Law & Order (1990) s05e08 Episode Script


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.
So she turns out the lights and brings out this big birthday cake.
"Happy Birthday, Harry," it says.
How old's the little guy? Two.
She tried to get him to blow out the candles.
You should have seen that.
Managed to open his own presents, though.
What'd you get him? A doghouse, so he'd stop sleeping in the bed with us.
No such luck.
You know, Shepski, maybe it's time you two started thinking about kids.
WOMAN ON POLICE RADIO: Any available 2-7 car for a 10-53, possible fatality.
Ambulance en route.
Will respond, Central.
It's bad.
Better put a rush on that bus.
This better be good, Crockit.
I was on my way home.
I don't feel so good.
Hey, don't look at me.
AIS guy says there's something fishy, call the suits.
I do what I'm told.
What happened? Judging from the skid marks, this guy's going the wrong way, swerves into the other car, and wham.
The other guy never had a chance.
Last time I looked I don't do accident investigations.
(POLICE RADIO CHATTERING) Here's your murder weapon.
Rest in peace, you sorry bastard.
What the hell happened? Didn't you hear? We got demoted.
RANDALL: Briscoe, Logan.
Over here.
Randall, this is a traffic accident.
I'm going to bed.
Just take a look at this, would you? I'm getting ready to write it up.
Looks like a standard 54 with a DOA, and then I noticed most of her wounds are on the right side of her body.
Except she's in the driver's seat.
Well, she's about 5'4 ", 5'2", but the seat's all the way back and her feet can't even touch the pedals.
So maybe the seat got jarred in the crash.
It would've gotten jarred forward.
I don't think she was driving.
So what are you saying? Somebody moved her? Then fled the scene.
Not one law-abiding citizen saw any of this? A woman down the block says she heard the crash about 1:45.
That's verified by some people coming out of Club Mania.
But nobody actually saw anything.
(SIGHING) There goes my beauty sleep.
A guy smacks up his car, takes off into the night.
I'd say he's got something to hide.
You ever think maybe he went for medical treatment? Well, then either he never got there or he didn't go to any ER in this city.
So what do we have, leaving the scene? AIS says it was the drunk guy's fault.
No reason to leave the scene.
What, you still got a head cold? He moved the girl's body.
Whoever it was didn't want anyone to know he was there.
What do we have on the girl? Lyssa Wesley.
497 West 83rd.
It was her car.
Looks like she lives alone.
Well, odds are our mystery man has a wife and a couple of kids at home who thought he was at his office working late.
This is a matter for the divorce lawyers, not us.
If he took off before she died, it's us.
Talk to the ME's office.
See this horizontal laceration on her forehead? Looks like she hit the dash.
Died instantly.
Thank you for small favors.
Yeah, but somebody did her a big one before she died.
Look at these bruises.
Well, you should've seen the car.
These were on her legs and arms which are not consistent with the crash.
Abrasions on her buttocks and more bruises resembling finger marks.
Looks like her underwear was ripped off.
And there's vaginal tearing.
So we're talking rape.
If it was a romantic evening at home, I'd hate to meet her boyfriend.
Her head hit the dash here at this dent, point of impact.
Whoever moved her was 6', maybe 6'1", judging from the seat and the rearview mirrors.
You get any lifts? Yeah.
A few off the steering wheel and gear shift that aren't hers.
Sent them to latent.
The guy doesn't have a record.
He went all out for his first offense.
Anything else inside the car? Yeah.
Right over here.
I got an old playbill from My Fair Lady, an eyebrow pencil, some loose change Valet parking ticket.
Found it down in between the seat.
Hotel Intercontinental.
Oh, yeah, I remember her.
She left right before my shift ended.
Around 1:30, 1:45.
She leave alone? No.
She was with some guy.
And they weren't having the best time, either.
You mean they were fighting? I didn't see them.
But she was crying and it seemed like he was in a big hurry to get her out of here.
