Law & Order (1990) s23e12 Episode Script

No Good Deed

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.
No, no, I'm fine.
I think it was just allergies.
Mom, hold on a sec.
- Hello?
- Food delivery.
Leave it at the door, please.
Mom, I got to go. Food's here.
Love you.

[SIGHS] Really?
It's the delivery man.
I just dropped off your food.
I'm sorry to do this, but my phone died
and I need to call my boss.
You want to use my phone?
I'll only be ten seconds.
I promise.
Thank you so much.

What do we got?
Female, white, age 34.
Name is Angela Hart.
Wallet, phone, and
laptop on the table there,
so we're probably not
looking at a robbery.
Looks more like a sexual assault.
So he beats her up and then stabs her.
Any luck with the knife?
- Witnesses?
- No.
She have a security system?
What about the body? Who found it?
Victim's boyfriend, Mark Salerno.
- He's waiting downstairs.
I don't care what that book says.
There's no way to forgive this.

Hey, Julia, start looking
for street cam video.
Copy that.
Mark Salerno?
I'm Detective Riley.
Detective Shaw.
Do you mind if we ask
you a few questions?
What time did you
discover Angela's body?
Around 11:00.
I came by to check on her.
I called a few times.
She didn't answer, so I got nervous.
Why were you nervous?
'Cause she usually answers
her phone or texts right back.
How'd you get in the apartment?
I have a key.
Okay, so you got here around 11:00,
you saw the body, you called 911.
Where were you prior to that?
At a bar, watching the Yankee game.
You and Angela were dating.
Yeah, for about eight months.
How was that? Was that good?
Really good.
I mean, sh
she was amazing.
You know anybody who
might want to hurt her?
I mean, like I said, she was amazing
and one of the kindest people on Earth.
But then again
Then again what?
Some of the people she worked with were
some of the worst people on Earth.
I hate to say it
but I was worried about this.
I just never understood
why she was so committed
to helping people who were so troubled.
Nice people need therapists, too,
not just killers and rapists.
Were you aware of any problems
your daughter was having?
Was she being stalked
or threatened by anyone?
No, not that I was aware of.
How about her boyfriend, Mark?
Were they happy?
I think so.
She thought he was a
little immature at times,
but she seemed to really like him.
We only have a few more questions,
if that's okay.
When was the last time
you spoke to Angela?
Last night.
It was around 9:00 or so.
Her dinner had just been delivered.
I dropped the food off at her door.
That's it.
I never stepped one
foot inside the building.
So you never saw or
talked to anyone else?
I rang the buzzer, a lady answered,
and she told me to leave
the food at the door.
That's it. That's all I know.
So you never actually
saw Angela in person?
I just heard her voice
over the intercom.
It shows right here.
I dropped the food off at 8:56.
Then I did another drop off
three blocks away at 9:01.
You notice anybody else
outside the building?
There was a guy standing
across the street.
He was staring at me,
or at the brownstone.
I don't know. Made me a little nervous.
What'd he look like?
Kind of my height, white,
in his 30s, probably.
You recall what he was wearing?
There's our guy.
Hey, Mark.
We've got a few more
questions we want to ask you.
Can I call you later today?
- I got to get to work.
- No.
- No, we need to talk right now.
- Why?
- What's going on?
- You know what?
Come with us down to the precinct.
- We'll tell you all about it.
- Precinct?
I how come?
Because you were wearing a dark hoodie
and a baseball hat, that's why.
Same outfit we think
the killer was wearing.
[SCOFFS] That's absurd.
No, what's absurd is
the text that you sent
Angela last night at
8:17 p.m. Remember that?
"You're making me crazy, Angela.
I swear to God, I could snap your neck."
Look, I
Two hours later, she was dead.
That means you're
coming with us right now.
No, look hey, but
Save it.
You guys are wasting your time.
I was upset.
Angela saw me texting with
this woman I work with,
- but it was nothing.
- If it was nothing,
- why did you get so angry then?
- I was in a bad mood.
I thought I was gonna book this job
an acting job but I didn't get it.
So I got pissed off and
I fired off a nasty text.
But I didn't mean it
literally, for God's sake.
Take a seat.
Okay, so you didn't mean it literally.
So what were you doing outside
of her building at 9:00 p.m.?
What are you talking about?
I didn't get there until
much later, closer to 11:00.
I already told you that.
Someone else told us that
they saw a person standing
across from Angela's apartment
wearing a baseball cap
and a hoodie around 9:00 p.m.
I'm not the only guy
in New York who wears
hoodies and baseball hats.
All right, wise ass.
Well, you're the only one
that found Angela's dead body.
I would never hurt Angela,
or anyone else, for that matter.
- So now we know you're lying.
- Excuse me?
We saw your rap sheet.
You have two priors for battery.
Means you got a temper.
It means I was a bouncer.
You know, getting in
fights is part of the job.
And for the record,
I was never convicted.
DA's office dismissed both cases.
Doesn't make you a
choirboy, though, does it?
It doesn't make me a killer either!
Okay, calm down.
Watch yourself in here.
Now let's go over your
timeline one more time.
So you were at a bar.
You were watching the
Yankees game. What bar?
Peluso's on 26th and 7th.
What time did you leave there?
Around 9:15.
Hey, these are the
names of Angela's clients
who were paroled in the past year.
Some pretty serious players on it, too.
Killers, rapists.
Well, might be nothing.
But then again, I can only
imagine what these guys
are dreaming about in prison.
I'd rather not think about it.
Look, you're wrong. I loved Angela.
I would never hurt her.
I'm Lieutenant Dixon.
Let's just say we believe you.
For now, anyway.
Here is a list of Angela's clients.
Any of those names ring a bell?
Did she ever mention any
of those people to you?
She talked about this guy before.
Shawn Payne.
He sent her this creepy
letter from prison.
Creepy how?
He just kept talking
about how amazing she was
and that he wanted to be friends
with her after he was released.

