Turnabout from the Balcony
Day Two: Trial
April 21, 10:00 AM
Courtroom No. 2
Jack was looking as grim as grim had ever looked in the defendant's chair as the judge walked in. Phoenix sort of understood how he felt. The previous day had turned up absolutely nothing new (aside from an Internet search that turned up a couple of articles that Jack had written; Phoenix didn't really know enough about journalism to know whether they were well-written or not, but he'd liked the one about the cat fashion show). He was going into this trial pretty blind, and the only comfort was that Edgeworth probably wasn't much better off than he was.
"Court is now in session for the trial of..." The judge trailed off, staring at the page in his hand. "I thought this was the trial of Christopher Murrow?"
"My apologies, Your Honor," Edgeworth said. If Phoenix hadn't known about Edgeworth's troubles in detail, he might have known that something was wrong with him but probably wouldn't have been able to identify what it was. Outside the courtroom, Edgeworth had been willing to show his weariness. Here, he just seemed weird and springy and stiff and on-edge. "The defendant identified himself incorrectly, and as such early papers might bear his pseudonym."
"All the papers have had his pseudonym, Mr. Edgeworth," the judge said, sounding pretty irritated. "This is the first I've heard this name. I might expect this sort of disorganization from Mr. Wright, but certainly not from the Prosecutors' Office."
"Hey," Phoenix muttered half to himself.
"I understand, Your Honor, and apologize once again," Edgeworth said in that same weirdly bouncy way. "If it helps, the prosecution is ready."
Phoenix jumped when the judge looked over at him. "Um! The defense is ready as well."
The judge looked genuinely relieved that Phoenix had been caught off-guard. Probably meant that the world was making sense once more or something. "Then your opening statement, Mr. Edgeworth."
"Of course. The defendant, Mr. Jack Burden, stands accused of murder in the second degree. This was a crime of passion - of that there is no doubt - but just how deep the passion runs in this case is something that remains to be seen." Edgeworth paused just a moment and pursed his lips and seemed to think about how over-the-top that had sounded. Phoenix was just glad he was aware of it. "Should it please the court, the prosecution will demonstrate opportunity and motive."
Not Edgeworth's best opening statement. Still, Phoenix had to wonder - motive? He had no inkling of any sort of motive. (Of course, that was going off the word of his client. That would, therefore, be a reasonable assumption with a client who told the truth. Too bad he was defending Jack Burden.)
"Well," Edgeworth was starting. "I'd like to - "
"Mr. Edgeworth, may I interrupt?" the judge asked, looking down at the paper before him. "Is 'Insert Victim's Name Here' a standard name for young people nowadays?"
There was a pause in which Phoenix held his breath, staring at the indecipherable expression on Edgeworth's face and wondering what he would do. The end result was sort of disappointing: Edgeworth finally lost that fixed, frozen look and intoned, "No, Your Honor. That should be Annie Doggett. What you have is a typo."
Hell of a typo. The judge seemed to agree, fixing Edgeworth with a formidable frown. "Perhaps we should just move onto the testimony."
"Yes, Your Honor," Edgeworth agreed stiffly. "Detective Gumshoe, if you will."
Phoenix examined his friend as Gumshoe took the stand. Edgeworth seriously looked like he hadn't gotten any sleep the night before, which was kinda bad, because yesterday he'd looked exactly the same way. (And maybe that would be an advantage for the defense but dang Phoenix would feel guilty using it.)
"Name and occupation, please," Edgeworth was saying.
"Yes, sir!" said Gumshoe, looking about as cheerful as anyone could look. "Dick Gumshoe, detective. I'm in charge of homicides at the precinct."
"If you could provide a summary of what happened," Edgeworth said, looking about as nauseous as anyone could look.
"Yes, sir!" said Gumshoe with the air of someone who had never once in his life needed sleep. "Here's how it went down, best we can figure. Victim - name's Annie Doggett - " Though there was something sort of shifty as he said that. Phoenix stared, wondering if there was any way he could nail that shiftiness down, but he couldn't think of one. "She arrived at the party, a fundraiser for the mayor's recall, around eight-thirty."
"How sure are you of that time?" Phoenix asked.
"Pretty sure," said Gumshoe, then sifted through the evidence to pull out a little plastic tag with a number on it. "She dropped her stuff off at the coat check, and they hand these doohickeys out in order so going by the times that other people dropped theirs off we figured out it was probably around that time."
The judge looked impressed. "Fine detecting, Detective."
"Thanks, Your Honor!" Gumshoe bubbled. "We know how to work on a schedule." He paused. "Uh, actually, that sounded sort of mean-spirited, didn't it? I didn't - "
"Just continue, Detective," Edgeworth sighed.
"Yessir," said Gumshoe, a bit less cheerful now. "Anyway. Around nine o'clock, she had an argument with a man."
Phoenix took a deep breath and braced himself and asked, "Who was it?"
"Defendant sittin' over there, pal," said Gumshoe.
When Phoenix looked over, Jack hadn't reacted. His face was still frozen in the Burden Special of two parts sullen to three parts grim to one part ironic.
"We have a witness to attest to this," Edgeworth was saying.
"Right," Gumshoe was agreeing. "Anyway, sometime around this time she starts knockin' 'em back. BAC of over .25."
"BAC?" asked Phoenix.
"Blood alcohol content, Wright," Edgeworth said condescendingly.
"You know, like those little charts you have to study when you're getting your driver's license?" Gumshoe said.
Phoenix grinned as best he could and avoided looking at Maya and said, "Oh yes. Those."