Could you describe him? Six feet, maybe.
Dark hair.
Wearing a tuxedo.
Would he stand out in a crowd? Not really.
The place was crawling with tuxedos last night.
Some kind of fundraiser for that Talbert guy.
Councilman Talbert? Yeah, that's the one.
Man, I hate politicians.
They don't tip for nothing.
PENNY: I've known her about three months now.
We worked together on the campaign.
I just can't believe she's dead.
I just saw her last night.
That would be at the fundraiser, right? Yeah.
Talbert invited the whole staff, including the peons.
We even got to meet the mayor.
Was Lyssa there with a date? No.
Her fiancé had to work.
LOGAN: What time did she leave? I don't know.
ride home with her after the party.
She went to make a call to her fiancé and never came back.
The valet said she left with a tall man, dark hair, wearing a tux.
Well, that could be anybody.
Half the guys here were wearing tuxes.
Any of the guys talk to Lyssa? You know, flirt with her? Lots of guys flirt with Lyssa.
I don't remember.
I'm sorry.
She leaves the party around 9:00, vanishes, and then turns up dead in a car accident around 1:45.
And in between she gets raped by some gentleman in a tuxedo who's kind enough to give her a ride home later.
We sent a sketch artist over to the parking guy, so maybe we'll get lucky.
Call the Times.
See if they sent a photographer over to cover the party.
You might get luckier.
Councilman Talbert with the mayor.
Councilman Talbert with the archbishop.
Councilman Talbert with Councilman Talbert.
You see the guy or what? No.
No, not yet.
Here's Lyssa at her table.
Any of these guys look familiar? It's hard to say, you know, these No There he is.
Which one? The one smoking a cigarette.
That's the guy.
Third from the right.
Todd Locke.
Look, you have to understand.
I am Councilman Talbert's chief aide.
A scandal like this hits the paper and I What scandal? Thought you said you just gave the lady a ride home.
I did.
But how was I supposed to know a drunk was gonna swerve into us? It was an accident.
So why'd you move her body? I panicked.
It was a stupid thing to do.
So what am I charged with? Leaving the scene of an accident, tampering with evidence We're just getting started.
This is I told you.
She had a little too much to drink No.
Not according to our medical examiner.
She looked drunk, okay? So I offered to drive her.
Was that before or after you raped her? What? Whoa, whoa, guys.
You got this all wrong.
I never touched her.
What were you two doing between I don't know what she was doing.
I wasn't with her.
So after the party you just hung around for five hours? And then you just happened to run into her? That's stretching it pretty thin, bud! I had a drink in the bar.
Bar closed at 12:00.
I was in the lobby after that.
Well, then we'll find some witnesses.
Give me your cuffs, Lennie.
In the meantime, you're under arrest for the rape of Lyssa Wesley.
And for leaving the scene of an accident.
Okay, okay.
I didn't rape anybody! I swear.
But you know who did, don't you? LOGAN: Mr.
Locke, sit down.
Now, I think you know you're in very deep here, so why don't you tell us who you're protecting? Look, she told me in the car before the crash.
She said she had been raped.
She said it was Councilman Talbert.
Spencer Talbert's an elected city official.
He's running for Congress.
So what? He broke the law and we want him.
We can't just barge into his office and publicly accuse him of rape.
Not yet.
He stood with us, Mike.
City budget went to the bone.
Talbert came through for this department.
I'm not saying we don't investigate.
But we do have to consider Talbert's public reputation.
I hate to say this, but I hope it's not true.
He's the good guy.
His get-tough-on-crime platform won him the election.
Sounds more like we're trying to protect him from getting his picture on the front page.
I just think we can make a better case if we kept it off for a few days.
Well, how do you propose we do that? Because the minute we start asking him questions If Todd Locke cooperates, there may not be too many to ask.
It's a gift, Todd.
Listen to the DA.
I shouldn't have told you anything as it is.
