~ December 29, 10:00 AM ~ District Court ~ Courtroom No. 4 ~
Miles Edgeworth had heard who was prosecuting him. He had warned Phoenix, right before he walked through the double doors:
"She hasn't lost a case in her career. She'll do anything to get a guilty verdict, Wright. Anything, short of murder."
Standing in court opposite Ms. Fey, Phoenix had to say— she didn't look as ruthless as Edgeworth claimed. Mia stood shorter than Phoenix but taller than April, with brown hair, a face that echoed a determined personality, and a figure that would make Miss May envious. She wore a black business suit and skirt, accented with a scarf and a strange pendant shaped like a '9'. Her smile was calm, perfectly composed.
The Judge brought his gavel down. "This court is in session for the trial of Miles Edgeworth."
"The defense is ready, Your Honor," Phoenix said.
Mia Fey was silent for a few moments. Her calm smile flickered into a slight smirk, then back again. Finally, she said, "The prosecution is ready."
"Very well," said the Judge. "Your opening statement, please."
Mia Fey took a deep breath.
"This case is about the truth," she said. "Last night, a man was murdered on Gourd Lake. The man you see before you in the defendant's chair was responsible." Mia pointed at Edgeworth.
She doesn't waste any time, Phoenix thought.
"That is the truth," Mia continued. "The prosecution can back up this truth. We have decisive evidence. We also have a decisive witness, who saw every moment of the crime with his own eyes."
Phoenix looked at April. She shrugged. If the witness in question was Larry, calling him 'decisive' was something of a stretch.
"However," Mia said, "not everyone agrees that this is the truth." She waited until everyone was hanging on her next words. "There is one man here who would advance his own 'truth'. A man willing to lie, to cheat, to do whatever it takes to find those who pay him innocent. A man who would present a tapestry of falsehoods to defend a client truly guilty." She pointed straight at Phoenix. "This is that man."
Phoenix couldn't contain himself. "Hey!"
Mia ignored him. "Today, and perhaps tomorrow, if the clear waters of this case are muddied, you will hear the truth, and you will hear a made-up 'truth'. You will hear honesty, and you will hear falsehood." The court was all but silent. Mia paused for a moment. "When the time comes to decide the fate of Miles Edgeworth, you will have to make a choice between justice and sin."
Mia Fey looked right at the Judge. "Which will you choose?"
With her opening statement complete, Mia Fey returned to calmly watching the courtroom. No one spoke. People tried not to breathe.
April stared at Ms. Fey in shock. Phoenix was slumped over in his seat. He knew, now, the meaning of Edgeworth's warning.
"She'll do anything to get a guilty verdict, Wright. Anything, short of murder."
Tarring the reputation of the defense was just the beginning. He could feel it.
The Judge finally coughed, breaking the spell. "Er, ahem! The prosecution may call its first witness."
Mia Fey spoke clearly. All could hear her. "I call the detective in charge of this case: Detective Dick Gumshoe. However..." She looked at Phoenix, and smiled. "Before we begin, the prosecution would like to request a penalty for the defense."
"What!" Phoenix said. "Why?"
Mia Fey brought both hands down on the prosecution's table in a slam. "For interrupting and disrupting the opening statement of the prosecution!"
"OBJECTION!" Phoenix said, before he could stop himself. "My outburst was provoked, by—"
April laid her hand on Phoenix's arm. "Nick. Stop! She's just trying to make you look bad," she whispered urgently.
Phoenix didn't finish his sentence. The Judge mulled it over for a few seconds, then banged his gavel. "While Mr. Wright did interrupt the prosecution, I'm hesitant to give a penalty for so trivial an outburst. Consider this your warning, Mr. Wright."
Mia's smile was a tiny bit wider than usual. She brushed some hair away from her right eye, an unconscious motion.
"Now, the court calls Detective Dick Gumshoe to the stand!"
The Judge gaveled the podium again.
The Detective looked like both he and his coat had been losing sleep, but his cheerfulness shone through.
"Describe the incident, please," Mia said. The detective obliged.
"Yes, ma'am! Er, take a look at the map." Gumshoe flipped back the cover of a large easel, showing an enlargement of the overhead view of Gourd Lake. "The murder happened late on December 28th, just after midnight. There was one boat in the very middle of the lake, and there were two men in the boat."
The detective pointed at the subsidiary beach, to the left of the main one. "Now, there happened to be a man camping here, on the edge of the lake. Around 12:15 AM, he heard a pistol shot." Detective Gumshoe paused to stifle a yawn. "Then, the boat started to move. It went towards the boat rental shop."
"I see," said Mia. She nodded. "Now, describe the circumstances surrounding your arrest."
"W-wait! Ms. Fey..." the Judge said.
"Yes?" Mia asked, looking at the Judge.
"Actually," the Judge said, "I'm the one that's supposed to be handling these proceedings..."
In an instant, Mia Fey's look hardened into a stare. "I'm sure you've no objection if I assist in these cross-examinations, correct?" Her voice was cool and polite.
