know Phoebe is to...
Part 1:Better to have loved and lost
Cole stared at the phone he had put down for a second and then looked at the client sitting opposite him. Tom Reynolds was a very well known San Francisco ship owner. He was a man in his fifties, expensively dressed and immaculately groomed in a rather flashy manner.
Cole realised he was still staring at the phone He shrugged a little awkwardly. “Ex wife” he said “You know what they’re like””
“Yes I do” said Reynolds dryly “I’ve got three’
Cole laughed. “You know what they say, marriage is until divorce us do part; ex wives last forever.”
Reynolds laughed “The only way I know how to get rid of an ex wife is to kill her or marry her”
“Don’t tempt me” Cole said. He picked up the notebook opposite. “I’ll get some details Tom but I have to warn you this could get messy.” If Reynolds had known Cole better, he just might have recognised the smile Cole gave him was sardonic rather than supportive.
Cole was instinctively suspicious of this client. He had been called into a meeting with the three senior partners, Arthur Jackman, Henry Kline and Harold Carter. Of late Cole’s standing at Jackman, Carter and Kline was not good. He only held the job by the support of Harold Carter a, a charming clever lawyer, who had an excellent understanding of clients requirements and some judicious use of magic. The other two partners were unhappy with his attitude, his disappearances over the last year, his public marital woes and his erratic behaviour. Jackman a small fussy man who had made his mark writing difficult and unbreakable contracts, made no secret of his annoyance with Cole.
At the meeting, the partners had told him that using some very hard won favours, they, Cole assumed Carter, had a new client. Thomas Reynolds, the well known owner of Tiberius Shipping. Cole had inwardly groaned. He had seen the papers. Reynolds had lately been the subject of a very nasty scandal when a young officer on a ship of his had been charged with smuggling huge amounts of heroin in from Thailand. The stories had strongly implied that Reynolds himself may have been implicated in the smuggling.
partners told Cole that Reynolds wanted to help the officer who was arrested for
smuggling. His own legal companies felt they could be compromised acting for
Reynolds and his employee. Carter had used his contacts to convince Reynolds
they had a junior partner in the firm who had previously been an ADA and had very good contacts and an excellent
record of making criminal cases go away. The partners were very insistent
that Cole’s role was to make this go away.
It was made very clear to Cole that his tenure at Jackman Carter and Kline depended on his ability to make the case go away. And that alone made Cole suspicious. The cases that Cole had made go away were ones of the partner’s chief complaints about him. Because he would not reveal how he did it. In the last six months, Cole had handled 10 criminal cases. 6 had been for rich clients who were as guilty as sin ,cases about of drink driving, a criminal assault on a wife, perjury, manslaughter after a car accident and possession of narcotics and each time he had used his contacts to deal and only one client had done jail time and then a great deal less than he deserved. The other four had been pro bono cases. And all of them had been innocent.
of his own history made Cole strongly resent that an innocent person should even
need to defend themselves in court. He made one case go away by magically
providing evidence for an alibi so the judge threw the case out of court. In
another a witness had been mistakenly convinced when she identified a man as a
rapist. Cole had used magic to assist her in changing her evidence.
A third had been a case where 2 witnesses out right lied about an
employee accused of embezzling huge amounts of money. Darryl Morris had asked
for help because he felt strongly that the witnesses were lying but he ADA in
the case was refusing to consider the possibility. Cole had used his powers to
put such a fear of god into the witnesses that they had retracted their
evidence. The fourth one, went to trial and earned some notoriety for Cole as
the defending lawyer. It was the one that had annoyed Paige. None of the
partners had approved of these cases and Cole was immediately suspicious when
they were cited to attract Tom Reynolds as a client or at least have Reynolds
ask them to represent an employee and to make the case go away.
Sitting uncomfortably in Cole’s office, Reynolds became serious. “I don’t import drugs Mr Turner”
“Call me Cole” Cole said
“This is not just about me and I owe people who work for me some loyalty,” Reynolds continued
Cole leaned back, but his expression was genuine admiration as he said “That's not an attitude you see much these days”
“For that I need to apologise “ Reynolds said.
