Law & Order (1990) s22e12 Episode Script

Almost Famous

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.
I'll be all right. I'm just
I'm just going
through a phase right now.
Everybody goes through phases
and all, don't they?
I don't know, boy.
I don't know.
Put that away.
I told you.
When you're with me, no cell phones.
It's my mom.
- I gotta go.
- But we're not done.
She'll ground me for life
if she finds out about this.
You are acting like a child.
I'm sorry.
I'll see you next time.
He's just a kid.
Eli Barone, 14 years old.
Gunshot wound.
Took one to the chest, close range,
sometime between
10:00 p.m. and midnight.
- Family in the building?
- Mm-hmm.
Anybody find that shell casing?
Nope, and no gunshot residue.
Or blood splatter.
- Body was probably moved.
- Yeah.
Looks like he messed up his ankle
somewhere along the way.
Did the techs find a blood trail?
Nothing so far.
Did he have anything on him?
Money, drugs?
Just his keys and his phone.
It was a school night.
The kid should've been home sleeping.
What were you doing out here, kid?
Found him this morning,
just lying there.
I couldn't believe it.
He was a really good boy.
Never gave anyone a lick of trouble.
- Oh, you knew him?
- Yeah.
Moved in about seven months ago
after his father passed.
His mom's a nurse.
He's a good kid. Good family.
Who had access to the stairwell?
Oh, everybody.
We have 200 units in the building,
so about 360 people,
plus their guests, nannies,
cleaners, delivery people.
Did you hear anything unusual
last night?
No, but I didn't leave
my apartment after around 6:00.
- Where do you live?
- The basement.
We don't get much activity down there.
How about cameras? You got those?
Lobby cam. I'll get you the footage.
Her apartment's right down here.
Uh, you know what?
We need to take it from here.
Ms. Barone, we're the police.
Would you mind opening up, please?
What is it?
I checked on him
when I got home from my shift.
About what time was that?
Um, around midnight.
Ma'am, do you have any idea
why your son would stage the bed
to look like he was still here?
He must've snuck out, but but why?
Any idea where he was going?
Can you tell me what he was
doing earlier in the day?
He was in school.
He had an algebra test.
Uh, we're gonna need
to take Eli's computer.
Yeah, whatever you need.
Did he do anything after school?
He texted me he was going
to a friend's house.
Do you have an address for that?
How about a name?
I don't know.
You must think I'm a terrible mother.
Not at all. Teenagers.
They operate on a need-to-know basis.
Wait, um,
his name was Sean-something.
Sean Kapinski?
Yes, I think so. How'd you know?
What the hell are these?
According to his website,
Sean Kapinski is
a photographer/acting coach/
talent manager.
The guy moved around a lot.
Six different addresses
in the last four years.
So what's his rap sheet look like?
- Clean.
- A'ight, got you.
Thanks. Hey, check this out.
So Sean Kapinski doesn't have a record.
So we pulled the prints off
of the photos.
They came back to a Sean Capples.
So Kapinski is living under an alias?
You got that right.
Got a conviction in Chicago
for possession of child porn.
Finished off his probation.
Changed his name to Kapinski.
Moved to Manhattan.
Let's get a good address
on this creep and bring him in.
Sean Kapinski.
I told you to stay close!
Help! Please help!
NYPD! Open up, Kapinski!
- What the hell?
- Hey, back up.
- Whoa!
- Back up!
Young man, we're the police.
Are you all right?
Is there anyone else here with you?
Did this man hurt you?
Do your parents know you're here?
No? All right.
We're gonna call your parents.
Come with me.
Come on. You're gonna be all right.
What were you doing with that kid?
It's a scene from "The Truman Show."
- It's about a man who
- Yeah, I've seen it.
His whole life's a reality show.
- I get it.
- Why are you here?
Don't worry about that.
We'll have a long conversation
down at the precinct.
2-7, Squad to Central.
This is Detective Shaw.
I'ma need a sector transport
for a suspect
down to the 2-7.
Turn around.
Put your hands behind your back.
Here you go.
So, Brian, can you tell me
how old you are?
Please don't tell my dad about this.
Honey, I'm afraid
it's a little too late.
