A/N: This story is mainly a novelization of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, and is rigidly based on many of the cases and scenes in the game. There will be differences, however, that the reader should take note of. Chief among them is Phoenix's conduct throughout the fiction. This fiction is written with Phoenix Wright acting more confident and professional throughout the cases than in the games. For his conduct, I based him loosely on Sherlock Holmes in the movie Sherlock Holmes, giving him a genius intellect. Take care in reading, as the character could be considered OOC.
This story will receive irregular updates, and may go on hiatus at a moment's notice without any explanation from the author. Please consider this before you read, as you may get attached to the writing style and/or perspective the story is written from. My goal is to update entire cases at a time, but I also plan to break the cases up into investigations and trials. The first chapter below is the entire first case. The second time I upload to this story, I will upload the entire second case, broken up into four different chapters to allow for easier reading (Investigation 1, Trial 1, Investigation 2, Trial 2). If this doesn't make sense, it will become obvious when you witness my upload patterns. At the time of this writing, I am working on Turnabout Samurai, Investigation 1. As stated before, uploads may be scattered and irregular, and I apologize for any inconvenience or discouragement I might cause if my upload rate isn't as fast as you would prefer.
I am not privy to the legal structuring of our government, and only used common sense combined with the contents of the game to write some of the original scenes in this fiction. If I have gotten something wrong, I would appreciate a private message or email (rayburn_harry ; messages titled PHOENIX WRIGHT) so that I may correct the issue. Accuracy is important to me.
Above all, I want you to enjoy this story. It is a fresh look at the first Ace Attorney game, and I tried to add to the already amazing story that the game illustrates. Reviews are welcome, but not needed. If you would like to offer constructive criticism, please do not hesitate from putting it in reviews.
I think it should also be prudent to mention I have only played the first two games of the Ace Attorney series, PW:AA and PW:JFA. I own them all, but haven't played them due to time constraints and distractions, so if something I write about directly conflicts something in later games, please please PLEASE alert me to this so I can correct it, or compensate for it in future chapters/stories.
And I'm going to head this one off at the pass: This is NOT going to be a Edgeworth/Wright romance fiction, nor will it be a Phoenix/Maya romance fiction, though I will have Phoenix become romantically involved with someone. Cast speculations if you wish; it makes this fun. :)
(DISCLAIMER: I do not own the characters, images or story portrayed within this fiction.)
August 1, 9:39 AM
Fey & Co. Law Offices
Phoenix Wright, attorney at law, was sorting through papers of his boss's latest trial when he received the call that changed his life.
He was always interested in defending the weak, those who couldn't defend themselves. Working himself through college, and later law school, he developed a love of the jurisdiction system. He had always been smarter than his classmates, though he would never admit it, and graduated with top honors from one of the most prestigious institutes in the country. During his year out of college, Phoenix Wright himself was put on trial for the murder of Doug Swallow, a former lover of Phoenix's then-love interest. Mia Fey, a rookie lawyer who had only one case under her badge, defended him and got him a not-guilty verdict. In return for her help, he agreed to help her set up her own law firm, and together, they created the Fey & Co. Law Offices. For several months, he assisted Fey in her dealings with the law, setting up interviews with potential clients, and helping her with any investigations and organization of evidence. He quickly proved himself an adept investigator, and though he never took part in the court proceedings himself, he could sort through the case as if he knew it inside and out. In some of the most difficult cases, Mia had honored him with asking for his advice, a request he took very seriously. In all cases that she referred to him, his word had pulled through and Mia had gotten the evidence or the contradiction she had needed to see the case through. It wasn't long before Mia saw him as everything a defense attorney should be, and promoted him to said position.
He was finally a lawyer.
Within a week of his promotion, Phoenix Wright received his very first client – his best friend.
"This is Phoenix Wright of Fey & Co. Law offices."
Phoenix blinked, recognizing the voice instantly. "Larry?"
"NICK! I'M SO DEAD, DUDE! SO DEAD!"
Phoenix laid down the papers of Mia's last trial, giving the phone conversation his full attention. "Calm down, Larry, alright? I need you to speak clearly if I'm to help you."
"Dude, Cindy's dead! She was killed in her apartment yesterday, and since I'm her boyfriend, they're holding me as the prime suspect!" Phoenix could hear his friend crying on the other side of the phone. "Dude, I got no defense, dude! I don't know what I'm going to do!"
Mia had just entered Wright's office, presumably to talk about some more papers, but stopped short as she saw her junior employee on the phone. "Alright, Larry, calm down. Just answer me one question, alright?"
Larry sniffled. "Y-yeah. What's that?"
"Did you do it?"
Phoenix rolled his eyes. "Did you kill Cindy?"
There was a pause. "NO! HELL NO, DUDE! I AIN'T KILLED NOBODY! WHAT KIND OF QUESTION IS THAT?!"
Phoenix smiled as he pulled a small notepad closer and uncapped a pen. "It's the only question I need to represent you in court. Now, when's your court date, and what time?"
"Um…August 3rd at 10 in the morning. But dude, are you sure about this?"
Phoenix wrote down the date and time, as well as Larry's name. "Of course. Now, I have a couple of questions for you, important questions that will help me earn your acquittal." Phoenix checked his watch as he moved the phone to his other shoulder. "Can you meet me at the law firm at noon?"
"Yeah, dude. The police didn't arrest me since they have no hard evidence, but I'm kept under close watch. I don't think they'll have a problem with it."
"Good. I'll see you then." He smiled as he put down the phone, feeling elated that he had his first case. He clasped his hands in front of him as he leaned back in his chair and looked at Mia leaning on the doorway, arms crossed.
He admired his boss's looks, the way her brown hair flowed across her features in a spectacular way, her serious face that could always turn into a bright smile. She always dressed well, a trait he respected; lawyers need to dress as such to gain respect from all they met. And she had certainly gained his. Most students from law school didn't earn their status as a full lawyer until the first year with a law firm. Mia had let him loose after a mere three months of graduating from law school, allowing him to take any and all clients that came to their law firm. A risky proposition, to be sure, but he was confident he could bring good things to the Fey & Co. Law Firm. He was glad Mia respected him as much as she did.
He returned to the problem at hand as Mia cocked an eyebrow at him. "Potential client?" she asked.