The Judge held her gaze for a second, then blinked and turned away. "Y-yes, of course not," he said. "You're quite right."
Phoenix was slumping in his seat. How could he fight against this?
Fortunately, before he could mope too much, Detective Gumshoe cleared his throat and testified.
"A woman called into the station about 30 minutes after midnight. We headed to the scene of the crime as fast as we could. That's where we found Mr. Edgeworth.
Now, I didn't suspect him of anything, but... the next morning, a body was found in the lake. We had to arrest Mr. Edgeworth."
"Hmm... I see. Very well..." the Judge said. Mia smoothly picked up where he had left off. "You may cross-examine, Mr. Wright."
Phoenix took a deep breath, resting his arms on the table while he decided what to say.
"Detective. You said the caller to the police station was a woman?"
Gumshoe nodded. "Yup."
"But you said there was a man camping there? He was the one who heard the shot, right?"
Gumshoe nodded again. "Yep! He told us how he heard a shot when he came in yesterday."
Mia smiled. "You seem a bit... slow today, Phoenix. More than one person heard the gunshot. One is a witness; the other made the phone call."
Phoenix thought,  Did she just insult my intelligence, and  since when have we been on first-name terms?
Shaking off his jumpiness, Phoenix asked Gumshoe, "W-what can you tell me about the person who made the call?"
The detective shrugged. '"Investigations are still ongoing", pal. We think the caller was outside the park at the time.'
"Detective," Mia Fey said sweetly, "haven't you been warned about saying 'pal' in court?"
Detective Gumshoe snapped to attention. "Yesma'am!" he said. "Won't do it again." When Mia said nothing else, the detective quietly sighed in relief.
"Describe the situation when you found Mr. Edgeworth," Phoenix tried.
Gumshoe thought for a moment.
"The lake was pretty quiet. No one was out on it, but Edgeworth looked pretty relaxed, or maybe dazed. Not like murderer at all, really."
"The truth requires facts, Detective," Mia said from the prosecution's side. "Not opinions. Not surmises. Facts. Stick to them."
"But ma'am—" Gumshoe said.
"All right, you've convinced me!" the prosecutor said, going from stern to calm.
"I have?" said Gumshoe, after a few seconds.
Mia smiled for a second. "We'll compromise! You can tell all the opinions you want." She shrugged. "In exchange, the department will pay you based on my opinion of your skills."
Gumshoe stood up very straight and began talking very quickly. "Um,ma'am,thankyouforyourkindofferbutI thinkI'drathernot."
Mia nodded, flipping her hair away from her eye again. "Whatever you prefer, Detective."
"Nick?" April whispered. "I think she does that hair thing whenever she feels she's winning...!"
"I'm sorry you had to see that," Mia said to Phoenix. "The good detective gets a little... exuberant sometimes. Please, continue."
"You said a body was found in the lake, Detective," Phoenix said. "Whose body?"
Detective Gumshoe recited the details that Phoenix had received. "The caretaker of the boat rental shop! His name's Yanni Yogi. He'd been shot with a pistol."
Gumshoe said the murder weapon had Edgeworth's fingerprints on it, Phoenix remembered. I'll avoid that. No sense in hurting my case. "Why did you arrest Mr. Edgeworth?" he asked.
"We found the murder weapon in the boat."
"T-the pistol?" Phoenix said before he could stop himself. Darn it!
Detective Gumshoe nodded. "We found clear fingerprints on the pistol. They were from Mr. Edgeworth's right hand."
Phoenix had been expecting it, but it was still wince-worthy to hear it out loud. The crowd gasped and began to chatter.
"Order!" said the Judge, banging his gavel. "Mr. Edgeworth's fingerprints were found on the murder weapon?!"
The detective was wincing too. This wasn't the way he wanted things to go. "Y-yes, Your Honor."
"Hold it!" Phoenix said. You had to play the cards you were dealt, sometimes. "How do you know that pistol was what caused Mr. Yogi's death?!"
Mia answered. "The prosecution would like to introduce two pieces of evidence." She reached under her table and brought out the gun, wrapped in plastic. In her other hand, also bagged, was a single crumpled bullet.
"These are what killed Yanni Yogi," Mia said. "A pistol, and its ammunition, brought together in a fateful meeting on Gourd Lake." She placed both on the evidence table.
"The court accepts them into evidence," the Judge said.
"Detective," said Mia. "That bullet was found in Yogi's body, is that correct?"
"And," Mia continued, "the bullet was fired from this pistol?"
Again, the detective nodded. "We checked the ballistic markings on the bullet, and they match the pistol."
"What's 'ballistic markings'?" Phoenix whispered to April.
"It's like a gun's fingerprint, Nick!" she whispered back, clearly shocked. "Don't you read any crime novels or anything?"
Mia Fey spread her arms. "We have the bullet in the body of the murder victim. We have the gun that fired that bullet. And, we have Miles Edgeworth's fingerprints upon the barrel of the gun." She turned to the Judge. "This is the truth. I have proved it is the truth, link by link, surmise by surmise."