Your father's on his way.
But we weren't doing anything wrong.
Can you tell me why you were
at Kapinski's apartment?
He's my acting coach, teaching me
how to get comfortable
in front of the camera.
Oh, so you wanna be an actor?
Not really. I just wanna be famous.
You have a lot of eager teenage boys
hanging out at your apartment,
- How dare you
- Oh, spare us the outrage.
We know who you are.
We know about your past.
So cut the crap
and tell us what's going on.
You bust into my place.
Then you haul Brian and me in here.
And now you're accusing me?
I am a legitimate talent manager.
Our relationship is purely professional.
I mean, you can ask him.
We did, and you're right.
But Brian's not your only student.
Excuse me?
Tell us about Eli Barone.
You were with him last night, right?
Yes, we had a session, but I
I'm confused.
Why are we talking about Eli?
Because he's dead.
Somebody shot him in the chest.
Eli is dead?
And you were
the last person he was with.
And you're a convicted pedophile.
You see where we're going with this?
I am not a pedophile.
A 14-year-old boy is dead,
a mother is without her child,
and you wanna play games?
Okay, Mr. Kapinski,
let's play some games,
or Mr. Capples,
or whatever the hell name
you're usin' these days.
Hold on!
That conviction is 15 years old.
I was in high school.
I texted a picture of my girlfriend,
with her shirt off, to a friend.
I got sentenced
to five years' probation.
You know what? You're
not answering our question.
What happened with Eli last night?
I was working with him.
I was teaching him how to act.
He was a really gifted young man.
I didn't kill Eli.
That's absurd.
We had a session, and then he left,
very much alive.
Can you prove that?
As a matter of fact, I can.
Everybody goes through
phases and all, don't they?
I don't know, boy.
I don't know.
I told you.
When you're with me, no cell phones.
It's my mom.
I gotta go.
But we're not done.
She'll ground me for life
if she finds out about this.
You are acting like a child.
I'm sorry.
See you next time.
Corroborates what Kapinski said.
Eli left that place alone.
But what's Eli talking about,
"Everybody goes through phases"?
He's doing Holden Caulfield
from "Catcher in the Rye."
Oh, fancy.
I didn't read much as a kid.
Did the whole Cliff Notes thing,
except for "Lord of the Flies."
Read the whole thing. Loved it.
- Mm.
- I'm not surprised.
- Were you a big reader?
- Yeah, I was.
Let me guess. "Nancy Drew"?
Jane Austen.
The woman was way ahead of her time.
Hey, I got something.
I've gone through the surveillance video
from Eli's apartment lobby.
Does Kapinski make an appearance?
Not that I can see,
but Eli enters the building
at 10:07 p.m.
- Alone?
- Not exactly.
He holds the door open for this guy.
Let a complete stranger
into the building.
What's that he's carrying?
Looks like a bag of food.
He's probably making a delivery.
The guy goes inside the building,
and 29 minutes later, he leaves.
That's a long time to be just
dropping off a bag of food.
Not if you're dropping off
food and killing a kid
and then stealing his bike.
All right, let's trace that bag,
find out where he works,
and get a search warrant for that bike.
This looks like the place.
And this looks like Eli's bike.
Hey, how you doin'? We're detectives.
We're looking for, uh
Somebody who might work here.
Oh, he is right over there.
Don't run. Don't run.
Don't run. Don't run.
I got inside. Move! Move! Move!
Police! Move!
Are you serious?
He's headed towards the river.
Hands! Hands up!
Put 'em behind your head!
Get down on your knees! Down!
Hey. Got your steps in today, huh?
Let's go.
These Zumba classes are not working.
Yeah, I did all the running.
It's my bike.
I paid cash at a flea market.
Then why'd you run?
You nearly jumped into the East River.
I got scared.
See, Finn,
we know you're lying
'cause we saw the video.
It's not your bike.
We know that you stole the bike
from a 14-year-old boy
around the same time
he got shot in the chest.
Wait, I took the bike,
but I didn't shoot anyone.
Look, I'm a singer.
I'm trying to make money.
I wanna put out an album.
So sometimes when there are packages
sitting outside people's doors
You steal things, huh?