I got Shawn Payne.
27, 5'8", white,
did five years for aggravated rape.
Just got released from
Otisville four days ago.
- Only five years for ag rape?
- Yeah.
Yeah, the case was brutal too.
Victim was nearly beaten to death.
Not to mention all the
horrific internal injuries.
I'll just leave it at that.
Just talked to Payne's parole officer.
He's gone AWOL.
Hasn't been able to
reach him for two days.
So it looks like this
Shawn Payne guy has
suddenly become a legitimate suspect.
Yeah, and the worst part is,
he never should have been released.
I mean, five years for ag rape?
Are you kidding me?
We got to fire the do-gooding prosecutor
idiot that cut that deal.
Or not.
The do-gooding prosecutor
idiot was Nolan Price.
Payne's out already?
Well, I mean, it shouldn't
be that much of a surprise.
You pled him out to only five years.
You really think that
Payne killed Angela Hart?
We don't have anything firm,
but he does match the
general description
of someone seen outside of
Angela's building that night.
And his parole officer hasn't been able
to get in touch with him
since the murder, so
I knew Angela.
She was a good person.
She actually advocated for Payne.
She thought he was smart.
She thought that he
was capable of living
a high-functioning life if
given the proper counseling
and support.
And you believed her.
I considered her point of view.
Some people are just unfixable.
You might be right.
Truth is, I was most
concerned about the victim,
Chelsea Shell.
She was so traumatized by what happened,
she begged me to make the case go away.
So I was trying to do right by everyone.
That's a recipe for disaster.

S slow down.
Yes, I will be right there.
That was Chelsea Shell.
Apparently, Payne just dropped
off some kind of love letter
at her apartment.

He left a note with the doorman,
It's okay, Chelsea. Take your time.
He said that he thinks
about me all the time,
and that he wants to
make things right and
and reconnect.
I don't know what else it says.
I stopped reading after that.
Man, I can't believe
he's really out of prison.
Ma'am, do you still have that note?
Yeah, it's, um
It's over there.
- In the kitchen.
- Mm-hmm.
You know, maybe I
should go somewhere else.
Like, to a hotel or my
sister's house in Connecticut.
We are gonna find this guy.
For now, I think you just stay here.
Yeah, I agree with Detective Riley.
It's better to be here
inside your apartment
with the door locked.
Just to be safe, we will have
a police officer guard your door.
You're gonna be okay.
Look, I know this is
hard, but the good news is,
he left his phone number on this note,
and we can track him with that.
The woman that was just murdered,
the psychologist
Do you think he killed her?
I don't know, Chelsea.
The police are still investigating.
But it's but it's possible.
Is that what you're saying?
Yeah, it's possible.

