Law & Order (1990) Episode Scripts

N/A - Chosen

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.
(LAUGHING) I'm going to call her.
You're not going to call her.
She gave me her card, didn't she? Uh, no! You gave her your card.
Besides, she was, like, undressing Darby, anyway.
Get out.
With her eyes.
(TIRES SCREECHING) (HONKING) Whoa! What's your problem? I'm hungry, man.
Help a guy out.
Wait, wait! I'll tell you what, I'll tell you what.
You go into that bar and you give a guy named Darby a big wet one right on the lips, I'll buy you a porterhouse at The Palm.
Pardon my friend, pal.
He's in heat.
He That's okay.
No way! Darby's so smart.
He should really learn to lock his doors.
This is stupid, I have nothing to do with this.
You're right.
You're right.
Never screw with a man's wheels.
His golf clubs are a whole other story.
You are crazy.
You know that? He just got those Titleists with the GARVIN: Couple of yuppies drank too much.
Decided they'd play a prank on their buddy.
They thought they'd break into a Lexus, but they got the wrong Lexus.
There's The Lone Ranger and Tonto over there, and I sprang for the coffee.
Hey, much as I love seeing your face, Garvin, pranks aren't exactly our department.
Well, one man's prank is another man's homicide.
Oh, that does it.
I'm going to stay with the Crown Vic.
Detroit knows a thing or two about trunk space.
Well, we don't have to go far to find the murder weapon.
BRISCOE: Let's get a look at him.
White male, looks to be in his mid-twenties.
The good news is, he never saw it coming.
The name's Gordon Meeks.
The car's registered in his name.
Just bought it last month.
He should have thought about leasing.
What do you want? We don't know anything else.
Just a few more questions.
Now your friend, Gordon Meeks Our friend's name is Ryan Darby.
Well, who is Gordon Meeks? Don't you see what they're doing? They think we're common criminals.
You did break into a car.
It was a prank.
You know Ha-ha? We work at Bennington Hart, on Wall Street.
Oh, so the thing about being common criminals wasn't that far off.
If I didn't feel like throwing up, I'd laugh.
Darby! Thank God! Tell them you've got a black Lexus.
What? I drive a Porsche.
I'm sorry, I've never seen either one of them before.
You know what? I'm beat.
Let's just book them and worry about it tomorrow morning.
Damn it, Darby! What the hell were you going to do to my Titleists? Oh! Another prankster.
All right.
All three of you, out of here.
I should have let you rot.
There's nothing on this guy Meeks.
The only prints in the car were his.
Well, we've got a name for the deceased.
That usually comes with an address.
Meeks had a nice life.
Armani, Brioni, Prada What happened to "Buy American"? What happened to American quality? Hey, my suits were made right on Sixth Avenue.
Yeah, 10 years ago.
And your point is? Whoa! Looks like Gordon hit the lotto.
On more than one occasion.
Lennie, look.
BRISCOE: Maybe it does.
GREEN: What? BRISCOE: Grow on trees.
Something tells me Gordon was up to no good.
There's got to be over $100,000 in here.
That looks like some kind of code.
Think Meeks was a loan shark? Well, I don't think he was a colonel in the Salvation Army.
What are you doing? Well, these envelopes were sealed.
The cash was probably going out.
Which means that something had to come in to fill that suitcase.
Now, that address costs a chunk of change.
What you want to do with this? Well, there's this Ferrari I've had my eye on Are you sure Gordon sent you? Let's say we're here on his behalf.
Because he usually tells me ahead of time if someone new is coming.
Yeah? Well, Mr.
Meeks is busy.
Was I short? It looks like it.
I could have sworn I counted out five dimes, like always.
Five dimes.
So Gordon Meeks is your bookie.
Who are you guys? Detectives Briscoe and Green.
Oh, come on! You've got to have something better to do.
Slow news day.
I'm a dermatologist.
Do you have any idea how boring that is? I put a few dollars on a ballgame now and then.
Is that a crime? Actually, it is.
Not if I place the bet overseas.
Five grand? You must have a lot of frequent flyer miles, Doc.
I call an 800 number, I log on to the Internet.
Either way, the bet is actually placed in Costa Rica, where betting is perfectly legal.
