Law & Order (1990) s17e16 Episode Script

Murder Book

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.
Mickey, where are you? MICKEY: Tenth.
My grandmother would've been up there by now.
I think I'm having a heart attack.
A little exercise would do you some good.
So would a beer.
GIGGS: Well, you get the damn thing running.
I'll buy the beer.
Oh, my God.
Someone's damn purse is blocking the door.
Okay, car's coming down.
Doorman said she came in around 11:15.
Super found her just after midnight.
Any traffic through the lobby? Just a few tenants.
He said she was the last one he saw in or out of the building tonight.
Cash and credit cards are still here.
Serena Darby, Darby Publishing.
I've heard of it.
The super says she lives in 12-B.
Well, here you go.
Looks like she never even made it into the apartment.
I'll start looking around.
Looks like she kissed the wall half a dozen times.
Pieces of plaster in nose and mouth.
And some teeth are missing.
Yeah, C.
found two over there.
Probably hit her as soon as she got the elevator.
You think the assault killed her? Took her halfway home at least.
But see the color? Plethoric: face from strangulation.
That's how she went.
I thought I recognized the name.
She was just in the news.
Serena Darby's publisher of J.
Lange's new book.
About how he hypothetically would've killed his wife.
She's got stacks of them on her dining table.
The picture alone looks guilty.
Well, the 12 people that mattered didn't think so.
Justice is blind.
I can't imagine anybody would read this book even if it was free.
Well, from what I hear they're not gonna get to anyway.
What do you mean? So many people are pissed off.
Stores are refusing to sell the book.
Even her company's dropping it.
Maybe somebody thought that wasn't good enough.
got a couple dozen lifts from the stairwell and hallway.
Well, it's gonna take a few days to run all those.
What about this woman's family? Just a brother.
He's coming down from Boston this afternoon.
Well, I'll sit with him.
Every tabloid in this city is sniffing around this case.
I don't want you wasting time.
They caught the scent early.
They were parked outside her place at 8:00 a.
this morning.
Any idea how our suspect slipped past the lobby surveillance? Well, according to the super there's some teenagers in the building that sneak out the fire exit door to smoke cigarettes.
We checked the door.
It was unlocked.
It would've been an easy in and out.
And no one in the place saw anything? We canvassed the entire building.
There were two tenants at home at the time of the murder.
One guy had his home theater cranked way up.
And the lady that lives at the end of the hall thinks she heard a man and a woman arguing and doors being slammed.
Which actually could've been the victim's face slamming against the wall.
Is there any chance this was a random attack? I don't think so.
Too much rage.
What about a boyfriend or ex? Well, there was nothing in the apartment that made me think she was in a relationship.
And the doorman said she just comes home to sleep.
There wasn't much of anything in her apartment except for copies of J.
Lange's book.
Well, that's a good place to start.
Lange's book is turning into the publishing disaster of the year, maybe of the decade.
How so? By pulling the book off the market, the company's eating the advance, losing future and rights.
Not to mention the hundred thousand copies they already printed.
How much money are we talking about here? Easily five or six million.
Oh, my God, I can't believe she's dead.
Look, all those people that were angry about Lange's book, any specific threats towards Serena? Just lawsuits.
How was Serena handling it? She was angry, humiliated.
I stayed out of her way this week.
Tough boss? You have no idea.
What time did she leave the office last night? Around 9:00.
Did she say where she was going? Was she meeting anybody? I don't know.
Was Serena seeing anyone? Dating? Definitely not.
Most of her calls went through me.
Okay, so who did she talk to yesterday? Uh, her lawyer, the C.
, the company's general counsel.
Lange a few times.
What were the ones with Lange about? It sounded pretty typical on her end.
Uh, except the last one.
I mean, she always yells on the phone, but this was different.
After that, she wouldn't take his calls.
I wanted to write a memoir about my baseball career.
Writing about the murder, that was Serena's idea.
So what was that little argument you had on the phone with her yesterday about? She was talking about selling the book to another publisher.
I told her forget it, I'm not interested.
