Law & Order (1990) s19e15 Episode Script

Bailout

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.
He saw it in your window last week and he thought it would look good on me.
But I don't know, it's a little, you know, skanky.
In this economy, sweetie, if you have assets, show 'em.
Those are fabulous.
Oh, yeah I found them under my pillow.
I want to sleep where you sleep.
Send this over to my apartment, okay? MADDEN: Bodega guy down on the corner came out to pick up the morning papers, heard a thud, saw her lying in the street.
Okay, anybody actually see what happened? They say they were out here, but nobody saw nothing.
Hey! Don't let those kids go anywhere.
LUPO: No ID, a tan line where her watch used to be.
Expensive manicure, too.
Look at her clothes.
It's a Gucci belt, Armani jacket.
She's overdressed for this neighborhood.
She must've taken a wrong turn.
Got that right.
MISAN: We already told those police we didn't see anything.
White lady gets into an accident, and the DTs are right over, right? They're not the top dogs.
Their suits are too cheap.
You got jokes, huh? Well, how about some answers? It was a truck that hit her, man.
A truck hit her, then just kept on going.
All right, a truck.
Anything more specific, maybe a license plate number? Yeah, I got a web cam in my eye.
Juveniles on the street after 1:00 a.
m.
I think I'm calling ACS.
Come on, man, we were just playing.
We're not.
Look, the back of the truck was open, all right? It had newspapers stacked up in it.
If that helps you, I don't know.
It's better than nothing.
SILVIO: Who says I hit anybody? LUPO: You want to wait for us to match the dents on your front end to the bruises on our victim, that's fine with us.
Just don't expect any breaks, you understand? Why would I need a break? I didn't do anything criminal.
All right, look, if you hit somebody and then you left her for dead You see that? That's definitely criminal.
Homicide or accident, your choice.
I think they found a blonde hair stuck in your grille.
All right.
It was an accident.
It wasn't my fault.
You're saying it was hers? No, it's the delinquents that were after her.
I was coming down the street, and out of the corner of my eye, I see these kids around this girl.
One of them, he goes to grab her, and out of nowhere, she runs in front of my truck.
I couldn't stop in time.
Hey, I feel bad, believe me.
What'd these kids look like? Harlem kids.
The one that went after her, he was wearing an orange jacket, all right? Turn around.
Come on, Silvio, turn around.
We're hooking you up, you and your van.
You're arresting me? Hey, we feel bad, believe me.
This is whack, man.
I already told you, we didn't do nothing to her, man.
I'm telling you.
We know.
But somebody saw you talking to her.
Sit down.
BERNARD: It's no big deal if you exchanged words with her, Carlos.
We just need to know if she gave you any information that will help us identify her.
I already told you, she didn't give us no information, man.
Then you were talking with her? Yes.
BOTH: Ah.
Oh, come on.
Hold up.
I already told you, we didn't do nothing to her, all right? We just come outside when we heard Tiny making a racket, that's it.
Tiny? Yes, man.
Tiny, that dumb-ass German shepherd dog down the block.
You know what I'm saying? We come outside, and we hear him barking at some white lady coming down the street.
You know, and she looks all scared or whatever.
She scared of the dog? I don't know, just scared, all right? And I see her clothes are all messed up, and she don't got no shoes on.
I'm like, "Yo, Miss, you need some help?" All right? And that's when she runs into the street, and that's when the truck took her out.
And you didn't put your hands on her at all? You or your friends? No, man.
Uh-uh.
Hmm.
(STAMMERING) Why am I going to chase some lady into traffic, and then sit around and wait for the police to come, man? (CELL PHONE RINGING) Because you think the police are stupid.
Come on.
So, that's it, then? I'm out of here? No, that's up to the D.
A.
D.
A.
Will have a field day with his sheet.
Truancy, fare beating, vandalism All the true diversions of a New York City boyhood.
Well, if he chased our Jane Doe into traffic, we'll be adding murder to his resume.
(SCOFFS) What's the M.
E.
Say? Aside from the injuries from the truck, our victim had fresh bruise marks on her arm that look like finger marks.
Well, there was green glass embedded in her clothes From the truck? No.
Forensics say they came from a window pane.
Well, you have a well-dressed woman running in the street at 1:00 a.
m.
, in apparent distress, barefoot, jewelry missing.
I want to know what she was doing before she crossed paths with Carlos and his crew.
(BARKING) This must be Tiny.
Hi.
