Law & Order (1990) s07e22 Episode Script

Past Imperfect

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.
They wanted Mark Messier for the Tommy Boy spread.
Can you imagine? I mean, Messier's a hunk, but he's way too butch for that market.
Now, Gretzky For her entrance, Hello Dolly or Mame? Oh, don't be so obvious.
Can't we just get by with Happy Birthday? Everybody, in the kitchen.
False alarm.
Come in.
Everybody, Richard.
Hello, Richard.
God, where is she? Probably trying on every outfit in her closet.
Good to see you, Richard.
Chrissie? Dinner's ready.
Chrissie? I'm sure your hair's perfect and your outfit's to die for.
Chrissie? Chrissie? Dear God, no! The Christine Sandler.
You remember her? Who wouldn't? Twiggy was all bones.
This one was all there.
I always wanted to meet her.
Well, you're about six hours too late.
And she didn't look like that anymore.
I heard she fell on hard times for a while there.
No harder than the edge of this table.
Looks like she took a header.
Probably took half an hour to bleed out.
Check this out.
Dried blood smudge, under here.
From somebody grabbing the table.
She tried to pull herself up? No.
No blood on her hands.
But there's no way to know how long that blood's been there.
Half a day, half a year.
Very helpful, Ed.
Hundred milligrams.
Uppers? Anti-seizure medicine.
She was supposed to come over at 8:00.
I was busy cooking.
If only I'd got there sooner.
When was the last time you saw her? This morning, on my way to work.
She was going for her jog.
She looked fine.
Rey, found these in her apartment.
Anti-seizure pills.
Chrissie had epilepsy.
She had a grand mal seizure once in my apartment.
That's why she gave me a key to her door.
Just in case.
And the pills weren't helping? When she took them, Chrissie was a very energized woman.
Dilantin slowed her down.
Hey! Craig, what's going on? Is it my mother? Is she okay? You're Miss Sandler's son? Yes.
What happened to her? Doug, why don't we go into my apartment? No, I want to see my mother.
Your mother's had an accident.
I'm sorry.
She's dead.
Why don't you take Mr.
Holland up on his offer? Some surprise party.
I don't get it.
My mother said she had the seizures under control.
Did she live with anybody? No, nobody.
She was alone.
How about your dad? He around? Not around here.
He divorced her when I was 10.
I went to live with him.
My choice.
But now you've been seeing her pretty regular? Yeah, for about the past six months.
We were just getting to know each other.
Did she have any problems with anyone? A boyfriend, maybe? No, there was nobody.
I thought you guys said this was an accident.
Sure, but there's always a possibility it might be something else.
Something to do with drugs, for instance.
I don't mean to be insensitive, but your mom did get into trouble over that.
No, it was old stuff.
She's been clean for the last four years.
She went straight and she was getting work.
This was a stupid seizure because she wouldn't take her pills.
I worked up a Dilantin blood level for your model.
She had an eight point nine.
On a scale of what? Well, 10 to 20 is the safe range, but an eight could've kept her seizure-free.
So she could have seized, or maybe not.
What about other drugs? The tox screen will take a week.
If she had a seizure, there'd be biting on the lips or tongue.
There'd be signs of choking and flailing injuries.
I didn't see any of that.
But I did find bruises on her upper arms.
Christine Sandler had type B blood.
The blood on the table was type O.
And it could've been left there by the guy who made the table.
Or the perp who cut himself on the broaches on her jacket.
There were traces of that type O blood on her lapel.
Diamond broaches from Tiffany's? Didn't Christine Sandler hit the skids with a cocaine habit? Well, she just signed on as spokesmodel for New Beginnings Face Cream.
Well, it's comforting to know even Drugstore in my neighborhood's had her picture in the window for the last month.
I'm very sorry for your loss, Lennie.
So, aside from bruises and dried blood, anything else? Maybe a suspect? Nobody that sticks out.
Well, she ran with a wild crowd, right? She used to.
According to her son, that was all behind her.
Well, maybe that's what she wanted him to believe.
What did she tell her friends? Wild? Come on! You saw the people at my party.
That was her crowd now.
Just your ordinary, everyday folks, huh? Lucille and Sara knew her from A.
James and Laura were from C.