"Anyway, sometime after this she goes up to room 718, which is being rented out to one Christopher Murrow - Who's the defendant, you know, Your Honor. That's the alias he was using."
"Yes, I'm aware of that now, thank you."
"Sure thing. Anyway, we can definitely place her there. We got this - " He held up a tumbler with a straw poking out of it. "From the room."
Just for argument's sake, Phoenix asked, "Are you sure it's hers?"
"No fingerprints on it - lady was wearing gloves - and we still haven't had time to get DNA tests back, but we're about ninety percent sure," Gumshoe said. "The drink was a vodka tonic, which was apparently the victim's drink of choice, and the straw is pretty telling. Apparently she made a big deal about only drinking her drinks with a straw. Said it was bad for her teeth otherwise. Bartender didn't have straws, so he had to run and get her one from the kitchen."
"So none of the others there had a straw."
"Far as we can tell, no. Also found her coat check claim in the room itself, and we have elevator surveillance tape showing her going to floor seven, and we also have a witness says she went up there. Be hearing from her later, right Mr. Edgeworth?" Edgeworth said nothing. "Right. Anyway, gets a bit clearer in a moment. We found a handprint on the front of the witness' jacket, in the area just below the ribcage, with prints that match the defendant's."
Oof. That wasn't the best news ever. It wasn't totally decisive - that struck Phoenix as being a little low to send someone over that particular railing, and there was more than one way to make a handprint, but it still didn't really spell good things. And judging from Jack's expression, it wasn't a surprise, either. Still, that was odd - "Her jacket? I thought you said she went to coat check."
"Oh, yeah!" said Gumshoe. "She didn't actually drop off her jacket, just a bag."
Phoenix frowned. This could go somewhere. "Tell me something, Detective. That doesn't strike you as odd? That she visited coat check, but didn't drop off her jacket?"
Edgeworth scoffed. "Hardly strange, Wright. The woman was fashionable, and she was at a party. The jacket was no doubt part of her outfit."
Phoenix frowned. It was possible. "Do you have the bag?"
"Sure do," Gumshoe announced cheerily. He pulled it out and showed it to the court. "Not much inside, I'm afraid. It was just this note and this key." He considerately gave them to the bailiff. "That's it."
"No I.D. or anything?" Phoenix asked absently as he read the note in question. It was unsigned - all it said, in tight, slanting script, was, Bird - 1 Nat. S, finans. 776. I trust you know what to do. Take care. Which sounded very awesome and spy, to be sure, but which didn't help Phoenix much with the whole comprehension thing.
"Nope," Gumshoe said.
"So how did you know it was hers?" Phoenix asked, looking the key over, too. It was pretty nondescript. Looked like it could fit anything from a door to a safe.
"Handwriting on the note was hers," said Gumshoe.
Now, that was interesting. "Who identified it?"
"That was Ms. Joanne Tron," Edgeworth answered. "A friend of the victim, and the one who identified her for us."
Phoenix frowned and rubbed at his chin thoughtfully. "Maya, you're a girl. This isn't standard girl stuff, is it? For a bag?"
"Sure isn't the sort of stuff I carry," Maya responded. "No money, no cell phone, no bus tickets, no coupon book, no autograph book, no issues of Pink Princess Returns!, no spare magatama, no incense - "
"Right, no money or cell phone," Phoenix agreed quickly (though not quickly enough). "Your Honor, this bag is highly suspect. There's little evidence to tie it to the victim, and the contents are..." He searched for an appropriate word. "Weird," was the best he could come up with.
"You sounded really lawyery there for a second, Nick," said Maya.
"Thanks," said Phoenix.
"Well, what is it you're requesting, Wright?" asked Edgeworth snippily. "Perhaps you should make your intentions clear for a change."
Well, someone was marginally crankier than usual. "Oh. Um - " Edgeworth probably didn't have any more information - at this point, he'd probably give up anything to the judge, be it helpful to his case or harmful, just to prove that he had something. So... "I'd like to maybe hear from the witness herself?"
Edgeworth rolled his eyes broadly. Ahh, there was nothing like opposition that was about as catty as a teenage girl. "And do you want to talk to her now, Wright, or can it wait a little bit?"
"Um...It can wait."
"Is it all right with you, Mr. Wright," he drawled, "if we just go ahead and establish motive instead of moving right on to the next witness, thereby destroying the whole organization of the trial?"
Well, that had been an unpleasant question on several different levels. "No, that's, um..."
"Good," Edgeworth snapped, then turned back towards Gumshoe. Gumshoe shrank back a little bit at his gaze, but it was with his normal businesslike tone that Edgeworth demanded "The motive, if you will, Detective."
"Oh, yeah!" Phoenix was starting to really not like Gumshoe's happy face. It never meant good things. "Anyway, we weren't sure at first, but it seems the defendant and the victim knew each other from way back."
I have no idea who she is, Jack had said not twenty-four hours before. I have absolutely no relation to the victim, he said. One of these days, Phoenix was going to find a client who wasn't a compulsive liar and that was going to be an awesome day.
"We found a picture of the victim in the defendant's wallet," Gumshoe explained. Phoenix recognized the picture that got handed around. It was the photo of the woman with brown hair and freckles that had been located in the wallet that Phoenix had been so infinitely good as to hand over the day before.
"Those snakes!" Maya hissed. "That was our find!" But when Phoenix glared over at Edgeworth, Edgeworth didn't even spare him a glance. Snake indeed. Least he could have done was maybe let Phoenix know. Jeez.