Okay, that's a great business plan.
So you're in the building
for 30 minutes.
What did you do that whole time?
Just walking around,
looking for stuff to steal,
and I didn't find anything.
So you went in after Eli
The kid wasn't there,
but his bike was in the basement.
There was a guy, okay?
He saw me at the bike rack.
A guy? What did this guy look like?
Latino dude, medium height,
had a big key ring hanging on his belt.
You lied to us, Virgil.
You said you didn't leave
your apartment after 6:00,
but you were seen out
in the hallway after 10:00.
I didn't think it was important.
Someone called. They said
they had a washing machine jammed up.
I had to go out to fix it.
New door?
Uh, yeah.
New hinges too, huh?
You have a break-in recently?
Well, I'll be damned.
Frank, that looks like blood.
Is there something
you wanna tell us, Virgil?
Dad, just tell them.
Uh, go to your room.
Call your Aunt Lisa.
Tell her you're gonna
spend the night at her place.
It was me.
I shot Eli.
I killed him.
I was home, watching TV.
My daughter was in her room,
doing her homework.
Then I heard some banging on the door.
Banging, not knocking?
The door was moving, like
someone was trying to break in.
And what'd you do?
I told my daughter to stay in her room.
Then I got my gun from the closet.
Next thing I know, the door busted open
and someone was rushing inside.
And it was Eli?
Yeah. But at the time,
I had no idea. So I
I got scared.
I pulled the trigger.
It all happened so fast.
And after you shot him, what happened?
Once I realized it was Eli.
I-I tried to help.
I tried to give first aid, but
the kid was dead.
Why didn't you call the police?
I don't have a permit for the gun.
I'm a single father.
I can't go to prison.
I can't do that to my daughter.
So you moved the body to the stairwell?
And I waited a few hours and called 911.
And you pretended
that you found the body?
Of all the doors in the building,
why did Eli choose yours?
Maybe because it's in the basement,
isolated from everyone.
Please, look, I thought someone
was breaking into my apartment.
Okay, we hear you,
and we're gonna check out
everything you're saying.
Is there anything else you
wanna tell us before we leave?
I think I heard someone with Eli.
I-I didn't see him,
but I heard someone scream,
"Wait! Oh, my God!"
Or something like that.
Is there anything
to back up the super's story?
Well, the M.E. said
that Eli had a fractured ankle,
which is consistent
with kicking in a door.
What about a second person?
I just got access to Eli's texts.
He'd been communicating
with a guy called "Mad Max."
He's apparently a digital influencer.
He's got millions of followers.
God, I hate social media.
This is Max,
and this is
from the lobby security video.
Looks like the same guy.
He entered the building
six minutes after Eli got home.
What was he texting Eli about?
He performs challenges.
Like the ice bowl challenge?
It's all right.
- Ice bucket.
- And then some.
More like that movie "Jackass."
Cook chicken in cough syrup,
eat laundry detergent pods.
He told Eli he had the
perfect opportunity for him:
something called
"the door-kick challenge."
He wanted Eli to kick in someone's door.
Max would film and post it.
Said it would make him
an instant celebrity.
A 14-year-old is dead
because of some kind of attention grab?
An attention grab that's also a felony.
Let's get Computer Crimes
to track down his ISP
and his last known address.
If Mad Max was there,
we need to find him and question him.
So this kid, Mad Max,
lives in a content house?
Yeah, it's like a live-work space
for social media influencers.
I hear you talking, and yet,
I don't understand the words
coming out of your mouth.
It's a place where,
kids, they create content,
you know, or they sing or dance.
Oh, and they kick in people's doors?
And post it on social media.
They will do anything for likes.
Just what I need,
another reason to worry about my kids.
It's really not a good time.
I'll have Max call you.
Yeah, we appreciate that,
but we're gonna need to talk
to Max right now in person.
What is it that you do, Mister?
Wheeler. Jason Wheeler.
I'm the house manager.
Is that like a landlord?
Uh, more like business manager.
- And you live here?
- I do.
Thank you.
We're here to talk about Eli Barone.
14-year-old boy.
Lived with his widowed mom.