You were just gonna walk away? What do you think? I went looking for this aggravation? I think you went looking for cash.
So what? All that money dried up, though, since the book got pulled, right? No, you got it wrong.
I got a civil judgment against me to the tune of 20 million.
Every penny I ever make is spoken for.
You didn't do the book for free? The advance went straight into my daughter's trust.
And any profit was to go to charity.
So, um, how much does this place cost a month? My baseball pension keeps the lights on.
That's all I got.
All right, man, look.
Where were you last night between 11:00 and midnight? Right here.
Watching the Knicks game.
I don't get out much.
And with these paparazzi vultures you brought with you, I'm probably not going anywhere anytime soon.
Well, this isn't exactly the prison you belong in, though, is it? Your partner's got some mouth on her.
You do have a history.
We can't pretend that didn't happen.
What happened was that some bad cops tried to frame me for my wife's murder.
Now Serena gets killed, and I'm your first stop? It's like déjé vu all over again.
Look, Serena and I were both being harassed.
And not just by the tabloids.
All right? Don raised holy hell.
He got my book buried.
He wanted Serena's head on a platter, right next to mine.
Don Lampard, your father-in-law.
Former father-in-law.
I'd gone over to Jenny's apartment that morning.
We were gonna go jogging in the park.
Five police cars out front.
An ambulance.
I knew that son-of-a-bitch had done something to her.
I'd just buried her mother three months before that.
Jenny was all I had left.
Well, I'm sure Lange writing about the murder didn't help.
That book is blood money.
My daughter's blood.
Well, we heard the money wasn't going to him.
Right, that it was earmarked for some charity? Baloney.
The deal was a sham.
How do you mean sham? Serena Darby's been paying Lange under table.
Itemized under research costs, over 200 grand so far.
You know this for a fact? I'm filing a lawsuit with Virgil Publishing and Darby Books because of it.
Did Serena Darby know you planned to sue? The C.
of Virgil Publishing, Dean Savitsky knew.
I told him last week.
I assume he had words with her then.
And I assume that accounts for why they've been trying to pay me to go away.
I take it you weren't interested? I told them to go to hell.
And I wanted Serena fired.
On that point, he said it was done.
The advance came out of Serena's discretionary money.
I didn't know about the project until we were so pregnant with it we had to see it through.
The book was in poor taste.
Now it's a public relations nightmare.
How did Serena take the bad news? Actually, I was planning on firing her this afternoon, at lunch.
You called Don Lampard last night and said it was done.
As good as done.
Serena had been trying to find a way to fix things with Mr.
You mean pay him off? SAVITSKY: Apologize.
And offer a settlement if the lawsuit and public fury went away.
She was making progress.
He was interested? SAVITSKY: Interested in jerking us around.
Serena had arranged a dinner at Cafe du Jardin for the two of them to settle things.
She called me last night and said he'd stood her up.
That's why I finally intervened and contacted him myself.
He was happy with your decision to fire Serena? I'm not sure anything will satisfy his anger.
He's certainly not dropping the lawsuit.
Lampard never mentioned the sit-down he was supposed to have with Serena Darby.
But he didn't show.
So, if he was looking for a confrontation, he missed his chance.
Virgil's C.
called him at home.
That argument could've set him off.
He meets up with Serena at her apartment.
Is she listed? Yeah, her address was on the suit he filed against Darby Books.
Well, latents finished comparisons on the lifts from the scene.
All but five come back to people living in the building.
Lampard works for the city.
They run prints too? His and Lange's.
Neither popped up.
Well, it's cold outside, they could've been wearing gloves.
Well, if I was him, she'd be the second person I'd want to kill.
LUDs from Lampard's home phone.
He got the call from Virgil's C.
That still gives him time to get uptown.
And I checked with the restaurant, they confirmed Serena Darby was there last night.
But get this, her tab was 188 bucks.
Oh, there's no way she ran up a bill that high dining alone.
MAYYRE D': Miss Darby was here 9:30 to 11:00.
She insisted on a table in the back corner.
Thank you.
Here we go, dinner, rack of lamb, then, five drinks, two desserts.