The girl in the picture wasn't especially pretty. She had an upturned nose and a thin mouth. Her eyes were nice, though, a grayish color and bright and intelligent. She looked maybe eighteen or so. When he turned the photo over, the dates there corresponded pretty well: someone had written there Elle Sinclair, Summer 2009.
Of course, that was a little strange in itself.
"This isn't the victim's name," Phoenix pointed out.
Wow! Edgeworth had evidently decided that Phoenix was worthy of being met in the eyes. He was really moving up in the world. "Yes. We did notice that," Edgeworth said delicately.
"Is the signature in the same handwriting as the note?"
Edgeworth looked down at the papers before him. "It's difficult to say, of course. A signature is different from a handwritten piece, and..." He looked up again and evidently just decided to bite the bullet. "An analysis was not performed upon the handwriting."
"Mr. Edgeworth," said the judge, who seemed genuinely shocked. Phoenix was kinda jealous. The judge never seemed shocked when he messed up. Mostly he seemed kind of weary, and vaguely resigned.
"Yes, Your Honor," said Edgeworth.
"Never before have I witnessed something like this from you. This level of unpreparedness and disorganization - "
"Yes, Your Honor," said Edgeworth, his voice still totally uninflected.
The judge shook his head. "I hope that an analysis will be performed soon."
"I'm sending Detective Gumshoe over this very moment with the evidence to perform the tests."
Gumshoe was looking off into space, scratching his chin. Slowly, he looked out and noticed that the entire courtroom was staring at him. "Huh?" he finally said.
"Take the evidence," Edgeworth gritted. "Get it analyzed."
"Oh! Sorry, pal. Out the door right now." He grinned sheepishly, grabbed the evidence, and didn't manage to beat his retreat before he felt compelled to add, "And I'll get the DNA test and tox screen and everything else that didn't get done, too."
The judge was glaring at Edgeworth and Edgeworth was staring at the ceiling and Phoenix was really hoping that keeping his eyes stuck firmly on the desk would keep him from having to provide a reaction to this.
A long pause. "Let's just move on."
"Yes," agreed Edgeworth wearily. He paused a moment, straightening the papers before him, before he continued. "Well. As the defense earlier requested, the prosecution has prepared the next witness to attest to the victim's identity." Oh, right. That wasn't exactly how it had gone. They hadn't just prepared this witness with lightning-speed for the defense's sake - but poor Edgeworth needed any points he could get, so Phoenix didn't say a thing. "Ms. Joanne Tron was a friend of the defendant's. She accompanied the defendant to that fatal party, and she was the one to identify her friend's body. Ms. Tron, please."
The woman who took the stand was small, sort of pixie-cute, wearing a short haircut and a slightly shy smile. This, then, was one of the two Edgeworth had mentioned yesterday. (Would the other one be testifying, too? Phoenix hoped so. If they'd known the victim, then they could conceivably have motive, and it would be nice to have someone besides his client with motive. Sigh.)
"State your name and profession for the record," Edgeworth said.
"My name's Joanne, but my friends call me Sparky," the woman said with a broad, good-humored smile. "Right now I'm a student."
"And you knew the victim."
"Annie was a good heart," Sparky said, her smile turning a little melancholy. "I knew her, yeah. She was probably one of my best friends."
"How did you know her?" Phoenix interjected.
"She was a student, too."
Sparky probably wasn't much older than twenty, but the victim had been twenty-nine, a bit too old to be in school. "Where is it exactly that you guys study?"
"It's...hard to explain," Sparky said. "It's not like college. It's not even a school - not exactly.It's this retreat, of sorts. They teach us how to farm, how to take in the fresh air...It's nice. Very peaceful. It sort of changed my life." Sparky smiled fondly. "That's how we met."
Okay, a mysterious wilderness school. "Where is it?"
"Out west a bit."
"How far west?"
"Fifty miles or so, maybe?"
"So, in the desert?" Phoenix asked.
"Yup," Sparky said. "Out in the desert."
"Doesn't it get hot?" Phoenix asked, scratching his chin.
"Pretty hot, yeah," said Sparky.
"So, do you guys have, like, air conditioning..."
"Nope. We try to avoid leaving a footprint, you know what I mean?"
"You live in the desert? Without air conditioning?"
"Yes, Wright, it gets hot," sighed Edgeworth. "Can we move on?"
Phoenix narrowed his eyes. He'd grown up here. He remembered all too well the summer of his high school graduation. It could get hot. This lady seeming untroubled by the heat? Definitely suspicious.
"Oh, it doesn't get all that hot," Maya said.
Maya was suspicious, too.
But the whole court was staring at him, so Phoenix just tucked his suspicions away and asked, "And her name was Annie. Annie Doggett?"
"Yet on the back of this photo, in what appears to be her hand, she's written 'Elle Sinclair,'" Phoenix pointed out. "Do you have any comment?"
"I don't know anything about that," Sparky responded, then tilted her head to the side. "I know she wanted to be an actress when she way young. Maybe it was her stage name?"
That sounded...vaguely possible. "And you went with her to the fundraiser?"
"Uh-huh," Sparky said. "It was...We weren't gonna go, originally. It was Pat and me, that's what I mean by 'we,'" she added before Phoenix could ask. "We're not much into politics. But Annie asked us to go."
"She was into politics."
"Hoh yeah," Sparky laughed. "Boy. She got really passionate, you know. She started talking about the party seriously days before it happened. 'Oh, the future of the city will depend on this election.' We all just wanted her to shut up already, really."
"You and Pat?"
Phoenix narrowed his eyes and wondered who everybody was, but Edgeworth was hurrying the testimony along. "And so she asked you to go. Why was that?"