She met Elaine, that's her bookkeeper, at some Buddhist retreat.
Chrissie used to chant every day.
She got into it because of Tina Turner.
Now, when she moved in across the hall, she was a very lonely woman.
Not much money except for some residuals from a series she did in the '80s.
One season, then out.
How'd she get back on her feet financially? A fairy godmother? Well, you're half right there, Detective.
One of the agencies I work for was looking for someone for their New Beginnings campaign.
I looked across the hall, and there was Chrissie.
She was lucky to have you.
I was her only family.
What does that make Douglas Burke? Family in name only.
Don't get me wrong.
She wanted to make it all up to the kid, but they argued all the time.
About what? Old issues.
He caused her a lot of pain, and I don't mind sharing the news, but what can you expect? An acorn doesn't fall far from the tree.
I assume you're referring to his dad.
Jimmy Burke.
Chrissie told me some stories about him, too.
Poster boy for Wife Beaters Anonymous.
Jimmy Burke.
Wasn't he in that old band, China something? China Creek.
Listen to you.
Old band.
They were playing on my 8-track when I lost my virginity.
Is that right? I never heard of them.
Did Burke ever drop in on Miss Sandler? I doubt it.
He was the one that started her on drugs and booze and then dumped her when she reached 40.
Guys like him don't die, you see.
Just people like Chrissie.
Tommy Lee has Pamela, David has lman, and I had Chris.
You're a rock star, you gotta have the model.
You guys thirsty? I know I am.
No, thanks.
So this is how a rock star lives, huh? Yeah, when they play bass and don't write the songs and don't get royalties.
You sound real broken up over Christine's death.
Well, I suffer in my own way, man.
I internalize.
You understand.
It's a curse.
Chris was a fine woman.
So what did she see in you? Me? I was "it," man.
Dig this.
I started the whole tattoo thing, and Chris had some exciting tats in some exciting places.
When I first met her, she was a sweet piece, man.
She was only 22.
And what happened? She didn't age well? Well, women in their 40s, you know, it's like money.
You change them for two 20s.
When did you see her last? Not for a long time.
Which for you could've been about five minutes, right? What about last Thursday? Where were you? Uh, last Thursday, man.
I had some gig to go to.
And did you? Probably.
Uh Here.
I worked a session.
Some mattress company jingle.
I was there.
For how long? Forever, man.
I needed the money.
And the name of the recording studio? He was here.
I was lucky he showed at all.
I mean, he can play, you know, but the man does not own a watch, and his answering machine's, like, always broken.
How close to Burke didn't get here till, like, 4:00, moaning and groaning about how some chick wouldn't let go of him.
What chick? Sheila Mullins.
Anyone with a guitar knows her, man, and I qualify.
You want to hear me play Louie Louie? He was there, at my place.
He's helping me get my break.
I sing.
Do you remember what time he left? Is this about his ex? The dead model? Miss Mullins He didn't have anything to do with that.
We have a saying in Meadville, "Never kick a gift horse in the mouth.
" Whoa, whoa, wait a minute.
She was supporting him? I guess she helped him out.
He said he was gonna get some money from her that day.
So, what time did he leave you? He didn't kill her, you know.
Maybe once he tore up a few hotel rooms, but he's way too screwed up to hurt anyone.
Miss? Excuse me a sec.
He showed up with his bass at 4:00.
Screwed up or not, even he could land a punch in two hours.
What two hours? What, are you brain-dead? You were two hours late for your gig.
I got there, didn't I? I didn't have enough money for a cab, so I walked.
People still walk, you know.
You walked over to your ex-wife's place, you hit her up for a year's worth of carfare.
Yeah, when she turned you down, you got pissed off! You think I killed Chris? I don't think you'd remember if you did.
That is such a lie, man.
Look, we're just wasting our time, Rey.
Why don't you take a walk and leave me alone with him, huh? Jimmy, you don't want to be left alone with this guy.
He had a big hang-up on her once.
But I didn't kill her! You didn't mean to? You lost your head? Is that it? I'd go with losing my head.
You could sell that to a jury.
I wasn't there.
I didn't kill her.
That part's all true.
And what part isn't? She was giving me money, okay? Yesterday you said you hadn't seen her or talked to her.