Hey, hey. Give them some space.
You did the door-kick challenge with him
two nights ago.
And now he's dead. Ring a bell?
Ooh, don't say anything, Max.
I got a search warrant
for all electronic devices.
So where is your phone
and your computer?
Thanks. We'll get back to you on that.
We know you filmed the stunt.
We wanna see the video.
We have a search warrant team ready
to rip every inch of this place apart
to find what they're looking for.
Or you can just hand it over.
Tell 'em you wanna
talk to a lawyer, Max.
- I wanna talk to a lawyer.
- Okay, you can.
Down at the precinct. Let's go.
We have texts from Eli's phone.
You contacted him.
Wanted to meet that night
to do the door-kick challenge.
We have security footage
of you leaving the building
right after Eli was shot.
Look, I-I didn't
We're assuming that
your client filmed the stunt
since that was the whole point.
Detective Cosgrove hasn't
been able to locate the video.
If you turn it over,
it could help exculpate him.
Let's just cut to the chase.
My client didn't break
into anyone's apartment.
Eli Barone did.
And he didn't shoot anyone.
Virgil Gilbert did.
Virgil Gilbert has a legitimate claim
to self-defense.
He was protecting himself
against an intruder in his home.
Which is why you shouldn't
kick in people's doors.
My client didn't kick in the door.
No, he recruited a child to do it.
Which is an inherently
dangerous and reckless act.
You're charging him with manslaughter?
Max, please stand up. Stand up.
Put your hands behind your back.
You're under arrest
for the death of Eli Barone.
Calling docket ending in 00719.
People v Max Brewer,
charging manslaughter.
How do you plead?
My client pleads not guilty.
And we move for an immediate dismissal.
This case is a result
of governmental overreach,
an abuse of prosecutorial discretion.
Let's not get ahead of ourselves.
You can submit your application
to the trial court.
Are the People seeking bail?
Absolutely. We're seeking remand.
Mr. Brewer has no criminal record.
Oh, and he also has
no roots in the community,
which makes him a flight risk.
Your Honor, this is
a particularly heinous offense.
The defendant preyed upon a child.
Used him for the sole purpose
of increasing his social media status.
Now that child is dead.
Max Brewer is a child himself.
According to the file, he's two
months short of his 18th birthday.
The defendant is hereby remanded.
Next case.
We will keep you informed
as we move forward.
Thank you.
Eli was a special kid.
We'll do our best
to get justice for your son.
I promise.
Excuse me.
We're looking for Max Brewer.
Are you his lawyer?
Oh, I'm the prosecutor.
His case was just called.
So you're the one trying
to send my kid to jail?
Phil, stop.
I'm Max's mother.
This is his stepfather.
You should speak with your son's lawyer.
Max is a good kid.
I'm sure he is.
He was just doing his job.
His job?
Jason, the guy who runs the house.
- He told him to do it.
- Yeah.
Jason is Max's guardian,
so Max did what he said.
The manager of the content
house is Max's guardian?
Manages Max's money too.
Kid just wanted to follow
his dreams, be in the big city.
Kid's got 8 million followers.
Maybe we're looking at this wrong.
Well, I did the legal analysis.
Max Brewer is responsible
for the death of Eli Barone.
I agree, but so is Jason Wheeler.
In what way?
Max's parents live in Florida.
They've handed their teen over
to this social media manager,
who exerts
tremendous influence over him.
Well, that sounds like bad parenting.
Doesn't make any of them
liable for homicide.
I've done some digging into this guy.
He put up roadblocks
when Cosgrove and Shaw
went to interview Max.
Wasn't willing to turn over
the video of the door-kick,
which we still haven't found.
There are a lot of kids who still
live in Wheeler's content house.
He's got them all doing
really dangerous stunts
Putting pennies into electrical outlets,
asphyxiating themselves.
What's Wheeler's
financial interest in all this?
I'm not sure of the specifics.
I can go back to the content house,
try and interview some of the kids.
This guy has a hold on those kids.
Try and find people
who used to live there.
See if any of them are willing to talk.
I was a rock climber.
Started when I was 11.
I used to post videos on social media.
That's how Jason discovered you?