Until money changes hands here.
Okay, so they haven't worked out all the kinks yet.
But everybody does it, nobody gets hurt ED: Wrong again, Doc.
Gordon Meeks is dead.
What? BRISCOE: So you go up or down five grand, you get a visit from Gordon? Or Stevie.
Monday's the day we balance the books.
Stevie? Strelzik.
He's Gordon's partner.
Boss, actually.
BRISCOE: Do you know where we can find Mr.
Strelzik? You're sure it was Gordon? He looked like his photo ID.
Drove a Lexus.
In the trunk of his car! What, you'd like it better if they dumped him in an alley? Uh, what my partner meant to say was, in your line of work you might expect a little violence now and then.
Are you kidding? Our clientele was a who's who of New York money.
Besides, we don't let anyone bet more than they can afford to lose.
Aw, the bookie with a heart.
We run a legitimate business, Detective.
That's for a later discussion.
For now, can you just tell us how long Gordon worked for you? Now where did you get that idea? He didn't work for me.
We're both employees of First Run Gaming, Inc.
Let me guess.
Incorporated in Costa Rica.
You know, I warned him.
Low profile.
But he had to show off with the fancy suits, the hundred dollar tips.
Did Gordon go see any of his clients last night? Yeah.
Sprewell looked great in shoot-arounds, so I call maybe a minute before tip-off.
(CHUCKLES) The line's Knicks minus eight and a half, so what the hell, I put a nickel to win.
Yeah, but they only won by eight.
Tell me about it.
That toll-free phone call cost me five hundred bucks.
Hey, what time did Gordon come by? Around 5:00.
My secretary called me out of a deposition.
And your partners don't mind any of this? Hey, we're lawyers, not monks.
My husband is on Wall Street So, it's either find a lover or put a couple of bucks on a game.
Well, I guess doing the latter's a lot safer.
If I got caught doing the former, I couldn't afford to do the latter.
And your husband don't mind? Hey, with the way Wall Street's going, I'm doing better than he is.
And at least I can trust the people I invest with.
Hey, when Gordon Meeks came by, did he come by to deliver or collect? You want to hear stupid? I never in my life bet the Knicks.
Bad karma, you know, betting the home team.
But Sunday night I'm surfing the web and I see that Allan Houston's over his cold.
I get in under the gun, right, I log on and take the Knicks minus the eight for two dimes.
Hey, a push beats the hell out of a loss.
Sure, but if Spree hit the damn free throw, I would have won.
And Gordon wouldn't have had a reason to come calling.
I don't mind losing.
It's waiting on line at the ATMs to get the cash that kills me.
Yeah, especially when they hit back, Susan.
Oh, this? Kickboxing class.
ED: That's some shiner.
I forgot to duck.
Hey, what time did Gordon come by? Around 6:00.
After my manicure.
I'm just saying it's odd.
The lady and the lawyer both placed bets on the Knicks just before tip-off.
He lost, she pushed.
People have patterns.
They're creatures of habit.
The book knows that you like the Jets, so when you call in, he bumps the line a half a point.
Excuse me, how do you score a half a point? ED: You don't.
It just means that there can't be a push.
A push? A tie.
And intelligent people throw away their money like this? A dollar earned gambling is better than two earned working.
That's the American way.
To the tune of several billion dollars a year.
(PHONE RINGING) Yes? Okay, thanks.
Although I'd love to continue discussing this, you guys are wanted uptown.
A neighbor called the precinct to let us know someone cut down the yellow tape you guys put up on Meeks' door.
We found the perpetrator in the apartment.
Well, how did he get in? She had a key.
His wife? It's hard to say.
You'll see.
For you, Betsy.
Oh, this is wonderful.
What are these bums going to do? Slap me upside the head until I break? This is Betsy.
Sweet young thing, don't you think? Betsy, we're detectives.
Go ahead, sweat it out of me.
You can give me the 12th degree Listen! Listen.
We're investigating the murder of Gordon Meeks.
Murder? As in dead? Yeah.
We found him Monday night.
How could I think a bum like him would ever put a ring on my finger? Pre-engaged? What the hell is that? Don't ask me.
All I know is post-married.
Did you and Gordon live together? Uh-uh.