Who was she with? Some guyjoined her near the end of her dinner.
They had a couple drinks.
I seated a couple at the next table.
Sounded like Miss Darby and her friend were getting into it.
Arguing? They struggled to keep their voices down.
She was upset.
And then he stuck her with the bill.
No class.
Was this an older guy, around sixty? Grey hair? No, younger than that.
Sort of looked like that guy who killed his wife, the baseball player.
Oh, my two favorite cops.
(GRUNTS) What's your best average, J.
? Three thirty-nine? Three forty? Three forty-seven.
The year we won the series.
You can remember some number from 10 years ago.
But you don't remember having dinner with Serena the night she was killed? (PANTING) You ever eat there? It's pretty forgettable.
Look, man.
Why don't you come down to our place, clear up some misunderstandings.
We'll have you back here in a minute.
You got nothing to hide, right, J.
? This better not take long.
You lied to us about seeing Serena Darby that night.
It was none of your business.
You had an argument.
An hour later she killed.
It's pretty obvious how that looks.
We had a conversation about a personal matter.
Thafsit That personal matter have anything to do with money? Kickbacks from that book? We know she was paying you under the table.
Don Lampard found out about it and he came after you both for violating the civil judgment.
CASSADY: That's why you argued.
I didn't kill her.
You've been using that line for four years, since you murdered your wife.
I didn't do that either.
Man, everybody knows about your legendary temper.
All those dugouts that got cleared because you started a fight.
Then you retire, you start beating on your wife and she ends up dead.
Now Serena pissed you off.
And this isn't hypothetical like your book, J.
I saw you working that heavy bag.
Tell me, how'd Serena like your right hook? There's that mouth again.
Am I under arrest? No.
You can leave.
We ain't done with you yet, though.
All right, I'll tell you, since you're gonna find out anyway.
Serena and I were seeing each other.
Strictly sex, not a relationship.
The last few times we got together, she started to get clingy, attached.
Started talking about going to Saint Bart's.
Can you imagine, being alone on an island with that crazy bitch? Anyway, once the publisher decided to cancel my book, I figured I should cut bait with Serena as well.
You broke it off with her.
LANGE: I tried.
Serena wasn't the type of girl who was used to getting dumped.
That's why we argued.
So, how'd you end it? She had a copy of my book in her bag.
I signed it and gave it back to her.
Kinda like a goodbye present.
Then I walked outta the restaurant and I never saw her again.
You signed the book? What'd you write? "Screw you.
" I figured I couldn't have made it any clearer how I felt.
If Serena and Lange were getting it on, he could've known about using that fire door to get into the building.
Well, then they were keeping that affair secret, 'cause nobody had a clue about it.
Well, can we confirm anything about his story? The secretary said she did have a copy of Lange's book in her bag when she left the office that night.
ED: But we didn't find one at the scene.
So the killer walked away with it? Unless Lange wasn't telling us the real story.
Well, we can't arrest him if that's all you got.
ED: That's all we got.
What about Lampard? Well, we haven't ruled him out completely.
But if what Lange's saying is true, I don't see Lampard taking the book with him.
Well, you need to verify Lange's version one way or the other.
That book could be on a trash barge halfway up the Hudson by now.
Look, even I would've pulled it outta the garbage.
Stolen copies are popping up on eBay for a thousand bucks.
Needle in a haystack.
So, go shopping.
See what you can find.
So I posted an ad looking to buy an autographed copy of Lange's book.
Somebody bit? Good news and bad news.
I got about 60 responses.
Obviously most of them are fakes.
How much did you offer? Hundred thousand.
I figured you were good for it CASSADY: What about that one? It says they can authenticate the signature.
You want me to write back? Yeah.
Hey, tell them we gotta see the book in person before we buy it.
I compared the signature to some of Lange's sports autographs.
Looked the same to me.
Where'd you get it? Some dude contacted me through my website, deathjunky.
Can't say I've heard of it.
Oh, I collect stuff.
You know, related to serial killers, famous murders.
I get the idea.
Yeah well, I paid four thousand bucks for the book.
