be trusted to an extent, but never given a birthright because there was no birthright.
Objection.
Don't say "them," all right? There was no them.
If Caplan didn't want me as a partner that was all on him.
It had nothing to do with my parents.
My parents would do anything for me.
Is that why you wanted Mr.
Caplan killed? I did not want him killed.
I (LAUGHS) It was like I said before, I was just I was unloading in a bar.
You were so adamant he not be tried in Israel, what I'm tryin' to see if I can do is broker an arrangement where at least he serves his sentence in Israel.
Well, he hasn't been convicted yet.
Assuming he's convicted.
Given that his conversion was found defective, why does Israel still want him? Well, there are those in the state of Israel who would like to apply a more, uh, expansive reading of the Law of Return.
If Mr.
Becker has spent his entire life believing himself to be a Jew, and now wants to live in the State of Israel as a Jew, there are those who would say it would be a mitzvah to allow it.
Only a mitzvah? What do you mean only a mitzvah? I mean, there are no elections riding on this? The fate of nations isn't hanging in the balance? There are people who would appreciate it.
In Israel.
And in New York.
If that means something to you, maybe you can help bring it about, and, uh, if it doesn't, it doesn't.
Lev Berenson is lobbying very hard to let Becker serve his sentence in Israel.
And right now, it's a concession I feel inclined to make.
All due respect, Nora, I think this is dead wrong.
This is religious authority superseding civil authority.
We shouldn't just roll over.
That's a bit of an overstatement.
Tell that to the Iranians who had to run for their lives from the Ayatollah.
Or the Afghani girls who can't go out of their houses anymore.
Except that Israel is run by civil authority.
It's the civil authority we're responding to.
Well CARMICHAEL: Excuse me.
If Becker knows he can do his time in Israel, it might serve as an inducement to a plea.
What does it look like for a verdict? It could go either way.
Make a deal.
JACK: He pleads to murder two.
No special circumstances, no death penalty.
Twenty-to-life and he serves it in an Israeli prison.
He must be under the impression they're winning.
CARMICHAEL: That's a pretty high-stakes gamble if we are.
Twenty-to-life isn't exactly a generous offer.
Considering this is a murder for hire, I think it's exceedingly generous.
It's only generous if he committed a murder for hire, and I say he did not! What does he say? He doesn't say anything and he doesn't have to say anything! What happens if it goes to the jury? They look at the evidence, they decide he's not guilty, and they let him go home! I'm asking them, Nat.
If they find your son guilty of murder for hire, they'll remand him to custody.
The next step is the penalty phase where they will try to determine whether or not the death penalty is warranted.
You want him to run that risk? He's innocent, Sylvia.
He knew Saul his whole life.
You think he had him killed? What's wrong with you? Does Eli want to say anything? Mom, Dad I don't know what to do.
If you're innocent, say now that you're innocent, and we'll fight for you as long as we have breath.
But, Son, if you're not, take their offer.
Dad? (SIGHS) What your mother said.
By this time tomorrow night, he'll be on his way to Tel Aviv.
The U.
S.
Marshal's service asked if we had any objection to him being accompanied by a rabbi on the flight.
Did you? No, we didn't.
Do you still think he's getting away with it? I think we treated him differently because of political pressure under the guise of religious devotion.
Do I think he got away with it? I think for the first time in his life, he didn't.