You're lying again, Jimmy.
I hadn't talked to her in years.
My kid Doug asked her to loan me some money.
She gave the money to him to give to me.
Not a whole lot.
Two hundred bucks.
Once? Twice? What? A couple of times.
Doug was supposed to ask her for a couple of grand so I could get myself out to the coast.
Turn myself around.
The way she did.
But I'd never kill her.
Maybe we are making a mistake, Jimmy.
Take a blood test, prove us wrong.
If this guy Burke says he wasn't in the victim's apartment, believe him.
Nothing matches.
Not his blood, hair, or prints.
Well, not to sound ungrateful, Ellis, but you could have told us that over the phone.
That's not why I called you down here.
Those two blood types we lifted? The B and the O? Right.
They may not be the same type, but they share one common allele.
And in human talk that means It's a DNA pattern.
The donors may be related.
Very good, Detective.
After I spotted the similarities, I ran five different markers to eliminate any coincidence.
The donors are related.
The type O blood comes from a relative of the victim? Blood relative, yes.
They always argued, and he was late to the party.
Sounds like Douggie still had issues with his mama.
First my father, then me.
You guys think murder runs in our family? Well, so far, mooching from your mother seems to be genetic.
It's hard being a musician, okay? Dad thought Mom was loaded.
He said she wouldn't mind helping out.
But I wasn't gonna ask her for the money.
So, are you calling your father a liar? No.
I gave him my own money.
I just told him it was from her.
Oh! That's sweet.
But see, we found blood all over her dining table, and you got cuts all over your hands.
I install custom stereos.
Digging around behind walls.
I'm always cutting myself.
Doing what? Bouncing your mom off the walls? What'd she do, tell you the well ran dry? That your old man was gonna have to pay for his own damn drugs? That's a lot of crap, and if you think I killed her then you're full of crap.
Tell me something.
You have aunts and uncles on your mother's side? There's my grandmother.
She's sick.
It's Alzheimer's.
She's in some home in Jersey.
We haven't seen her in a while.
Well, then we got a big problem, Douggie.
See, there were two types of blood found at the crime scene.
Now, through the miracles of modern medicine, we know that the two people they belong to have to be related.
So, unless somebody else falls out of your family tree You're it.
Take a blood test, you can be cleared in a minute.
I cannot believe this.
It's not my blood.
I think I better get a lawyer.
We went through Christine's apartment, her personal belongings, talked to her friends.
Unless Grandma got out of her rubber room, Douggie's our boy.
Well, here's something.
Latent found some unidentified prints all over the kitchen.
Really? Five-to-one they're his.
I'll add it to our application.
Okay, so you do the dance with his lawyer, what do we do with Douglas? Find out what other lies he's telling.
Well, he said he never took money from his mother.
Let's check it out with her bookkeeper.
I told you on the phone, she never talked about giving money to Douglas.
But she might have helped him out.
Nickels and dimes, maybe.
I kept Christine on an allowance.
I knew exactly what she spent and where she spent it.
What about this check here for $2,500, made out to cash a few weeks ago? Oh, yes.
I asked her about that.
What was her story? I was worried she was going back to her old habits.
She swore it was nothing like that.
Said some old friend of the family turned up out of the blue and needed some cash.
What about the canceled check? It had to be endorsed.
Check number 1356.
I can't read the endorsement.
I don't understand this.
The teller who cashed this check is usually very efficient, and very careful.
We don't want to get her in any trouble.
The check was good.
This is Sonja Harland.
They're with the police, Sonja.
Is something wrong? It seems you cashed a check drawn from another bank without taking proper ID.
The endorsement's illegible.
This is not the way we conduct business, Sonja.
It didn't bounce, did it? That is hardly the point here.
I'm really sorry, Mr.
I'm sure I called the issuing bank and got an okay.
What's this about? These are detectives.
What do you think? Excuse me, Mr.
This isn't about fraud or anything like that.
We're just trying to find out who cashed that check.
Do you remember if it was either of these men? No, I don't think so.
I made a mistake.
I'm sure I saw some ID, I just forgot to write it down.
I'm sorry.
It won't ever happen again.
We'll talk later, Sonja.
Thank you.
Well, I guess she's not gonna make "Employee of the Month.