That's like three Manson letters or a Gacy painting, easy.
I cracked it by the way.
Reads like a real confession.
So I'm not getting a hundred grand? Uh, no.
And we can't give you the book back either.
Looks like Lange's telling the truth about something.
Who sold you this? Here ya go.
I paid the money into an online account to Gerald Stockwell.
(BUZZER) This is the address he listed on the account.
Well, it's a different name on the buzzer.
Maybe a roommate? (sums) How long you wanna wait? My day's open.
(CHUCKLES) Hey, man, you live here? You know Gerald Stockwell, 4-B? Oh, damn it! Get your ass back here.
What? What are you doing? Your hands.
Whaddya know? Gerald Stockwell.
I don't have money, okay? I can't pay you right now.
Who do you think we are? What? You're cops? Homicide.
Homicide, what? I didn't do anything! I didn't do anything! They always say that when they run.
Gerald Stockwell's the ghostwriter on Lange's book.
Serena Darby fired him after his first draft.
I hear firing writers was her hobby.
According to the assistant, Serena also promised to publish his novel.
Two months ago, she backed out of the deal.
And that set him off? That's a long lead up to murder.
Yeah, but then she wouldn't give it back.
Owned it but refused to publish it.
So she killed his novel, he might've returned the favor.
The M.
didn't find any foreign DNA under her nails.
But the blood spatter from the book he sold leads right to Serena Darby.
Okay, let's see what he has to say about it.
Sit down, Jerry.
I swear to God, I didn't kill anybody! Then Why'd you run? I borrowed some money from some people.
They've been after me.
I thought that's who you were.
Where were you the night Serena Darby was killed? I'm home every night.
Alone? Yeah, I was alone.
Where'd you get the book? What book? J.
Lange's, with the autograph inside the cover.
The one you sold to the website.
It showed up on my doorstep.
I figured Serena messengered it to me.
Why'd he write "screw you" in the book? 'Cause he hates my guts.
He had Serena fire me off the project.
I thought it was one last dig after the book blew up in his face.
That sounds pretty thin, Jerry.
Look, I'm telling you the truth! Sit your ass down! Why'd you sell the book? 'Cause I needed to eat this month.
You needed money because Serena Darby wouldn't publish your novel.
Then she wouldn't give it back.
I bet that set you off.
Yeah, but that doesn't mean that I killed her! We found your fingerprints at the crime scene.
What? You heard what I said.
Found your fingerprints at the crime scene.
Where she was beaten to death.
You went to her apartment that night.
No, I didn't! Then explain these.
I do not know.
I went to her place a couple of times.
To drop off revisions.
That's it.
We have your fingerprints at the crime scene and the victim's blood on the book you sold.
That book didn't just drop outta the sky.
Gerald, you got one shot to be straight with us.
Yeah, and I'm telling you the truth.
You got the wrong guy.
All right, now you can stand up.
Gerald Stockwell, you're under arrest for the murder of Serena Darby.
What? You know, for awriter, you're a hell of an actor.
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 "Docket number 84213, People v.
Gerald Stockwell.
"Charge is murder in the second degree.
" I'll take your plea, Mr.
Not guilty.
The People ask for remand.
We request R.
, Your Honor.
How about some middle ground, counselors? Judge, they barely have a case against my client.
We can tie the defendant to the scene of the crime.
He broke into the victim's building where he beat and strangled her to death.
Not exactly the type of fella we want running around, Miss Bocanegra.
Your Honor, my client lacks the means to make even the lowest bail.
Then it's easy, we'll let him stay put.
I'm remanding the defendant.
(GAVEL POUNDS) If you had a better case, Jack, you wouldn't be here.
I've proven harder cases with less.
We're here to listen.
Maybe Mr.
Stockwell wants to share his side of the story.
I didn't kill Serena, I swear.
As you've heard, my client maintains he's innocent.
He's a writer.
He makes things up.
Well, he's not interested in a deal and I don't think he should plead.
He sold a book spattered with Serena Darby's blood two days after her murder.
He knew where she lived and doesn't have an alibi to say he didn't stop by.
Call it opportunity and motive.