Mia smiled, then raised her voice. "I would like to now call for a verdict of 'Guilty!'"
Wright hadn't been paying attention, but if there had been an overhang above him he would have banged his head against it. She was calling for a Guilty verdict?! Already?!
"W-wait!" Phoenix said. "OBJECTION!"
Mia didn't bother to look at him. "I said I would tell the truth. I said my opposite would tell falsehoods. It seems I was correct." She kept staring at the Judge, whose gaze was locked on her. "Do you need to hear falsehoods, judge?"
"U-um..." the Judge said. "Well, I suppose—"
Mia smiled. "Trust me," she said, "you don't." She turned back to Wright. "Sorry, Phoenix. It looks like you've been overruled." Her smile was as warm as she could make it. "Judge— I'll take that guilty verdict now."
Who's running this courtroom— the Judge or her?! "W-wait just one minute!" said Phoenix, slamming a fist down on the table. The BANG was as loud as the Judge's gavel. "I have an objection! A dozen! A hundred! You don't know Edgeworth was in the boat! You don't know—"
"I have decisive evidence, Wright!" Mia's voice rose above the din.
"—you don't know Miles Edgeworth's fingerprints got on the gun when it was fired—"
Mia kept on. "And what do you have? A few questions of no import—"
The anger at Mia's attempt to sweep the case away coalesced into some sort of red-hot lawyer-fury. Phoenix roared, "I HAVE REASONABLE! DOUBT!"
Now, he was flying. "Are you unfamiliar with that phrase?! The law says that if there is a doubt someone committed a murder, no conviction can be made!"
When Mia yelled, her voice was stern and commanding. "What doubt? I have a bullet in a man. I have a gun firing a bullet. I have Miles Edgeworth holding a gun! Tell me, where is this 'doubt' of yours? You're stalling for time, Phoenix Wright!"
Phoenix was stalling for time, but he sure as heck wasn't going to admit it here and now. "You have a man in a boat, after midnight, shooting Yanni Yogi. But, who was in that boat? Was it Miles Edgeworth?"
Mia flipped her hair defiantly. "Of course it was. How else do you explain the fingerprints?"
Phoenix thought he had an idea. It was just crazy enough to work. "The defense has an alternate explanation! Suppose Miles Edgeworth was not in the boat. Suppose he had come to Gourd Lake for a walk, perhaps for his peace of mind."
Mia looked like she wanted to say something, but kept quiet.
"Now," said Wright, "It's just after midnight. A shot rings out, on the lake! Miles Edgeworth hears this. Whether he heads over there or is there by chance, he is at the boat dock when the true murderer docks the boat."
Mia was smirking, but still she held her silence.
"Miles Edgeworth, acting in the official capacity of a member of the Prosecutor's Department, steps forward to the boat and picks up something that has been left behind in the boat. It is only once he picks it up that he realizes what it is: a gun!"
Mia opened her mouth, then closed it again.
"That is how Miles Edgeworth's fingerprints came to be upon the murder weapon: He was investigating the scene of the crime."
Now Mia Fey spoke up, giving a slight bow to Phoenix. "Your theory is admirable, plausible, sensible... and wrong."
"The prosecution has photographic evidence proving that Miles Edgeworth and Yanni Yogi were on the lake, together, at 12:15 AM yesterday. Moreover, the witness who took this evidence is ready to testify at trial."
Larry, Phoenix remembered. And that camera...
"The prosecution retracts its request for a guilty verdict," Mia said politely. "We can wait a little longer for this trial's conclusion. Instead, the prosecution would like to request a short recess, for the benefit of the witness."
The Judge banged his gavel hurriedly. He looked unnerved. "Ahem. Granted. This court will take a five-minute recess!"
Phoenix Wright let out a long breath once he and April were out of the courtroom.
"Are you OK?" April asked. She seemed... uncertain.
Wright nodded. "This isn't going like I thought it would," he muttered. He hadn't realized the full implications when Gumshoe said Edgeworth's fingerprints were on the murder weapon. Now, it had come back to haunt him.
Edgeworth, with a bailiff flanking him, came out from the double doors and walked over to Phoenix.
Wright said, "Edgeworth, there's something I've been meaning to ask you. How did your fingerprints get on the murder weapon?"
"Were you in that boat on the night of the murder?" April added.
Edgeworth nodded. "Yes. It was me."
Phoenix quietly placed his hand over his face.
"But... you have to believe me," Edgeworth said. "I didn't shoot him!"
Mia and Larry strolled along the far side of the room, chatting amiably.
"Wait a second!" April said. "If you didn't shoot the old boat man... then who did?!"
"I... don't know," said Edgeworth.
Phoenix groaned. "Edgeworth. You were standing right there. How can you not know?"
Miles Edgeworth's eyes clouded over for a second. "I... heard a gunshot, echoing over the lake. I'm not sure where it came from, but... the other man fell from the boat. The gun dropped from his hand, and remained behind. I picked it up..."