You okay?
Do you want me to call someone?
No, no, no, no.
No, no, I'm fine.
Thank you.
Thank you for coming today.
Thank you.
Hey, Vi, it's me.
I need you to trace a number right now.

Hey, what do you got?
Signal's still active.
Looks like he's heading south
on 7th Ave, just below 24th.
Last hit was south of 24th and 7th.
He's staying at the halfway
house on 22nd, right?
- Yeah.
- Okay.
We need to speak to Shawn Payne.
What's this about?
Is he here in the building?
Yeah, he just got back
about five minutes ago.
What room is he in?
Down the hall to the left. Room 21.
Nobody home.

What's that?
Woman's necklace.
Hey, you seen Shawn Payne?
Yeah, why?
This is why.
Where'd he go?
I saw him headed for the bathroom.
Where's that?
Through the double doors on your right.
Shawn Payne, police.
Hey. Hey. Hey!


- Flank.
- Flank.

Hands up!
Get your hands up now!
Against the wall!
Against the wall.
Easy on the cuffs.
That's too tight.
Oh, I'm so sorry.
How's that?
[GRUNTS] That hurts.
You shut up, or I'll make them tighter.
Well, looks like your little
experiment with freedom
didn't work out, did it?
I don't know what you're talking about.
Oh, the facts tell a
much different story.
We got your DNA all over Angela's body.
I mean, that's almost as
good as having a video of you
committing the crime.
Actually, it's better 'cause, this way,
the jury doesn't have
to turn their heads
to avoid seeing all
the despicable things
that you did to that woman.
That kind, decent woman who
was just trying to help you.
And we have a witness,
one that puts you
outside of her brownstone
30 minutes prior to the murder.
So that's it.
It's all over.
So, I mean, you could help us out.
You could tell us what happened.
I mean, who knows? Maybe
we missed something.
Maybe there's some logical
explanation for all this.
The only thing that I know is that
Angela was a whore, so
maybe one of the guys
- that she was hooking up
Say that again.
You say that again. You
say that to me again!
- Say that to me again!
- Hey, don't!
Huh? Then what?
Come on.
This is it.
This is the last chance you're
gonna get to tell your story.
Well, here it is.
Bad things happen
to good people and to bad people.
And that's just the way it is, boys.
Is that your way of
saying you're guilty?
That's my way of saying I want a lawyer.
Yeah, that's probably a good idea,
'cause you're under
arrest for rape and murder.

Stand your punk ass up right now.
Hands behind your back.

Sounds like we have a strong case.
Very strong, on paper anyway.
And from what I hear, you have
a pre-existing relationship
with the defendant.
I was the prosecutor
on Payne's rape case.
And you pled him out to five years?
And he killed his counselor
three days after he was out of prison.
I'm not proud of what has transpired.
That's not what I meant.
Then what did you mean?
That you're compromised.
In what way?
In retrospect, the plea
deal was obviously a mistake.
I mean, he committed a heinous murder
72 hours after he was out.
But if you take first chair,
it'll appear you're
trying to redeem yourself.
Well, perhaps, but it's not like Payne
is the first recidivist
- this office has ever
- I'm gonna take the lead.
- Excuse me?
- I'll take first chair.
You take second.
You seem surprised.
I am.
Why is that?
You're the district attorney.
You have more important things to do
Than this?
Than getting justice for a young woman
who was just brutally
raped and murdered?
Sorry to interrupt.
Defense has filed a motion
to suppress the jewelry
found in the halfway house.