He offered me a place
in the content house.
Said he'd make me a household name.
And how old were you?
He'd contact you directly
when you were 16?
Did he ever talk to your parents?
There were issues at home.
So I figured, "Why not go live there?"
What kind of stunts
did Jason have you perform?
He wanted me to scale skyscrapers,
like Spider-Man.
And buildings got taller and taller
That's how you broke your spinal cord?
Jason said that if I didn't do it,
he said I'd be in violation
of our contract.
He threatened you?
So I did what he told me to do.
He made me famous, all right.
Do you still have a copy
of that contract?
I think so.
Jason Wheeler imposed all kinds of rules
as a condition of living in the house.
What kind of rules?
The kids had to perform
six challenges per month,
and there were requirements
about the amount of danger
necessary for each challenge.
Also everyone had to maintain
at least 7 million followers.
What about the financial arrangements?
Wheeler kept 70% of the revenue,
and the artists got the other 30.
And take all the risk?
He was dealing with kids
from difficult family situations.
They were desperate
for the fame and the money,
and he took advantage of that.
How much money are we talking about?
Tens of millions.
What are you proposing?
Max Brewer bears some responsibility
for Eli Barone's death,
but Jason Wheeler ordered him
to perform the challenge.
Wheeler's reckless acts
directly caused the death
of a 14-year-old child.
I think we should charge him
with manslaughter.
Do it.
If you're willing
to testify against Wheeler,
I'll reduce the charge
to reckless endangerment.
Which means you won't have
to serve any prison time.
You'll recommend probation?
What about the bail?
We'll consent to bail, and he'll be out.
What if I don't wanna
testify against Jason?
You will stay in jail.
Uh, we'll move forward
with the manslaughter charge,
and you risk a sentence of 15 years.
Jason used you, Max.
It's time to look out
for your own interests.
My client will agree to cooperate
but only if you dismiss all charges.
No reckless endangerment, no probation.
And he walks today.
We still haven't found the video
of Eli kicking in the door.
Do you have access to that?
All right.
Hand that over to the police.
We got a deal.
You know, Jason isn't a bad guy.
I mean, I was a young punk
when he brought me to the house,
and he made me famous.
Now everyone knows who I am.
If you're looking for Max,
he isn't here.
Yeah, we know.
Then what do you want?
Well, for starters, you can put
your hands behind your back.
- Jason Wheeler
- What the hell?
You're under arrest for manslaughter.
Hey, make sure you get this.
Follow us out.
Ow, ow!
You're hurt you're hurting me.
You're breaking my wrist.
Be sure to tag the detectives
in the post.
You have the right to remain silent.
You might wanna take advantage of that.
When I was a child,
I wanted to be an astronaut.
These days, kids wanna be famous.
Doesn't matter if they're
famous for curing cancer
or kicking in doors.
Fame is the endgame.
That's that's problematic,
but what is more problematic
is that there are predatory
adults like the defendant
who used this desire
to manipulate children
in order to make a fast buck.
And then once he'd gotten them
away from their parents,
he used them,
coerced them into performing
dangerous and deadly stunts.
And as a result
of the defendant's actions,
Eli Barone a child,
an aspiring actor who had
everything to live for
Is dead.
I will ask you to hold him accountable
and find him guilty.
Eli Barone's death is tragic.
But it's not my client's fault.
Jason Wheeler was on a business trip
when Eli died.
He had absolutely nothing to do with it.
If the prosecutor wants
his pound of flesh,
he should go after Max Brewer.
He's the one who recruited Eli
to do the stunt.
Or they should prosecute Virgil Gilbert,
the man who shot Eli.
Or they should just accept
Eli's death for what it was:
a terrible tragedy.
Mr. Price, you may
call your first witness.
Eli Barone's body was found
in the stairwell
of the apartment building.
Did you determine who shot him?
Yeah, the superintendent,
Virgil Gilbert.
Did Mr. Gilbert tell you
why he fired his weapon?
Eli had kicked in his door.
Mr. Gilbert thought he was an intruder.
Did someone film the incident?
- Yeah.
- Did you obtain a copy
- of that video?
- Objection!