You see this good-looking girl last night? No? How about this ugly old mug? Okay.
See, I'm gonna take that as a yes.
Hey, Lupes.
Check out the window on the top floor.
Green glass.
The bank foreclosed on it about year ago.
It's been vacant ever since.
It's priced to move, but in this economy You mind just waiting in the hallway, please? This is last Sunday's paper.
When's the last time you had somebody in the building? About two months ago.
We showed the place to the Harlem Redevelopment people.
Lupes.
It's her.
Blair Carlson.
She has a SoHo address.
Her jewelry's still here.
Watch, earrings This lock looks new.
Wasn't here the last time I was here.
Broken from the inside.
She could have jumped out onto the roof of the porch.
Food, water, and mattress My guess is, she wasn't here for a spa treatment.
BERNARD: When was the last time you saw her? Yesterday morning, around 10:00.
She was on her way out.
Alone? Yes.
How did she afford this place? She come from money? No.
Money came to her.
She was a professional, is that what you're saying? Her boyfriend's Pete Gardner.
CEO of Markham Fraser Investment Bank? The Markham Fraser Investment Bank that went into the toilet last month? That's the one.
She downloaded some commercial real estate listings.
Yeah, that was her new thing.
She said there were some real bargains out there.
And checked them with comp sales in Harlem And got an IM.
"Hey, babe, if you wanted to scare me, it worked.
"Call me now.
Pete.
" I got this text message from Blair's cell phone yesterday, late afternoon.
"We have your girlfriend.
If you want her back, the price is 200,000.
" I thought it was one of her jokes.
Then I couldn't reach her.
So what did you do then? I texted them back, telling them that I was willing to play ball, but that I couldn't get the money until the morning.
You can scroll down, you can see their reply.
Mmm-hmm.
"Okay for morning drop.
Instructions to follow.
" And I never heard from them again.
Why didn't you call the police? Oh, that would go over well with my wife.
Yeah, sure.
Ms.
Carlson was being held in a vacant building in Harlem that was for sale.
Did you know any of the people she was dealing with? Anybody up in Harlem? I don't know anybody up in Harlem, well, except for Bill Clinton, of course.
Did anybody else know about your relationship with Ms.
Carlson? I actually tried to be discreet.
What about threats, from investors or former employees? Our security company logs them all.
My wife will be home any minute Oh, right.
Sure, yeah.
Uh, one last thing, we haven't been able to reach your girlfriend's family, and we need an ID, so (SCOFFS) She should've stayed put.
I'd have paid the damn money.
You bet I sent Pete Gardner a threatening letter.
Me and about 10,000 other people.
Yeah, we read some of those.
But yours "I will inflict on you the same pain you inflicted on others.
" Most of my compensation from Markham Fraser was in stock options.
I should have $7 million.
Instead, I'm moving to Parsippany.
Uh-huh.
Where were you on Monday? BURKE: At my father's apartment in Queens.
He passed away? He, uh He took his own life.
He was retired.
He put everything he had into Markham Fraser stock.
And I told him that Pete Gardner was a genius.
That bastard ruined thousands of lives, and he gets to keep the $48 million bonus he got last year.
The Great Humanitarian, gives away millions to charities, so he can get in with the Park Avenue crowd, while my father, who actually worked for a living, is It's a tough break.
(SCOFFING) Yeah.
Lupes Look who's shaking hands with the Great Humanitarian.
Is that Yeah, our boy, Carlos.
Small world.
I go to this program, Fresh Horizons.
It's just some rich dude who gives us money, man.
The girl that was run down, she's that rich dude's girlfriend.
Oh For real? Oh For real, for real.
She was kidnapped and locked up in a building a block from where she was killed.
I, well I don't know nothing about that.
Okay, we found your prints on a bottle of water in the room where she was held.
Check it out.
(CHUCKLING) Oh, come on, man.
I seen this on TV, you lie about having some BS evidence or whatever, and you hope some dumb homie falls for it.
That's not me.
Tell us where you were Monday.
I was at Fresh Horizons till, like, 4:00 doing my programs, all right? I went down to the river, I checked out the boats.
After that, I hooked up with some of my peoples, like, around 9:00.
That's it.
You were checking out boats by the river? (LAUGHS) That is a sorry-ass alibi.
Aw, man.
No, I mean, most guys, they get their mom or their girlfriend to vouch for them.
Someone.
All right, well, let me tell you something.