"Yeah," Sparky said, "boy. That was because she said to us, 'I think there's going to be this guy there, this guy I used to know, and I don't know if anything will happen but something might. I want you there because I trust you.'"
Oh boy. "Did you get any details about the guy?" Phoenix asked, wincing.
"Hum um," Sparky said, shaking her head. "Annie wouldn't tell us anything, you know? It was just, 'I knew this guy, and I'm afraid of him.' And Annie wasn't ever afraid of anything, you know?" Sparky raised her eyebrows and shook her head. "I really admired her. She was just so confident. So tall. It was kinda heartbreaking to see her scared."
Phoenix frowned a bit. "So you didn't get the guy's name, what he looked like..."
"Hum um," she repeated, shaking her head. "Only just knew he existed. And I heard about their fight."
Right, that fight Gumshoe had mentioned. "But you don't know it was with the same guy."
"No," Sparky admitted. "That's true. I don't."
"It seems a reasonable assumption, though, doesn't it, Wright?" Edgeworth asked. "The victim knew the defendant. The victim was afraid of someone she knew. The victim had an altercation with the defendant."
"We don't know that it was Mr. Burden - " Phoenix started, which of course was all the goddamn segue that goddamn Edgeworth needed.
"Don't we?" Edgeworth tutted. "The next witness saw the altercation that took place between the victim and Mr. Burden, the very same conflict - we believe - that sent him into the rage that led him to take Ms. Doggett's life. Ms. Cook, if you would take the stand, please."
Sparky was already getting down, and it was too late to object. This next girl who jumped up from her seat in the gallery and bounced her way into the witness stand was short and perky and dressed - sort of inappropriately - in a short, low-cut cocktail dress. She grinned and winked at Phoenix before turning towards Edgeworth.
"If you could state your name and occupation for the record," Edgeworth was asking.
"Gimme your hand and I'll write it down for you," she winked.
Edgeworth closed his eyes. Phoenix could practically hear him thinking about how he was too tired for this. "Please."
"Or, you know - " More coquettishly still, and pulling back her upper arms to draw attention to a certain pair of assets - "You could give me your number. I'm okay with calling. You know, I'm a modern girl. I'm okay with being, you know - aggressive."
"What..." Edgeworth started to ask, but in the end he just shook his head and said, "Just your name. Please."
"Kel-lyyy," she flirted.
"And now your surname."
"Cooo-oook," she simpered.
"And what do you do for a living?"
"I'm a caaa-ter-err."
"Thank you." Edgeworth took a moment. "If you could tell us what you saw that evening."
"Oh, yeah!" It appeared, given the enthusiasm of her reaction, that Kelly liked one thing more than flirting and that was gossiping. "Okay, so, there was this guy, right? I was like, cue! Tee! Except then I saw him next to a regular-sized person and I saw that he was seriously pint-sized, like five feet tall. Oh my God that's him sitting right there, how tall are you anyway?" She paused, but Jack didn't respond. She seemed unfazed. "So yeah, it's him and this lady, you know, super-fab red hair, totally the color I'd want except I totally don't have the skin for it, do you think? Do you think I have the skin for it?" This addressed at Edgeworth. Edgeworth didn't say anything either. "I don't think I'd want to try it, because they say that dying your hair totally dries it out and I have like all the split ends in the world anyway."
Normally, at this point, Edgeworth would be hurrying it along, but instead he was leaning back slightly and his eyes were closed.
"And I like my hair color anyway. And it was totally out of a bottle. She was totally styling, except sort of in that posery way? You know? Like she was trying too hard? I dunno. Anyway, guy seemed totally into her. He was all, like, 'Oh my God, you need to stop making out with everyone,' and she was like, 'Whatever, square, my guys don't need stepladders.' Except they probably totally did, because she was like a giantess. I don't even know how that would work. That relationship. He'd like need platforms. And those are like totally 2012. Whatever. Maybe they're coming back? I dunno. So, he's like, 'But I wanna be the Heath Ledger to your Julia Stiles,' and she was like, 'Whatever, I need a guy who comes up above my boobs.' And he was like, 'It's okay, I don't even care that you and Sam have a thing going on - '"
There was a noise, suddenly, from Jack. Phoenix turned to look at him, but it had been just that one cough and a look of discomfort that lasted a bit longer and nothing more.
"Yeah, right, like that, right? And so she was like, 'I'm still gonna see him,' and he grabbed her and then she pushed him away and was like, 'I'm gonna get trashed and make out with stars of stage and screen.'"
(Well, at least Will Powers would have been tall enough for her.)
Phoenix took a moment to collect himself. "All right," he said. "So, um - "
"What are you gonna aaaask meee?" Kelly giggled.
"Um," he coughed. "Well. A lot of that sounded like, um..." Phoenix hesitated, but the court was waiting, so finally he finished: "Lies."
Kelly made an outraged noise. Edgeworth crossed his arms.
"My word, Wright," he said dryly. "Do try to spare the poor girl's feelings."
"I know right?" chirped Kelly, who was evidently (a.) just glad to have someone sticking up for her and (b.) completely oblivious to sarcasm. "You should apologize."
"Um..." Well, he had phrased it a little harshly. "Sorry?"
"Good," said Kelly, nodding. Then she smiled coquettishly and clasped her hands behind her back. "And now you should kiss me to prove you're sorry."
Phoenix stared a moment. "Um...What?"
"Doesn't have to be on the lips," she said cheerily, then lowered her lashes and her voice just a touch and repeated breathily, "Doesn't have to be on the lips."