I told you, someone dropped that book at my door.
I don't believe this! JACK: Taking some things into consideration.
If Mr.
Stockwell went there that night without the intention of committing murder, but the argument escalated, I think man one, Fifteen? Are you kidding? The alternative with a conviction, Mr.
Stockwell, is 25-to-life.
JACK: Quite a writer's retreat.
I don't think it took Tolstoy half that long to crank out War and Peace.
Okay, so, what if I knew something? I'm being serious.
Maybe we could work things out if I told you? Is there room here to trade, Jack? Some.
I'd need to hear it.
I've got interviews I did for the book.
In one of them, Lange admits to killing his wife.
And not hypothetically, if he killed her.
The real thing, a confession.
His voice, his words.
He can shout it from the Empire State Building.
He was acquitted.
I can't do anything about it.
And it's no use to you.
Even if he bribed ajuror to beat the charge? Excuse me? He told me off the record.
He said he bought his walk by bribing ajuror.
Double jeopardy aside, Jack.
I can't believe you're not gonna touch this one.
Lange was your case.
Could there be anything to this bribery claim? I'd like to think I didn't lose the trial completely on my own.
But nothing happened at the time to cause you to think twice about the verdict? We took some hits.
The defense insinuated that the detectives on the case set him up.
I thought I addressed it in my closing, but then, you don't know.
From what I remember reading, the jury deadlocked three times, right? Could mean someone was holding out.
It doesn't take tampering to get the wrong verdict out of ajury.
Well, let's say it turns out to be true.
What's our recourse? Lange's protected by double jeopardy on the murder.
Even an acquittal based on fraud wouldn't get past an appeal.
I'm not gonna let it go if he cheated his way out the door.
Between jury tampering and bribery, he could get solid prison time.
Where he belongs.
If you can make a case.
You might want to see if the rest of Stockwell's story holds up too.
That someone framed him with the book? We'll look into it.
To this day, my brother calls me a friggin' idiot for letting that guy off the hook.
A girl broke up with me once 'cause I told her I was on that jury.
Why did you think Lange was innocent? What can I say? In hindsight, we were obviously wrong.
Did anyone approach you about the trial while you were being sequestered? No way.
They had us locked down 2417.
And when we weren't stuck in that fleabag hotel, they had us chained to the table in the jury room.
So what were deliberations like? (GROANING) Misery.
Anyone in particular argue for an acquittal? Yeah, there was one woman, Lydia.
She was a piece of work.
She was the hold out from the get-go.
Lydia Neville.
Juror number seven.
Yeah, that's her.
She was always coming back around to the cops who investigated.
Insisted they planted evidence.
And then convinced everybody else it was true? More like wore us down.
We were tired of being there.
Thejudge kept sending us back when we were deadlocked.
We were stuck in that room eight days.
I missed my kids.
Whether or not J.
Lange killed his wife, you people didn't prove it.
Simple as that.
Some of the otherjurors I spoke with said you persuaded them to acquit.
That's what a deliberation's about.
I read the trial transcripts, Lydia.
Saying the detectives planted evidence is stretching the facts.
What's your point? There's been an allegation that one of jurors at the trial was bribed.
Bribed? And you think it was me? According to the others, you were the reason for the deadlock.
I don't remember it that way.
Really? What I remember is Jack McCoy got his pants pulled down 'cause the detective practically admitted to framing Lange.
My fellow jurors agreed.
Look, I have a class to teach.
We're done.
I remember Lydia Neville.
With the DNA evidence, I figured she'd be an asset on the jury.
That PhD put her 75 grand in the hole with student loans.
Which, by the way, she paid off shortly after the trial ended.
Did the money come from Lange? I don't think so.
I spoke with Virgil Publishing's general counsel.
He recognized Lydia Neville's name.
Serena Darby? From a book contract.
Drawn up when? Well, her advance was paid after the trial ended, but the lawyers drafted her contract even before defense rested their case.
Anything to confirm she was acting on behalf of Lange? Serena Darby already had a deal in place with him.