That's one mystery solved, thought Phoenix. Getting the Judge and court to believe it, however, would be another matter.
"I believe you," said April, who had had a puzzled look on her face, "but there's something bugging me. If the boat man had the gun, and he fired, then how could he have missed you?"
Edgeworth looked at her. "I wonder that, too. Could the man have... shot himself?"
The chimes sounded for the end of the recess, and the bailiff indicated it was time for Edgeworth to come with him.
"Huh..." Phoenix said, as everyone filed into the courtroom. Could Edgeworth really be taking the rap for a suicide? If that were the case, why would Edgeworth not want anyone to defend him?
And how could Wright prove the theory one way or the other?
"Court is back in session," the Judge said, banging his gavel to mark the phrase. "Ms. Fey, call your witness."
Mia nodded. "I call Mr. Larry Butz to the stand."
Larry was as spiky and loud as ever. Today, however, he carried his digital camera around his neck.
"Mr. Butz," said Mia. "You are an amateur photographer, is that right?"
Larry nodded. "I am!" He was looking at Mia like he had stared at April. Phoenix's heart sank.
Mia said, "Good. Please, begin by telling us what you and your camera saw the night of the incident."
Butz excitedly testified, the spikes in his hair waving back and forth.
"It was the 28th. After midnight, I think. I was camping on the Gourd Lake beach. I heard a 'bang' noise, and thought it might be a shooting star! I scrambled out of my tent and looked, but the only thing I saw was two men on the lake in a boat.
I waited around a little, but nothing happened, so I went and ate a snack outside my tent. Then, I heard another 'bang'! The same boat was out on the lake this time, but there wasn't a single shooting star!"
"The murder weapon had been fired twice when it was found by the police," Mia helpfully inserted. "In addition, the witness had a camera pointed at the lake, which triggered at the sound of the shots."
Mia slid a printed photo across the prosecutor's bench, flicking it so that it floated up to the Judge's seat. When the Judge looked at the photo, he 'hmm'ed.
"Well! This is a surprise!" he said. "This looks like... the very moment of the murder! Pity it's so hard to see anything on it."
Phoenix, who had seen the copy April took, had to agree with him. The photo was dark and full of fog, and the two men were far away.
The Judge paused to bang his gavel, quieting the crowd. "Order!"
"Would the defense like to cross-examine?" Mia asked.
Phoenix nodded. "Yes." For a supposed legend, Mia's current line of defense looked a bit fragile.
Mia extended one hand and bowed to Phoenix. "You may."
There she goes, taking over the Judge's duties again, Phoenix thought. She seems almost eager for me to cross-examine, this time... I guess there's nothing for it but to charge forward.
After a second of thought, Phoenix asked Larry, "Mr. Butz, you keep mentioning 'shooting stars', or meteors. Is that what your camera was set up to capture?"
Larry nodded. "Yep! I'm taking pictures for the sky magazine, the Star!"
Hearing his last statement, April got a very strange look on her face. Phoenix didn't notice.
"Mr. Butz, was there anyone else on the lake when you saw the boat?"
Larry shook his head. "There wasn't anybody. I looked pretty carefully, man."
Phoenix nodded. "And you… ate a snack between then and when you heard the second 'bang'?"
"Hey," said Larry, "I was hungry! It tasted great, too."
"And you didn't return to your tent between the noises?"
Larry shook his head again. "Nope."
It had been worth a try, but only because Phoenix hadn't asked the real question yet. Mia had claimed Larry Butz had seen everything... but had he?
"Mr. Butz," Phoenix said. "Did you see exactly who was in the boat when you heard the 'bang' noises?"
Butz grinned. "You got it, man! I didn't see the first time, but the second time— one guy was holding a gun."
Wright was expecting this. We'll have to get the testimony out into the open to pick away at it. Still, he braced himself.
Larry finished. "And— get this— the man with the gun was Mr. Edgeworth!" He pointed at the fallen prosecutor.
Phoenix took a deep breath, looking beyond the mutterings of the gallery and the poundings of the gavel. He looked beyond Mia's small smile. There was a contradiction here. He was sure of it.
"Mr. Butz, I find that hard to believe!" Phoenix said. He brought out the photo. "This is from your own camera. It's dark, and choked with fog."
"Hey, what's that supposed to mean?!" Larry said. "It was the best my camera could get!"
Wright nodded. "Exactly! I doubt anyone could look at this photo and say they could pick out the identity of either of the two. If your camera didn't see anything, how on earth did you manage to tell it was Miles Edgeworth?!"
"Dude! Don't be that way!" Larry said, his hair spiking in all directions. "I saw him— I'm sure of it! I've always had good eyes?"
"Then tell me," Phoenix said, holding up the photo. "Which of these two men is Edgeworth?"
"Ummmm..." Larry said, sweating a little. "I... can't... remember, but...!"
"But?" Phoenix asked.
Larry spoke as fast as he dared. "B-but the enlargements show it's Edgeworth!"