"Um!" Phoenix yelped. "What I meant with my previous question! Was that what you said didn't sound like my client. His voice. Didn't sound like..."
"Well, who'm I supposed to be, Ben Quist?" Kelly pouted.
"No, err...I mean..."
"Aww, Nick's a little flustered," Maya snickered.
"Yeah, yeah..." Phoenix cleared his throat. "It just didn't say like something he'd say. Anything he'd say. Were you..."
"Wright, please," Edgeworth said contemptuously, but Phoenix couldn't get too irritated because God bless him he took over. "Ms. Cook."
"Yes, Prosecutor Sexy?" Kelly returned.
Edgeworth visibly recoiled, then looked away and said, "Um, er," and the like through gritted teeth. Phoenix couldn't believe it. Edgeworth had been all contemptuous like that, but all it took was a "Prosecutor Sexy" to take him down? Jeez.
And now Kelly was following up her original attack with a super-combo: "Or maybe I should say, like, Prosexcutor," she flirted.
"Ms. Cook," Edgeworth gasped, once last desperate counterattack. "Please. Be professional..."
No good. The counterattack had been so weak that she hadn't even felt it as she powered up to deliver the coup de grace. She thought a moment, pressing one short nail against her lower lip as she corrected herself, "Pro-sex-cutie," and giggled.
Well, Edgeworth was out for the ten-count, so evidently Phoenix was now tagged in. "Um, what I meant was just this: knowing my client, I doubt very much that he would say...precisely what you said. Ergo - "
Kelly delivered a graceful combo breaker. "What, who'm I supposed to be, Lois Lane or something?"
"Um, Lois...? No, I just...Could you maybe tell us more...straightforward-like?"
Phoenix felt like he was swaying in place while an unseen voice boomed "Finish him!", yet miraculously, Kelly shrugged and tugged at a piece of her hair and said, "Iunno. I mean, she didn't actually say she was gonna make out with anyone. And I guess he didn't say anything about Heath Ledger. Which, I dunno why he didn't, everything's better with Heath Ledger, except maybe like oh wait actually you know what there's nothing that's not better with Heath Ledger. Oh, and she didn't actually call him short. Or say all those impossibly cruel things. But that's it."
"Young lady..." the judge sighed.
"And also I don't think that platforms are making a comeback."
"Young lady!" the judge said.
"Yeah, well, what can you do," Kelly said cheerfully. "Anyway."
Edgeworth had recovered enough to ask, "Is that it?"
"Guess that depends on you," Kelly winked, which was enough to knock Edgeworth out again.
Phoenix took advantage of the moment: "Actually, I had another question. Sam? He mentioned the name 'Sam'?" Phoenix glanced over at his client as he asked, and again there was that weird reaction, that slight jump and intent look.
"Uh-huh," Kelly said, tilting her head to the side and tugging on a piece of her hair. "Dunno who the guy is, though. It was just him saying, 'I don't care about Sam,' and she seemed, I dunno, kinda weirded out. But that was it."
Phoenix eyed Kelly, who eyed him back hopefully. She didn't seem like she was lying here, just like she hadn't seemed to be exactly lying in any of her testimony. At the same time she hadn't really provided anything of substance, except maybe -
"Where did he grab her?" Phoenix asked.
"You said that he grabbed her, and then she pushed him away. Where did he grab her? The arm?"
"No, he - " She demonstrated with bright red nails, reaching out and grabbing at the air. "The front of the shirt. Jacket, actually. Like, right in the middle. He'd have had to reach up about a mile and a half to get her collar, you know?"
Phoenix smiled at Maya, and Maya nodded encouragingly. Then Phoenix looked at the judge. "That could account for the handprint, Your Honor, could it not?"
"So it could," agreed the judge.
"You know..." A strange, crazy idea was starting to take root. "Maybe we've been coming at this the wrong way altogether."
By sheer force of will Edgeworth dragged himself upright once more. "What is that supposed to mean, Wright?"
Phoenix scratched his chin. "We know my client and the victim knew each other from way back. I wonder what their relationship was like? I mean, just look at the photo. Look at the inscription on the back." The judge seemed to be intrigued by where this was going: he obediently examined the photocopy he'd been given. "The photo is from 2009 - eleven years ago. But Mr. Burden has been carrying it around all this time?"
Edgeworth, too, seemed interested, his arms crossed, his gaze intent upon Phoenix. "Evidence of an obsession that in the end turned murderous."
"Maybe," Phoenix admitted. "But he kept it next to pictures of - his parents, I think, right? And that other photo looked like his brother. These were the people who were dear to him, the people he loved. Right?"
"Sounds right to me," Maya muttered.
Edgeworth allowed only a "Perhaps."
"Eleven years and then they meet at this party," Phoenix said. "Probably not a coincidence, right? So it was arranged, and she came willingly. Maybe Ms. Doggett felt just as much affection for Mr. Burden as Mr. Burden did for her."
"No such photos were found amongst Ms. Doggett's personal effects," Edgeworth pointed out.
"Ms. Doggett's personal effects weren't found at all," Phoenix returned. Edgeworth acknowledged this with a slight frown. "I mean, just look at the testimony. If Ms. Cook's testimony is to be trusted - "
"A big if, Wright," Edgeworth harrumphed.
"Prooosexcutieeeee," Kelly whined. Edgeworth flinched and muttered what might very well have been a sotto voce apology.
"The defendant and the victim were arguing over the victim taking up with other men. After all this time, then, the victim still felt loyalty to Mr. Burden? All this time, and they were still in love."
"Ample motive for murder," Edgeworth said weakly, still cringing a bit.