Phoenix nodded. "Yes, a Mr. Larry Butz. Says his girlfriend was murdered and that he's pinned for the act. He says he's not guilty, and from how he spoke on the phone, I can say I believe him. But we won't know until I question him later today."
"When's he due to arrive?"
Phoenix looked at his watch. 9:45. "I scheduled him for noon today, so we have a while if you'd like to talk."
Surprised, Mia shook her head. "No. I think you can handle it. I'm just surprised you're taking a murder case as your first case. Kind of risky, don't you think?"
"Certainly not as risky as your counterfeit scam with the paper company last week." Phoenix pointed at her casually. "That was risky. We were lucky we found those bills, or we would have never solved that case."
Mia shrugged. "It was, but a more experienced lawyer was handling it. This is your first case. Don't be too nervous, but stay on your toes. Courts don't mess around with murder cases."
Phoenix nodded. "I'll be careful. I haven't officially accepted his case, so I'm not committed if it starts to sound sketchy."
Mia nodded, smiling. "Good. We still have a while before Larry shows… Want to have an early lunch? My treat."
Phoenix smile, standing. "Lunch sounds great!" He moved to the coat rack beside the door, grabbing his brown overcoat and putting a sleeve through it. "Didn't you pay for the last lunch?"
Mia nodded. "I did. And that's because I get the bigger paychecks. You just whined to me yesterday about how you could barely afford your current apartment. You helped me with the Hanks-Marlin trial when I thought Hanks had bought it, so I'll cover your lunch to help you with your rent." She smiled as she cast one last glance to Phoenix before leaving his office for her own. Phoenix finished straightening his coat before walking out of his office, locking his door behind him. Mia was locking her own door behind her and met him at the end of the hallway, smiling at him before walking out the main doors with him and locking the building up tight.
They ate at a local restaurant, with Mia covering both lunches and including a generous tip. Phoenix tried to pride himself as a man who paid for a lady's lunch, but the older Fey wouldn't allow it; she didn't want her only co-worker put out on the street for missing his rent just for paying for her lunch.
They returned to the offices fifteen minutes before Larry was scheduled to arrive. Mia returned to her office to finish some paperwork, leaving Phoenix to await Larry's arrival. He didn't wait long before the spiky-haired man entered his office, looking flustered as he peered in.
"Nick?" He asked, almost pleadingly. Phoenix looked up from some papers at the sound of his name.
"Larry!" Phoenix stood, a genuine smile playing across his face. "Come in, come in. Have a seat." Larry closed the door behind him, eyes sweeping the office with awe.
"Dude…you're pretty high up here, aren't you?" He gestured behind him. "Kinda empty out there, though. Where's your secretary? Don't all law firms get secretaries?"
Phoenix shrugged. "My boss never cared for them. She prefers we take cases ourselves. It helps us become more familiar with our clients." He smiled. "No use for that with you, though. We've been best friends since grade school. How've you been?"
Larry shook his head. "Not good, dude. Like I said this morning, my girlfriend was found dead in her apartment." His head hung in sorrow as he sat across from Phoenix, the lawyer taking a seat as well. "She had just gotten home from Paris the day before."
Phoenix was already writing down notes onto his notepad. "What was she in Paris for?"
Larry hesitated, and then shrugged. "I don't know, actually. I just found out yesterday."
Phoenix stopped. "You didn't know your girlfriend was in Paris? That's not something you keep from your significant other."
Larry shrugged, looking askance. "Well, we weren't really seeing each other at the time, so we kind of fell out of contact with each other."
Phoenix scribbled out a part of his notes, replacing it with a more accurate description. "Alright, so you two had a history together, but weren't currently seeing each other." He finished writing down the notes before looking up. "Do you know about what time she was murdered?"
Larry shook his head. "Not the exact time. The police came knocking on my door around seven last night, claiming that she was found dead around four or five. Our history together labeled me the main suspect."
"Do you know where she was murdered?"
Larry nodded. "The police said she was found dead in her apartment."
"What were you doing on the day of the murder?"
Larry looked up and to the side in thought as he struggled to remember. Phoenix could tell it was hard on him to recall the murder itself; he must have still cared for Cindy. "Well, I was working on my bike for most of the morning when I got a text from my broski. He had seen Cindy in his hotel and saw her walk into a room with bags, so he assumed she was moving into the place. I hadn't seen her in a while, and I made it clear that I was worried about not hearing from her in a long time, so he thought I should know. I decided to go visit her later that day – I had some errands to run throughout the afternoon—so I stopped by around 3:30. She wasn't there, so I left. I stayed home the rest of the night." He looked back to Phoenix to see him writing on the notepad vigorously.
"Alright… What errands were you running before you visited her room?" He looked up at Larry.
Larry shrugged. "Just paying my bills. They're pretty far out, so I have to drive for a couple of hours both ways to pay them."
Phoenix nodded, writing down the alibi. "And can anyone confirm you were where you said you were?"
Larry nodded. "Sure. My landlord was pulling out of the parking lot and saw me working on my bike outside, so he knew I was at my apartment in the morning. If you call Shinto's Electrics and ask for Mrs. Bagatini, she can tell you I was there. I gave my money to her to pay the bill. And then Marissa Markstead at Waterlong Parks saw me paying my water bill. My landlord saw me pull into the parking lot later that day. He was returning from his job and had grabbed a few groceries from the store, so I helped him out."
"And about what time where you at each place?" Phoenix asked.
"Umm…Maybe 12:30 at Shinto's, and around 2 at Waterlong." Larry shrugged. "I don't know the exact times, but I do know I got to Cindy's apartment at 3:30. And she wasn't there, dude. Honest."
Phoenix nodded. "I believe you. I just need to gain credibility for your alibi. I'm going to have to make a couple of calls… If you can wait a moment," he leaned over his desk to grab the phonebook he kept close by. Thumbing through it, he found first Shinto's, and then Waterlong Parks. He wrote down both numbers and dialed them on the phone. Someone picked up on the third ring and answered in a nasally voice.
"Shinto's Electrics, this is Mandie Bagatini. How can I help you?"
"Mrs. Bagatini, this is Phoenix Wright of the Fey & Co. Law Offices. Do you have a few moments to answer a few questions?"
"Well, I suppose so. Is something wrong, Mr. Wright?"
"I hope not, ma'am. I was wondering if you could tell me if a Mr. Larry Butz was at your offices yesterday. He paid an electric bill."