He said, "Wait, babycakes, until we formalize it.
" What a crock.
He said I'd have a ring by Christmas.
Okay, so that makes the $64,000 question, what were you doing in there? I called the bum last night.
He didn't answer.
I called him again this morning.
I figure he's dunking his donut, you know? And the police tape across the door didn't give you a hint that something might be wrong? You don't know some of the bull he's tried to feed me.
Hey, can you think of anybody that would want to hurt him? BETSY: Try every bimbo in Bensonhurst.
I answered his phone a couple of days ago, and it's some babe, all fancy-schmancy like she's putting on the Ritz.
She just has to talk to Gordon, like it's a matter of life or death or something.
When I say he's not here, she goes nutzo screaming at me.
ED: You know this girl's name? Yeah.
Black-eyed Susan.
Maybe Gordon forgot to duck, too.
You've got to see it from our point of view, Ms.
You make a hysterical phone call to your bookie.
You end up with a black eye, and he ends up dead.
I didn't kill Gordon.
So where was it you took this kickboxing class? Okay, this was George, my husband.
But he isn't like that usually.
Oh, God, please don't say, "I wouldn't listen.
" SUSAN: I wouldn't.
About the gambling, anyway.
How much were you really into Meeks for? Around 25.
BRISCOE: Thousand? Damn Knicks.
$25,000? Susan spends more than that on shoes.
Well, at least then she has something to show for it.
What do you think I do on Wall Street? I gamble.
It's the same thing.
Wouldn't I be hypocritical to tell Susan she couldn't wager a few dollars? Sure, if she won.
I know if my wife threw away my hard earned cash I don't hit women.
Let's go find her.
Come on, Ed.
No, no, just Hold on a second.
Why would I kill anyone over $25,000? I don't know.
I also don't why you'd give Gordon Meeks a call.
We checked the records on your cell phone.
(SIGHS) Okay.
I'll tell you the truth.
Susan swore she would stop.
I mean, maybe it is a disease.
She wouldn't tell me how much she lost.
I mean, the son of a bitch was sleeping with her.
Turning her into a whore for the money.
So you killed him.
If I ever found him, maybe I would have.
Susan wouldn't even give me his name.
Remember, Mr.
Ashman, we know that you called him.
I had my lawyers check into this company in Costa Rica.
They gave me his phone number.
Meeks just laughed at me.
Finally, he agreed to meet me Monday night, after his meeting with his accountant.
People like this have accountants.
He never showed up.
As far as I knew, they were entertainment consultants.
ED: Well, it's not tax time.
Why were they here on Monday night? Look, it's a cash business.
In a cash business, sometimes profits have a way of getting misplaced.
In other words, somebody ripped him off.
Gordon thought it was Stevie.
ED: Now, how much are we talking about here? Almost 600 grand.
They were really going at it.
Gordon wanted me to go over the books and find proof that Stevie was stealing.
Was he? Put it this way They were short.
Did Mr.
Meeks and Mr.
Strelzik leave together? They went for steaks at Paul's, around the corner.
I thought it was to kiss and make up.
Strelzik is the New York, medium.
Meeks, the T-bone, rare.
And the creamed spinach.
(CHUCKLES) What do you think? It sounds like they're regulars.
The chef comes out to greet them.
This is their regular table.
So, Monday night? The usual.
Maybe a bit more to drink than normal.
Both of them? Mr.
Strelzik, mostly.
Lennie, this look familiar? You mind if we borrow this? We sell them.
Six for 55.
It's yours.
Problem number one, these knives are hardly unique.
I checked with a restaurant supply house.
Half the steak houses in the city use these.
Problem number two? So quick? Beck! Well, this one, wiped clean.
Not a print to be found.
We're running fibers found here, but I wouldn't hold my breath.
What about these? Uh, the prints were too smudged to read.
Nada, fellas.
Yeah, but these are reading glasses.
There you go, the librarian did it.
Gordon Meeks was 25.
He didn't need reading glasses.
But Stevie Strelzik, on the other hand.
Meeks realized Strelzik was ripping him off.
Strelzik made sure he didn't tell the big boys back at the home office.
And we've got a murder weapon.
Without prints.
Yeah, but those were Strelzik's glasses next to the dead body.