I don't got a girlfriend, all right? And as for my mother, she's upstate doing, like, a three-year bid over some dope stuff, all right? And I can't deal with the group home, so I go to the river to chill.
Is that okay with you? LUPO: That kid's a regular Otis Redding.
No, Otis sat by the bay.
And how would a kid know that Gardner had a mistress? Maybe Gardner wasn't that discreet.
And look, Gardner's worth over $100 million.
The ransom's, uh, what, 200 grand? That's an amount a kid might ask for.
No, no, no, a kid would have asked for the moon.
The kid's prints are on the water bottle.
I rest my case.
Thank you.
Anyway, I know someone who's going to be relieved.
Our truck driver is only looking at leaving the scene.
The girl's kidnapper's going to take the weight for her death.
A street kid like Carlos couldn't put this together.
He would've had to lure the woman to Harlem, or driven her there.
There has to be somebody older involved.
Yeah, but Carlos' homies are all kids like him.
Check this out.
"Fresh Horizons.
"A post-release program for offenders from 13 to 18 years of age.
" Somebody over there might know if Carlos hooked up with graduates from the program.
I can't believe Carlos would be involved in something like that.
How long has he been coming here? Almost two years.
Making good progress, setting and meeting goals, attending school, setting a good example for people like Ramon here.
Ramon's smart, he's good with the ladies, he just doesn't want to go to school.
You know, this is for exercising.
Yo, Ronny, I'm exercising my mouth.
You should be studying for that GED if you want to go to that Knicks game.
We believe that Carlos was dragged into this by an older kid.
Carlos follows his own drummer.
Before he was in a group home, he lived with an uncle who beat him with a frying pan trying to break his will, didn't work.
Carlos have a locker? Can we see it? Sure.
They know I check them.
If you guys down at the precinct got any old stuff you don't need, sports equipment, chairs, anything We could use it down here.
All right, we'll see what we can dig up, Mr.
Aldridge.
This look familiar? Why would Carlos need painter's tape? One of my graduates, he does some painting and light construction.
Carlos worked for him.
I use Ronny's kids whenever I can.
He's pretty persuasive.
He was good to me when no one else was.
So, do I have to guess how Carlos messed up? This woman, she was kidnapped and locked up in the building that Carlos helped you clean up.
You know her? LUPO: Hey.
Mr.
Perez, if Carlos is undermining the good work that Ronny is doing, you owe it to Ronny to set it straight.
Ronny refers some of his rich donors to me.
This lady had me repaint the gym in her place.
And what, Carlos went with you? No.
But this lady was donating a StairMaster to Fresh Horizons, and Ronny was gonna come by with a van and one of the kids to pick it up.
Two weeks ago, Ronny Aldridge.
He had a young man with him.
Is this him? No.
He was a black kid.
He didn't sign in because he stayed out in the van.
It was double-parked.
So, Aldridge went up to Ms.
Carlson's apartment alone? I went with him.
He runs a charity for inner-city kids.
He was hustling me for anything our residents threw away.
Was Ms.
Carlson home when Aldridge stopped by? Yes, sir.
She stayed upstairs.
Aldridge was chatting her up.
Uh, hitting her up for more donations, probably.
No, actually, they were talking about Harlem real estate.
(PHONE RINGING) This is George.
Chatting her up about Harlem real estate.
Aldridge knows Gardner.
It wouldn't be hard to lure her up to that building.
Yeah, well, maybe Ronny isn't the saint that he claims to be.
Anything for his boys, you know, that's what he's about.
But nothing for himself? Have you seen where he lives? In a back room at Fresh Horizons.
I think he owns maybe two shirts and a pair of pants.
Mmm.
When was the last time you audited Fresh Horizons? Uh, about two months ago, and every dime of public and private funding was accounted for.
(SIGHS) Please don't tell me I should worry about Ronny Aldridge.
Uh, well, we're just trying to figure out if he had a sudden need for money, maybe a gambling debt or Oh, dear.
LUPO: We say the magic words? Well, I got a call from someone a couple of weeks ago up in Millbrook.
He said he was a horse breeder, asked me all kinds of questions about Ronny and Fresh Horizons Oh, here.
Dale Thornhill.
THORNHILL: Aldridge was interested in buying my farm.
He's a funny little man, I doubt he's been out of the city one night in his entire life.
Your farm is this place here? Yeah.
Yeah, I can't afford to keep it up.
I live with my daughter down at the Townsend horse farm now, but this is the house.