When the police entered the room,
they noticed a half open closet door
and they spotted Angela Hart's
necklace inside in plain view.
The police didn't have a warrant.
They didn't need one.
Parolees like Mr. Payne are not entitled
to the full scope of protections
under the Fourth Amendment.
That doesn't mean
they have carte blanche
to search his room whenever they want.
It does when they've gone AWOL.
At the time of the search,
the defendant hadn't responded
to his PO's calls or texts.
It doesn't matter.
In People v. Randazzo,
the court made it clear
that parolees have some
sort of right to privacy,
even when they're in
violation of their parole.
To hold otherwise would be to treat
- a parolee like a prisoner.
- Mm.
I agree with the defense.
The necklace is out.
I've known Judge Nelson for 20 years.
We're not getting any favors. Trust me.
You think he's biased?
He's political.
He's worried about the optics.
He doesn't want to be
overturned on appeal,
so every close call is
gonna go to the defense.
That's why we need to introduce
as much evidence as we can.
Our case is still strong.
We have the DNA.
We have the delivery man who saw Payne
- outside the brownstone.
- I know.
But I'm front and center on this,
and the election is
only a month away, so
If you're really concerned,
I'm happy to take the lead.
What does that mean?
Well, it means I'm in a
different position than you.
I don't have all the political concerns
and headaches you have.
I'm not looking to hide, Nolan.
I'm looking to win.
I walked in, and I saw
all this blood on the floor
and some shattered glass, and
and then I saw Angela.
And can you tell the jury what you saw,
what she looked like?
She was naked.
And her face was swollen and bruised.
And there was blood everywhere.
It's the most horrible
thing I've ever seen.
I'm showing you what
was previously recorded
as People's Exhibit 24.
It's a letter the defendant
sent to Angela from prison.
Could you please read the third
paragraph aloud for the jury?
"I've been thinking about you a lot.
You're like an angel
sent to find the goodness
in a man who possesses none.
Your warmth and beauty
keep my soul from withering.
When I am free,
I am hopeful that we can connect
as people, as friends,
as man and woman."
Thank you.
Nothing further.
Mr. Salerno
you and Angela Hart were dating.
Yes, for about eight months.
And you loved her.
I did.
Yet, you sent a series of
threatening texts to her
on the day of her murder.
"You're acting like a child.
You're making me crazy, Angela.
I swear to God, I could snap your neck."
Yes, but I didn't mean it.
We were arguing, and
I was upset, so I
So you threatened to snap her neck?
Like I said, I didn't mean it.
But you put it in writing.
It was stupid.
It also shows that you
have violent tendencies.
Objection. Argumentative.
Get to the point, Ms. Carter.
You also have two prior
arrests for battery, correct?
Yes, but they were both dismissed.
Defense Exhibit 24 and 25.
The charges may have disappeared,
but their injuries and
trauma certainly didn't.
They threw the first punch, so I
I fought back.
You beat the hell out of them.
But you don't just beat up men.
You beat up women also
Mr. Salerno is not
the one on trial here.
He should be. He's the one
- Your Honor.
- Enough, Ms. Carter.
One more word, and I
will hold you in contempt.
[GAVEL BANGS] This court is in recess.
I will see you in chambers now.
This is ridiculous.
I have a right to impeach
Salerno's testimony.
Impeach him, yes.
Accuse him of murder, no.
Your Honor, if you preclude
this line of questioning,
you, in effect, preclude me
from presenting my defense.
What is your defense?
That someone other than my
client killed Angela Hart,
most likely Mark Salerno.
Do you have any evidence
to support this theory?
Mr. Salerno's ex-girlfriend
is prepared to testify
to his propensity for violence.
So what does that have
to do with this case,
with Angela Hart?
Is there any actual evidence
to back up her testimony,
or is this just a hit job on Salerno
to manufacture reasonable doubt?
That's for the jury to decide.
I I agree with Ms. Carter.
My decision is final.
Prior to your relationship
with Angela Hart,
you dated Ella Hunter
for several months.
I wouldn't say that we were dating.
Oh, what would you say?
You were doing what? Just having sex?
Something like that.
During this time period, you two were
involved in a number of altercations
and arguments, correct?
No, that's not true.
But on two separate occasions,
you physically attacked her.
I never laid a hand on Ella.
That's a lie.
I have nothing further.
Mr. Salerno, did you kill Angela Hart?
Of course not.
I loved her very much.
Nothing further.
The People rest.

Mark was charming and kind at first.
But after a while, he
started getting jealous.
Can you be more specific?
If he saw me talking to another man,
he'd get really upset.
And sometimes, he'd get physical.
Did Mark Salerno ever
strike you with his fist?
Yes, on two occasions.
Did you seek medical treatment
- as a result of these attacks?
- Once.
I went to an urgent care facility.
What sort of treatment did you receive?
I got six stitches
right here above my eye.
Did you break up with him after that?
- Yes.
- Was he upset?
[CHUCKLES] Yes, very much so.
Can you be more specific?
he threatened to kill me.