Loyalty, you know.
Cooperate and the charge is leaving the scene of an accident.
Six months probation.
Don't, we add tampering with evidence, accessory to rape, conspiracy.
All felonies.
No pleas.
Feed the homeless, clean a park.
You don't need Talbert's problems.
We're at the fundraiser and Talbert spots Lyssa.
He's interested but his wife's there.
So I have to tell Lyssa.
Talbert wants to speak to her later in his suite.
He heard what a good job she's doing on the campaign.
So I brought her up.
He told me to wait in the bar.
How'd you wind up with her? Talbert went home in the limo and he told me to make sure she got home.
She had a car.
No, there was no way she could drive.
When she came down she looked like hell.
You know, make-up was running, eyes were red.
Real bad shape.
I kind of had a feeling what happened.
Are you assuming she was raped, or did she tell you? Eventually she told me.
She asked me to take her to a hospital.
That's where we were going when She was a nice girl.
Let me get this straight.
Todd told you that Lyssa told him that I raped her? That's the charge.
She was in your suite.
Your aide was driving her home.
If you wanna take a cup into the men's room and clear yourself.
All right, detectives.
I I was with Lyssa.
But understand, I'm a married man.
I hold public office.
Incidents like this can be damaging.
No disrespect to the office, but this is more than an incident.
It's a load of crap.
LOGAN: That's not what the medical examiner said.
Lyssa was roughed up.
Torn panties.
Heat of passion.
Heavy bruising.
She died in a car wreck.
The bruises were between her legs.
Believe who and what you like, detectives.
But I'm afraid Lyssa's unfortunate death brings this matter to a close.
So what did you expect? Of course he's gonna deny it.
We have Locke's sworn statement and the ME's report.
The statement's hearsay, probably inadmissible.
The ME's report's not definitive.
What can I tell you guys? McCoy wants more before he goes to court.
What do you think? My personal feelings are irrelevant.
CLAIRE: A rape trial boils down to lack of consent.
So this piece of cheese gets to walk because the victim happened to get killed in a head-on with a drunk.
I'm not saying we drop this.
No? What do we do, get Madam Losanda to throw a séance? I'm thinking maybe this wasn't the first woman he got friendly with.
If we can establish a pattern, it's possible to prove Lyssa's lack of consent without her testimony.
Well, she did work for Talbert, right? Maybe there are some other employees who performed above and beyond the call of duty.
As soon as I heard the rumors about Lyssa and Mr.
Talbert, I said I am out of here.
Did you ever hear any other rumors? I just answer the phone.
I'm not exactly high up on the totem pole.
So he never came on to anybody else? You know, made a few suggestive remarks? He let his hand linger on my arm a few times.
Just enough to make me uncomfortable.
BRISCOE: You the only one he touched? Nobody's ever complained.
But people around here practically worship the guy.
You'd think Lyssa Wesley's death would change all that.
Around here, I don't think so.
At home it may be a different story.
When Mrs.
Talbert left this morning she didn't look happy.
I can't believe you're actually dignifying this nonsense, detectives.
Talbert, I think it would be better if we spoke privately.
Of course.
Molly, honey, why don't you go find Flannery and see if lunch is ready, okay? I don't really know what you expect me to tell you.
Spencer and I have been together for 13 years now.
We have a very strong marriage.
Strong enough to withstand a rape accusation? I'm sure I don't have to explain to you the difference between rape and false accusation.
With all due respect, Mrs.
Talbert, this girl was pretty badly beaten up.
And she said your husband did it.
And if she hadn't been killed in that car accident, she'd probably be next month's centerfold.
Spencer is not the first public figure to be attacked with vicious lies.
You seem pretty sure about that.
My husband told me about his indiscretion with this girl.
It hasn't been easy, but we're working through it.
We'll survive.
You learn how to do that during 13 years of marriage? If you're asking me if there have been others, Detective, I can honestly tell you no.