Uh-huh, in Meeks' car.
They were partners.
Maybe they went to the company picnic together.
Sounds like you don't think we have enough for an arrest.
(CELL PHONE RINGING) Yes? No No, I'll tell them.
That was Beck.
Fibers from the blade match the tablecloths at Paul's Steakhouse.
Hi, sweetheart.
Is your dad in? Daddy? ED: We'd like to talk to you, Mr.
We're eating dinner.
It can't wait.
Uh, you might want to do this in private.
Honey, go back to Mommy.
Sweet kid.
Too bad you're going to miss her wedding.
Steven Strelzik, you are under arrest for the murder of Gordon Meeks.
Steven? You have the right to remain silent, anything you say can be used against you in a court of law.
You have the right to an attorney.
If you cannot afford one "Docket number 57893, the People v.
Steven H.
" Murder one.
Get the day started off with a bang.
How do you plead? Your Honor, the Defense objects to your cavalier attitude and demands an apology.
Who is this? Furthermore, in light of the lack of Is this going to take long, Mr Dworkin, Randolph J.
, Your Honor.
And yes, I do have several points I'd like to You win, Mr.
I apologize.
Thank you, Your Honor.
Now Don't push it.
How does your client plead? Not guilty, Your Honor.
JUDGE: Counselor.
Due to the heinous nature of the crime, the People request that the defendant be remanded without bail, Your Honor.
Your Honor, I object.
What murder isn't heinous? Good point.
No bail.
Dworkin, Randolph J.
I'm honored to cross swords with a legend.
I was just telling my client here Oh, I'm sorry.
Steven Strelzik, Jack McCoy.
You've already had the pleasure, Ms.
So, I was just telling Steven all about the Gelfant case.
You really knocked it out of the park on that one.
Front page, law journal? (GRUNTS) My hat's off.
Make yourself at home.
I assume you asked us here to talk about a deal? What did I tell you? Better than him, they don't come.
So, I was thinking we could brush this all under the carpet with, say, assault two, suspended sentence? Your client's been indicted for murder one.
Hey, we all make mistakes.
Maybe you don't understand.
I'll put an offer on the table for murder two.
It will stay there until I leave this room, which will be in about 60 seconds.
That's fine.
That's fine.
But, uh, there is something you should know.
Strelzik here is one of those fussbudgets, you know the type, who writes everything down Names, dates, dollars and cents.
The police have already confiscated his records.
Of course they have.
But, you see, it turns out Mr.
Strelzik has maintained What shall we call it? Um, a separate set of records for his more esoteric clientele.
Are you trying to blackmail us? God forbid I should do such a thing! No! No, no, no, no! This is just a bit of the old give and take.
Goodbye, Mr.
What is a Randy Dworkin? I checked him out in Martindale.
Clerked for Judge Tattleman in the Southern District, then worked six years for Pettijohn Burser.
Turned down partnership to go out on his own, and since then he's had a really good track record.
What, beating speeding tickets? Federal Court, actually.
My point is, is that Mr.
Strelzik's little black book might embarrass a lot of influential people.
Did he kill Gordon Meeks? JACK: We think he did.
Does anyone in this room have his or her name in that little book of his? Of course not.
Then convict the S.
I'm Jack McCoy, Mrs.
I'll be prosecuting this case.
I have to ask you certain questions to determine whether there are any conflicts that would prevent you from judging the facts in this case fairly and honestly.
I understand.
First, are you acquainted with the defendant, Steven Strelzik? No.
His attorney, Mr.
Dworkin? No.
The defendant in this case is accused of first degree murder, the penalty for which can be either or the death penalty.
Would your conscience prevent you from applying either one of those sentences? An eye for an eye, that's what I always say.
JACK: Thank you, Mrs.
It's a lovely day today, isn't it, Mrs.
Ruben? It's a little warm in here for my taste.
We'll see if we can get the air turned up a bissel.
That would be nice.
She's fine with me.
You consider yourself a gambler, Mr.
Nathan? I put a couple of dollars into the Super Bowl pool at the office.
That's it? I was in Las Vegas once.
I won a couple of dollars on the slots.
JACK: Do you know any chronic gamblers? Well, my brother His wife left him because he played the ponies a little more than she liked.