Seeing the dumbfounded look on Wright's face, Mia stepped in. "After Mr. Butz confessed to having witnessed the murder, the police department attempted a digital enlargement of the photos on his camera." She flicked her hair away from her eyes triumphantly. "The enhancement was successful. The prosecution has two pieces of decisive evidence. Two photos that, taken together, show Miles Edgeworth... brandishing the gun, at the very moment of the murder!"
It was as though an explosion had sounded. Now Phoenix knew why Mia had been silent through Larry's entire spiel. She'd wanted him to stumble on the enlarged photos himself. Still, hopefully it wasn't as bad as the prosecutor claimed.
"Order! Order! Or-DER!" the Judge yelled. He wasn't having any success, no matter how many times he brought his gavel down. The crowd continued to buzz and hum.
Finally, Mia took matters into her own hands.
There was a shocked hush.
Phoenix looked over at April. She had ducked beneath the desk, as though it was a shield.
"Are you OK?" he asked, smoothing his hair and offering a hand to help her up. Slowly, Miss May rose, staggering a little before regaining her footing.
"How are we supposed to fight against that, Nick?" she whispered.
"We'll think of something," Phoenix hissed back. "We have to!"
"Here are the photos," Mia said, presenting two glossy pictures. Both were light, but grainy— the result of the massive zoom and a computer-assisted brightening. Still, there was enough to make out what the images were.
The first image was of a man's lower body, with a gun held in his right hand. He pointed it at another man, standing in the boat to the left of him.
The second image was, unmistakably, the head of Miles Edgeworth, also looking leftwards. His face was caught in a grimace.
"The court accepts the photos into evidence," the Judge said.
"You understand, now?" Mia asked. "Together, these two photos render all other testimony obsolete. We have Miles Edgeworth's fingerprints on a gun. We have Miles Edgeworth photographed holding that same gun, at the moment of the murder. This creates a chain of unbroken evidence. A chain of truth. A chain that now constricts around Miles Edgeworth's neck!"
Phoenix was at a loss.
"...Mia's right," he said, so softly only April heard him. "He was in the boat. He was holding the gun. Why would he..."
"But he didn't do it!" April insisted. "I don't believe it!" She stood up straighter, and her jaw took on a determined set. "I won't believe it, Nick!"
On the other side of the room, Mia had her arms cupped, savoring the moment. "This court is not here for a question of belief or disbelief. We are here for the truth. And the truth is, Miles Edgeworth shot and killed Yanni Yogi, the boat-rental shack caretaker. There is no contradiction you can find here. No room for error. We have arrived at the truth."
Phoenix didn't answer. He was frantically flipping through the court record.
"What do we do now?!" he said to April. "I could object, but—"
"There's something wrong here!" April insisted. "I know it!"
Phoenix quickly looked at the unenhanced photo again. "Well, what is it?"
"Hmm..." April said, putting one hand on her chin. "Well, for Miles Edgeworth's mentor, Ms. Fey sure seems to hate him. Or relish convicting him."
Phoenix nodded. "She seems nice on top, but..." He looked at the autopsy report again. Nothing new emerged.
April kept musing. "She's going the extra mile with the enhanced photos and everything... I'm surprised she didn't show a full-body picture of Miles Edgeworth and the gun! Then again, I guess it doesn't matter... it's not like—"
Wright was only half-listening, though April's thought did seem a bit puzzling. Why two photos instead of one? A full-body picture would have made even better evidence...
Phoenix's gaze fell one more time on the first picture, of the two men, in the boat, on the lake.
It was as if he had been hit by lightning. Wright's breath caught. His spine stiffened. He blinked, looking up from Mia's matched pair to the photograph in his hand. "Thank you, April," he said, interrupting her monologue.
In response to her "Huh?", he added, "You may have just saved me and Edgeworth both."
Then, Phoenix Wright took a deep breath, standing back up. Slowly, he raised his hand, forming it into a fist.
Mia finished, "Therefore, I would like to call for a guilty verdict—"
Phoenix slammed his hand down on the table.
Mia looked over at him. Her smile didn't fade. "Ah," she said. "The doubter. The obscurer. The thief of truth. What is it?"
Wright bellowed. "You said there weren't any contradictions in those two photos. You're wrong. There's a big contradiction— and it blows your theory wide open!"
"Oh?" Mia said.
Phoenix pointed out Mia's photos. "In these two photos, Miles Edgeworth and the hand with the gun are facing the same direction. Moreover, the gun is being held in the right hand."
The Judge nodded. "That seems correct."
Phoenix went on. "The obvious conclusion is that Miles Edgeworth was pointing the gun at the person, from Larry's point of view, to the left of him in the boat." He reached forward and slapped the unenlarged photo down. "But that's impossible!"
Mia flinched, just a little, but kept the confident façade in place.
The Judge leaned towards the defense's bench, trying to see what Phoenix had set down. "I'm sorry? Please explain yourself, Mr. Wright."