"Oh, Larry! Yes, he was here. He caused quite a ruckus over his bill. He said we overcharged his account for additional services he incurred."
"Mmhm. About what time did he walk in, ma'am?"
"Hm…Well, I'd have to say it was a little after 12."
"I'm going to need something a little more concrete, ma'am. He's a suspect for murder, and to solidify his alibi, I need to know his exact whereabouts yesterday. When did he arrive at your business yesterday, ma'am?"
That got a more reactive response from her. "Oh my. Let me get with my manager, and we'll check the cameras, okay sonny?"
"Alright, ma'am. I'll wait." Phoenix sat on the phone for almost five whole minutes, all the while thinking about the case in its entirety. Mrs. Bagatini returned to the phone just as Phoenix was getting impatient.
"I'm still here, ma'am."
"Okay, Mr. Larry walked in at exactly 12:24pm. I was just finishing up with another customer at the time."
"Alright, and about how long was he there?"
"He was there for almost ten minutes. He left at 12:33pm."
"I see…" Phoenix wrote the times down and put down his pen. "Would you and your manager be willing to sign a written testimony stating what you just told me? I'll need it by tomorrow."
"Of course! That won't be a problem."
"Alright, I'll need you to come down to our law firm either today or tomorrow between 8 and 5 to sign it. And thank you, Mrs. Bagatini. You've been most helpful."
"Uh huh! I hope everything goes well with Mr. Larry!"
"Thank you, ma'am. Goodbye." Phoenix hung up the phone and dialed the number for Waterlong Parks. The call went about the same pace, with Marissa giving him her story of Larry's time at the business. Lastly, he called Larry's landlord. In the end, it all checked out, and he was where he said he was at those times, and that each was willing to give written testimonies. That left only the crucial alibi between the hours of 2:27pm, when he left Waterlong Parks, and when he got home at 5:02pm, when his landlord saw him pull into the driveway.
"Okay, this is where we're at," Phoenix said, leaning on the desk, and he saw Larry do the same, obviously fearful of what he would say. "Between the hours of 12:30 and 2:30, your alibi holds. Likewise, your landlord confirms that you returned to your apartment at about five. We have written testimonies to prove it. But there's a two and a half hour gap between Marissa seeing you and your landlord seeing you. In that timeframe, no one can account for your whereabouts. That's not good."
Larry bit his upper lip, nervous beyond a doubt. "Well, what's gonna happen, man? Am I going to jail? Are they gonna blame me for this?"
Phoenix shook his head. "Not if I can help it. I'll gather all the evidence I need to see you through this today. By the third, we'll be ready." He saw that Larry wasn't convinced and smiled. "Don't worry. I haven't lost a case yet." Which was true…this being my first, he thought wryly.
Larry took a big breath and sighed. "Alright, dude. I'll just leave it up to you, then." He stood and shook Phoenix's hand. "I'm trusting you, dude. Don't let me down."
Phoenix stood as well and returned the shake. "Don't worry about it. We can laugh about this the day after over drinks."
Larry laughed nervously. "Alright, I'll hold you to that." He turned to leave, waving to Phoenix as he exited.
Phoenix sat, going over the notes he had taken, wondering exactly how he was to prove the case. He didn't tell Larry, so as not to worry him, but he had no evidence to support Larry's alibi. For all he knew, Larry could've killed Cindy. He had enough time to do so, that much was clear. But as long as Phoenix had known Larry, he would swear on his badge that he wasn't a killer. It just wasn't into the man. He sighed, content to just wait until the day of the trial. He had seen Mia walk into a courtroom with nothing before and still get an acquittal. She just used the prosecution's evidence against them to find the truth and prove her client innocent. He would do the same. Just to be safe, though, he reviewed the notes and alibi more thoroughly, committing everything to memory for the trial…
August 1, 4:57 PM
Fey & Co. Law Offices
Mia locked her door and walked into Phoenix's office to find the spiky-haired lawyer finishing up as well and putting on his coat. "Actually leaving on time, I see?"
Phoenix nodded, a focused look on his face. "I can't think. Maybe some food will be good for my head."
Mia nodded. "I'm hungry myself. You up for some burgers?"
Phoenix shrugged, pocketing his keys. "Sure. Maybe you can give me some advice on this case I've taken."
"Sounds good." They walked out and Mia locked the doors behind her before they took off for the nearest burger joint.
"So this case I've taken…" Phoenix began. "It's a murder case, you already know. But while the defendant clearly didn't do it, he has no alibi at the supposed time of the murder."
"Are you positive the client didn't do it?"
Phoenix nodded. "Trust me. I'm positive. This guy is no murderer." They both stopped at a crosswalk, waiting for the traffic to die down before crossing. "But while I have written testimonies for his whereabouts before and after the time of the murder, no one can account for him at the time of the murder. That's not good."
Mia shook her head as she began to cross. "No, that's not. Do you have anything prepared for that? You know the prosecution will try to use that against us."
Phoenix shook his head. "No. I was hoping I could pull one of your tricks: walk in there with good intentions and use the prosecution's evidence against them."
Mia sighed as they arrived at Joe's Greaser, their preferred burger joint. "That's not usually a good idea, but if you don't have anyone to confirm his alibi, that's honestly the only way to go." She looked at him as he opened the door for her. "You sure you're alright taking this case?"
Phoenix nodded. "Yeah. I feel surprisingly confident about it, despite my lack of evidence. I have a feeling the prosecution will give me everything I need."
Mia smiled before walking inside the diner. There was a main bar with five stools for patrons. Booths lined the wall on both sides of the bar. The smell of burgers permeated the air, and Phoenix started salivating even before they both sat at their regular booth near the window. They had just gotten situated in their seats before their regular waitress appeared.
"Hey Ashlie!" Mia greeted.
"Hey you guys!" Ashlie returned the greeting. "The usual?"
Mia nodded. "Yep," Phoenix replied.
Ashlie wrote down their usual order and tore the ticket, stuffing it in her apron. "Alright, I'll be right back."
Phoenix sighed, clasping his hands in front of him as he looked at Mia. "So. How was work for you today?"
Mia shrugged as she rested her head in a palm. "Eh. Too much paperwork, in my opinion."
Phoenix smiled. "You could always retire early and leave me the business. I like paperwork."