Is there any reason you couldn't give out the maximum sentence in this case? Not at all.
Thank you, Mr.
He's fine.
That's a nice tie, Mr.
Where did you get it? Barney's.
Cost you an arm and a leg, I bet.
Maybe just an arm.
(LAUGHS) I love this guy.
You've got to give Dworkin credit.
At least he enjoys his work.
There's a complaint box outside Branch's office, Serena.
That's not what I meant.
If you're paid in cash, you're just not that afraid to lose.
Although I would have rejected two-thirds of his witnesses.
If the facts are against you, argue the law.
If the law's against you, charm the jury.
Gee, was that charm? I thought it was just buffoonery.
Buffoons don't clerk for federal judges.
The People of the State of New York against Steven Strelzik.
I object, Your Honor.
We haven't even started yet.
"The People of New York.
" I'd say that's a bit prejudicial.
It certainly doesn't mean all the people of this great state are against my client from the get-go.
I know I'm not against him.
And you, Your Honor, you're certainly open-minded on the matter.
And we can't forget the jury, because if they're predisposed against my Very cute, Counselor.
Try it again and we're talking contempt.
Much thanks, Your Honor.
I did their books for three years.
JACK: And filed their tax returns? That's right.
I encouraged them to report all income.
I'm sure you did.
Now, if I could turn your attention to the night Mr.
Meeks was killed.
What, if anything, do you recall about that night? Well, they were arguing.
Gordon I mean, Mr.
Meeks was accusing Mr.
Strelzik of stealing some of the profits.
JACK: Was he? RILEY: Yes.
But you didn't tell that to the police.
Strelzik was still my client.
I had to consider my professional obligations.
JACK: And now? Well, he did kill someone.
Do I hear an objection, Mr.
Dworkin? Why ruin the flow? Things must have been tense in your office that night.
They were loud.
I suggested they go have a drink at Paul's Steakhouse around the corner and talk it out between them.
Thank you, Mr.
You're a certified public accountant, Mr.
Riley, is that right? Yes.
Am I allowed to deduct Knicks tickets if I force myself to take a client every now and then? Objection.
You know what these guys charge? (JURY LAUGHING) JACK: Your Honor.
I know, I know.
My first appellate case.
Judge Kornbeck asked me to define strict scrutiny as it pertains to substantive due process.
With all due respect, any first-year law student could do that.
Well, perhaps, but there I was, confronted with the majesty of the Court of Appeals.
Nine gods in black robes looking down at me.
And I froze.
And he repeated the question, "Counselor, what do you mean by strict scrutiny?" So finally I looked him straight in the eye, and I said, "Well, Your Honor, "it's like regular scrutiny, with a girdle.
" Too bad Judge Kornbeck was born without a sense of humor.
On the contrary.
He busted up.
And so did his eight brethren.
And you know what? I won that case.
Opposing counsel had but I made the judge laugh.
And we have And if they like this guy more than they like you, there's a good chance we could be sucking wind.
Exactly what is it you do, Mr.
Strelzik? I consult in the gaming industry.
Let's talk turkey, shall we? You're a bookie, is that correct? Please speak up, Mr.
Adele's got to take this all down.
Yes, I'm a bookie.
Just to get our terms straight, you take wagers on ballgames from the public? That's right.
Now, if someone loses, say, a lot of money.
What? You let them slide for a couple of weeks until they win the lotto, or Uncle Morty kicks the bucket, leaving them a pot of gelt? STEVEN: That wouldn't be good for business.
DWORKIN: No, I suppose not.
So, what would you do to goose this unfortunate fellow? Gordon Mr.
Meeks was more the muscle end of the business.
Just like the movies, huh? Objection.
Yes, I suppose I'd object to a couple of broken kneecaps myself.
Enough, Counselor.
Now, Mr.
Strelzik, you were in the courtroom earlier this week when your accountant, Mr.
Riley, testified, weren't you? Yes.
He accused you of stealing money.
You heard that, did you? Yes.
Dirty liar, isn't he? Objection.
To your knowledge, was Mr.
Riley correct in his assessment of your business situation? Yes.
Did I just hear you testify under oath that you were stealing money from the people you were working with? Yes.