Phoenix held up the photo. "Your Honor, please examine this photo. This is the original photo taken by Larry Butz on the night of the murder." He waited until the Judge was holding the evidence copy. "As we have just heard, the paired photographs—" he gestured at Mia— "show Miles Edgeworth, in the boat, aiming the gun at someone to his left."
He tapped the center of the unenlarged photo, right where the men's arms were. "This photo shows the killer, in the boat, aiming the gun at someone to his right! It's an impossibility!"
It took a second, but the Judge finally got it. "What! How can that be?! If both photos are from the night of the murder..."
"Your Honor," Phoenix said, "It is because the Police Department made a mistake." He pointed at the prosecution's pictures. "During enlargement, one of these photos was flipped!"
Murmurings in the gallery.
"Taken together, these photos imply Miles Edgeworth and the gun were on the same side of the boat. However, if one was reversed, the original photo would show Miles Edgeworth, with the real killer pointing a gun at him! Edgeworth's not the murderer, and never was! In fact, he almost was the victim of that cold night on the lake!"
Phoenix didn't mention his theory as to how the photos actually came to be flipped. Edgeworth's warning had made it clear.
The audience was buzzing now, and the Judge was slamming his gavel. "If the crowd cannot control itself, I will order the courtroom cleared!" he warned.
Hot on Wright's heels came Mia. "Clever," she said, "but you forgot one possibility. It's likely that if one photo was reversed by mistake, so was the other! Then, Miles Edgeworth would still be holding the gun, and my theory stands."
Phoenix shook his head. "It doesn't work! The photo with the hands was definitely flipped, as it's pointing the wrong direction compared to the original picture. The problem is, if we reverse it back to its original state, the man isn't holding the gun in his right hand— he's holding it in his left!"
Mia Fey grimaced for a split second. "Erk—"
"And," Phoenix went on, "The gun Edgeworth was holding has prints from his right hand. Not only was Edgeworth not the man who fired the gun, whoever did fire the gun was left-handed!"
"All very well, Wright," said Mia. She was still holding up, despite the blow to her line of logic. "But you're still missing something. A bullet ended up in Yanni Yogi's head. Yogi couldn't have done it to himself— the photo proves he was aiming the other way. You claim Edgeworth couldn't have done it. Then, who shot him?"
Phoenix was forced to concede. "...I don't know. But I do know this: There are now serious questions about whether Miles Edgeworth is guilty!"
Mia smiled. "And there are also some serious questions about whether he's innocent." She brought out another glossy picture. "You've only raised an objection one of the two photos Mr. Butz took that night."
Phoenix felt like kicking himself.
Ms. Fey went on. "The police department attempted to enhance both photos, but only one came out clearly— the second. However, large versions of each picture exist."
She turned to the Judge. "Accept this into evidence, please."
"T-the court accepts the photo into evidence," the Judge said, staring at it. When Phoenix got a chance to see it, he understood why the Judge seemed perplexed.
This photo was brighter than the second one, the fog lit up by the flash from the pistol. The bright light had turned the man who fired into a silhouette, impossible to identify.
No wonder Mia didn't bring this out at first, Phoenix thought. He couldn't even tell which hand the man was using to hold the gun.
Mia was first to speak. "This photo is hazy, yes. Obscured with mist, yes. However, it's those two things that make it damning. Miles Edgeworth fired the fatal shot at the time of the first photo, but his aim wasn't quite right. Yanni Yogi was still alive... but not for long. There was a fight in the boat!"
The gallery rustled in shock. The Judge swung his gavel.
"Two things happened during the battle," Mia continued. "First, Miles Edgeworth and Yanni Yogi changed places in the boat— and second, Yanni Yogi got hold of the gun! In a last-ditch attempt at revenge, Yogi fired at Miles Edgeworth."
"Hold on a second!" Phoenix said. "How do you know that's Edgeworth who fired in the first photo?"
Mia looked at Wright, her arms confidently crossed. "Let's assume that your claim is true, and Edgeworth didn't fire at Yogi during the second photo. There were only two people on the lake at the time of the murder, and both were in that boat. Edgeworth must have fired at Yogi, because he's alive and Yogi is dead!" She raised one arm to do her trademark hair flip. "Or are you saying there were more people on Gourd Lake that night?"
The prosecutor, the Judge, and the audience all looked at Phoenix. Phoenix looked down at the photo in his hand. The contradiction leapt out at him. How could Mia Fey have missed it?!
Wright slammed his hands down on the table, and said, "Yes, and I can prove it!"
He pointed at the photo Mia had just presented. "There's a gaping hole in your theory."
Mia smiled, and gestured for Phoenix to continue.
Wright presented the picture. "Have a look at this image again."
The flash of the gun had whited out the shooter, but the face of the person being shot was clearly visible. It wasn't Edgeworth, but also...
"Is this the face of Yanni Yogi, the unfortunate man murdered last night on Gourd Lake?"
Phoenix brought out the autopsy report, retrieving the old photo of caretaker. "Not in a million years!"
He held the two photos side-by-side. The man being shot had long black hair, and a square face. Yanni Yogi's face was shorter and more rounded, and his hair was greying— over a decade ago, which meant that by now it would be almost completely white.