"Ample motive for murder, yes," Phoenix said. Then he took a deep breath and (oh, so satisfyingly) pointed for emphasis. "But ample motive, too, for suicide!"
"Oh!" cried the judge.
"Hm," muttered Edgeworth.
"Juicy!" squealed Kelly.
"It was clear that after the fight she was distraught enough to turn to drink," Phoenix said. "Wracked with guilt and love for the defendant, and intoxicated to the point where her judgment was gone, she made her way to Mr. Burden's room and threw herself over the balcony."
"Impossible," Edgeworth said. "Her fingerprints weren't found on the underside of the railing. She would have had to have lifted herself up - "
"But Detective Gumshoe himself testified about this earlier. Remember?" Phoenix asked. "She didn't leave any prints on the glass because she was wearing gloves. She wouldn't have left any prints on the railing either."
Phoenix looked over when he felt a pinch on his arm. "And the bag, Nick. Don't forget the bag."
The bag? "Oh, yeah, the bag! Your Honor, Mr. Edgeworth, I'd like to draw your attention to the bag left by the victim in the coatroom," Phoenix said. "More particularly the note. We had no idea what this note meant - until now. I propose that this is a suicide note."
A pause, then Edgeworth asked scornfully, "And how do you get that, Wright?"
"Well, it's coded, of course," Phoenix answered. "So that only one person can understand it - the one person, of course, who she would want to understand her reasons, the person who drove her to suicide - the defendant himself. Just look at who it's addressed to."
Edgeworth's brows drew together. "'Bird...'" he muttered.
"And there's only one person involved in this case who could logically be called Bird," Phoenix said. "The defendant himself."
"Mr. Murrow? Why?" asked the judge. There was a pause, and then he cleared his throat. "Oh yes. Mr. Burden. I'm all caught up now. Carry on."
"So you're proposing that the victim argued with the defendant and was so distraught that she threw herself off the balcony," Edgeworth said.
"That is precisely what I'm proposing," Phoenix responded with a grin.
"Even though, according to Ms. Cook's testimony, the defendant was the one upset by the conflict."
"That's up for debate."
"And even though the note reads more like the personal message of a spy than a suicide note."
"She only wanted Mr. Burden understanding it."
"And even though our eyewitness has the two of them in a physical altercation that concludes with your client pushing the victim over the railing."
"Um." Um. "What, er, eyewitness is...this?"
Edgeworth feigned innocence for an irritatingly long time. "Mr. Segal, Ms. Tron's companion. She mentioned him, didn't she? He saw the very moment at which Ms. Doggett fell." Finally he dropped the coquettish act, leaving nothing but a rather evil smile. "It was an entertaining line of hypothesis and conjecture, I'm sure, Mr. Wright, but unfortunately, as always, you have the facts with which to contend."
"Oh, yeah, those," Phoenix muttered.
"Well," said the judge, blinking hard. "Mr. Edgeworth, I apologize for my earlier comments. You've amply demonstrated motive, and now an eyewitness...You seem to have this all well in hand."
"Thank you, Your Honor," Edgeworth said graciously, half-bowing. "Ms. Cook, you may step down now."
"I want you in me," Kelly replied.
The judge watched Edgeworth's reaction, then cleared his throat. "Er, perhaps a ten-minute recess for the prosecution to, um...prepare the witness...would be in order."
And with that, he slammed down his gavel.
April 21, 11:41 AM
Defendant Lobby #2
"So," Phoenix said, "um, h-how about that trial." He laughed nervously.
Jack didn't seem in the mood for nervous laughter. He seemed on-edge, mysteriously, since there was absolutely no reason for him to be at all tense. What was actuallyweird, though, was that for a change he was in no mood for small talk or irritability, instead getting right down to business.
"The first witness," he said.
"Gumshoe?" Maya asked.
"Oh," Jack said. "No, not that...I forgot about him. Not him." He waved his hand dismissively. Poor Gumshoe. "Tron. Joanne Tron. She was lying."
"About what?" Phoenix asked, working a bit to get his dander up. "You knew the victim, I guess, which would have been useful information to hear from the start."
Jack at least had the good grace to look embarrassed. "Yes. Well."
"And it sounded like you had a motive, too," Maya pointed out.
"And opportunity," Phoenix added.
"Stop it," Jack said. "Shut up. I'm trying to be helpful."
From the expression on his face, it was clear that they were all mentally adding, "For a change."
"She was lying," he repeated. "The - the victim - Annie? I guess? She wouldn't have asked them to come along, and she wouldn't have told them about me." He looked down and shrugged with one shoulder and raised his eyebrows as he said, "We agreed to keep our meeting a secret."
It was all Phoenix could do to keep from slapping himself in the face. No, scratch that - it was all he could do to keep from slapping Jack in the face. "Really, Mr. Burden?"
"Yes," Jack said. Then he threw in a half-hearted, "Sorry."
Also strange: it was Maya who retained her focus. "What was you guys' meeting about?"
Jack pursed his lips and opened his mouth and then shut it again. Then he opened it again. "We were discussing...her work," he said evasively.
"What was her work?" Maya asked.
This time he opened his mouth and shut it again and it stayed shut.
"Mr. Burden," Phoenix ground out.
Jack shook his head and said nothing.
"Great," Phoenix said. "Thanks."
"Wait," Jack said, stepping close and grabbing hold of Phoenix's arm. "Listen," he said, his voice low. "Her name is Eleanor Sinclair. Anyone who knew her as Annie Doggett is our enemy."
Phoenix shook his head. "We have enemies?"
"Good God," Jack intoned, stepping back. Then he hesitated. "Mr. Wright."