In most businesses, that's a no-no, Mr.
You had to expect Mr.
Meeks to be just a tad upset with you.
I really didn't care.
I needed the money.
And what was so important, Mr.
Strelzik? What on earth could justify, in your mind, stealing your company's hard-earned gambling profits? I was sending the money to Israel to help stop the senseless murder of innocent Jews.
(PEOPLE GASPING) Chambers, Your Honor! He sandbagged us, Your Honor.
What? I'm supposed to show you my hand before you call my bet? Let me remind you, Counselor, this is not a game! You're damn right it's not.
My client has devoted his adult life to fighting a disease bigger than AIDS, bigger than polio.
Beating the gaming laws? No, anti-Semitism.
They gave Salk a Nobel Prize.
You want to give my client a life sentence.
He killed an innocent man.
Who was going to stop him from doing what he knew in his heart was necessary.
There were better ways than murder, sir! DWORKIN: Yeah? Name one.
And before you tell me violence doesn't solve anything, think about the Afghani women who are now permitted to show their faces in public because of violence.
Think about the black man in America who had his chains unlocked because of, you guessed it, violence.
And while we're still on the subject, let's not forget my great Aunt Sophie who spent six glorious years in that garden spot known as Auschwitz, until American violence said, "Soph, you can go home now.
" Counsel is asserting justification, Your Honor.
That's an affirmative defense which requires notice.
I'm not asserting anything.
I asked my client a question.
He answered it.
I didn't hear me use the word "justification," did you? Did you? No, I didn't, Mr.
You're actually going to allow this? Would you have prepared your case any differently? That's beside the point! Answer my question.
The statute says it's irrelevant.
I'll take that as a "no," which means you haven't been prejudiced.
The People's objection is overruled.
Your Honor, in effect, the defendant is changing his plea to "guilty with a reason.
" At this stage of the trial! I heard him say he stole the money.
I didn't hear him say he killed anyone.
Did you? JUDGE: No, I didn't.
If the court will allow us some time to review our strategy.
What's the difference? Since we're making up the law as we go along anyway.
You have two choices here, Mr.
You can apologize, or you can be sanctioned.
He apologizes, Your Honor.
Well, I managed to talk him out of fining you $1,000.
I have the feeling you're going to be doing a lot of that throughout this trial.
Damn it, Jack.
It doesn't matter how good our case is when you antagonize the judge.
We have other problems, Serena.
Ruben, Nathan, Schwartz, Finkel, Cohen.
Don't go there.
He's got at least eight, maybe 10 Jews on the jury.
If your point is anything other than we should have paid more attention during jury selection, I don't want to hear it.
STEVEN: The fact is, millions of Arabs despise Jews to the point of seeking their annihilation.
This is completely irrelevant.
JUDGE: This man is on trial for his life.
I think he's entitled to speak his mind.
You were saying, Mr.
Strelzik? The notion that the hatred will stop if and when Israel gives up occupation of the West Bank is an out and out lie.
Propaganda to justify their mass murder to the rest of the world.
The fact is, the Arab community wanted Israel destroyed long before Jews ever set foot in the West Bank.
And what about the money you send to Israel? It buys wheelchairs and blood banks and other supplies.
Your Honor, the body was found in the trunk of a car in downtown Manhattan.
This is all absolutely Sit down, Mr.
Did your money buy weapons, Mr.
Strelzik? You can ask that at cross, Counselor.
Now, sit.
But why you, Mr.
Strelzik? If not me, who? Certainly not him.
You? Did you steal money from Gordon Meeks? He bought $3,000 suits, $500 shoes.
JACK: Yes or no, please.
It was from our company, to be precise.
But Mr.
Meeks discovered you were taking it? Yes.
And he threatened to tell your bosses in Costa Rica? Yes.
And if the people in Costa Rica knew you were stealing, I suppose they'd be upset.
They're in the business to make money.
So, the truth is what you did was not for Israel, but for self-preservation.
You didn't want your legs broken.
First Run Gaming is a publicly traded company.
They might have sued.
They might have pressed charges.
I doubt it.
They wouldn't have wanted the bad P.
In any case, they certainly wouldn't break my legs.
Did you kill Gordon Meeks? No.
No further questions.