Mia laughed. "Right. And where would I go?"
Phoenix shrugged. "I could rehire you as my junior employee. They don't get much paperwork."
Mia laughed. "Ah. So now your devious plot unfolds."
Phoenix laughed before changing the subject. "I know you hate talking about work while off the job, but I've noticed you really focusing on something the past few days. What's going on?"
Mia hesitated, looking aside in thought. "Well… I don't want to cast speculations out in the open before I'm sure. So let's just say I think I'm on to something big, and if so, it could mean the world for the firm."
"Anything I can do to help?" Phoenix offered, leaning off the table as his food was placed in front of him.
Mia shook her head. "No. Sorry," she said apologetically, "but this is a pretty serious claim I'm onto. If I'm wrong, it could be the end of my career."
Phoenix eyed her with concern. "Just what exactly are you working on? Are you sure it's safe for you to be working on this alone?"
Mia nodded. "Not that it's safe, but that I think I have a good enough lead to come out okay on this. I can't explain anything right now, but maybe later, I can tell you the basics."
Phoenix shrugged, confident in his boss to retain discretion when necessary, and started in on his burger.
August 3, 9:47 AM
Defendant Lobby No. 2
Phoenix Wright sat on the couch, written testimonies in hand, as he waited for the trial of Larry Butz to start. He couldn't shake the slight nervousness of being on his first case. He wondered exactly how the trial would pan out today.
He looked up to see his boss, Mia Fey standing before him. "Hey, Mia." He noticed she looked slightly flustered and out of breath. "Are you alright? You're not looking your classy self."
She managed a wry grin as she waved off his concern. "I'm just glad I made it on time." She put her hands on her hips as she regarded him. "Well, again, I have to say I'm impressed, Phoenix. Not everyone takes on a murder trial right off the bat like this." She smiled warmly. "It says a lot about you… and your client as well."
Phoenix scratched the back of his head in slight embarrassment. "Um… thanks." He straightened his tie as he looked away from Mia. "Actually, it's because I owe him a favor."
That surprised Mia. "A favor? You mean you knew the defendant before this case?"
Phoenix nodded. "Yes. Actually, I kind of owe my current job to him, in a weird sort of way." He shrugged. "He's one of the reasons I became an attorney."
Mia shrugged while smiling. "Well that's news to me."
Phoenix smiled. "I want to help him out any way I can. I just…" Phoenix shrugged, unable to think of the words. "…really wanna help him. I owe him that much."
Mia smiled and opened her mouth to say something, but was interrupted by the most despairing cry she had ever heard.
"It's over! My life, everything, it's all over!"
Mia looked toward the racket and saw a man with spiky blond hair and an orange jacket crying. "Isn't that your client screaming over there?"
Phoenix winced. "Yeah…that's him."
"Death! Despair! Ooooh! I'm gonna do it! I'm gonna die!"
Mia looked on in concern as the man continued to scream in sorrow. "It sounds like he wants to die…"
Phoenix shook his head. "Unlikely. He's always been a little overreactive."
By now, the man had noticed both lawyers in the room and had made his way over to his friend. "Nick!"
Phoenix nodded with a smile. "Good morning, Larry."
"Dude, I'm so guilty! Tell them I'm guilty!" Phoenix cocked his eyebrow at that statement. "Gimme the death sentence! I ain't afraid to die!"
"What? I thought you said you didn't do it, Larry!" Phoenix almost felt himself lose the little courage he had going into this case.
Larry covered his eyes as he began to cry again. "Dude, it's all over! I can't live in a world without her! I can't! Who took her away from me, man? Who would do this?"
Phoenix nodded, understanding his friend's sudden claim of guilt. "I don't know, Larry. If I can, I'll find out who did this, but I'm responsible for proving your innocence. And that's just what I'm going to do."
"Aw man…" Larry hung his head. "Who would do something like that… and pin it on me?"
Phoenix opened his mouth to answer, but was interrupted by the bailiff. "Will the defendant and his lawyer please proceed to the courtroom?"
"That's our cue, Phoenix." Mia said.
Phoenix nodded, standing. "Come on, Larry. We'll get this sorted out, I promise."
August 3, 10:00 AM
Courtroom No. 2
The courtroom was full of people on the jury, all speaking about the current case. Phoenix heard some say the man was obviously guilty; just look at him crying over there. Others felt sympathetic and didn't think he had it in him. Still others believed only the case would present the evidence to decide Mr. Butz's fate. Phoenix himself knew that Larry was innocent, but whether he could prove this in court or not remained to be seen. It was all up to the prosecution to trip up, and then Phoenix would have them.
The judge began the court with a smack of his gavel. "The court is now in session for the trial of Mr. Larry Butz."
Across from him, the prosecutor, Winston Payne, cleared his throat and adjusted his glasses. "The prosecution is ready, Your Honor."
The judge looked to Phoenix Wright, cueing him to reply. "The defense is ready, Your Honor." He mentally patted himself on the back for appearing confident in his first case thus far.
Apparently the judge wasn't convinced, or was going to be sure of the defense's competence anyway. "Mr. Wright. This is your first trial, is it not?"
Phoenix nodded. "Yes, Your Honor. Forgive me if I come off a tad nervous." He allowed himself a small smile, thankful that the judge returned it.
"Very well. Do note that your conduct during this trial will decide the fate of your client. Murder is a serious charge." He leaned toward Phoenix to better emphasize his words. "For your client's sake, I hope you can control your nerves."
Phoenix nodded, unfazed. "Yes, Your Honor."
The judge nodded, pleased with the defense's composure and proceeded with the case. "And now, a question for the prosecution, Mr. Payne?"
Payne, who had been glaring at Phoenix like a lion before his prey, looked back to the judge. "Yes, Your Honor?"
The judge cleared his throat. "In the court records, we see the victim, Cindy Stone, was struck with a blunt object. Would you explain to the court just what that 'object' was?"
Payne nodded and pulled out a statue from below his podium. "The murder weapon was this statue of 'The Thinker.' It was found lying on the floor next to the victim." He gave the statue to the bailiff, who presented it to the judge.
"Hm… I see…" He held it out to the bailiff. "Please allow the defense to review this piece of evidence."
The bailiff brought the statue over to Phoenix, who looked over the statue with a genius-intellect, memorizing every facet of the statue. There were several suspicious details he took note of, but didn't comment on, as they might prove vital to the case. He handed it back to the bailiff, who in turn brought it back to the judge.