The video was obtained
in violation of the Fourth
Amendment's protections
against unlawful search and seizures.
Your Honor.
I'll hear you in chambers.
How did Detective Cosgrove
obtain the video, Mr. Price?
It was on Max Brewer's phone,
which he voluntarily handed over.
It wasn't his to give.
My client purchased that phone.
I have the receipt.
It's the property
of Jason Wheeler's LLC.
Jason loaned it to Max.
He fully expected to get it back.
Um, the Fourth Amendment only applies
to property that has been
seized by the government.
By the defense's own assertion,
the police didn't seize the phone.
Max Brewer, private citizen, took it.
Mr. Brewer wasn't acting
as a private citizen.
How so?
He was a cooperating witness,
an agent of the government
when he turned over the phone.
Therefore, the phone
was obtained illegally,
and its contents must be suppressed.
- I agree with Ms. Wallace.
- Your Honor
Your witnesses
will be allowed to testify
to what they saw
when the door was kicked in,
but you can't play the video.
You saw Eli Barone kick in the door?
I didn't know it was him
until after I shot him.
Eli was a good kid.
I feel terrible about what happened.
Why'd you lie to the police
and tell them that you found
his body in the stairwell?
I didn't have a permit for the gun.
You've been charged with that crime?
Thank you. Nothing further.
You liked Eli a lot, didn't you?
I did.
- Spent a lot of time with him?
- Yes.
- Behind closed doors?
- Wait a minute.
What the hell are you trying to
You had romantic feelings
for him, didn't you?
- No.
- Objection.
This is baseless
and inflammatory accusation.
Please answer the question.
No, it wasn't like that. Not even close.
Okay, that's not what it looks like.
I was just teaching him
how to hold a baseball bat.
Okay, his father just died.
I was consoling him.
Sir, isn't it true
that Eli kicked in your door
because he wanted to confront
you about what you did to him,
and you shot him because
you didn't want people to know?
Objection. This is outrageous.
Your objection is overruled.
Answer the question.
Look, I felt bad for Eli, okay?
I lost my own father at a young age.
I just treated him like family.
Nothing further.
Given the hour, this is a good time
to recess for the day.
We'll reconvene tomorrow at 9:00 a.m.
I can't believe
the judge let her do that,
as if that guy
hasn't been through enough.
Let's make sure Max Brewer
is ready to go tomorrow.
Hey, Max.
ADA wants us to give you
a ride to her office.
What for?
To prepare you for court tomorrow.
It won't take long.
We were just gonna grab a bite.
Yeah, we can stop for food
on the way there.
Maybe we can meet in the morning.
Max, were you planning
on going somewhere?
We've decided to take Max home.
To Florida?
We've got other kids.
Yeah, well, this kid has
to be in court in the morning.
I don't wanna do that anymore.
Yeah, that's not how it works.
See, he was subpoenaed,
so he has to appear.
And it's part
of your cooperation agreement.
So if you don't show up, that goes away.
- Do you get that?
- We talked to our lawyer.
She said we don't have to
cooperate if we don't want to.
Yeah, let me guess,
you spoke with the same lawyer
who represents Jason Wheeler?
That's right.
Yeah, come on. Let's go, Max.
Okay, leave him alone.
We promise to get him to court tomorrow.
Step aside. Out of the way.
We would love to believe you,
but we don't.
Max, we're holding you for court
on a material witness order.
Let's go.
Max Brewer is in custody,
but he's holding firm.
Yes, I think I know why.
Cosgrove found out
that Max's parents went
to Rikers last night.
To see Jason Wheeler?
They spent an hour
and 47 minutes with him.
So I subpoenaed everyone's bank records.
Three hours after
Max's parents left Rikers,
- there was a money transfer.
- Of course there was.
A million dollars wired
from the business entity,
controlled by Jason Wheeler,
to Max's parents' account.
So you're asserting
that the money was a bribe?
That is the only logical
conclusion one can draw.
A million dollars changed hands,
and lo and behold, Max Brewer
is refusing to cooperate?
That wasn't a bribe.
It was payment of money
owed to the family.
Money for what?
Max's participation
in the content house.
His earnings, his share
of the sponsorship deals.