BERNARD: So, Aldridge wanted to buy this? Yup, as is.
He said he wanted to bring a bunch of juvenile delinquents up here, get them out of the city.
I told Aldridge city kids would freeze up here, it's only got the one stove.
He said he'd already bought them parkas, the whole nine yards.
Even had a whole program of winter sports to keep them busy.
Yeah.
THORNHILL: Yeah, every fool's got to have a dream, right? (LAUGHS) How much was this dream going to cost him? $200,000.
I gave him two months, until this week, to come up with the money.
Two hundred grand for this dump? It's practically on the Thruway.
It's worth more.
Aldridge told me I could claim the difference as a charitable contribution.
I don't know nothing about no damn kidnapping, man, come on! It was for a good cause, Carlos, we'll give you that.
The farmhouse that Ronny wanted to buy He did tell you about it, didn't he? He'd been talking it up for a while.
Yeah.
Life would be sweet up there, right? Away from all the noise and the pressure of the city? Tell me about it.
Ronny said he had this big house LUPO: Hmm.
and it was next to a lake we could skate on, and in the summertime, we could swim in it.
You know what I'm saying.
He said it was next to a ball field or whatever.
You know, we'd have it all to ourselves.
It was going to be off the hook.
That's it.
And all Ronny needed was 200 grand to make this happen.
Look, see, I don't know nothing about that, all right? That's why he asked you to help him.
Come on, man! Or maybe he threatened you, or you just didn't know what he was up to.
I don't I don't know! What do you think he's going to say when he finds out we have your prints all over those water bottles, huh? Look at me.
Look Come on.
Stop, man! Hey! He's going to put it all on you.
He's going to say you and your homies grabbed that girl.
Ronny wouldn't do that.
Are you sure? You know what you sound like, Carlos? A little boy.
It's time to man up and tell the truth.
I am a man.
And I am telling the truth! Look, you guys took our van, now you're talking to the DJJ.
What's going on? Things aren't looking good for Carlos.
We found his prints on bottles where Ms.
Carlson was held.
Now we have a motive.
This farmhouse up in Millbrook that you've been trying to buy as what, a camp for your boys? Carlos had some wrong-headed idea about coming up with the money for it.
Carlos is just a kid.
(CELL PHONE RINGING) You said yourself, he follows his own drummer.
He's tough, he's smart.
This is all within his abilities.
Huh.
We found a strand of Blair Carlson's hair in the van.
I used that van to pick up a StairMaster that she donated.
The hair probably came off the machine.
Well, Carlos' lawyer can certainly argue that point at the trial.
Yeah, we'll tell Carlos we talked to you, and give him your best, all right? No, wait.
I told Carlos to put water in the van.
I didn't tell him why.
That's why his prints are on those bottles.
Are you admitting that you kidnapped Blair Carlson? I want to talk to a lawyer.
It's okay, guys.
I'll be back soon.
String, you and Lewis close up tonight.
Charlie, you make sure you get to your appointment early tomorrow, wear a clean shirt.
Ramon, you just keep studying for your GED.
When I get back, we'll go to that house by the lake, all right? It'll be all right.
Just keep working on your programs.
Yeah, Fresh Horizons was one of 20 charities my company supported.
But I've got to say, Ronny Aldridge was the most unrelenting fundraiser of the bunch, and always with the same refrain, all for his boys.
Did you ever tell him that Ms.
Carlson was your girlfriend? Yeah, well, I (CHUCKLES) I told him she was an employee.
But he's a sharp fellow, I'm sure he figured it out.
We just need to understand why he targeted you.
Was it opportunity, or was there something else? How about spite? He'd been after my firm to fund some kind of camp for his boys.
And I'd promised him five hundred thousand, but then the firm went into bankruptcy.
How did Mr.
Aldridge react? Well, he asked me for a personal donation, and I told him I couldn't do it.
What did he say? He lowered his ask to four hundred thousand, and then three hundred.
I told him he wasn't considering my situation, that having a company crash under you is, uh Well, you know, it's life changing.
It's Your watch, expensive? Very.
Your point? Leave it at home when we call you to testify.
Thanks for coming in.
Where's a newspaper truck when you need one? Now, now.
We have everything we need.
Murder and kidnapping in the first degree.
Charge Aldridge and the boy? The evidence implicates both.
If Aldridge wants to clear the boy with a complete and free confession, he's welcome to do it anytime.