" Why would Christine lie to her bookkeeper about giving the check to Douggie? I mean, the bookkeeper knew they were trying to make up.
She gave 2,500 bucks to an "old friend.
" Wish I had an old friend like that.
Yeah, an old family friend.
Let's ask her family.
Who? Her ex-husband? He barely remembers being married to her.
No, I mean Christine's mom.
Oh, even better.
She's got Alzheimer's.
I hate going to Jersey.
Does Mrs.
Sandinsky know about her daughter's death? We told her right away.
Sometimes she remembers, sometimes she doesn't.
It goes with the territory.
Sarah, these gentleman are here from the city.
They want to ask you a few questions.
How are you, Mrs.
Sandinsky? How nice of you boys to come for a visit.
So nice.
Are you here about Chrissie? Yes.
We're sorry about your loss, ma'am.
Thank you.
We were wondering if you knew of any old friend who might have been in touch with her lately? Or have any family friends come by to visit you lately? Yes.
Could you tell us who that was? Oh, certainly.
It was Chrissie.
Chrissie? Are you sure? Oh, yes! It wasn't very long ago.
Oh? We heard that she hadn't been by to see you in awhile.
Well, that's just not true.
Oh, she looked so young, so pretty.
What a lovely What is that you're wearing, with pockets? My husband had so many.
A jacket? Yes.
I'm getting tired.
Is that okay? Yes.
That's just fine.
Say goodbye to the gentlemen.
Thank you.
I was hoping she'd be more helpful.
Did you see Miss Sandler when she came here? No.
The last time was just around Christmas.
But I've talked to her on the phone a few times since then.
She never said anything about coming to visit.
Well, maybe Mrs.
Sandinsky's confusing her with somebody else.
Well, we had to sign in.
Maybe we could take a look at the book? Mmm-hmm.
Well, look here.
Our "Employee of the Month," Sonja Harland.
The bank teller? Two months ago.
Gee, you think there's more than one? Bye.
Good night, Sonja.
Miss Harland.
We need to talk.
Talk about what? About that check you cashed.
I'm sorry.
I made a mistake.
It's really no big deal.
It really is a big deal.
So why don't you tell us about it? What are you doing to me? What was going on between you and Christine Sandler? Christine Sandler? Nothing.
You can cut the Meryl Streep, Sonja.
We know you knew her.
I cashed her check.
That doesn't mean we had a relationship or anything.
Right, and my banker visits my mom in Florida.
What are you talking about? Your visit to Mrs.
Sandinsky in New Jersey.
Maybe we ought to talk about it down at the precinct? I didn't do anything wrong.
Before she was killed, Christine Sandler wrote a check and you cashed it, violating about a half a dozen banking regulations.
Then we find out you visited the victim's mother in a nursing home.
You think I killed her? What? You knew her and you just forgot to tell us about it? You can see why we're concerned.
Look, I didn't kill her.
Well, what was going on between you two? She was my mother.
I couldn't tell you.
I couldn't tell anyone, out of respect for my mother.
What? She told you to lie to us in a séance? She was 18 when she gave me up for adoption.
It's not something she was proud of.
She wasn't ready to tell her family yet.
Then after she died, I After she was murdered.
I just didn't want to cause anyone any embarrassment.
I'm sorry.
It was stupid of me.
Stupid is lying to us now.
I'm not lying.
That's why Christine wrote the check to cash.
That's why she wanted me to disguise my signature.
She was afraid her bookkeeper would find out about me.
Then you were afraid somebody would find out you were blackmailing her.
Why would I do that to my own mother? I don't know, those 20 wonderful years in foster homes? No.
I loved her.
I don't know, Lennie, I believe her.
I mean, why would she go to all this trouble of finding her mother just to kill her? Assuming, of course, you are her kid.
I can prove it.
I have my birth certificate at home.
It says Christine Sandinsky's my mother.
Give me 50 bucks.
I'll bring back a birth certificate that says he's my mother.
I did not make this up.
What do you do? Cruise rest homes, chat up the old ladies, find one with a daughter who has a kid out of wedlock? Believe me, it's been done.
I don't care what you think.
I am her daughter.
Well, there's one sure way to prove it.
We put your blood under a microscope.
Forget it, Lennie.