"Thank you, Mr. Payne. The court accepts this statue into evidence." He set the statue aside and slammed the gavel onto the table once.
The trial of Larry Butz had begun.
"Mr. Payne," the judge began, "the prosecution may call its first witness."
Payne smiled and stood straighter. "The prosecution calls the defendant, Mr. Butz, to the stand."
With a nervous gulp, Larry Butz walked to the stand, looking absolutely terrified. After the bailiff swore him in, Mr. Payne began.
"Ahem. Mr. Butz, is it not true that the victim had recently dumped you?"
Phoenix held his breath, knowing Larry was prone to shoot off at the mouth at the best of times. He wasn't disappointed as Larry pointed vigorously at Payne. "Hey! Watch it, buddy! We were great together! Like Romeo and Juliet…uh… Cleopatra and Mark Anthony!" Phoenix cocked an eyebrow at the analogies. Not the best comparisons, Larry…they all died in the end. Larry continued. "I wasn't dumped! She just wasn't taking my calls… or seeing me…ever." His vigor reignited as he looked back at Payne. "What's it got to do with this case anyway?!"
Unfazed, Payne replied. "Mr. Butz, what you describe is generally what we mean by 'dumped.'" He smiled a cruel smile. "In fact, she had completely abandoned you and was seeing other men." He crossed his arms. "She had just returned from overseas with one of them the day before the murder."
To Larry, this was news. "Whaddya mean 'one of them?' Lies! All of it, lies! I don't believe you!"
Payne ignored Larry and pulled out a small booklet. "Your Honor, the victim's passport." He thumbed through it as he spoke. "According to this, the victim was in Paris until the day before she died." The bailiff accepted the passport and brought it to Phoenix to review as evidence before bringing it back to the judge, who accepted it into evidence.
"Hm…Indeed. She appeared to have returned the day before the murder."
Phoenix could see Larry looking hopeless as the latter said, "Dude…No way…" The realization that Cindy might have been seeing many men had just gotten through to him, and Phoenix could feel the case getting slightly more dangerous.
Payne continued. " The victim was a model, but didn't have a large income. To compensate, it appears that the victim had several 'sugar daddies.' In other words, older men who gave her money and gifts for various types of…affection." He smiled in a snooty kind of way as Larry stared on, the words tearing him up on the inside. "She took their money and used it to support her lifestyle." He crossed his arms. "We can clearly see what type of woman this Ms. Stone was. Tell me, Mr. Butz. What do you think of her now?"
Phoenix had had enough. "OBJECTION!" He called out, stunning the entire courtroom with his impressive vocals. "My client had no idea the victim was seeing other men! That question is irrelevant to this case!" He looked at Larry directly with a piercing gaze. "You will not answer that question, Mr. Butz!" Larry, caught unawares, nodded dumbfounded.
"OBJECTION!" Payne shouted out. "You have no way of knowing the defendant's true story, Phoenix Wright! For all you know, he could be a great actor and told you any sob story in the book to gain your trust."
"OBJECTION! I don't have to know! The court can clearly see the defendant's face!" Everyone looked to Larry, who was still looking dumbfounded. "The defendant clearly had no idea the victim was seeing other men! This isn't the face of a killer caught in the act! It's of a man shocked by betrayal!"
"Betrayal! I'm glad you mentioned it!" Payne pointed at Larry. "I believe we can see that the accused's motive is clear!"
"Perhaps…" the judge said, looking at Payne with a critical eye.
"It's not so hard to believe when the defendant answers this next question. Witness!" Larry looked at Payne with a hard glance. "You went to the victim's apartment on the day of the murder, did you not?"
Caught unawares, Larry could only gulp.
Payne pressed him. "Well? Did you? Or did you not?"
Larry suddenly crossed his arms, looking snide. "Well, maybe I did, and maybe I didn't." He looked at Phoenix for approval for parrying the prosecution's question. His look of triumph was met with Phoenix's glare that said it all: Tell. The. Truth. Larry faltered and leaned on the podium. "O-okay okay. I was there. I went."
The court burst into noise as each person speculated on this new development. Only when the judge slammed his gavel several times and screamed for order did the court quiet down.
"Well, Mr. Butz?" The judge didn't look to favorable for Larry, but Larry waved off his glare casually.
"Dude, chill! She wasn't home, man. Never saw her."
"OBJECTION! Your Honor, the defendant is lying!" Payne shouted.
The judge cocked an eyebrow at him. "How so, Mr. Payne?"
Payne smiled. "If Your Honor allows it, the prosecution would like to call a witness who can prove Mr. Butz is lying."
The judge looked at Phoenix, who was looking focused, before looking back at Payne and nodding. "Very well. Bring in your witness."
"The prosecution calls Mr. Frank Sahwit to the stand!"
The bailiff escorted Larry off the stand and to the side as Frank Sahwit walked into the courtroom. Larry gave Frank an evil look but otherwise cooperated as the bailiff escorted him to the defense's side of the room. As for Frank Sahwit, Phoenix had never seen a more shady looking character. He looked too cheerful for Phoenix's taste, and kept casting glances across the courtroom. His hands were always fidgeting with something, and even though he wore a nice purple suit, it didn't suit him in the least. Something was off about this guy, of that he was sure.
Payne began. "Mr. Sahwit, you sell newspaper subscriptions, is this correct?"
"Oh, oh yes! Newspapers, yes!" Frank replied, a little too quickly in Phoenix's opinion. And that wasn't the worst of the sentence, but Phoenix kept his comments to himself for now.
The judge nodded to Frank. "Mr. Sahwit, you may proceed with your testimony. Please tell the court what you saw on the day of the murder. Your testimony will be recorded for the prosecution and the defense, so please speak clearly." He cast a glance at a elderly lady at a computer sitting to one side, who nodded for him to begin.
Frank nodded. "Very well! I was going door-to-door, selling subscriptions when I saw a man leaving an apartment. I thought he must be in a hurry, because he left the door half-open behind him. Thinking it strange, I looked inside the apartment. Then I saw her lying there…A woman…not moving…dead! I quailed in fright and found myself unable to go inside! I thought to call the police immediately, but the phone in her apartment wasn't working. I had to go to a nearby park and call from a public phone. I remember the time exactly! It was 1:00pm! The man who ran was, without a doubt, the man standing right over there!"