DIBBENS: Not guilty as to my guy.
Same over here, Judge.
People ask for bail of 500,000 for each defendant.
Carlos had absolutely nothing to do with this crime.
Even his co-defendant exculpated him.
Does this mean your client has made admissions, Mr.
Dibbens? Not at all, Your Honor.
Just logistical explanations to clear the young man.
Actually, Mr.
Aldridge himself has an alibi.
There are a dozen witnesses here willing to swear as to his whereabouts on the afternoon and evening in question.
Ronny didn't do nothing to that lady.
Yeah, he didn't do nothing.
(ALL AGREEING) Sit down and be quiet, all of you! Mr.
Dibbens, you'll provide the names and addresses of these alibi witnesses to the People.
Bail for each defendant is set at $500,000.
Aw, man.
RAMON: Ronny was there when I came to Fresh Horizons.
He helped me with my studying all afternoon, and then he ordered in pizza.
JASON: He spent the afternoon showing me how to use a drill.
He said there's a barn with a wood shop up at this farm we're going to.
This is unbelievable.
They have him drilling wood, cracking the books, playing Ping-Pong Yeah, the busiest afternoon of Ronny Aldridge's life.
They're all lying for him, and the worst of it is, he's filled their heads with this pie-in-the-sky farm.
He was setting those kids up for a big fall.
What are you going to do about these alibis? Well, I'm not worried.
They're stories are so contradictory, we can deal with it at trial.
You mean, when those kids testify, Michael Cutter's going to make fools of them? (SCOFFS) I'd really hate to see that happen.
BERNARD: All right.
Come on, guys, here we go.
We're here.
Let's get out.
VAN BUREN: This is it.
This is the place Ronny wanted to buy.
So take a good look, 'cause this is all there is.
There's no lake, no ball field, no barn for a wood shop.
And the big house that you were all going to live in? No electricity.
No running water.
No heat.
There's no place to cook, or eat, or sleep.
You know, Ronny promises a lot, doesn't he? And now he's expecting all of you to lie for him, and by lying, you become an accomplice to his crimes.
You don't deserve that.
None of you do, none of you.
And we're sorry.
We're really very sorry.
CONNIE: Your alibi witnesses recanted, every last one of them.
But they did alibi their friend Carlos.
And he confirmed that you asked him to put water bottles in the van.
Not only that, he said that you were gone with the van all that afternoon and evening.
Carlos is not gonna testify against me.
He's already agreed.
In return, we're gonna drop all charges against him.
The emperor has no clothes, Mr.
Aldridge, and your boys know it now.
We're offering 15-to-life on murder two.
Kidnapping to run concurrent.
You're playing a hand that you don't have.
You're welcome to take your chances with a jury.
You know, that's exactly what I'm gonna do.
GARDNER: My lawyer says anything that I say under oath can be used by any of the 10,000 plaintiffs who've filed lawsuits against me, and I won't open myself up to that kind of liability.
Sit down, Mr.
Gardner.
If you refuse to testify, you'll be charged with contempt.
And you won't get out of it by writing a check.
Put me on the stand.
I'll take the Fifth.
You take the Fifth, and I'll give you something other than a few lawsuits to worry about.
I have a building full of broke prosecutors who'd love nothing more than to put you in their sights.
What do I get out of it? Have you ever done something for nothing? Here's your chance.
GARDNER: That's the message I got after I indicated I'd pay the ransom.
Did you ever receive instructions to deliver the ransom money? No, no.
I sent messages to Ms.
Carlson's phone, but I never got a response.
I had no idea what happened to her until the police showed up at my door.
Thank you.
(CLEARS THROAT) Mr.
Gardner, you testified you turned down my client's request for a personal donation of $300,000.
Uh, right.
I I wasn't in a position to personally make good on my company's charitable commitments.
Isn't it a matter of public record that you received a $48 million bonus last year? CUTTER: Objection.
Sustained.
Mr.
Dibbens, move on.
Isn't it true that your firm received assistance from the Federal government to help keep it afloat? A loan from TARP.
It wasn't that much An $8 billion bail-out, that's not much money to you? Sustained.
I told you to move on, Mr.
Dibbens.
Mr.
Gardner, did you see Ms.
Carlson the weekend before she disappeared? No.
I was out of town, on business.
in Sedona, Arizona.
And what kind of business were you conducting in a resort town? It was a retreat with 75 of our firm's managing directors.