Cole shook his head. He looked at the notes he had taken. The case was a mess. In a routine search of one of Reynolds ships that had come into Port from Thailand, customs had found a huge stash of heroin in the cabin of one of the. younger officers. The ship’s captain, all the officers had sworn that the boy was clean of anything to do with drugs, a kid from a good family who were distraught at their son’s arrest. Reynolds thought the whole thing was a plant, dishonest officials taking bribes. He had some problems with one of the dock unions, which had crime connections, and he believed the resulting news stories about him being implicated in drug importing was a ruse to make him more manageable when dealing with this element. He was quite honest that he would have been if it were not for the consequences to the crewmember.
Cole sighed. “First off we better be clear that if I take this on, even if you are paying, it is Mr Rodriguez who is the client and what he wants goes”
Reynolds nodded “That is understood.”
“Second” Cole said, “I better warn you that if this is a plant, a set up, it will damn hard to prove him innocent. Those guys aren’t stupid; they usually make sure these sets ups are air tight”
“I saw what you did for that boy who was accused of murder a couple of month’s ago” Reynolds said.
“Yes well I get all the shit cases around here” Cole answered honestly ”It’s my punishment for getting the firm to do pro bono work”
Reynolds looked at him as if he could not believe his ears “I thought you would be a more committed person” he said disapproving
“Avenging the innocent” Cole said with a rueful smile “You think I would be any more honest if I said that I did it to right a wrong, assure justice, protect those who can’t protect themselves”
Reynolds looked nonplussed. “No I guess not. Mt Turner” he said “Cole, I think maybe I have come to the wrong place. I saw what you did for that man and I thought here is some one who knows how to fight for what’s right, I did not realise its just luck or fame. I want someone who will believe Eddie because that is all he has at the moment.”
Cole did not answer, then as Reynolds stood up Cole said slowly “ He has you Tom. That sounds like a pretty big plus to me”’ Cole sighed “Will you sit down for a minute”
Reynolds hesitated but he looked back at the intensity in Cole’s eyes and something caught him and he sat down.
Cole laughed easily and pleasantly “just so we are being completely honest. I ought to tell you that I am not the most popular lawyer around her with the senior partner anyway. It was fairly well laid on the line; if I screw this case, get you off side I am out of this firm. Just so we understand each other.”
Reynolds looked around as if he thought he was in a room with a madman. Cole openly grinned. “Just as well you don’t know,” he thought. Out loud he said, “Defending an innocent person is damned difficult. “
At Reynolds suspicious look he continued, “For three reasons Mr Reynolds. Firstly innocent rarely help themselves. Because until the time they are accused they never think they could be accused and they do stupid and inexplicable things, things that juries never understand only innocent people do. “
Cole continued “Secondly because innocent people are always guilty of something” almost casually he looked across and held Reynolds gaze, smiling quietly. Reynolds quickly looked away.” Always” Cole stressed “and because they can’t believe they could be accused of something they didn’t do, they often start acting like they are guilty. Make the case about things they have done.”
When Reynolds did not reply, Cole continued “Thirdly because the system is stacked against the innocent. It's everyone’s worst nightmare to be accused of something they didn’t do, so the system tries to make out it can’t happen. The person who pleads innocent and is convicted gets a worse sentence because they don’t show remorse. And in a case like this where there are no mistakes by the police the only real defence is to accuse the authorities of corruption and that is about the least believed defence, even if it is true.”
Cole stopped. “I don’t like defending the innocent Mr Reynolds. It offends me that an innocent needs to be defended, being innocent should be enough but it isn’t. However as it isn’t enough and Mr Rodriguez needs defending, I will”
Reynolds leant forward and took forward, He took a deep breath and said “You must be a demon in court Mr Turner.. Cole”
Cole smiled “I have that reputation” he said Then he grimanced and said. “It would be better for everyone if we just found a way to make it go way.” Cole smiled his charming smile “To protect the guily secrets of all the innocent parties’”
Reynold took a deep breath and not quite meeting Cole’s eyes asked, “Can you do that? “
“I can give it a good shot“ Cole answered honestly.
Reynolds left obviously not sure what he had run into with Cole. Cole’s assistant Francesca Rinaldi, watched him leave with a bemused and confused expression. It was one she had seen on the faces of quite a number of clients who had left Cole’s office.
“Do you think they are all innocent” she asked Cole.