The worst thing he ever did was get touchy-feely with one of his campaign workers.
And the wife sang Stand By Your Man.
Not much of a pattern.
Well, he's a politician.
He knows how to cover his tracks.
So maybe we should find out what he did before he had to be so discreet.
Spencer was head of the department for ten years.
After he was bitten by the political bug, I took over.
Must be tough giving up all this for a councilman's salary.
I don't think Spencer's sights stop at a congressional district.
LOGAN: Yeah, well, he might've just run into a brick wall, Miss Maslin.
The papers say the accusations of rape are bogus.
Well, that's the word that Talbert's people are putting out.
What do you think? We can talk to everybody in the building.
You've got to understand.
The firm likes to see its name in the law journal, not the tabloids.
And that might be our next stop.
It was nothing, but it could be misinterpreted.
Well, why don't you let us decide that? A year before Talbert left, our office manager accused him of sexual harassment.
We disposed of the matter before it got out of hand.
Disposed of? As in, "Here's a check, keep your mouth shut"? Like I said, it was nothing.
This office manager, is she still here? That was part of the settlement, too.
You should have seen them circle their wagons.
These lawyers, they protect their own.
So you took the money and ran? Money? That's a joke.
Talbert had to be pulling in seven figures, they gave me a one-time-only offer of 50 grand.
of money to me.
Well, he got his money's worth.
It was a Christmas party, five years ago.
Imagine 300 attorneys at the Cat Club without their significant others.
So Talbert let his hair down? Pulled up my skirt in the fire exit.
The guy was all over me.
Did he rape you? He would have.
I tried to fight back but he's so strong.
Thank God, he heard some people coming down the hall and he told them I had too much to drink.
He was taking me out for some air.
Did anyone see anything? Sounds like you could have held out for more money.
That's what Sarah said.
Sarah? Sarah Maslin, his partner? Yeah.
I just wanted out of there.
She talked me into seeing an attorney.
It's simple.
It's called libel.
And if this doesn't stop immediately, I guarantee all of you will find yourselves in civil court.
The police are investigating a charge of rape.
What they're doing is defaming one of the most honorable men in the city.
I know at least one woman who would beg to differ.
TALBERT: Jerolyn Addams? The girl got drunk at an office party.
She had to tell her husband something.
And the $50,000 was just a Christmas bonus? POWELL: It was blackmail.
Believe me, if you push this any further, we'll take her to court, too.
Or didn't she tell you that the settlement required her to sign a non-disclosure form? Which is meaningless in a criminal trial.
But it goes a long way in civil court.
She opens her mouth, she returns the $50,000 and turns over another $100,000 as punitives.
Adam, you're in the public eye.
You know what something like this can do in an election year.
So I assume we've heard the last of this? You're not going to ask us to back off.
A dead victim.
A witness who could lose her life savings if she takes the stand.
Look at it from our point of view, Lieutenant.
Without more, it's not much of a case.
Then we'll get more.
BRISCOE: It does seem kind of curious, counselor.
You talking the office manager into suing the firm.
I was trying to do the right thing.
LOGAN: But you told us it was nothing.
Which makes us believe that maybe you knew she was telling the truth.
BRISCOE: Yeah, and the question then is how? Because she told us there weren't any witnesses at the Christmas party.
LOGAN: Or she could be lying.
But why? There's nothing to gain from that.
I have nothing to add.
He almost raped one girl.
Another girl he did rape is dead.
This is a hell of a time to stonewall.
If there were others, you're gonna tell us.
It was me.
He raped me, too.
I can't believe I'm doing this.
If he raped you Oh, he raped me all right.
When we worked together.
You mean over three years ago? It was late at night at the office.
You didn't go to the police? I'm an attorney, too, Miss Kincaid.
I know the drill.
A rape trial boils down to "he said, she said.
" And when the "he" is one of the most respected lawyers on Wall Street, the "she" doesn't stand much of a chance.