And what did this cocktail-and-golf retreat cost, ballpark? Objection.
Overruled.
I want to hear his answer.
Ballpark, 250,000.
Let me understand After spending a quarter million dollars of the taxpayer's money on a pool party Objection! JUDGE: Sustained.
DIBBENS: You couldn't find room in your small heart Objection, Your Honor! to help my client build a better life for these boys Your cross is over, Mr.
Dibbens.
The jury will disregard.
Dibbens is putting Gardner on trial.
He's going for jury nullification.
He wants the jury to ignore the rules and vote their emotions.
Yeah, their emotions on lost jobs and busted retirement savings.
And he's insinuating Ronny Aldridge's ransom request was justified by Gardner's greed.
The Robin Hood defense.
It's worked before.
What are you going to do? Object like hell, and show the jury Gardner's not the only player here with a character flaw.
Ronny got us those, like, a year ago.
He said we would need them when we went up to the farm.
Last year? How long had he been talking to you about this farm? Um, for about a year now.
He kept saying that we'd get it next month, and then the month after that.
What, if anything, did he tell you about how he was going to pay for this farm? Carlos, you took an oath to say the truth.
He said that he'd find a donor.
He said that he wouldn't let us down, you know? (CHUCKLES) He He said he'd rob a bank if he had to.
Thank you.
Carlos, why are you here testifying today? Urn, I'm testifying, uh, because Mr.
Cutter over here says that I have to.
He's got me jammed up with this whole kidnapping thing, even though I didn't do anything.
It's not because you're angry with Ronny Aldridge, is it? No, man.
Look, Ronny's like Ronny's like a father to me.
I mean, if it wasn't for him, I'd probably be in jail, you know? Or I'd be on the block slinging dope.
It's what it is, you know? He gave me a place to go.
He gave us all a safe place to go every day, away from everything.
He gave me hope, man.
Indeed.
Nothing further.
Redirect, Your Honor.
Carlos, Ronny promised a laptop computer for every boy in Fresh Horizons, correct? Yeah.
He'd been talking about it for, like, the past two years now.
Has anyone gotten a laptop? No, but we still might get them.
He also told you that Derek Jeter would come and spend a day at Fresh Horizons, correct? Yes.
And that hasn't happened either, has it? No.
Is that what a father is to you, Carlos, someone who breaks his promises, someone who lets you down? He doesn't have to answer.
No more questions.
CONNIE: I'm not sure we're winning hearts and minds in there.
I don't know.
I think we knocked some shine off Aldridge's halo.
The way you ground that kid down did not play well with the jury.
I'll take your word for it.
The evidence points to one thing.
Aldridge kidnapped the girl.
Thanks, Joan.
Well, we're about to hear it from the horse's mouth.
Dibbens is putting Aldridge on the stand.
When I picked up the StairMaster from Ms.
Carlson, we started talking.
She told me she wanted to buy commercial real estate in Harlem, help the community there.
But she said Mr.
Gardner belittled her.
I told her she shouldn't get discouraged.
I mentioned the farm I wanted to buy for my boys.
I told her Mr.
Gardner had backed out on his commitments.
DIBBENS: How did Ms.
Carlson react? She got really angry.
She said it was so little money, and that his wife, you know, spent more than that every month on clothes.
What, if anything, did she suggest you do? She came up with this wild idea.
She said we could fake her kidnapping and force Mr.
Gardner to pay a ransom.
Ms.
Carlson said that Mr.
Gardner wouldn't call the cops because he didn't want his wife to find out he'd cheated on her.
How did you react to Ms.
Carlson's suggestion? It was a wild idea, but I didn't want to let my boys down, so I went along.
DIBBENS: What did you and Ms.
Carlson do? I picked her up, I drove her to the building on Lenox Avenue.
She said we had to make it look real.
So, after I texted Mr.
Gardner asking for a ransom, I locked Ms.
Carlson in the room with some water and food.
Why lock her in the room? Because the plan was, after I got the money from Mr.
Gardner, I would tell him where Ms.
Carlson was, and he'd go there and find her.
DIBBENS: If that's true, why would she try to escape? I don't know.
It took so long for Mr.
Gardner to get back to me about the ransom payment There were rats in the building, maybe Ms.
Carlson got scared.
You know, by the time I got back up there, the police were down the block, Ms.
Carlson was lying in the street.
(SIGHING) I realize now how stupid it was.
I just wanted Mr.
Gardner to live up to his commitment.