The judge furrowed his brow in thought as he considered the testimony. "Incidentally, why wasn't the phone in the victim's apartment working?"
"Your Honor," Payne provided, "at the time of the murder, there was a blackout in the building."
The judge looked doubtful. "Aren't phones supposed to work during a blackout?"
"Yes, Your Honor. However, some cordless phones do not function properly. The phone that Mr. Sahwit tried to use was one of these cordless phones." He produced a piece of paper in an official folder. "I have a record of the blackout for your perusal, Your Honor."
"The defense requests to see this record of the blackout, Your Honor," Phoenix put in before the bailiff could grab the document."
The judge nodded. "Very well." He waved the bailiff to the defense, who allowed Phoenix to look over the record before handing it back to the bailiff.
The judge accepted the document from the bailiff before looking at Phoenix, who was just now accepting Sahwit's testimony from the lady who had typed it up word for word. "Now, Mr. Wright. Are you ready to begin your cross-examination?"
Phoenix nodded, having discussed his role in the court the day before with Mia. "Yes, Your Honor."
The judge nodded. "Very well. You may begin."
Phoenix nodded and looked at the witness. "Mr. Frank Sahwit. You say you sell subscriptions for a newspaper. Can you tell me what that newspaper is?"
Frank smiled cheerfully. "Why, the Californian Gazette! Why do you ask? Would you like a subscription?"
Phoenix shook his head. "Frankly, no. I neither want one, nor could you sign me up for one if I did." Frank faltered and Phoenix continued. "I know for a fact that the Californian Gazette does not gain subscribers with salespeople selling subscriptions. To subscribe to the Gazette, you must do so online." He looked out at the courtroom. "Any of the respected jury who receives the Californian Gazette can clearly agree with my statement." Frank was visibly shocked as several jury members, including the judge, nodded their heads.
"The defense has a point, Mr. Sahwit." The judge said. "I receive the Californian Gazette, and I must renew through the internet, not through a salesperson."
Speechless, Frank could only stare. Phoenix continued. "That doesn't concern me, though it does lend some question to your credibility. The problem I have with your testimony is the time you called the police. Are you certain it was 1:00pm?"
Frank nodded angrily, as if daring Phoenix to challenge him again. "Yes. Absolutely."
"Yes! It was 1:00pm, for certain!"
"Funny, your statement directly contradicts the autopsy report, which notes the time of death at some time after 4pm. There wasn't a body to find at 1:00pm." He crossed his arms and glared at the witness. "Can you explain this three-hour gap?"
Clearly distraught, Frank began fidgeting with his hands. "Oh, er… that… um…"
"OBJECTION!" Payne shouted. "This is trivial! The witness merely forgot the time! It would have made no difference in the court if he had never even shared the time!"
"OBJECTION!" Phoenix replied. "Because he has shared the time, and the wrong one at that, his credibility is in question! And as we all know in murder cases, time is a very important factor!" Phoenix slammed the table with an open hand. "We must know the exact time of everything in the case! To leave it up to speculation is poor work on our part!"
The judge nodded. "I agree with the defense. Mr. Sahwit," he looked at the witness. "Why were you so certain that you found the body at 1:00pm?"
"I…er…well… Gee, that's a really good question…" Sahwit thought for a moment before grabbing the podium. "Wait! I remember now!"
The judge stopped him before he could continue. "Would you like to give your testimony again?"
"Yes, Your Honor! Please!"
The judge nodded to the woman who recorded testimonies before nodding at Sahwit. "Proceed, then."
"You see, when I found the body, I heard the time! There was a voice saying the time… It was probably coming from the television inside. But it was three hours off, so it must have been a video of a taped program or something that the victim had been watching when she was brutally murdered!" He smiled, pleased with himself. "That's why I thought it was 1:00pm! I'm terribly sorry about the misunderstanding." He wiped his forehead of sweat that Phoenix knew wasn't from the heat.
"Hm…" the judge said, thinking. "So you say you heard a voice saying the time on a taped program." The judge looked like he had his doubts about the testimony, but he looked to Wright and nodded. "You may begin your cross-examination, Mr. Wright."
Phoenix didn't even wait for the written transcript, having memorized the testimony already. "Mr. Sahwit, again, I have a problem believing your testimony. You say you heard a voice saying the time, and that the voice came from the television. Earlier today, you mentioned how you didn't enter the premises. I'm curious…how do you know it was a television and not, say…a radio?"
Confused, Sahwit furrowed his brow. "Well, I guess it could've come from a radio…"
"Incidentally," Payne interjected, "there was no radio found on the premises. There was only one large television. The witness has testified. He heard the time."
"That's what concerns me, Mr. Payne!" Phoenix replied fiercely. He turned to the judge. "The prosecution has presented evidence of a blackout on the victim's apartment building that lasted from noon that day, to 6pm that evening. Even if Mr. Sahwit was there at 1:00pm, which I doubt, he couldn't have heard a voice telling the time from a television set."
Again, Frank was speechless, unable to explain the contradiction.
The judge nodded. "The defense has a point." He looked at Frank with a critical eye. "Do you have an explanation for this, Mr. Sahwit?"
"No…I…uh… I find it quite puzzling myself! Quite!" He fidgeted as he thought. "Wait! I know! I remember now!"
"Mr. Sahwit?" the judge asked threateningly. "The court would like to hear an accurate testimony from the beginning. These constant corrections are harming your credibility." He studied Frank as the latter couldn't sit still and was visibly sweating. "That, and you seem rather… distraught."
Abruptly, Frank stopped his fidgeting. "M-my apologies, Your Honor! It… er… it must have been the shock of finding the body!"
The judge sighed. "Very well, Mr. Sahwit. Let's hear your testimony once more, please."
"Actually, I didn't 'hear' the time, I 'saw' it. There was a table clock in the apartment, wasn't there?" Frank cast a nervous glance at Payne, who almost imperceptibly nodded. "Yeah, the murder weapon! The killer used it to hit the victim! What must have been what I saw!"
Phoenix sighed as he leaned on the podium, already confident that this case was over, and that this witness's credibility was destroyed. The judge, meanwhile, was thinking about the testimony. "You saw a clock?" He stroked his great beard in thought. "That might explain it…" He looked at Phoenix. "You may cross-examine the witness, Mr. Wright."