You're an educated woman.
You're articulate, strong.
People would have believed you.
You don't get it.
It wouldn't have mattered.
I had a career to protect.
I was still an associate at the firm.
I wanted to become a partner.
What difference would it make? You were the victim.
I was involved in a scandal.
Clients don't like that much in their legal advisor.
When it happened, did you tell anyone? My doctor.
I start seeing patients at 8:00 in the morning, which means I get here around 7:00.
Sarah was waiting in the lobby for me.
Did she tell you she was raped? Not at first.
She was more concerned about disease and pregnancy.
I started giving her my standard lecture on protection.
She started screaming at me.
That's understandable.
Whoever attacked Sarah took more than her body.
He took her dignity.
Sarah was all about dignity.
What about physical signs of rape? Well, I gave her a full examination.
The problem is there were physical signs of sex.
But no indication of rape.
Are you saying you don't believe she was raped? I've known Sarah for 15 years.
If she said it happened, it happened.
It's just not going to be easy to prove.
Let me ask you this, Claire.
Just between you and me, forget about Lyssa.
Forget about the office manager.
All you've got is Sarah's word against Talbert's.
Who do you believe? I'm inclined to believe Sarah.
I think she's telling the truth.
And with the other evidence? (SIGHING) I think Talbert's guilty.
I think we have an obligation to pursue this.
What kind of witness will Sarah make? I looked her up in Martindale.
Summa from Vassar.
Law review at Cornell.
She's head of the securities department at Adderly, Perkins.
More credibility than the proverbial busload of nuns.
With Sarah and the office manager, we might be able to establish a pattern.
Even if our victim is dead.
I know it's a long time ago, Sarah, but if there's anything, a torn dress, something.
That's where it happened.
Right there on that couch.
This used to be his office.
It was 4:00 in the morning.
We had just finished an offering memorandum for B and C Manufacturing.
It took us six months.
He kept a bar over there.
He opened a bottle of Perrier Jouet to celebrate.
When he left to run for council they gave me his office.
Lucky me.
I know Spencer Talbert.
I know he raped Lyssa Wesley.
Would you be willing to testify? We both know that anything I have to say is inadmissible.
Not if we can convince a judge there's a pattern.
With two women it's a stretch.
And I can't prove anything.
JACK: Adam, she was in Talbert's office until 4:00 a.
She was in her doctor's office at 7:00 without an appointment.
And back at her desk promptly at 9:00.
Now, listen, even if we could prove that Talbert raped Sarah Maslin, it's a prior bad act, it's inadmissible.
Well, then maybe we're making this whole thing too complicated.
Sarah's our best witness, let's prosecute her case.
A woman comes forward after three years, doesn't say too much for her credibility.
She has no reason to lie.
When the mayor, the city council president, five borough presidents and the president of the Bar Association will say that Talbert doesn't either.
JACK: Good.
Let them all take the stand.
The best thing Talbert can do is put his character in issue.
There are already two other women that we know of.
One who took a $50,000 payoff.
One who's conveniently deceased.
And this one, for all we know, could be an affair gone bad.
Adam, the papers already know all about this.
If we drop it, guess whose name's gonna hit the op-ed page as part of a political cover-up? What the hell is that? You believe in the case, you prosecute it.
Don't lay this off on me! "Docket number 561253.
People v.
Spencer Randolph Talbert.
" "The charge is rape in the first degree.
" How do you plead? Not guilty.
The People request bail of $100,000.
For what? These charges are outrageous.
My client has served the public faithfully for four years.
His record is exemplary.
And I'll be sure to vote for him.
Bail set as requested.
Do you actually think you can get a conviction, Miss Kincaid? That'll be up to the jury.
A majority of whom probably voted for the councilman.
Even if he is acquitted, Miss Powell, do you think this is the end of his political career? Councilman Talbert is devoted to public service.