We have enemies? Phoenix was mouthing at Maya, and so was caught-off guard. "Huh?"
"I, um." Jack shoved his hands in his pockets. "Want to thank you. For doing a good job. So far."
"Oh." Phoenix half-shrugged. "No problem." He considered that. "Well, not exactly no problem, but - I'm glad to help. As much as I can."
"Okay," said Burden awkwardly, then turned and walked back into the courtroom.
April 21, 11:56 AM
Courtroom No. 2
The boy who took the stand next looked like a walking stereotype. Probably in his early twenties, he looked liked he'd stepped right off the farm or from behind the counter of a Whammy Burger. He was all Adam's apple and elbows and freckles.
"Could you state your name and occupation for the record?" asked Edgeworth, newly composed.
Unfortunately, his voice didn't break and squeak when he spoke. That would have been icing on the cake. Instead, it was a low, quiet baritone. "My name is Patrick Segal. I'm a student with Sparky."
"And you were at the party with her that night."
"Yes," Patrick said softly.
"Ms. Doggett had you come."
"And you saw what happened."
Edgeworth started looking a little irritated. "Would you care to elaborate? It's rather against the rules of the courtroom for me to lead you through your entire testimony."
"Oh," said Patrick, only a little bit louder. "I'm - sorry."
"We have no need of apologies, Mr. Segal, merely the truth," said the judge, who then proceeded to look pretty pleased with himself over that particular turn of phrase.
"Right," muttered Patrick. "Uh. Yes. It - it was two night ago...which you probably already know. It was me and Sparky, and - and Annie."
There was something strange about the way that the boy said that name, something that put Phoenix a little on his guard. He remembered Mr. Burden's warning. This boy was an enemy, too, huh? (Well, honestly, it was probably good news that the kid had an ulterior motive if he was going to claim to be an eyewitness to this particular murder.)
"Annie came to us after she'd had the fight with that man," Patrick was saying. "She was already drinking, which was bad."
"What does that mean?" Phoenix interrupted.
"Um, alcohol, I mean," Patrick said.
"No, no," Phoenix said. "What did you mean, it's bad that she was drinking?"
"Oh." Patrick got this uncomfortable smile on his face, one that dimpled up his acne-marked cheeks but didn't reach his eyes. "Annie had a pro...blem."
"A problem," Pat said with greater urgency. "You know?"
"I don't know?" said Phoenix.
"A problem..." He then proceeded to mime drinking something.
"A drinking problem?" Phoenix asked, and Pat sighed and shrugged.
"When she started, she just wouldn't stop. We would try to reason with her about it, always. We sat her down and said to her, 'You have a problem, you should stop,' but she would just get angry. It was what most limited her personal growth."
"Oh," said Phoenix. "That, um, sucks. So she came to you, and said, what?"
"She said things, like, 'This guy I knew, I'm afraid of him,' and it was really sad, because she wasn't afraid of anything." There was something that rubbed Phoenix wrong about that line, but Pat just continued blithely on. "So we tried to be with her, but then she went up to his room."
"She went up to his room?" Phoenix asked. "I thought she was scared."
"Oh," said Pat softly. Then, louder: "Well, she was kind of drunk, you know..."
"And you didn't stop her?"
"She was, um...really headstrong, you know, Annie, especially when she was drunk. We didn't really wanna mess with her." He looked over, then, at Edgeworth, and even though Edgeworth's face was completely expressionless Pat sort of jumped and looked terrified. "But I - I got worried about her, so I followed her."
"You followed her?" Phoenix asked.
"There's surveillance footage of Mr. Segal taking the elevator to the seventh floor perhaps five minutes after Ms. Doggett," Edgeworth said, his arms crossed. "He did indeed follow her."
Well, then. Phoenix immediately started to eye Mr. Segal in a new light. He had followed the victim, he was by Mr. Burden's definition an enemy, and more than that, there was just something about him and his testimony that seemed off. "Okay. So, what did you see?"
"Well, I sort of approached the door at the same time as another man - that guy there." Pat - predictably - fingered Mr. Burden. "He went into the room. I followed him."
Phoenix frowned. "You just followed him?"
"Um," said Pat. "Is there something wrong...?"
"I thought you hadn't seen their fight," Phoenix said. He hadn't even gotten started and already Pat was starting to look nervous. "Yet you were able to pick out this man as the one she was going to see?"
"No, I was, um..."
"You weren't following Ms. Doggett; the surveillance shows you a full five minutes behind her."
"Yeah. I heard her voice, is all." A bit softer, Pat said, "I heard her voice."
"That sounds reasonable," the judge said. "Continue."
Pat nodded shakily. "I followed him - he left the door ajar. I just watched. She was on the balcony already, leaning on the edge. But she turned around when she heard him. At first she seemed really happy, because I guess she didn't know it was him, but then all of a sudden she got really scared. They started to fight."
"A moment, if you will, Mr. Segal," Phoenix interrupted. "She didn't know it was him?"
"That strikes me as very odd," Phoenix said. "It was his room, after all. She knew it was his room. Yet you mean to tell me that she wasn't expecting him?"
"Um, I dunno," said Pat, starting to look a little frazzled.
"Mr. Wright, please." Edgeworth had decided to step in. "If you continue fixating on these inconsequential details, we'll never get through this trial. Ms. Doggett was simply drunk. She wasn't thinking straight. Who knows what she was going through her head?"