Thank you.
Ms. Hunter, you have absolutely no proof
that Mark Salerno had anything
to do with Angela Hart's death.
Yes, that's correct.
Nothing further.

Just got off the phone with Salerno.
He swears that Ella is lying,
claims he can prove it too.
Maybe we should call him
as a rebuttal witness?
Not worth it.
The less we talk about
Ella or Salerno, the better.
I understand, but we
should probably do something
to discredit her testimony.
The damage has already been done.
She said what she said.
The jury will either believe her or not.
If that's what you think.
No, what I think is that it would have
been nice to know about the
ex-girlfriend before trial.
I agree, but
But what?
You wanted to fast track the case.
That obviously compressed
the amount of time
That is not an excuse.
That's a fact.
I think your perception
of me is starting
to affect our relationship.
Excuse me?
Let's just cut to the chase.
You think I'm using this
trial to get reelected,
to get my name in the press.
Come on, Nolan. Now's your chance.
Queen for a day.
Speak your truth.
Okay, I will.
Yes, I think the upcoming election
was part of your calculus.
And because of that, you
think I'm more politician
than prosecutor?
No, I never said that.
But you think it.
Jack McCoy is gone.
And I'm sorry if that distorted
your sense of stability
and security, but let me be as
transparent as I possibly can.
I am not trying to be
the next Jack McCoy.
I don't want to be the next Jack McCoy.
I don't care how he ran this office
or how he conducted
himself with the press,
but that does not mean that I am
some sort of political carnival barker,
looking to whore out this
office to advance my ambition.
You know, if I'm gonna
be perfectly honest,
you're not entirely wrong either.
I am well aware that
this case is getting
lots of press attention.
And, yes, that was part of my plan.
And, yes, I want to win this election
very badly because I love this job
and I love trying cases.
And if you don't understand
or respect that or me,
then you are free to get the hell out.
All I can say is you are wrong.
And for the record,
I think your perception of who I am
is the thing affecting our relationship.
You look at me like I'm
like I'm constantly judging you,
like I'm constantly
comparing you to Jack McCoy.
I'm not.
I'm just trying to do my damn job.
That's the truth.
There is no point in us debating this.
We've got a trial to win,
and Shawn Payne is
taking the stand tomorrow.

I met Angela five years ago.
When I got arrested,
she tried to help me.
What do you mean?
She was my therapist.
She really thought that
if I tried really hard,
I might be able to live
a decent life someday.
So she believed in you.
- Is that what you're saying?
- Yes.
Probably the first person who
ever did, if I'm being honest.
Did you like Angela?
Very much.
After you were released from prison,
did you see Angela?
Did you see Angela Hart the
day she was raped and killed?
Yes, in the afternoon.
What did you two do on this occasion?
We talked for a while,
and then we had sex.
Did you wear a condom?

I didn't have one.

And it just sort of happened.
So that is why your DNA was on her body.
What time did you leave
Angela's apartment?
Around 7:00 p.m.
And as you were leaving, did you see
anything or anyone unusual?
I saw her boyfriend, Mark Salerno.
He was lurking by the door.
Did you say anything to him?
I just kept walking.
Nothing further.
It's getting late.
Let's pick this up tomorrow.

Be honest.
Is sitting second chair to Baxter
more stressful than
sitting first chair to me?
It's not even close.
He's the boss.
And he needs to win.
The election's only a month away,
and, according to the
polls, it's neck and neck.
To be honest, he's been really
good at ignoring all of that.
The only thing he's
focused on is the case,
and he's doing a good job.
You seem surprised.
At what?
The fact that Baxter is a good lawyer.
I guess I wasn't expecting him to be
as thorough and dedicated as he is.
And, you know, seeing him in court
What is it?