"This is a photo of Yanni Yogi, taken 15 years ago," Phoenix said. "If you compare both pictures, you can see the truth. The victim in the photo and Yanni Yogi look nothing alike!"
The crowd gasped. Oddly, Mia didn't seem perturbed. When the Judge was done banging his gavel, Phoenix kept on going.
"Larry Butz said he saw the same boat on the lake when both shots were fired. However, did he really?"
Phoenix turned to Larry, who had been standing and watching the drama. "Mr. Butz!" he shouted. "When you had your snack, in between the two 'bang' noises, were you looking at the lake?"
Larry went on the defensive. "Not this again, man! What do you think I am, a telephoto lens? Of course I wasn't looking at the lake while I was eating!"
If Phoenix had had any doubts about what had happened, this last statement banished them permanently. He whispered to April, "What time were those two photos taken?"
April checked her phone, and answered, "Umm... 12:15... and before that, about 5 minutes to midnight."
Phoenix mentally kicked himself for not checking the photos' times when he'd received them. More than 20 minutes had passed between the two shots, which pointed to only one thing.
"It must have been quite a long snack, then, Mr. Butz!" Wright said out loud.
"Yeah, it was a bit— waaaait, what do you mean?" said Larry.
Phoenix gestured at the unenhanced originals of Larry's pictures. "Ladies and gentlemen of the court, there is a discrepancy between these two photos, one that has just now come to light." He pointed at the second photo. "Mr. Butz is the proud owner of a digital camera— one that places a timestamp in the data of every photo it creates. This photo was taken at the nominal time of death, 12:15 AM."
Mia was still watching. She didn't seem to have many objections with Wright's line of testimony... strange.
Phoenix indicated the first photo. "However, this photo was taken over twenty minutes before, at 11:55 PM!"
The Judge was already raising his gavel before the crowd reacted this time.
Phoenix spread both arms. "With this knowledge, and the fact that the victim in the first picture isn't Yogi, the truth becomes clearer. There were at least three people on the lake that night. While Larry saw the same boat, in the same position— the same pair of men weren't in it!"
Wright paused for effect. No amount of gaveling would stem the whispering now.
Mia still hadn't said a thing, standing there with a slight smile on her face.
"First, the true killer came out on the lake with this man," Phoenix explained, indicating the victim of the shot in the first picture. "The killer shot him, perhaps dumping his body in the lake. The killer then rowed back to shore— no one saw him, least of all Larry Butz, who was engrossed in an untimely midnight snack."
"A guy's gotta eat, you know!" Larry butted in. Mia shot him a withering glare.
Wright continued, "The second time, the killer came out on the lake, in the same boat. However, his new passenger was none other than Miles Edgeworth! One crucial difference emerged between the two scenarios: the first victim lost his life— but Miles Edgeworth survived. Somehow."
That's still a weak point, Phoenix thought. How did Yogi wind up with a bullet in his head?
It was time to sum up. Phoenix paused for a second, then launched into the finale. "The result of this line of logic is this: There was more than one murder at Gourd Lake last night! The same person killed the victim in the photo, and went on to attempt murder on Miles Edgeworth."
"But who is this person, Mr. Wright?" the Judge asked.
There was only one plausible answer. Miles Edgeworth was innocent, and the first victim had died when the first photo was taken.
"It was Yanni Yogi, the second victim of this night!" Phoenix yelled, ignoring the clamor that grew around him. "Though Miles Edgeworth has been taken on lakes, shot at, arrested, brought to court, and insulted by the prosecutor here,"
Mia quickly said, "Penalty for Mr Wright, please."
"Granted," replied the Judge.
Phoenix ignored them. "—he shouldn't be convicted of murder. He's been through more than enough— and he's innocent!"
Phoenix braced himself for a grand rebuttal. Instead, Mia replied, "I wondered whether you would admit your deception."
"Wait, my—" Phoenix said.
"Let me tell you a slightly different story," said Mia. "Yanni Yogi is not the only person who the police believe to be dead. A man named Robert Hammond— a famous lawyer, in fact— was last seen heading to Gourd Lake Park on the night of the murder. No one has seen him since."
Mia Fey pointed at the victim in the first photo. "This is Robert Hammond."
Wright would have expected the crowd to be jaded by now. They weren't. The Judge gaveled in a desultory way, and Mia went on.
"It was the two photos that gave you the idea for misdirection during the trial. Seen together, they look like they were taken only moments apart. If you were to pretend this was what happened, you could 'prove' that Edgeworth was innocent— of one murder. I was wondering what it would take for you to admit that there had actually been two separate deaths." She crossed her arms again.
It was a trap! Mia had been waiting for Phoenix to draw the inevitable conclusion from the evidence— and then use it to her own ends.