She was running a scam on this woman.
That's not true.
I'll do the test.
I'll take her to the lab.
You must have sold bridges in a prior life.
She's gonna kick herself when we match it to the blood in the apartment.
What's the backup at the lab? It's a few days for the full DNA screen.
In the meantime, track her movements the day of the murder.
That's her in the middle, in the white blouse.
The side angle camera shows her leaving the bank a minute later.
Then An hour later, she's back.
New blouse and a purse.
So? She went shopping at Saks.
She went shopping at Mom's.
We showed a still of the tape to Christine's neighbor, Craig Holland.
He said she owned a purse just like it.
It's missing from her apartment.
Who's he? Grant Silverman.
A loan officer.
The rumor around the coffee machine is that he's been stamping her bankbook for the past few months.
The other camera shows him leaving the bank at 4:00 with the purse.
I hope I'm not the only one who thinks there was a white blouse in it.
A white blouse stained with blood.
Get a search warrant for the girl's place, and Silverman's.
The time she was absent from the bank roughly corresponds to the timeframe during which the ME says the victim was killed, and we can reasonably assume she changed blouses to conceal evidence.
Or mustard stains from the deli special.
But I see your point.
You're good for the Harland premises.
What about the Silverman place? On what basis? She gave him the purse, Your Honor.
The inference is obvious.
The blouse was in it.
I must've left my x-ray glasses in my other suit.
I saw a purse.
I didn't see a blouse.
For all we know, she went home to change before coming back to work.
Your Honor, the purse belonged to the victim.
Why else would Sonja Harland take it if not to put the blouse in it? Can you positively identify the purse from that tape? Not positively.
It's similar.
Similar to the one my wife bought at Bendel's.
Your application for the Silverman premises is denied.
It's been a pleasure.
Same here.
She had a chain letter going with every children's agency in the tristate area, starting eight years ago.
Sandinsky, state by state.
They were fruitful, they multiplied.
Letters from detective agencies, county clerk's offices.
No wonder the post office has been turning a profit.
She had a dozen light-colored blouses in her closet.
None with blood-red accents.
This was in her laundry hamper.
This is a size 10.
Sonja Harland's a size six, if that.
You know who was a size 10? Excuse me.
Miss Harland, you mind coming out from behind there? Don't make me come back there and get you.
Excuse me.
Someone else will help you.
Grant Silverman? Yes? I'm Detective Briscoe.
We'd like you to come down to the 27th precinct.
Are you arresting me? No, but we need to talk to you.
About what? This.
Sonja Harland, you're under arrest for the murder of Christine Sandler.
You have the right to remain silent.
Silverman? Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.
Uh, yes.
Let me get my coat.
You have the right to an attorney.
It was gym clothes.
They were drenched in sweat.
She was working late.
She wanted me to take them home.
Did you see what was inside? No.
She told me.
So, she went to the gym during lunch, is that it? Maybe she went in the morning on her way to work.
I don't know.
You don't know? You don't sound very close.
Well, we're not planning on getting married or anything like that.
Well, what did she do with the purse later? I don't know.
Again with "I don't know.
" Look, if I thought that that bag had something to do with a murder, do you think I'd be stupid enough to take it from her in front of a security camera? Doesn't look to us like she gave you much of a choice.
This doesn't prove anything.
I went shopping.
I found something on sale.
I felt like wearing it.
We found that blouse in your apartment.
You were in my apartment? It was a size 10.
Are you planning to put on weight? That's not the same blouse.
That blouse was a gift from my mother.
She didn't want it anymore.
What about this purse? She gave me that, too.
She didn't want it anymore? That's right.
What she didn't want was you.
That's not true.
She was glad I found her.
She gave you money to go away, didn't she? No.
- It must've been very painful.
Being tossed back twice.
Mothers are supposed to love their daughters.
You had to be angry No, she did love me! Let me explain something to you.
There's maybe a dozen reasons why your girlfriend killed her mother.
Some of them could get her a few years in jail, some could get her life.
Now, you can help her.
And yourself.
See, this picture doesn't make you look too good.
I mean, you're not under arrest, but that, that could change in a second.
You're gonna make a very sympathetic defendant, Miss Harland, but they will convict you.
Now, if you'd give us a statement, I'm sure the D.
