Disclaimer: I own nothing except for a strong affinity for Lie To Me and everything having to do with it.
Gillian and Ria walked into the courtroom together, taking a seat behind the Assistant District Attorney Helen Moyer, and continuing the conversation they had started on the way to the courthouse from The Lightman Group building. Gillian had been offering encouragement and advice to Ria the entire way since it was her first time as an expert witness.
"Just remember, don't get too complicated with the science. Keep it simple so that the jury can understand everything clearly. I'll probably be called first and after I've been cross-examined they'll call you, okay?" Ria nodded in reply, but Gillian could tell she was nervous. "Don't be nervous. They're not going to ask you anything you don't know. And if they do, just be honest. You'll do fine." She offered her a smile, hoping to calm the younger woman's nerves.
They sat in silence together for a few minutes, watching as the lawyers, and several observers entered the room, followed by the defendant who was escorted in by a guard through a side door. Next came the court reporter and the clerk of the court, and then 12 jury members were brought in. They stood as the clerk announced the entry of the judge and as they took their seats again Ria looked back to survey the gallery. The doors had just closed and there were only a handful of other people in the courtroom, just four guys sitting behind the defendant and his two lawyers, and an elderly couple, sitting a few rows behind Ria and Gillian. Based on what she had seen on television, she had expected there to be a lot more people filling the courtroom. But then again, it wasn't as if it was a particularly high profile case. A young man, a member of one of D.C.'s many gangs, had been caught fleeing the scene after a robbery and had declared his innocence. The Lightman Group had been brought in to interview him since the physical evidence was somewhat lacking and they had found him to be guilty, so the case went to a jury trial.
The ADA was instructed to call her first witness, and Gillian made her way up to the stand. She was sworn in and then answered the attorney's questions on vocal analysis, showing the jury a taped interview with the defendant and explaining how the raised pitch in his voice when he stated that he had never been in the store that was robbed indicated that he was actually lying. She pointed out other indicators of deception in his voice as well, including a slight delay in answer when he was asked for an alibi and the way his hesitancy suggested he was making up the story on the spot. On the cross-examination, the defendant's lawyers grilled her for over a half hour on the science behind vocal analysis and its susceptibility to errors when the interviewee was particularly nervous or tired. Overall, when she was excused she felt that she had done a decent job defending her findings, though she could tell from their facial expressions that 4 of the jurors remained unconvinced. The judge called for a fifteen minute recess before they continued with the trial and promptly left the courtroom. Gillian made her way back to where Ria was sitting and sat down on the bench beside her.
"Good job." Ria told her as she took a seat.
The ADA turned around to face the two of them sitting behind her. "You did a great job, Dr. Foster. I think the jury is leaning our way, so far. Ms. Torres, you'll be up next to discuss the body language and facial expressions. Any last questions?"
"No, I don't think so. I think I'm ready."
"Great. Just remember to make eye contact with the jury members, especially the female jurors. It encourages them to trust you more." The ADA smiled at her reassuringly, and then left for the restroom. Gillian watched as Ria nervously fidgeted with her hands as she surveyed the courtroom. She considered saying something to her, but then noticed that Ria had suddenly stopped wringing her hands. She looked up, glancing around for what would cause such an abrupt change in her colleague's demeanor, and found Ria watching the four men that were sitting behind the defendant, huddled together, talking quietly.
"Look at their posture," Ria whispered to Gillian. "They're angry."
"Very angry." Gillian agreed. "And there's an interesting group dynamic going on between them. I wonder what they're saying."
One of the guys looked up and noticed that Gillian and Ria were watching them. It was easy to read the look of contempt that he shot at them before hushing his buddies, nodding in their direction. The other three looked over and their expressions of hatred matched their friend's perfectly. Ria, feeling threatened, glanced at Gillian to see if she was having the same reaction. Gillian glanced at her, reading the slight fear and worry on her face easily, and told her "Just ignore them. They're trying to scare you into not testifying, so just ignore them." Ria nodded, glanced one more time in their direction and then faced forward, refusing to give them any power over her.
The clerk of the court recalled session and they once again rose as the judge entered. The ADA called Ria to the stand and she was sworn in. She took her seat, willing herself not to fidget out of nervousness in case it made her seem dishonest or unreliable. She was asked to explain her findings, and she brought up the interview again for the jury to watch as she walked them through it, pausing on the various microexpressions of deceit and explaining each of them to the jury.
"Here you can see that he's lying when he says he'd never met the store owner before. He gives a partial shoulder shrug indicating that he doesn't believe what he's saying. Also, if you'll note the way his eyes are looking down and –" Ria stopped speaking in the middle of her sentence, staring out into the gallery.
"Ms. Torres, you were saying?" The ADA prodded her to continue.
"We need to leave." Ria stated abruptly, standing up.
Everyone in the courtroom looked at her in surprise, the judge included. "Sit down, Ms. Torres."
Ria looked at her imploringly. "No, you don't understand. We all need to leave. Right now." She tried conveying a message to the judge with her eyes, without saying anything, but before she could get the judge to understand the four men who were seated behind the defendant stood up, all of them brandishing firearms.
The oldest one turned and shot the only guard, who was standing near the defendant, killing him instantly. The courtroom erupted in screams of fear and shock. The other three had headed towards opposite ends of the courtroom, blocking the various exits so that no one could leave, not even the judge.