A/N: HAPPY NEW YEAR! We hope you all enjoyed your Christmas break, or if you're no longer in school, that you got to enjoy time with your family.
Sadly, as you are probably all aware, this story is nearing it's end. However, we are beginning work on another tale that we have to tell. I won't reveal too much yet, as we won't begin publication until we are finished with 'Escape to New York', but I can happily say this one takes place on our home turf in Ottawa. We'll reveal more as we get closer to our publication date.
DISCLAIMER: Since it is a new year, we would like to take this chance to remind you all that we do not take any claim or credit for anything familiar to you, and are not making money off of this or any of our other works.
Chapter Thirty-One: The Trial Begins
February 2nd, 2002
Courtroom 10, Supreme Court of the Magical US
New York City, New York
It was a long meeting between Minister Amelia Bones, MFBI Special Agent Alex Mackenzie, the Magical District Attorney for New York Austin Trenholm and retiring Manhattan District Attorney Joe Maxwell.
Amelia would think later that this was the first time that a non-magical had attended a meeting with magical DMLE types and had given good advice in regards to the magical prosecution of what would become easily the trial of the decade, if not the century.
She had been pleasantly surprised at how inclusive the legal team of the Magical U S government had been in including her in the discussions about how to proceed with the Dumbledore case. One of the most startling comments had come right at the very beginning when Trenholm had rejected one avenue for prosecuting the old wizard.
"Technically, Dumbledore could be tried before a military tribunal as he aided and abetted a known magical terrorist in an attack against the United States and its citizens," he began.
"However, military tribunals rarely get involved in magical cases as we are rarely involved in magical wars," he continued. "After discussion with the Magical Secretary of Justice, she suggested that we try the old man under magical criminal law."
Minister Bones had made it clear that her Ministry and indeed the British magical community wanted nothing to do with the old man now that he had exported their magical conflict overseas to the U S.
Thus, today, on February 2, 2002, she was one of a courtroom full of spectators as Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore now sat in the prisoner's docket in the magical courtroom for the NYC district.
For Harry and his two bondmates, Winterfest was now a memory although Harry still recalled the wonderful time they had spent going south and enjoying a world of sun, surf and exploration of one another.
Harry still smiled at his father-in-law Dan's comments when, as they were returning, he overheard Dan speaking to Sebastien. "I don't know what they did, I don't want to know what they did and I don't even want to imagine what they did together," he said. "All I want to make sure is that they are happy with each other."
Sebastien's only reply had been to smile lasciviously at the three young people.
Because of the nature of the trial, Harry was seated in the public portion of the courtroom, knowing that he could be called upon to give testimony by either side of the court, especially as he was the central figure of Dumbledore's obsessions.
This first day promised to be simply legal gymnastics, the kind of back and forth between lawyers. Dumbledore had surprised no one but Joe when he had stated that he wanted to defend himself – Alex had tried to warn Joe that the old man trusted in his own years of experience and knowledge of the law to defend him.
"Unfortunately for the old man, American law is different from British magical law," Alex had tried to reassure Joe. "The old man will not take this into account."
The presiding judge was a no-nonsense official who had always thought Albus Dumbledore was a bit of a grandstander. Well, he had told himself, this trial would be run strictly by the book so that there would be no question as to the legality of the final verdict whether guilty or not guilty. Using statutes that were in place, there would be no grandstanding in his court.
However, despite the best of intentions, the grandstanding began almost immediately. The aged wizard stood up. "I would like to address the issue of the venue of this trial," he began.
Oh boy, Alex thought to himself, this was going to be a long one. Amelia Bones' ears perked up at Albus' statement – so he was going to play that card, was he? She was now very glad that she had worked out responses to this kind of maneuvering beforehand.
"I am the Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot of Magical Britain," Dumbledore began. "The actions I took were under the authority of that same body to protect our society and our world.
"I demand what is my right – to be tried by my peers. I am a British national. Trying me for a crime in this country when no proper papers have been prepared allowing me to be extradited to this country is not acceptable."
Magical DA Trenholm could not help but smile. Dumbledore had walked right into the first of their traps. "So, your Honor, I would like address Chief Warlock Dumbledore on the point he has raised." The judge nodded and Trenholm turned to address the old wizard.