"Thank you, Your Honor." Phoenix again wasted no time questioning Sahwit. "Mr. Sahwit, would you please repeat what you said about the table clock in the apartment?"
Confused and wary, Frank began fidgeting again. "The…uh… clock?" He began to wring his hands. "T-the killer used it to hit the victim, right? It was the murder weapon."
"Your Honor, I find that hard to believe!" Phoenix pointed to the statue on the judge's desk. "That statue was submitted by the prosecution as the murder weapon! How on Earth is that a clock?!"
Angered by yet another contradiction, Sahwit slammed his fist down on the stand. "You and your contradictions and evidence! Just who do you think you are?!"
"Answer the question, Mr. Sahwit!"
"Hey, I… I saw it there, okay! That statue's a clock!" Sahwit looked so distraught, Phoenix didn't think he was thinking clearly. Phoenix knew the truth about this statue after looking at it carefully, but the court had no idea.
"Your Honor, if I may…" Payne pleaded.
"Yes, Mr. Payne?" the judge asked, curious to see what the prosecution would do to avoid this deadly trap.
"As the witness stated, this statue is indeed a clock. The neck is a switch. You just tilt it, and it says the time out loud. As it doesn't look like a clock, I submitted it as a statue. My apologies."
The judge nodded. "I see…" He leaned on the table, looking hard at Sahwit. "So the murder weapon was a table clock after all." He looked at Wright. "Well, Mr. Wright? It appears the witness's testimony was correct. This is a clock." He hefted the statue for Phoenix to see. "Do you have any problems with his testimony now?" It was almost as if the judge was hinting to him about something.
Phoenix appreciated the gesture, but needed no such hinting. "There is indeed. First we must ask how Mr. Frank Sahwit knows this statue is a clock. If the neck needs to be tilted for the time to be said aloud, we must ask ourselves why Frank Sahwit was inside the apartment, and why he was even touching this piece of evidence when there had been a murder." Phoenix held up the transcript of Frank's testimonies thus far. "The witness testified under oath to never entering the apartment. Why, then, did he hold this clock in his hand? That was the only way he could have discovered the statue was a clock."
"Indeed," the judge said, looking critically at Sahwit.
"I'll save the court the trouble of speculating. The witness knows this statue is a clock because he entered the apartment on the day of the murder!"
Frank was losing composure fast, and Payne's protests were drowned out by Frank's shouts. "Oh yeah? Prove it! Prove I went in there!"
Phoenix leaned on his podium. "I'll do better than that! I can prove you killed her with the statue!" He pointed at Frank vigorously. "You struck her with the clock, and the shock of the blow triggered the clock's voice! That was the sound you heard!"
At this proclamation, the court burst into shouts of disbelief. The judge rapped his gavel fiercely, calling for order. "Order in the court! Order!" The jury quickly regained their composure, and the judge looked at Wright. "Intriguing. Please continue, Mr. Wright."
Phoenix nodded. "Yes, Your Honor." He looked at Sahwit. "Mr. Sahwit, the sound must have left quite an impression on you. Understandable, since the murder weapon spoke just as you hit the victim. That voice was burned into your mind. That's why you were so certain about the time."
"OBJECTION!" Payne interrupted. "What's the meaning of this? This is all baseless conjecture!"
Phoenix glared at Payne. "Baseless…?" He pointed at Sahwit, who looked to be in fits. "Just look at the witness's face!"
Frank Sahwit was speechless, glaring daggers at Phoenix.
"Would the witness care to elaborate? Did you strike the victim with the clock?" The judge looked menacingly at Frank, and even Phoenix could feel the danger of the judge's glare.
"I…I… That… that day… I… I never! The clock! I heard…. I mean… I saw… Nggg! Graaaaaaaah!" Frank lost it, grabbed his toupee, and threw it at Phoenix Wright, who aptly dodged it. "Shutupshutupshutup! I hate you!" He pointed at Larry. "It was him, I tell you! I saw him! He killed that woman! He killed her, and he should burn! He should die for what he's done!"
His outburst caused another outburst among the jury, and the judge had to slam his gavel down several times to restore order. "Order! Order in the court, I say!"
Payne used this opportunity to call out to the judge. "Your Honor, a moment please!" He pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose. "There isn't a shred of evidence supporting the defense's claims!"
The judge nodded. "Mr. Wright! In such a delicate matter as accusing someone of murder, you must have evidence supporting your claim! Can you prove the sound the witness heard was from the clock?"
Phoenix shrugged. "Sound the clock right now, in court."
The judge nodded. "Very well." He picked up the clock and looked to the prosecution. "How did you say you were to activate the clock?"
"T-twist it's neck, Your Honor." Payne managed to say, and Phoenix could see that he was on the right track. Payne wasn't looking too good.
The judge did as Payne said, twisting the neck of the statue. There was a small beep, then…
[I think it's 8:25am…]
The judge cocked an eyebrow. "Well…it certainly is a strange way to announce the time." He set down the clock. "So, we've heard the clock. What are your conclusions, Mr. Wright?"
Phoenix looked to Payne. "Mr. Payne. Can you tell me what time it is right now?"
Payne looked at his watch, confused, and read "It's 11:25…" He hesitated and stifled a yelp as he realized what Phoenix was driving at.
Phoenix nodded. "As you can see, the clock appears to be three hours slow, which explains how 1:00 was burned into Frank Sahwit's mind. Now the court may ask me to explain how I know that the clock was running three hours slow on the day of the murder." He pointed into the air, as if making another point. "It wasn't." He smiled at the general confusion about the courtroom. "I ask the court to direct their attention to the evidence. Specifically, the victim's passport." The judge picked up the passport, looking it over. Phoenix continued for his benefit. "You may recall earlier today that the prosecution presented this evidence with the explanation that the victim had been in Paris up until the day before the murder. This passport confirms their claim, and the court sees no reason to believe differently. That, in turn, answers another question: why was the clock wrong?" He leaned on the defense table as he explained. "Very simply explained, Your Honor. The time difference between us and Paris is nine hours. Instead of running three hours slow, this clock was running nine hours fast. Ms. Cindy Stone had just forgotten to set her clock back to Californian time." He smiled. "And this theory is supported by the witness's testimonies, which leaves nothing to question."