If you think about it, if he were convicted, what incentive would he have to follow through with the book? Son of Sam laws would have prevented any personal profit.
Darby had to get him a walk.
I want Miss Neville picked up first thing in the morning.
Serena approached me about doing a book after the trial ended.
She paid me the advance, but the project fell apart after that.
Look, I didn't do anything wrong.
Don't lie to me, Miss Neville.
Contracts in your name were drawn up even before closing arguments.
I don't know anything about that.
Accepting a bribe is a D felony, Lydia.
Seven years in state prison.
We have more than enough to prosecute.
And I intend to do it.
Unless you tell me everything.
It was supposed to be a hung jury.
A mistrial.
Serena said if I was the lone holdout, I could have a bestselling book.
She talked big.
I needed the money.
I didn't think that we would actually acquit him.
Did Lange know the fix was in? Before the verdict, I don't know.
After the trial, yeah.
Did you have contact with him? A couple of months ago I sent him a letter.
I asked for money.
Or I said I'd go public about the bribe.
You blackmailed Lange? He was paid a lot for his book.
I didn't think it was fair.
I have bills.
I risked a lot to help him out.
Did he pay you? Some.
So I sent him another letter.
Right before Serena died.
Does he know who you are? No.
No, the letters were sent anonymously.
I had him leave the money at a bus stop so he wouldn't see me pick it up.
Only Serena knew my name.
We think Lange wanted the name of the juror blackmailing him.
And Serena Darby refused to give it up.
They argued at dinner.
He confronted her when she went home.
It escalated to murder.
Why would she hold out on the name? Both their necks were on the line.
My guess is, she told him to pay the money.
And the affair? There's no evidence they were having one.
Nothing in her date book.
Not even one e-mail.
Well, you already have one guy sitting in Rikers for her murder.
I think you ought to figure out who you want to charge on this and do it fast.
My bet's on Lange.
Reassure me that this is not colored by your history with him.
I want to convict him, Arthur.
It happens to coincide nicely with the fact that he's guilty.
Can you prove that he framed this other fella? Gerald Stockwell lives in Flatbush.
Green and Cassady went back to his neighborhood and did a full canvass.
Those are from the school surveillance camera across the street from his building.
That is Lange the morning after Serena's murder.
Stockwell says the book with her blood on it was dropped at his door.
I take it that Lange doesn't get out to Brooklyn that often? I'm guessing no.
I think he's learned a few things since the last time he killed someone.
Like how to manufacture reasonable doubt.
The good news is, this time he won't have Serena Darby to bribe ajuror on his behalf.
Bribery, blackmail, and a patsy.
This guy Lange is a tabloid's dream.
, did you kill Serena Darby? Are you guilty of this crime, J.
? Please, everybody! Move to the side! Move, move, move, move, move, move! He's looking forward to clearing his again.
So, you're saying there's no basis? There's no foundation, there's no evidence.
This is a vendetta by A.
Jack McCoy against my client.
It's a personal vendetta.
Lange is absolutely Now, if you'll excuse me.
There's no foundation, there's no evidence.
This is a vendetta by A.
Jack McCoy against my client.
It's a personal vendetta.
Lange is absolutely Now, if you'll excuse me.
Spin it hard, spin it early.
Carsley obviously called the press about the arrest.
And got the first shot across our bow.
Well, this isn't avendetta.
Any missteps, Carsley won't have any trouble making it look like one.
Most people have been dying to see J.
Lange back on the hot seat.
Yourself among them.
I know the difference between vengeance and justice, Arthur.
We have a solid case.
Nobody wants to see that S.
walk out of court again.
But if Carsley ropes you into a personal fight, he wins.
(KNOCKING ON DOOR) Two million dollars bail.
Lange posted hour ago.
And his attorney didn't waste anytime either.
What have we got? Motion to exclude Lydia Neville's testimony.
CARSLEY: It's totally irrelevant to the case at bar.
Mister McCoy is alleging that my client bribed Miss Neville in atrial which is legal ancient history.
It goes squarely to motive in the murder, YourHonoL CARSLEY: More like fabricating motive.