It's obvious he lied about killing Meeks.
Yes, it was.
It's also obvious Dworkin opened the door wide enough for this particular jury to squeeze through.
You have only yourself to kick for that.
You had the opportunity to prevent this at voir dire.
Even if we'd noticed what he was up to, disqualifying a juror based solely on religion is a big, fat constitutional no-no.
This isn't about religion, it's about politics.
JACK: No, it's about premeditated murder.
Strelzik took the knife from the restaurant.
He knew what he was going to do before he did it.
Only the Honorable Judge Miller is hell-bent on obfuscating that fact.
There's not a chance of cutting a deal with this Dworkin fellow? JACK: Not on his terms, no.
We just need to keep the jury focused.
They're human, Serena.
They come in with built-in predispositions.
Predispositions this judge appears to share.
And opposing counsel knew what they were long before you did, which leaves you sitting in that courtroom looking like a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.
Let me ask you something.
If we were trying a Mafia don who'd happen to give millions of dollars to the church in front of an all-Catholic jury, would you think the same thing? It's not the same thing.
I can't wait to hear you explain that one.
Serena, I'm not anti-Semitic.
Then why are we even discussing this? You tell me.
The fact is, we don't have the ideal jury.
Maybe we can't do anything about that.
But where is it written we can't do anything about the judge? I'd better not have heard you correctly, Mr.
It's a perfectly reasonable request, Your Honor.
Reasonable? You want me to recuse myself because I happen to be Jewish.
With all due respect, it appears you are bending over backwards for this particular defendant.
You've got a set on you, you know that? It's that Irish thing, Your Honor.
That's offensive.
Oh, and this is cherries and ice cream? Stereotypes swing both ways, Ms.
You don't like how I run my courtroom, keep putting your objections on the record.
You know that we can't do that, sir.
To have those sitting in judgment who hate you for no logical reason.
Gee, I wonder what that feels like.
I think we're done here.
Steven and I have been married for 16 years.
And you have no problem with what he does for a living? Would I prefer he were a doctor? Yes.
But these days, what with HMOs and insurance premiums, you might not have $600,000 in cold cash lying around the apartment.
Let me ask you, Mrs.
Strelzik, did your husband buy you big diamonds? No.
Fancy cars? We don't have a car.
Then, uh, how do you get your daughter to her private school? Rachel is in public school.
Maybe, if your husband wasn't so carefree with his money, you might be able to enjoy more of life's simple pleasures.
Last year we took Rachel to Jerusalem for her bat mitzvah.
I know, I know, I read about the violence in the papers, but once you see it yourself Objection.
Continue, Mrs.
It's like Oklahoma City every day.
Bombs going off, people losing arms, legs.
Children dying just because they walk down the street for a piece of candy.
I mean, can you imagine that happening here? If every day was September 11th? People would be marching on Washington to destroy everything remotely Arab.
But what does our president do? He warns Israel to show restraint.
I sympathize, Mrs.
But the fact is, this case is about one death here in New York City, and not about a conflict between Palestinians and Israelis.
You see? Even you You've been brainwashed.
The fact is, there is no such thing as a Palestinian.
Before Israel took the land in the '67 war, Gaza was owned by Egypt and there were no Palestinians then.
Strelzik The West Bank was owned by Jordan and there were no Palestinians then.
Tell me, where does this heartfelt bond with their long-lost land come from? These people hate Jews because they're Jews.
They want to destroy Israel, period.
And believe me, America's next.
Are you done? Did you know Gordon Meeks? Of course.
You socialized with him on more than one occasion? Yes.
And you think he deserved to be stabbed in the back and shoved into the trunk of a car? Do I feel badly for him? Yes.
Will I lose sleep over it? Not a wink.
Because he was the muscle end of an illegal gambling operation who was killed in pursuit of a greater good? MRS.
STRELZIK: That's right.
JACK: What if he were a heart surgeon, Mrs.
Strelzik? What if it were a Nobel Laureate who got in your husband's way? The fact is he wasn't, Mr.
What if he were Jewish? So, do you really think it would have made a difference to the jury if Meeks was Jewish? I really don't know.
Then why did you ask? I was dancing as fast as I could.