Can be persuaded to go easy on you.
And Mr.
I'd jump on it, Sonja.
The D.
S haven't been very generous lately.
I want to talk to my lawyer.
If that's the way you want to go I want my lawyer.
Give me his number, I'll call him.
You've got him down the hall.
I swear to God, I did not know what was in there.
She never told you? Not at the bank.
Um When I went home, I looked in the bag.
It was her blouse, and it was covered in blood.
What did she say about it? She said her mother had an accident.
Did he tell you he was her attorney? Him? No.
Silverman, are you a lawyer? Yes.
I mean, I passed the bar nine years ago.
But you work as a loan officer? Yeah, for the last couple of years.
So what? Are you Miss Harland's attorney? Yeah.
I represent her.
She wants to talk to you.
This should make Albany think twice about opening up birth records willy-nilly.
Nine out of 10 kids find their parents, say hello, and get on with their lives.
And we have to deal with the tenth one.
What do you want first, the bad news or the worse news? Work your way up.
Sonja Harland retained Marjorie Larson.
Good choice.
She'll convince the jury that Christine Sandler took parenting lessons from Susan Smith.
I guess Sonja gave Silverman his walking papers? Which brings us to the other news.
Larson is moving to exclude everything Silverman told us.
Yeah, sure.
Attorney-client privilege.
Good luck.
Grant Silverman graduated from New York Law School in '88.
He was admitted in the first department in the spring of the following year.
And he stopped paying his bar dues in 1994.
That's of no consequence, Your Honor.
Short of disbarment, he's still an attorney.
And by the way, as of yesterday, he's current with his dues.
Nice of you to lend him the money.
Nachman v.
The only relevant fact is what the client believed to be true.
And Miss Harland thought he was an attorney? She knew it for a fact.
They were coworkers, Your Honor.
They were lovers.
So she knew he wasn't a practicing attorney.
Quite the opposite, Miss Ross.
Miss Harland actually benefited from Mr.
Silverman's legal expertise in tracking down her long-lost mother.
This is ridiculous, Your Honor.
If Silverman thought for a second that he had confidential information he would have kept his mouth shut from the get-go, or he would have told the police that he was acting as her attorney.
Unfortunately, he doesn't have as sophisticated a legal mind as those present.
It doesn't take a sharp legal mind to lie to the police.
I am sorry, Mr.
Whether you or I think this is bootstrapping or plain old unethical behavior is irrelevant.
All that matters is what Sonja Harland thought, and if she thought she was communicating to him as her attorney, then it's privileged.
Without Silverman's statement, the case is all circumstantial.
Even after finding Sonja Harland's blood in Christine Sandler's apartment? That's a hell of a circumstance for her lawyer to deal with.
She cut herself helping Mom bake an apple pie.
Everything points to her, and everything can be explained away.
Except for one thing.
Well, we still think it's blackmail.
That's why I'm here.
Hey, guys.
Tell me you've got something.
Well, other than the 2,500, the rest of her money looks legit.
Yeah, and she hasn't been wearing out the plastic either.
If she got any other money from Christine, she didn't spend it.
Unless she paid cash.
Well, if she did, we'd know.
I mean, look at this.
Taxi receipts from 1994.
Who keeps taxi receipts? Same person who keeps five-year-old Christmas cards.
Check this out.
Old valentines, thank you notes.
Here's a sweet 16 card from her caseworker at the foster agency.
Looks like Silverman really was her attorney.
He's been writing letters to hospitals for her.
Let me see that.
It's dated last month.
"Dear Mr.
Silverman, "We are in receipt of your letter with regards "to your inquiry about tissue biopsy.
"We have referred your letter to St.
Marks Legal Department.
"Please address all further correspondence to them.
" You think she was sick? St.
Marks, right? She had a whole collection of clippings about Harold Lancer.
Lancer? You know, Profaci worked security at his funeral last year.
Profaci and the Forbes 400? And all of them on a boat.
The guy was cremated and sprinkled over Long Island Sound.
Right, right.
Marks Hospital.
That's where Harold Lancer died from melanoma.
Too many vacations in the sun.
Silverman called me a few days after he got our letter.
What did you talk about? Well, specifically, he wanted to know about the biopsied tissue taken from Harold Lancer.