I'm sorry.
Thank you, Ronny.
This testimony is unexpected, Your Honor.
The People request a short adjournment.
You have until tomorrow morning.
Is there a chance there's a grain of truth in what he said? The story is preposterous.
It's unlikely, but it's not implausible.
Pete Gardner is a jerk.
I could see his mistress wanting to play a trick on him.
You can't be serious.
Aldridge's story is just plausible enough to give the jury the fig leaf it needs to acquit.
If you want a conviction, demolish his story, and don't leave a brick standing.
I already told you, I don't know why she ran off.
Maybe it was the rats, or staying in that dark building.
Well, Carlos told the police that she was running down the street, terrified.
Does that sound like someone who was scared by a few rats? I don't know.
You know, sometimes Carlos exaggerates.
Why was Ms.
Carlson barefoot? Didn't you take her boots to restrict her movements? No.
How do you explain these bruises on her arms, from someone grabbing her hard? Uh, maybe Mr.
Gardner did that.
Mr.
Gardner was away in Arizona.
These bruises were fresh.
You're responsible for these, aren't you? No.
(CHUCKLES) You think Mr.
Gardner should take the blame for everything.
He didn't live up to his commitment.
No, he left you with a promise to your boys you couldn't possibly fulfill, isn't that right? I was going to come through.
Oh, like you came through with those new laptops, or visits from superstar athletes? Weren't you worried your boys would stop believing in you? No.
Fresh Horizons is all you have, isn't it? You got no family, no home Fresh Horizons is all the family I need.
But over the years, many of your kids have been diverted to other programs.
Well, there's only so much money to go around.
Now, you're down to, what, 16 kids, playing on 10-year-old computers and lop-sided Ping-Pong tables.
It doesn't matter.
It doesn't matter! (STAMMERING) It's a safe place for them, and it's a good structure.
But more than that, it's a good structure for you, isn't it? It's a safe place for you.
It's for them.
Not for me.
We know what this case is really about.
With humble means but a big heart, my client has been working to save young men from the thug life, from a life of ignorance and violence.
He is accused of victimizing Peter Gardner, a wealthy man who has wrung his bread from the lost savings of thousands.
Objection.
Mr.
Gardner is not on trial here.
And I want to know what those pictures are that he's handing out to the jury.
Photos of Mr.
Gardner's townhouse, published in Architectural Digest.
The Court Officer will collect the photos from the jurors.
Mr.
Dibbens, stick to the facts.
Ladies and gentlemen, you'll come to your conclusion as to the truth of my client's testimony.
But the one fact that is undisputed is that Blair Carlson would be alive today if Peter Gardner had had the decency to honor his commitment Objection, Your Honor! Sustained.
The jury will disregard defense counsel's last statement.
That's it, Mr.
Dibbens, your summation is over.
(SIGHS) (CLEARS THROAT) There is another fact that is not in dispute, ladies and gentlemen.
Blair Carlson would be alive today if the defendant hadn't transported her to a vacant building, hadn't locked her in a dank, filthy room, and left her there, barefoot, in the dark, for eight hours.
Hadn't so filled her with terror that she fled down a fire escape and ran, disoriented, into the path of a truck.
Now, as to Mr.
Gardner, he and his Wall Street friends well deserve your scorn and outrage.
You are not alone in hoping that they get their just desserts for the pain and the destruction that they have wreaked on this city and on this country, but not in this courtroom.
Not today.
Mr.
Gardner and his friends committed their transgressions by flouting the rules and ignoring their responsibilities.
And you cannot punish them by ignoring yours.
It would tell those very boys whom Mr.
Aldridge claimed to save that the rule of law means nothing.
The crime charged today is the kidnap-murder of Blair Carlson.
The culprit is here before you.
And nothing else can matter.
Has the jury reached a verdict? FOREPERSON: We have, Your Honor.
On the count of murder in the first degree, how do you find? We find the defendant not guilty.
On the charge of kidnapping in the first degree, how do you find? Not guilty.
(BOYS CHEERING) (ALL MURMURING) Thank you.
Thank you.
CONNIE: You nailed Aldridge on cross.
The summation was one of your best.
You did everything right.
Except win.
I should file a grievance against Aldridge's lawyer.
He didn't nullify that jury.
Dow Jones did.
(SIGHS) Maybe it's the shape of things to come.
With hard times, there'll be more anger, more despair, more crime.
We can always hope for the best.
And hire more prosecutors.