The judge nodded, stroking his beard. "What then are you proposing, Mr. Wright? I would hear your entire theory."
"OBJECTION!" Payne shouted, but the judge shook his head.
"Objection overruled!" the judged shouted to Payne, who visibly shrank. The judge looked back at Phoenix. "Mr. Wright, please continue."
Phoenix nodded. "The murder weapon was found with no fingerprints, and was only found stained with the victim's blood. Judging from Mr. Sahwit's impression of the time when he allegedly struck Ms. Stone with the statue, I am led to believe that he was not expecting to murder her. I believe this murder was not premeditated. That leads me to believe that Mr. Sahwit was surprised by Ms. Stone. The only reason I can think of Mr. Sahwit being surprised by the victim in the victim's own home is that Mr. Sahwit is a common burglar. His cover is that of a newspaper salesmen selling subscriptions. When he saw my client leave the victim's apartment, he believed that my client was the true owner of the apartment, and that he was out for the day. Believing he had an easy job with the apartment, he was not expecting Ms. Stone to arrive soon after he began his work. Surprised, he grabbed the nearest thing and hit Ms. Stone to keep her from calling out in alarm. Shocked by his own actions, the voice of the clock left the time imprinted into his mind." Phoenix smiled at Mr. Sahwit. "Isn't that right, Mr. Sahwit?"
Frank Sahwit gaped at Phoenix, again speechless, before fainting on the spot. The court burst into pandemonium at this new revelation, and it took the judge a good minute of rapping his gavel to calm down the jury. "Order! Order in the court!" The judge looked at his bailiff and pointed at the unconscious Frank Sahwit. "Bailiff! Get that criminal out of here!"
The bailiff nodded and handcuffed the witness, accepting the help of two policemen that were called to take away the murderer. Only when the double doors had closed behind the two officers did the judge resume the trial.
"Well. This case has certainly turned out differently than we all expected." He arranged his robes before looking at Wright. "Mr. Wright?"
"Yes, Your Honor?"
"I have to say, I'm impressed. I don't think I've ever seen someone complete a defense so quickly… and find the true culprit at the same time. Your conduct and wisdom in this case is to be commended."
Phoenix nodded. "Thank you, Your Honor."
The judge looked back to the defense, particularly Mia. "Ms. Fey. It's my understanding that you've taken Mr. Wright under your wing, correct?"
Mia Fey, who had been silent the entire time, spoke. "Yes, Your Honor."
The judge nodded. "You have taught him well. I've never seen a more capable defense attorney."
Mia smiled at Phoenix as she answered the judge. "Thank you, Your Honor."
The judge nodded at Larry Butz, who was brought before him. "At this point, it's only a formality, but the court finds the defendant, Mr. Larry Butz not guilty. Congratulations, Mr. Butz." He rose and hammered his gavel one more time. "This court is adjourned."
August 3, 2:32 PM
Defendant Lobby No. 2
"You were terrific, Phoenix!" Mia congratulated. "You didn't need me there at all!"
Phoenix shrugged. "I still appreciated your presence. It was comforting to know I could turn to you if something stumped me."
Mia smiled. "Thank you, Phoenix. Though I hardly doubt anything could've stumped you in there. You handled yourself very well! I've never seen a trial end on such a satisfying note!"
Phoenix smiled and turned to Larry, visibly thrown off to see his friend crying. "Larry? What's wrong now? You won!"
"But my Cindy-windy's gone, man! Gone forever!"
Mia dissolved the situation with the tact Phoenix always admired. "Congratulations, Larry! I can see the headlines now! 'Larry Butz, Innocent!'" She smiled at him. "You should feel proud!"
Larry smiled nervously. "Oh…thanks. I owe it all to you guys." He looked pleadingly at them. "I won't forget this. L-let's celebrate! Dinner? Movie? My treat, guys!"
Mia smiled, shaking her head. "Oh, no, I couldn't."
Larry didn't falter, holding out a statue that looked oddly familiar. "O-oh, here! Take this then! It's a present!"
Mia accepted it, looking it over with fascination. "Larry…wasn't this the evidence that the police…"
"Actually," Larry interrupted, "I made this clock for her! I made one for her and one for me."
"Realy? You? You made this?" Phoenix laughed. Mia couldn't fake surprise easily. She smiled warmly. "Thank you, Larry. I'll keep it as a memento." She set it down on one of the couches as Larry turned to Phoenix.
"Yo, Nick… Can you believe it? I was so into that chick, and she was just playing me for a fool!" He visibly faltered. "Don't that make you wanna just cry, man?"
Phoenix crossed his arms. "I wouldn't be so sure." He winked at Mia, who smiled as she knew what he was getting at.
"W-whaddya mean?" Larry asked hopefully.
Phoenix gestured to the clock Larry had just given to Mia. "The clock you just gave Mia was exactly like the one the police found at the crime scene."
"Well…yeah… but what does that mean?"
Phoenix smiled. "It means Cindy took the clock with her to Paris! It's quite a heavy clock; not something you take around with you unless it means something to you." Phoenix patted Larry on the shoulder. "I think she thought of you a lot, Larry. Why else would she keep something you made her?"
Larry sniffed, thinking it over. "Yeah. Yeah, I guess you're right." He wiped his nose on his sleeve and sighed. "Hey Nick. I'm glad I asked you to be my lawyer. Really, I am. Thanks, dude."
Phoenix smiled. "Not a problem, my friend."
Larry turned to go. "I guess I'm free to go now. I hope to see you guys later!" He waved to them as he left the courthouse, leaving Phoenix and Mia alone in the lobby.
Mia sighed. "Well, I think our work here is done! Shall we be off?"
Phoenix nodded, packing up his folder and things. "Yeah, I guess so. That went so much smoother than I thought it would." He thumbed through the testimonies he had gathered yesterday. "I didn't even have to explain his alibi."
Mia smiled and rested a hand on Phoenix's shoulder. "So, how about dinner? On me?
Phoenix smiled and nodded. "Yeah. Sounds good!"
. . . . .
And so, Phoenix Wright, defense attorney, completed his first case with a complete acquittal, as well as finding the real culprit in the crime. The man would move on in life to be one of the greatest defense lawyers of his time. He would lose and gain friends, acquire allies and enemies alike. Through it all, he would fight for justice and for truth. His name is Phoenix Wright. He is an Ace Attorney.