What am I looking at?
The marking on her
leg, on the inner thigh.
Yeah, and?
Looks like he was trying
to carve an S into her leg,
but didn't quite finish, which means
there's a pattern to his
violence, a modus operandi.
This is a photo of Chelsea's leg
20 minutes after she was attacked.
This is exactly what we need.
But I have a request.
I want to use a threat of this
evidence to leverage a plea.
Why the hell would we do that?
Because I'm worried about Chelsea.
She is extremely fragile.
She's still struggling
with all of the trauma.
And I'm not sure she could handle
seeing Payne face to face.
I can only imagine what
that poor woman has endured,
but I do not think that
Shawn Payne should be
the beneficiary of
that pain and suffering.
I'm not giving that
bastard a damn thing, Nolan.
Not an inch.
I want to nail him too.
Trust me.
That son of a bitch made
me look like an idiot
for believing in him.
But there are no guarantees
we're gonna win this case,
even with Chelsea's testimony.
So why risk an acquittal?
Not to mention the election.
You have got a lot riding on this.
Why roll the dice?
It's not about me.
It's not about you.
It's not even about Chelsea Shell.
It's about getting
justice for Angela Hart.
And we are gonna do everything
we can to get a conviction.
The defendant has clearly displayed
a distinct pattern of
behavior, or modus operandi.
During or after his
violent sexual assaults,
he carves the letter S
into his victim's leg.
He did this to Chelsea Shell,
and he did this to Angela Hart.
So where's the S on Angela's leg?
I just see a little line or scribble.
It doesn't matter if
he completed it or not.
It does matter.
There is no proof that
the mark in Angela's leg
was actually intended to be an S.
[LAUGHS] What the hell
was it intended to be?
A piece of art?
Your Honor, it's clear that
this was meant to be an S.
Payne probably heard
a siren or a door slam,
and he left before he could
finish what he started.
But for the sake of
argument, even if it wasn't
meant to be an S, it still clearly shows
a distinct pattern of
conduct that Payne carves
something into his victims' legs.
Well, if it were an actual S, well,
then you'd have a point, but
That's preposterous.
Watch yourself, Mr. Baxter.
- I've had enough.
- Excuse me?
Look, Steve, we don't like each other.
That's okay.
But we need to act
like professionals here
and focus on the case.
Or better yet, the law
underlying the case.
These photos clearly show
a pattern of conduct
admissible under Molineux,
and the jury should know about it.
Like I said
And if you don't understand the law here
or its application to this
particular fact pattern,
that's fine. Make your ruling.
We'll file an immediate
interlocutory appeal,
and I'll alert the press as to
why the trial's been delayed.
I don't care what your title is, Nick.
This is my courtroom.
Do you understand?
Now, I'm gonna need some more time
to analyze this a bit,
but I will get back
to the two of you shortly.

About time that arrogant
bastard ruled in our favor.
I'm stunned.
His back was against the wall.
- He didn't have a choice.
- Meaning?
Nelson's an ambitious social climber,
and he's on the short list
for the Court of Appeals.
Last thing he wants right now
is to have his name in the press
or have a controversial
ruling overturned.
So I called his bluff.
Well, it worked. Nice job.
Now we just have to make
sure Chelsea's ready to go.
So do what you can to
alleviate her anxiety
and get her prepped for this afternoon.
One more thing.
I want you to do the direct examination.
I was a junior at NYU,
and I was tutoring high school kids.
And then, one day, he
He asked if he could come to my dorm.
Wanted to see what college was like.
Told me he always dreamed of
going to a school like NYU.
And what happened then?
I took him to the dorm,
showed him around.
And, uh
then we went into my room.
And he
Take your time.
I know this is difficult.
And he attacked me.

Raped me.

Choked me and punched me
in the face over and over.
And then he took a knife
and he carved the letter S
into my leg.
Is that marking still there on your leg?
No. No.
I replaced it with a tattoo of a flower
because I wanted to erase
all of the evil from my body.
Is the man who sexually
assaulted you five years ago
in this courtroom today?

You okay?

Your Honor, just
Please, please have some respect.

Don't worry.
You're safe.
Ms. Shell
is the man who carved
that S into your leg,
sexually assaulted you,
broke your nose and your jaw
and your left cheekbone
is he in this courtroom?

Could you please point him out?
He's right there.

Has the jury reached a verdict?
Yes, we have.
How do you find?
In the charge of murder
in the second degree,
we find the defendant, Shawn Payne
Thank you, ladies and
gentlemen of the jury.
This court is adjourned.
Well done, Nolan.
You too.
And for the record, you were wrong.
I never thought you
were a carnival barker.
I appreciate that.

- What is it?
Chelsea Shell is in the ER.
She tried to kill herself.

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