"Your Honor!" Phoenix said. "Ms. Fey is defaming—"
"I'm not finished, Phoenix Wright," Mia said. "With the knowledge that there were two assaults, everything falls into place." She looked at the Judge. "My 'colleague' here," she gestured at Wright, "will tell you that the victim in this case rode boats on the lake, killed one man, shot at Miles Edgeworth, and was killed himself. His theory is unsound. How did Yanni Yogi die? Why is he not here, in this court, facing the wrath of justice? There's a far more plausible explanation: Miles Edgeworth has blood on his hands." Mia brushed her hair out of her eyes one last time. "Blood for the deaths of Yanni Yogi and Robert Hammond!"
The roar of sound could not be stopped. Finally, the Judge made his decision.
"Bailiff, clear the courtroom!"
When the gallery was empty, the Judge spoke. "The defense's revelation of multiple murders significantly complicates this case."
Mia looked like she was about to say something, but the Judge raised his gavel threateningly.
"I don't think he likes being overridden all that much!" whispered April.
"Mr. Wright," the Judge said. "You have given us definitive proof today. We now know that it was not Mr. Edgeworth who fired at Yanni Yogi that night."
Phoenix relaxed a little.
The Judge wasn't done. "However, this leaves us with a number of large problems. Who shot the other victim, Robert Hammond? And, if Miles Edgeworth did not shoot Yanni Yogi— who did?"
Wright wasn't expecting April to speak up, but speak she did. "Your Honor! The defense may have a solution. If Mr. Yogi were to have committed suicide—"
Mia spoke up. "Impossible. Where is the photo of him doing so?"
"Well..." said April.
Mia said, "There isn't one— because he couldn't have done it. An examination of the victim's wound revealed he was shot from more than three feet away."
Phoenix checked the autopsy report. Sure enough, the distance was listed there in black and white.
"There is no way it could have been suicide," confirmed Mia. "None whatsoever."
"Well!" said the Judge. "This puts us in an impossible position. One one hand," he gestured at Mia, "the evidence would seem to indicate the shooter could only have been the defendant, Mr. Edgeworth." Now, he gestured at Wright. "On the other, we have photographic proof that the shooter was not Mr. Edgeworth. This is quite a conundrum."
Phoenix gave April a smile, by way of thanks. Edgeworth's musings had proved to be incorrect, but at least one more possibility was resolved.
"Therefore," finished the Judge,"I would like to suspend proceedings for this trial for the day. The court orders the defense and prosecution—" (he placed a slight stress on the last word) "—to further investigate this matter. Understood?"
"Yes, Your Honor," Phoenix said.
Mia nodded, silently.
"That is all," the Judge said, raising his gavel. "This court is adjourned!"
The bang of wood on wood sounded like the sweetest music Phoenix had ever heard.
When Phoenix and April got out of the courtroom, the first thing Wright did was to wipe away the sweat decorating his forehead. "Whew... that was a close one," he said, to no one in particular.
April nodded. "I... I see why they call her the Demon Prosecutor now..."
The courtroom doors opened, and the 'Demon Prosecutor' walked out, moving over to Wright. When Mia got close, she held out her hand and smiled.
"You're doing well so far, Mr. Wright," she said. "I haven't had a multiday trial in a long time."
Phoenix shook her hand, trying not to look completely dumbfounded. "Um... th-thank you?" he ended up saying.
Mia kept smiling. "You won't reach three days, of course, but I must admit I admire your effort."
"Wait a second!" April said. "What was all that you said in court, about Nick being a liar?!"
Mia waved a hand airily. "It's all part of the business. If you're lying, then I must be telling the truth. Simple."
"And what about that flipped photo?" Phoenix lowered his voice. No sense in accusing Mia out loud if his hunch was wrong. "Was that 'all part of the business'?"
A raised eyebrow was all the reaction he got. "I don't know what you mean, Phoenix," Mia said. "Why not take advantage of other people's mistakes? After all... you do."
Phoenix began to splutter.
"What are contradictions except lies? Mistakes? Differences of opinion?" Mia went on, pacing around Phoenix and April in a spiral. "All that divides us is three steps across the courtroom floor. You use these errors, these twisted facts, to try to find your clients innocent. I use your errors to find defendants guilty." She was directly behind Phoenix now. "There's no great difference, no... contradiction between us."
"There is a difference!" Wright said, forcing himself not to step back as he turned to look at her. "I trust my clients. I believe they're innocent!"
Mia shrugged. "In that case, let me ask you this. How far would you go to save an innocent man?"
"Well..." Phoenix began, and then trailed off.
"Would you lie for them?" Mia asked, smiling. "Forge evidence? Cheat the course of justice?"
"Th-that's not—" Phoenix said. "No! I'd find the truth the honest way!"
"Would you?" said Mia. "Strange of you to say that, considering."
"Considering what?" asked Wright. This didn't feel good, all of a sudden.
Ms. Fey shut her eyes, as if reliving a pleasant memory. "I'd have thought that during your time with the unfortunate Mr. White, he'd have taught you his methods of finding the 'truth'."
Mia began to walk away. When she was almost gone, she looked over her shoulder.
"See you tomorrow... Phoenix Wright."
To Be Continued