He will not allow this smear campaign to diminish his commitment to this city.
What is it? You people are hell-bent on destroying my client's career.
I think he's done that all by himself.
I was Sarah Maslin's boss.
Maybe I was too tough on her, too demanding.
Is this payback time? And what's your angle, Mr.
McCoy? You have your eye on Gracie Mansion? No, I don't like politics.
And I don't much care for politicians.
But I won't hold your job against you.
We know Sarah was in the office with Mr.
Talbert past 4:00 a.
We know she went immediately to her doctor.
We know she had sex.
And if you'd had the decency to call me before you sent your goons, maybe you would have heard an explanation.
Are you admitting you had sex with her? Yes.
Not only was it consensual, it wasn't very good.
You really are a piece of work, Mr.
Sarah Maslin will make a very credible witness.
That may be.
But we have a witness of our own.
Talbert's former secretary was working right outside his office that night.
Don't you think she might have heard something? I'll tell you what, with Talbert I made twice the money I make now.
All the overtime.
So if he stayed until 4:00 in the morning? I was right outside his door.
With him there were 11 commandments.
"Thou shalt not answer thine own phone, take smoke breaks, or go to the bathroom.
" He got calls at that hour? During the B and C thing, the phone didn't stop.
Calls from overseas.
Accountants, printers.
The office was working day and night.
Was Sarah Maslin typically here with him? As long as I was here, they were joined at the hip.
And you're sure you would have heard an argument or a raised voice from his office? Believe me, I've heard him yelling for me through that door more times than I care to count.
Look, if what you're saying actually happened, I would have known.
Don't you think you should have asked me before you ruined my life? You said you were willing to testify.
No, I never said that.
I had a reason for keeping this private for three years.
But you came forward now.
The police came to me.
I only went along with it so you wouldn't drop the Lyssa Wesley case.
I never thought I'd have to go public.
Now the press is all over my office.
They're in the lobby of my apartment.
I can't live like this, Miss Kincaid.
We can convict him, Sarah.
Well, you're gonna have to do it without me.
She has a press conference scheduled for tomorrow morning.
My guess, she's going to deny everything.
We put her up to it.
Did we, Claire? Did personal feeling cause us to be a bit over-enthusiastic? You were the one who decided to prosecute Sarah's case.
You're the one who assured me she was raped.
Anyone in this office keep up on current events? "Talbert's accuser member of fem-lib PAC.
" So she's politically active.
It doesn't prove he's innocent.
She is spearheading a drive to block Talbert's congressional run.
She's not fond of his voting record on women's issues.
Neither am I.
I gave them money.
So what? Yeah, but you did not accuse the man of rape.
I'm starting to think Sarah Maslin is using the DA's office as the blade in a political hatchet job.
Don't believe me.
Drop the whole thing.
That's what I want anyway.
Well, the case against Talbert is dropped, Miss Maslin.
The case against you for conspiracy is just beginning.
It does look a little strange, Sarah.
You wait until he's running for Congress to come forward.
I came forward because of the other women.
And why were there no physical indications of rape? Why didn't his secretary hear anything? You consented, didn't you? He was going to ruin my life.
Sure I consented.
But I didn't have any other choice.
He told me if I didn't sleep with him I wouldn't make partner.
He'd blackball me from any other job.
I killed myself for eight years.
I deserved to be a partner in this law firm, Mr.
In her mind she was raped.
Unfortunately the people who drafted the penal law are not bouncing around in her head.
She put in eight years at that firm.
He was going to take away any chance of promotion if she didn't sleep with him.
So he's a pig.
He belongs in a sty, not a prison.
There is no crime here.
Sexual harassment does not equal forcible compulsion.
But in this case it could be larceny by extortion.
Talbert forced Sarah to give him property by instilling in her the fear that he would "materially harm her business calling or career.
" What property did she give him? Her body.
It fits the literal requirements of the statute, Adam.