"Chief Warlock Dumbledore, if your British Ministry of Magic and your Wizengamot would agree to allow this court to rule on the issue of your guilt or innocence here, would you accept this court's jurisdiction?"
"I would accept the judgment of my British peers," the old wizard replied.
"Then I have the pleasure of informing you that your peers have indeed considered this case and your situation and they have replied. If you wish, I can read the letter they sent to this court and it is counter signed by the British Minister of Magic, Madame Amelia Bones. I will perform a quick test first of all to see if this letter is authentic."
With a wave of his wand, the letter glowed green, a sure mark of its authenticity.
"Excellent. Allow me to read it," Trenholm continued.
"To the court of the City of New York, Magical United States, greetings. We, the members of the British Wizengamot, and the British Minister of Magic, renounce any and all connections to our former Chief Warlock and his actions in regards to Harry Jacob Vincent Wells and the events which took place in January of this year in the City of New York and its relation to the terrorist known as Tom Marvolo Riddle or He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. His entry into the United States was not done under the auspices of this body; no resolution was ever passed by this body giving him the authority to pursue this action – and thus we release him to face justice for any crimes he may or may not have committed on your soil. Signed Tiberius Ogden, Chief Warlock; Madame Amelia Bones, British Minister of Magic.
"This was dated two days ago by your reconstituted Wizengamot at the end of a session called the Reunion or Reconciliation Session of that body. That meeting was called to celebrate the end of the Second Blood War.
"This letter and the accompanying resolution were issued to waive any and all rights for you to seek shelter under the idea that you were acting with the full approval of the British magical community - instead, you are now fully surrendered to our justice.
"They also acknowledge the crimes you are accused of were not committed were not performed on British soil, but were committed here on American soil." Round one to us, the magical DA mentally thought to himself.
It was evident from the brief look of disappointment on Dumbledore's face that told Trenholm, Mackenzie and Maxwell that the old man had been relying heavily on this approach. He was in temporary shock. It was clear to the old man that Bones had moved quickly to fill in the missing seats on the Wizengamot and had seized complete control of the British magical community.
With those comments on the table, the presiding judge banged his gavel and declared Dumbledore's request to set the trial aside a moot point. Now came the laying of charges.
Among topics spoken two days before in the legal conference was determining the nature and types of offenses under which to charge the old man. Some had argued that the oblivations undertaken against the young Lady Hermione Granger-Potter should be included; others wanted the crimes to be limited to those committed on American soil – either those with effects that had impacted U S citizens or been actually carried out on American soil.
"Your Honor, members of the jury, the crimes that Mr. Dumbledore has been accused of are as follows: one, in October of 2001, during the OWLs exams administered by the International Confederation of Wizards, henceforth referred to as the ICW, Mr. Dumbledore did enter this secure facility for the purpose of kidnapping one Harry Jacob Vincent Wells under the guise of impersonating an ICW examiner and bringing him back to Hogwarts; second, on November of 2001, Mr. Dumbledore did send a restricted magical object with the express purpose of kidnapping either Lady Granger Potter or the aforementioned Mr. Wells, again with a view to bringing both or one to Hogwarts; thirdly, by the sending of this restricted magical object to a hybrid magical community, that this object which can and has proven very dangerous for mundanes, was exposed to mundanes and nearly caused the death of Mr. Wells' father; fourthly, with a view to forcing a confrontation between the terrorist Tom Marvolo Riddle of Britain and the aforementioned Harry Wells, that Mr. Dumbledore did aid and abet the attack on the soil of the United States by the same magical terrorist Riddle and the subsequent death of two mundane American citizens, Mrs. Francesca Diaz and her daughter Rita in January of this year.
"Thus, the charges are attempted kidnapping, improper use of magical objects with no care in determining who would receive this magical object, a second count of attempted kidnapping and finally, the gravest offence, aiding and abetting a known terrorist's attack on American soil with the result of two mundane deaths. The penalty for this last offence is the most serious and grave – a possible death penalty is suggested for this offence should Mr. Dumbledore be found guilty.