"Yes," Pat said shakily. "She was drunk." He took a moment, but Phoenix didn't say anything else, so he let out his breath and continued. "So she looks at him, and they start to fight. She's saying, 'Get off me, get off me,' and he's saying stuff like, 'I love you, I don't want you to leave me,' stuff like that. 'I love you so much. You're the only person who's ever meant anything to me.' And she's saying, 'No, get off, get off,' and she's hitting him with her purse."
"Her purse?" Phoenix asked.
Pat was instantly wary. "What about it?"
"You said she was hitting him with her purse."
"Yes," Pat said uneasily, and then nodded.
"That's odd," Phoenix said, smiling. "Ms. Doggett's purse was found in coat check. She'd left it there earlier that evening."
"Um - " Pat coughed for some time. "I don't think that's...possible. She was hitting him with her purse, over and over."
"I'm afraid that it's that that's impossible," Phoenix said, shaking his head. "She didn't have a purse with her."
"She did!" Pat yelled, suddenly heated, pounding the podium before him. "You're lying!"
There was a momentary silence before the judge cleared his throat. "Maybe we should...move on."
"Ye-es," Edgeworth said, then nodded and said with more surety, "Yes. Please, tell us what happened next."
"I..." Pat seemed suddenly on the edge of tears. Kid was sort of nutbar. "Then they kept fighting, and then the man sort of shoved her in the chest and she fell. I was frozen. I couldn't help her, couldn't even stop him when he was running out of the room. I was just frozen."
"But the police didn't find you on the scene," Phoenix said.
"I unfroze," Pat said with sudden belligerence.
"Okay," Phoenix said, blinking. "Um, sorry..."
"Well," the judge said. "There are some oddities there, but there's very little ambiguous about that testimony. He pushed her, and she fell."
This was looking bad. "Maya?" Phoenix asked. "Any thoughts?"
"Well, the purse thing seems weird, but I dunno what it means," Maya said, tapping her bottom lip thoughtfully. "What else is there?"
"Her real identity..."
"Yeah, but what can we say about that?" Maya frowned. "Any evidence we haven't talked about yet? What about that cloth I was really courageous and got?"
What about it? It was a scrap of silk, and... "You couldn't leave fingerprints on this, could you," Phoenix said.
"Definitely not," Maya agreed.
"So this wasn't the material her coat was made out of," Phoenix said with sudden realization. "Mr. Edgeworth," he called.
"Yes?" Edgeworth answered irritably.
"Ms. Doggett's body. When you found it, were her clothes at all ripped?"
Edgeworth's expression turned instantly wary. "Yes; there was a swatch missing from the front of her shirt."
Oh dang! "Mr. Segal. You earlier testified that Mr. Burden pushed Ms. Doggett in the chest, is that correct?"
"Yeah," Pat said uncertainly. "I mean, that was where his handprint was, right?"
Oh-ho. "So he pushed her in the chest," Phoenix said. "Which would mean that she fell over backwards. Is that correct?"
Edgeworth's expression was grim. He clearly knew where this was going.
"Yet this piece of fabric - ripped from the front of Ms. Dogget's shirt - was found on the masonry just below the balcony from which she fell." Pat, however, still hadn't caught on, from the expression on his face. "Which would mean she fell face-first. The handprint was on the front of Ms. Doggett's jacket, yet she was pushed from behind!"
"Oh," said Pat. Then he swallowed. "Sorry," he said softly. "Sorry. Um, sorry. I was wrong. She was pushed from behind. I just was wrong."
"Mr. Edgeworth," Phoenix called, starting to enjoy this a bit.
"Yes, Mr. Wright," Edgeworth said tiredly.
"Was there a handprint found on the back of Ms. Doggett's coat?"
"And as we've already seen, Mr. Burden was not wearing gloves. If he had been, he wouldn't have left a handprint in the first place!" Phoenix gave Pat his best evil look. "Tell me, Mr. Segal. Were you wearing gloves that night?"
Pat went pale beneath his acne. "Well - " He coughed. "What if - the blood - washed it away - "
Edgeworth was shaking his head. "Ms. Doggett fell face-first. The back of her jacket was clean, Mr. Segal."
"But..." Pat made a weak clutching gesture at the air. "But..."
"I'm afraid that - " Edgeworth cut himself off suddenly, and his hand went to his pocket. He pulled out his cell phone. "I beg your pardon, Your Honor," he said as he flipped it open. "This will be important..."
Now it was Edgeworth's turn to go pale. The entire courtroom was waiting as he read the message, closed his phone, opened it again, and punched a few buttons. A moment, and then he flipped it closed again and looked up at the courtroom and visibly swallowed. Then he opened his phone once again -
"Well?" the judge finally spat. "What is it?"
"The victim was the one who signed the photo," Edgeworth said quietly. This was just to be expected. Jack had given her name as Eleanor Sinclair - it was clear that that the person in the photo and the person Jack had met were one and the same. But from Edgeworth's face, that wasn't the big news.
The big news was this:
"We also received the results on the tox screen," he said, then swallowed. "Ms. Doggett had high levels of antebarbitol in her system. It's a sedative-hypnotic drug, fatal in high doses," he explained, still white in the face. "Before her death, someone had attempted either to drug her...or to poison her."
The courtroom erupted into noise. It took several moments before the judge was able to recover enough to attempt to restore order. Phoenix himself had to take a long time to wrap his head around this. This changed everything: it could mean that the murder was premeditated, or it could mean something else entirely.
"Well. It's clear we have need of further investigation," the judge finally said. "Mr. Wright, Mr. Edgeworth, I will declare a recess and request that you both look further into this matter."
Edgeworth shook his head and gathered up his things. Phoenix looked at Maya, stunned by the sudden development.