What about it? Whether the tissue had been preserved.
And? I referred him to the firm representing Mr.
Lancer's estate.
We have to be very careful about inquiries like Mr.
We never know where the next lawsuit's going to come from.
You mean, you do actually preserve tissue from your patients? That's where our labs get cancer cells for their research.
When Lancer died, he left an estate worth nearly $250 million.
I'm ahead of you.
Harold Lancer and Christine Sandler? Christine apparently told Sonja she was Lancer's love child.
How convenient for Christine to say it was a dead man.
Silverman's legal advice? He was all over this one.
He went and informed the attorney for Lancer's estate.
Since Lancer was cremated, the only way to prove paternity is to test the biopsy tissue.
Lancer didn't have an ironclad will? No.
He left his entire estate to a few charities, his wife and quote, "my children," end quote.
He didn't specify his kids' names? No.
Amazing what a poor choice of words can open up.
The girl had him up against the wall.
She probably expected them to throw her a few bucks to go away.
Silverman told them his client wanted the paternity test.
She was going for an equal share.
She would've needed her mother's help to pursue her claim.
Maybe they couldn't come to terms.
Only three people would know.
One's dead, one won't talk, and one can't, courtesy of Judge Yee.
When the jury hears about the $250 million, they'll draw their own conclusions.
Through her lawyer, Grant Silverman, Sonja Harland contacted me as the attorney for the Lancer estate.
They claimed Harold Lancer was Miss Harland's biological father.
What, if anything, did you reply? That paternity could only be determined through a DNA test of the tissue at St.
Marks hospital.
Did Mr.
Silverman ask you to arrange for such a test to be performed? Yes, but if we acquiesced, we'd be opening the floodgates.
Fortunately, the law provides that no test be granted without a viable legal basis for a claim.
Can you give us an example? I'll tell you what I told Mr.
The estate requested an affidavit from the biological mother as to the details of conception.
Did you ever receive such an affidavit from Mr.
Silverman? No.
I never heard from him again.
Thank you.
Arbitman, wouldn't it be stupid to kill the only person who could provide the legal basis for your claim? Objection.
I withdraw the question.
Arbitman, how many heirs did Mr.
Lancer have? Legitimate heirs? Yes.
He left two adult children and a widow.
And if Christine Sandler had provided an affidavit, by how much would Miss Harland's claim have reduced their share of the estate? If the claim was successful? Of course.
$53 million.
Were the legitimate heirs aware of that? Yes.
I told them.
Please tell the court how they took to the news.
They were less than thrilled.
They must've been relieved when Christine Sandler was found dead.
Thank you, Mr.
Well, of course I wanted to know who my father was, but it was easier to trace my mother.
And when did you find out who your biological father was? My mother finally told me, and she told me exactly who he was.
And how soon after that did you decide to pursue a claim against the estate? Maybe a week.
And whose idea was that? My mother's.
She said that I was entitled to something, after all I've been through.
Did she know that she'd have to sign an affidavit in order for you to prevail? Yes.
She wanted to tell her son Douglas about me first.
She would've signed it.
She would've done anything to help me, if someone hadn't killed her.
Thank you, Sonja.
Your witness.
I'm sure everyone in this courtroom understands the hardship you've been through, Miss Harland.
Hasn't been easy.
I bet it hasn't.
Miss Harland, were you aware that once Mr.
Lancer's will was probated and the assets distributed, it would be near impossible for you to win your claim, with or without the affidavit? Mr.
Silverman told you that, didn't he? Yes.
He said we had a few months left.
You were getting impatient.
It had been two weeks since you'd been told that you needed the affidavit.
Why hadn't your mother signed it yet? I told you, she was working up to telling her son.
How long were you willing to wait? It was up to her.
If she didn't sign it, you were ready to walk away from $50 million? First of all, as my lawyer, Mr.
Silverman gets a third, and I would've been happy to have given some to my mother, and yes, if I had to, I was ready to walk away, but there was no reason why she wouldn't sign.
I can think of two.
She didn't want to alienate her son, or she asked for more money than you were willing to pay.
That's not true.
That's what you argued about that afternoon, isn't it? No.
You went to see your mother that day to get her signature on that piece of paper, no matter what.