The People allege guilt in a case for which my client was already acquitted, because they can't find any solid evidence in this one.
Stop grandstanding, Counselor.
I don't see any cameras in here.
I apologize, Judge.
I tend to get upset about overzealous D.
's with a score to settle.
We can prove that Serena Darby paid Lydia Neville to secure a verdict other than a conviction.
That bribery led to blackmail, which led to Miss Darby's murder by the defendant.
If the bribery allegation is not irrelevant, it's certainly prejudicial.
And they can't connect any of it back to my client.
It's a question of who benefited from the scheme.
Miss Darby certainly did.
And she acted without Mr.
Lange's knowledge.
It's evidence the jury should weigh.
It goes to the foundation of the crime.
Now, which murder does Mr.
McCoy want us to believe that he's talking about? Alright, enough.
I'll review the briefs.
You'll have my answer by the end of the day.
The bribery is out? Along with any mention of the first trial.
Which means the contents of the book are also excluded, I assume.
Anything to suggest that Lange got away with murder the first time around is out.
Then you're going to have a tough time proving his motive in this one.
Every member of that jury knows about that book.
They think he's a killer already.
And when they convict him on bias alone, be surprised when Judge Emerton sets aside the verdict because you failed to meet your burden of proof.
The blood on Darby's copy is still solid physical evidence.
It ties Lange to the crime.
After it changed hands three times.
We can tie him to the scene.
Show consciousness of guilt in framing Stockwell.
And the defense will say that you declined to prosecute the real killer just to get a second bite of the apple with Lange.
Which isn't true.
But it's gonna look like it is.
Lange's the second person that you've indicted for this murder, Jack.
You know that's gotta help him.
I'm not going to plead this out, Arthur.
Your case is falling apart.
I don't want to see Lange walk away from a murder again soot-free.
I want to see him do some real time.
And what's that? Well, considering the state of things I think ten years would be a godsend.
And if this were any other case, you'd agree with me.
But it's not.
Not for me.
Make the deal, Jack.
Lange pleads to man one.
We'd recommend no more than 15 years.
Don't waste our time.
You don't have the leverage to offer half of that.
If it were up to me, we wouldn't be here at all.
Sure, Branch is forcing your hand because he knows your case doesn't have a leg to stand on.
Any rookie attorney can throw reasonable doubt at every shred of evidence you've got.
We didn't call this meeting looking for a critique.
No, you took stock.
This is the only option you got.
Don't think your client began this trial with a presumption of innocence either.
Well, I'm not sure either of us are making up a lot of ground in this trial so far.
Our offer is on the table.
Lange is willing to take an Alford plea for a reduced charge and do five years in prison.
No more than five years.
Plead no contest to the crime, with no admission of guilt? I didn't kill Serena.
I'm not gonna say I did.
You're not a very good liar, Mr.
Even after four years of practice.
Any plea comes with a full allocution.
Hey, what do you wanna hear from me, McCoy? That I killed my wife? That I cut her throat? That I gutted her? I read your book.
I heard it already.
And you're pissed off you can't do anything about it.
Contrary to what your attorney says, Mr.
Lange, that's not why you're on trial here.
I'm not gonna say I killed Serena either.
Alford plea is still justice served, Jack.
It's win-win.
It's still 15 years too light.
Forget it.
We'll finish the trial.
You know all that talk in the press about a vendetta? It was just that.
It was talk.
But I wasn't far off the mark, was I? Show yourselves out.
LANGE: Serena and I were having an affair.
I broke it off with her that night over dinner.
She wasn't happy about it.
Before I got up to leave, I pulled the book out of her bag and I wrote those words.
It was a stupid thing to do.
And I feel bad that things were left that way before she died.
According to the Prosecution, you were in Flatbush the morning after her murder.
That's ridiculous.
I've never been in Flatbush my entire life.
Then how do you explain this This photo? It's payback, obviously.
You're saying that the police and the District Attorney fabricated evidence because they couldn't convict you last time? Look, did anybody see me out there? No.
I'm a pretty recognizable guy.
Did anybody see me at Serena's apartment that night? Of course not.