Here's a hypothetical for you, okay? A group of Jews is taken over by some bad guys.
They're given the option, give over one of your group to be killed or all of you will get slaughtered.
What do they do? They unlock the jail cell and sacrifice the vilest criminal they have.
The Talmud says they should all allow themselves to be killed rather than to give over even one Jewish soul.
Since when did you become a Talmudic scholar? That's beside the point.
Which is? Dworkin has turned this into an "us against them.
" Let's just deal it down.
Well, you certainly did a 180 on this.
I watched the jury when Mrs.
Strelzik was on the stand.
Look, I agree with you, Jack.
Strelzik should rot in a cell for as long as the state will have him.
But now you think we're going to lose.
You know, my only predisposition is that a killer deserves to be punished.
Dworkin wanted assault one.
Let's just play the old give and take.
If we put man two on the table, he will grab it and run as fast as he can.
I'm sorry, I'm sorry.
The cab thing is a whole situation It's not a problem, Mr.
So? Why the chitchat? I'm willing to go down to man two.
Now, don't think I'm not an appreciative sort, but I'm going to have to say "no" on this one.
As it turns out, there are considerations beyond innocence and guilt.
Like a stacked jury? Yeah, that's right.
Those people.
They all stick together.
It's kind of like back in the day, when Billy Bob was on trial for lynching poor Willie for looking at Bettie Lou the wrong way, and the jury hearing the case was Goober and Gomer and Beau.
It is hardly the same thing.
Why, because we're the chosen people? (IN SOUTHERN ACCENT) Well, if that's the case, I wish y'all would choose someone else for a change.
I'd like to think that we've taken a few steps forward since the day, Mr.
Why? Because there's no one goose-stepping down the Strasse? At least the Nazis hid their sadism from their own people.
The Arab anti-Semites who kill Jews are deified.
Their pictures hang in the public squares.
Their families are compensated financially.
But, hey, everyone's got to earn a living, no? Let's, for the moment, assume he did it.
Steven Strelzik killed Gordon Meeks.
Why? Because he was scared.
He was scared because on the news he saw people dancing in the streets after a suicide bomber killed elderly women in a social club in Jerusalem.
He was scared because governments around the globe turn their backs on this killing to pursue oil and other commercial interests.
And he was really scared because his own country, the land of the free and the home of the brave, a country which itself was the recent victim of terror, does not regard men who strap themselves with explosives and walk into a pizzeria filled with Jews as terrorists worthy of fighting.
Somebody had to do something.
Steven Strelzik did what he thought was necessary.
Dworkin is a first-rate attorney.
Hell, he's a magician.
He put the facts into a box, sawed the box in half, and out popped thousands of years of the most despicable hatred known to man.
Like any good magician, he kept you busy with what he was saying, hoping you wouldn't notice what he was doing with his hands.
Hoping you wouldn't catch him trying to hide a corpse, trying to make a murdered man disappear.
I'm betting you saw through the trick.
So the only question is, will you pretend it worked, or will you make this illusion disappear? One bookie killed another bookie.
That's it.
The defense hardly bothers to say otherwise.
Dworkin just now all but said his client killed Mr.
Not once did he claim Mr.
Strelzik was innocent.
Like I say, he's a good attorney.
He knows no one would believe him.
Instead, he had the deeply offensive idea to use your sympathy for Israel to put a killer back on the street.
Dworkin wants you to choose culture over citizenship.
Visceral hatred over codified laws.
He's counting on at least one of you saying to himself, "I'm a Jew first, and only after that, an American.
" I asked you back when you were selected for this job whether you could look at the facts presented without passion or prejudice, and each one of you swore under oath that you could.
I know it's hard, but if you don't, all of this is meaningless.
JUDGE: Have you reached a verdict? FOREPERSON: We have, Your Honor.
On the only count of the indictment, murder in the first degree, how do you find? We find the defendant, Steven H.
Strelzik, guilty as charged.
May I? Help yourself.
Hell of a job.
You're top of the legal food chain, Jack.
No question about it.
You're not upset? Hey, giving money to Israel is a good thing.
Everyone should do it.
Murder, on the other hand Here's to hoping the Big Guy upstairs has a little more sympathy for Mr.
Strelzik than did the People of the State of New York.