She refused, so you became enraged and so you killed her, isn't that right? No.
My mother loved me! How? You were nothing to her.
You were an accident.
She loved her son.
Not you.
Your Honor, this is cruel.
She's performing, Your Honor.
The jury will disregard that.
McCoy, if you have any actual questions, ask them.
Otherwise I'm through, Your Honor.
Nice going.
You made her cry.
That should win you points in the jury room.
She had a rotten childhood and I feel sorry for her.
If she hadn't left her mother to bleed to death on the floor, I'd give her a big hug.
She's a fraud.
You know it, she knows it.
Doesn't do you any good.
You forgot Silverman.
I almost feel sorry for him.
He was one signature away from collecting a $17-million fee.
I wonder what he thinks of his girlfriend now? Even if he wanted to tell us, he can't.
What's the exception to attorney-client privilege? The communication took place in front of a third party or The lawyer was an accomplice to his client.
Silverman conspired with the girl? How you gonna prove that? He's gonna help us.
Call the police.
Have him arrested.
McCoy, I don't know where you came up with this murder charge.
It's ludicrous.
Your client had a vested interest in having Christine Sandler sign that affidavit.
Sonja told him she was gonna get her signature by whatever means necessary, even force.
He did nothing to stop her, and after she killed Sandler, he helped dispose of the evidence.
The more I hear it, the better it sounds.
At minimum, it's attempted grand larceny.
Sonja never told me anything of the sort.
Grant, please.
McCoy, I assume you have some evidence.
He's going to testify to it at Miss Harland's trial.
What? Even if it were true, which it isn't, why would I do something as stupid as that? I can think of 17 million reasons why.
What're you talking about? Your contingency fee if Sonja gets her share of the Lancer estate.
Our theory of the crime is based on the belief that she is Harold Lancer's daughter.
As soon as she's convicted of murder, that belief becomes fact, as far as New York state is concerned.
Her conviction would provide the legal basis you need for her paternity test.
You get your money, we get our conviction.
One problem.
There's not much to buy in Attica.
I'd let him plead to misdemeanor, attempted grand larceny.
Five years probation.
He could still practice law in his spare time if he wanted to.
Give us a minute.
All this time, I thought it was defense attorneys who were sleazy.
It's buying his testimony.
I just motivated him to tell the truth.
Against my advice, Mr.
Silverman wants to take you up on your offer.
Sonja's mother had no idea what she's like when she doesn't get her way.
She had so much hate inside her.
Her mother should've just signed the damn papers.
It's very interesting.
And it's still privileged.
No way a jury hears any of it.
He stopped being her attorney the minute he helped her destroy evidence.
That's what he says.
My client sees it differently.
The only thing that matters is how Judge Yee sees it.
That stupid weakling! Sonja.
What's the offer? Man one, 12-and-a-half-to-25.
Man two.
Go home, Marjorie.
Start preparing your cross of Mr.
What happened, Miss Harland? She wouldn't sign the paper.
She wouldn't give me a reason.
That's why you killed her? Then why? When I was in foster care, no one wanted to adopt me.
People were afraid I inherited my mother's epilepsy.
It wasn't my fault.
People didn't want me.
She finally told me that afternoon why she wouldn't sign.
She was a call girl when she met Lancer.
That's how she supported herself, before her modeling career took off.
She was an 18-year-old hooker who got knocked up.
She thought she'd gotten rid of me for good.
She was afraid everyone would find out, especially Douglas.
I even told her there was enough money for everyone.
She didn't care.
Can you imagine? Dangling all that money in front of me, and not lifting a finger to help me? So you hit her.
She wanted me to leave.
It was her birthday.
Her friend Craig was making her dinner.
Of course, I couldn't come.
But Douglas, he was invited.
He walked out on her to live with his father, but that's who she wanted.
Him! Not me! That bitch.
Silverman got the paternity test.
Turns out Sonja Harland was Lancer's kid.
She gets her $50 million.
Good for her.
And Silverman collects his $17-million fee.
No wonder everybody hates the legal profession.
Make sure Douglas Burke gets a full transcript of Sonja Harland's allocution.
This way there'll be something to collect when he sues her and Mr.
Silverman for his mother's wrongful death.