So now all we have to do is convince this woman to admit in open court that she slept her way to the top.
You must be out of your mind.
We both want Talbert in prison.
I slept with him to save my career.
I don't especially feel like ruining it now.
Look, I know it could be awkward.
Look, I know we like to see ourselves as lawyers who happen to be women.
That's fine and good, but the fact is we're perceived as women first and lawyers second.
And you're willing to live with that? That's how it is, Claire.
I was a bright young attorney with a great future ahead of me.
And I actually thought that Talbert recognized that, too.
But all he was thinking was getting between my legs.
Maybe you should have kicked him between his and hauled him into civil court.
Sounds easy, but then it happens.
I'm faced with losing everything I've worked for, and I think, "How bad can it be? It's only one time.
" Because you were forced to think that.
By this bastard who stood in your way.
If I testify, the story will be I used sex to get a partnership.
And if you don't, the story will be you're just another radical feminist using sex to destroy a political enemy.
I became politically active because of what he did to me.
But no one's ever gonna know that as long as you remain silent.
This has to be a joke.
Larceny by extortion? That's when the mob says, "Pay up or I'll burn down your restaurant.
" "Sleep with me or I'll destroy your career.
" Same thing.
To make out a case for extortion, you have to plead value with specificity, Mr.
Exactly my point, Your Honor.
Although I agree that, metaphorically and poetically, a woman's body may be priceless, but scientifically, it'll get you $8.
And that's a misdemeanor.
And legally, it's worth what someone is willing to pay for it.
In this case the value of a partnership in a major law firm.
And that makes it a felony.
Do you have an expert to quantify that? I do, Your Honor.
May I remind Your Honor that it is not his place to write new law.
Nothing new here, counselor.
Just expanding the old.
HENDRICKS: At the time of the incident Miss Maslin was 32 years old.
Assuming that she worked until standard retirement, that would give her 33 more years as a working attorney.
What is the average compensation for a partner at Adderly, Perkins? HENDRICKS: According to The American Lawyer magazine, the average partner profit participation was a little over $500,000 per year.
So over those 33 years, Miss Maslin could expect to earn about $16.
5 million? That's correct.
How many law firms are there in the city, sir? Of the caliber of Adderly, Perkins? I'd say perhaps 100.
Is it possible that Miss Maslin could have obtained employment in one of those firms? There's a big difference between employment and partnership.
So you're saying that she could not have become a partner elsewhere? In the early '80s, perhaps, but the legal business has suffered just like everything else.
I'd say it was unlikely.
But not impossible? No.
As a practicing psychologist, I have reviewed thousands of cases of sexual harassment in the workplace.
Have you found that there is a typical reaction to such harassment? Well, it really depends on the extent of the harassment.
Some women go public.
Some choose to leave their place of employment quietly and others just suffer in silence.
But all of them describe it as a demeaning experience.
Why do some choose to put up with this kind of behavior? There's a sense of impotence, of futility.
So in essence, some of these women feel they can't leave.
That's correct.
Sexual harassment isn't a crime, is it? No.
But offering sex for financial gain is? Your Honor.
What do you expect, Mr.
McCoy? Overruled.
It's called prostitution.
Miss Maslin is hardly a prostitute.
Why? Because she has a law degree? If I buy you a drink, you promise not to charge me with assault in the morning? If you promise not to call me a hooker.
J&B, neat.
She's buying me a vodka on the rocks.
My client may be two steps below a leech on the evolutionary chain, but that doesn't make him a criminal.
I know you know that, Jack.
Be careful.
The Women's Bar Association will take away your membership card.
So be it.
I'm tired of sitting around drinking herbal tea and complaining how tough it is wearing a skirt.
You'd rather lead a life of quiet desperation? Sleeping with the enemy is no solution.
Passivity is the culprit.
Think of yourself as a victim, you become a victim.
While you were an associate at Adderly, Perkins, how many hours did you typically bill per year? Over 3,000.