He's still a minor,
so his share was paid to his parents
to hold for him in trust.
Can you back this up?
There was a preexisting contract.
It's all in the financial agreement,
which predates my client's arrest.
This is nothing but a
bold-faced to subvert our case.
What are you asking me to do?
Instruct the jury that the reason
our key witness is refusing to cooperate
is the defense engaged in bribery
and witness tampering,
hold the defendant in contempt,
and give me time to issue
a superseding indictment.
The defense has given
a legitimate explanation
for the payment,
and it's supported by documents.
So your application is denied.
The show will go on.
We had a deal.
I changed my mind.
You signed a cooperation agreement.
It's binding and enforceable.
There will be consequences.
Do you not understand that?
Max is willing to plead guilty.
Reckless endangerment.
That's not on the table anymore.
You don't seem to hear what I'm saying.
I will revoke your bail,
send you back to Rikers,
and move forward
on a charge of manslaughter.
They're just blowing smoke.
No, we're serious!
Well, I'm sorry. I can't do it.
I know you think it's about the money,
but it's not.
No one thinks Jason should go to jail.
If I testify against him,
the content house will turn against me.
I'll lose all my followers.
Don't worry, Max.
Jury ain't gonna blame you
for any of this. I promise.
Max didn't mean for anyone to die.
The jury will see that.
This may not be about money for Max,
but it is for you.
You are selling out your child's future.
He could go to prison for 15 years.
I think we're done here.
Don't be foolish, all right?
This isn't the virtual world.
This is the real world.
If you don't testify,
I am going to prosecute you
for manslaughter.
What are you gonna do?
I don't know.
But I'm not gonna let
an ill-advised teenager
derail a homicide case
against a predatory offender.
This guy preys
on vulnerable, young kids.
He knowingly
puts their lives in jeopardy.
You know, he doesn't care
if they get seriously injured
- or die.
- No argument here.
Wheeler is a threat to public safety.
Problem is you've lost
your causal connection.
You can't hook Wheeler
without Max Brewer's testimony.
Might be time to offer a deal.
Yeah, well, beyond that,
Wheeler has no reason
to entertain a plea.
The odds of acquittal
are clearly in his favor.
Then find something or someone
to use as leverage against him.
I signed a nondisclosure.
No, that doesn't matter.
It's not enforceable in criminal court.
But my family
doesn't have a lot of money,
and Jason is paying
for my healthcare, so
Think about all the other
kids you'll be helping,
the ones who've been hurt
and the ones who could
be hurt in the future.
If anyone knows what a monster
this guy is, it's you.
You can stop him.
But I don't really understand
how I can help.
I didn't see that kid, Eli, get killed.
That doesn't matter.
It's not what we need you for.
This is a sworn affidavit
from Amber Koenig,
the woman you forced
to climb a skyscraper.
I didn't force her to do anything.
She wanted to do it.
I have the contract.
She signed it when she was a minor
without anyone to properly advise her.
It's totally one-sided.
Huge penalties for failing
to generate followers.
Requirements of the level of danger
and the stunts she had to perform.
An eviction clause.
A nondisclosure agreement.
Yeah, she also told us
about other kids who have bene injured.
In fact, I just got off the phone
with the parents of a young man
who was severely injured
during one of your so-called
blackout challenges.
He's been in a coma
for the past four months.
Here are their affidavits.
I'm guessing there are a lot more.
And we are just getting started.
What's your offer?
Plead guilty to man two.
- Serve ten years.
- Ten years?
And in exchange, I will agree
not to move forward on any other cases.
And if I say no?
Then we'll keep investigating.
And some day very soon,
I will find a way
to charge you
with several class A felonies.
I will do my very best
to make sure you spend the
rest of your life in prison.
Mr. Wheeler, I find that your plea
has been made knowingly and voluntarily,
and I accept
the agreed-upon recommendation.
I hereby sentence you
to serve not less than five,
not more than ten years in
a state correctional facility.
Thank you.
We know this won't bring Eli back.
Maybe it'll give you
some sense of closure.
What are you gonna do about Max?
Prosecute him.
For manslaughter?
A deal's a deal.
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