"Why would he do these actions? It is our contention that Albus Dumbledore has had an unhealthy fixation, even an obsession, on the person of Harry Jacob Vincent Wells and has had this since the birth of Mr. Wells back in Britain when he was known as Harry James Potter. However, we do not seek to bring that obsession to trial today – instead, we focus on those three actions already cited – the four charges are only for those actions committed on American soil or which had direct impact on the lives of American citizens."
When Trenholm had finished speaking, silence fell on the courtroom. Dumbledore knew that portrayed as it was, the charges were very serious and he did not wish to dispute the actual commission of these crimes. He had thought he could play the Wizengamot card with the argument that what he had done, he had done for the greater good, but with the letter from the Wizengamot and counter signed by Bones, that door was closed.
Now he could only play the prophecy card and focus the attention of the court and the jury on the motivations for the actions he had taken.
The presiding judge broke his concentration as he looked severely at Dumbledore. "Albus Dumbledore, on the charge of the attempted kidnapping of Harry Wells, how do you plead?"
"On the charge of using a restricted magical object with a view of kidnapping two American citizens, how do you plead?"
"On the charge of not taking the proper care with that restricted magical object and nearly causing the death of an American mundane citizen, how do you plead?"
"Finally, on the charge of aiding and abetting the attack of a known magical terrorist against American targets and American shores, how do you plead?"
"Do you have a statement for the court before we begin examination of these charges?"
"I do," Dumbledore replied. Now was his chance to lay out his defense. "I regret the pain my actions may have caused, but these actions were of a view to containing and destroying the evil that was Tom Riddle. To accuse me of aiding and abetting his actions is painful to me – indeed, something I find abhorrent.
"A prophecy was made six months before the birth of Harry Potter – a prophecy which labels Mr. Potter as the only one who could defeat the Dark Lord. I would like to submit this memory of the prophecy as evidence in my case to this court." With that, he placed a vial containing a silver memory on the table in front of him. "When the tragic events of October 31, 1981 took place, Tom attacked the one child that he suspected would be the most like himself, Harry Potter.
"My attempts to bring Mr. Potter back to Britain was to correct a mistake from my earlier years when I had lost track of Mr. Potter. I had believed that he was in the hands of the Dark Lord's servants who had long expressed an interest in learning Mr. Potter's whereabouts who no doubt would have wanted to pay Mr. Potter back for the death of their master.
"Yes, I used more and more desperate methods to locate the Boy-Who-Lived; to find and bring home Mr. Potter; to restore the damage I had caused Mr. Potter. When I heard the great news that he had been found, I acted as any concerned former magical guardian would have and determined to bring him home – to train him, to prepare him and to explain what he had lost by being away from magical Britain.
"So yes, I went to the ICW testing centre. I wished simply to bring Mr. Potter back for a discussion on how he could take ownership of that which was his and how I could protect him from those forces of the Dark Lord who were even then seeking him out.
"I assumed in the sending of the Mirror of Erised that Mr. Potter and his friend, Miss Granger, were indeed in a magical community and thus, surrounded by magicals, the Mirror would pose no real danger to him.
"Finally, prophecy had to be fulfilled. Tom Riddle and Harry Potter had to meet – all I did was simply ensure that the meeting would take place. And it did occur exactly as I had predicted – that in meeting Mr. Potter, the life and reign of the Dark Lord came to an end. I regret any loss of life that resulted from that action – but I ask you to weigh the two lives lost against the potential thousands who would have been lost had the Dark Lord continued his reign of terror.
"I rest my case."
Trenholm got up again. "So ladies and gentlemen of the jury, Your Honor, you have even the former Chief Warlock not disputing those actions he was accused of committing today. However, we need to understand the motives behind these actions. Were these truly the actions of a concerned former magical guardian relieved to have discovered the status of a long lost charge?
"We beg to differ – and because he has opened the door to the past, we will bring in certain information from the past relationship of Mr. Dumbledore and the former Harry Potter because they do have a distinct reference to the events under review today. His actions then have a direct connection to the events and actions of now."
A/N: Shout out to Cateagle for his great idea on having Dumbledore before a military tribunal. However, while that would be a possibility, one gets the idea that magicals are not often engaged in massive wars – witness the lack of any armed forces for the British magical society other than hit wizards and Aurors.
Stay tuned for The Trial of Albus Dumbledore Part 2.