Far and away the most in the firm.
Was that because you were slower than the other associates? It was because I had the largest caseload.
At any given time I had a couple of dozen active deals on my desk.
So you worked for all the partners in your department.
On occasion.
But I'd have to say 90% of my work was for Spencer Talbert.
Did you mind that? At first it concerned me.
To make partner you need the votes of the majority of the partnership.
But Mr.
Talbert assured me I shouldn't worry.
And you believed him? He said people vote as he votes.
And he assured you that you had his vote? He said if I didn't sleep with him I didn't have a chance to make partner at Adderly, Perkins or any other firm.
A partnership was that important to you? Yes.
I earned it.
You could have gotten it elsewhere.
You could have left.
A black woman who works eight years at a firm only to get pushed out.
You tell me, where was I going to go? Did Mr.
Talbert put a gun to your head? No.
Did he handcuff you? No.
Did he stick a sock in your mouth? I'm not claiming he raped me.
But once upon a time you did, isn't that right? Yes.
And that accusation was a lie, wasn't it? You willingly consented to have sex with my client.
He threatened to ruin my career.
I see.
How much money would you have made had you remained a senior associate? $150,000 a year.
Sounds like utter ruin to me.
That's not the point.
It wasn't about the money.
Well, that's a shame, counselor.
Because as it turns out for my client, it was the most expensive roll in the hay in history.
I bring in more business than any other lawyer in the firm.
I teach securities at Columbia Law School.
I chair several committees at the Bar Association.
I've drafted legislation passed by Congress.
No, counselor, the shame of it is I couldn't have done any of those things if I hadn't spread my legs for your client.
The People rest, Your Honor.
Call your first witness, Miss Powell.
The defense rests as well, Your Honor.
Well, we can have summations tomorrow morning.
No witnesses.
I'd say Powell's a bit overconfident.
Why shouldn't she be? You're asking the jury to create a crime behind the legislature's back.
That's because the legislature never conceived of anything like this.
There are seven women on the jury.
Which leaves five men.
All of whom have probably fantasized about their own co-workers.
So what? If we assume that everything Sarah Maslin said is true, my client is the quintessential sexist son of a bitch.
He not only took advantage of Miss Maslin, he demeaned her.
He humiliated her.
He destroyed her dignity.
As a woman, I'd like to go over there and smack him in the head.
But as an officer of the court, all I can do is say, "So what?" Sarah Maslin was ambitious.
She wanted to get ahead and she got what she wanted by her own choice.
She alone determined her fate.
Sure she may be emotionally distraught.
But under the law, you hurt someone's feelings, you take out your checkbook.
You do not go to jail.
Give me the keys to your house or I'll charge you with murder.
I'm the DA, I can do it.
Give me $10,000 or I'll tell the Feds about that shipment of heroin I saw you pick up at JFK.
I'm the DA, they'll listen.
What would you do? I can tell you what I'll be doing for the next ten years or so.
I'll be in Attica.
Because what I did is called extortion.
And it's a felony.
Sleep with me or I'll tell your boss that you're under indictment for fraud.
It's not true, but do you really think you'll be working next week? Sarah Maslin worked for eight years.
She was the best, the most productive associate in her firm.
She had clearly earned a partnership.
But the only way that she could get it was to have sex with the man who had the power to make or break her career.
Sarah Maslin laid down on that couch for Mr.
But can any of us say that she really had a choice? JUDGE SCHREIBER: Have you reached a verdict? We have, Your Honor.
On the sole count of the indictment, grand larceny in the first degree, how do you find? We find the defendant guilty.
The defendant is remanded to custody pending sentencing.
(GAVEL BANGING) Court is adjourned.
Nothing like making new law.
Enjoy it for three months.
I'm not so sure it'll be reversed.
Well, it's not the appellate court I'm worried about.
You think the legislature will pre-empt them? I think the jails will be too crowded if they don't.