Because I wasn't there.
Did you kill Serena Darby? Absolutely not.
CARSLEY: Thank you.
Stockwell is a convenient scapegoat.
He ghostwrites your book.
You give him credit for the murder you commit.
I didn't kill anybody.
Look, everybody knows why you're accusing me of this, Mr.
If you were having an affair with Serena Darby, why isn't there any evidence of it? Because Serena didn't want people to know about it.
Except for the night in question.
When she chose to have dinner with you at a popular restaurant? And you chose a public place to break things off? That's right.
So, this relationship that you claim you had with her, this grew out of working together? Writing the book, yeah.
Would it be accurate to say that Miss Darby knew you well? As well as anybody, I guess.
And she never expressed concern about having a relationship with you? Why would she? Well, she was your publisher.
Isn't that right? For this? There's nothing in that book that she needed to be concerned about.
Really? Don't you confess to the murder of your wife? That's bull CARSLEY: Objection! JUDGE: Approach.
You ruled on this, Your Honor.
McCoy, I made it clear that the content of that book was out of bounds.
Lange opened the door.
He stepped in your trap.
Then I withdraw the question.
No, your cross-exam is over.
I want to redirect my client.
Step back.
Lange, this book This book is purely a work of fiction, correct? Yes it is.
CARSLEY: Thank you.
The Defense rests, Your Honor.
Your Honor, the People wish to call a rebuttal witness, Gerald Stockwell.
That's CARSLEY: Chambers, Your Honor? Let's go.
Your Honor, Mr.
McCoy plans to impeach my client on excluded material.
The defense chose to redirect on the basis of that material.
The testimony given was patently false.
This is a dirty trick.
It goes to credibility, YourHonoL Mr.
Stockwell will testify that the defendant made a willing confession to him about killing his wife.
This doesn't matter.
You already ruled that the content of that book is off-limits during this trial.
It certainly didn't stop you from going there with your question.
This was a deliberate set-up, YourHonoL Mr.
McCoy is just trying to find a way to say that my client got away with his wife's murder.
Be that as it may.
The People have a right to impeach the witness based on his prior testimony.
Excuse me? You heard me, Mr.
A lie is a lie in my courtroom.
And saying that book is fiction, I think your client just told a big one.
You can call Mr.
What was your involvement in the writing of this book? STOCKWELL: I was the ghostwriter on the project.
And what did that entail? Extensive interviews with Mr.
Then I outlined and wrote a draft of the manuscript.
Was this book a work of fiction? Absolutely not.
In these interviews, did Mr.
Lange discuss the murder of his wife? Yes.
What did he say? Quite a lot.
That's why I recorded our sessions.
Your Honor, at this time, the People would like to offer into evidence a recording of one such interview marked exhibit 18.
Your Honor.
These interviews are being taken out of context.
We can rebut direct testimony of the defendant.
Who better to do that than the defendant himself? I'll allow it.
STOCKWELL: You were angry? LANGE: I was tired of the disrespect.
She'd go out with her girlfriends and act like some street whore.
I knew what she was doing.
What set things off that night? I could tell she'd been with someone before I showed up.
I called her on it and she just got, you know, hysterical.
Can you describe what happened? She lunged at me, and I had the knife in my hand, and that was it.
You cut her throat.
(LANGE LAUGHS) I almost took her head off.
And all that blood.
(LAUGHS) Oh, you have no idea.
Don't look at me like that, Jerry.
You said you wanted to know what happened.
I ain't gonna lie to you.
I'm a free man.
don't have to lie to anyone anymore.
Has the jury reached a verdict? FOREPERSON: We have, Your Honor.
On the charge of murder in the second degree for the killing of Serena Darby, how do you find? We find the defendant James Paul Lange guilty.
(GAVEL POUNDS) It doesn't sound like Judge Emerton was totally unsympathetic to your position.
Maybe not.
Or maybe I beat Lange at his own game.
Sounds like you're taking this victory a tad personally.
Damn right I am.
So what do you think? Did the jury convict Lange for the right murder? That we'll probably never know.
Till one of them writes a book about it.