[If you have not already done so, you must
read the Introduction
For 1-55 (Chapters 1-13), see here.
56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 Chap 14 056-063 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 Chap 15 064-074 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 Chap 16 075-084 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 Chap 17 85-95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102
Revenge Should Have No Bounds 103
Chapter 18 (8 of 15): Arrest
On Thursday the twenty-second of January Mazarine is sitting in the luxurious foyer of the sixty-first floor of the Wu, Hsien, Blair & Balthazar building, where Natalie Siu has her suite of offices. This floor, too, Mazarine notes, has four large paintings, slightly different from those on the floor below, of the venerable founders of the firm. She has a ten o’clock and precisely on time is ushered into Natalie’s plush domain.
Natalie’s co-counsel, Danny Hochstel, is standing next to her, and they both wear welcoming smiles. This is the first time Mazarine takes the time to give Danny a closer inspection. He is not pre-possessing. Caucasian, shorter than Natalie and somewhat chunky, he has a bland face, pale hair and light blue eyes. His hands, she notes, are beautiful, and beautifully manicured, but his dress, though a standard three-piece of good material, is nothing to write home about: it does not hang well on him. Hands aside, he gives off a rumpled impression. But, Mazarine figures, if he were not a first-rate lawyer he would not be working at Wu, Hsien, Blair & Balthazar so closely with Natalie Siu. He indicates a comfortable easy chair for Mazarine in a small triangular grouping in one corner of the large reception area of the suite. From this height the view of the city spreading out far below catches in one’s throat. Coffee served, once again with real china and silver, Natalie settles back in relaxed fashion on her small sofa. Hochstel follows suit at the third apex.
“So,” she begins, setting her cup and saucer back on the low table of glass and tubular gleams that sits at the center of their gathering, “how are things going, Mazarine?”
“Now that I’m recovered from the nightmare in the courtroom, I’m starting to feel human again. Thank God for the bottom of the ninth.”
“Quite,” Natalie says. “In that connection, can you tell us a little more about the man with the money?”
Mazarine casts Danny Hochstel a questioning glance.
“That’s all right, Mazarine. Danny is part of our team and will be co-counsel throughout this whole thing. You can speak to him the way you would to me.”
Danny does not appear to be in the least offended.
“I’m … I’m sorry,” Mazarine says. “Well, it’s no secret what I do, what I did, for a living. He was one of my clients. His name is Agung, as you will recall, and he is obviously very rich. He has always been sweet to me. Many of the men I see tend to want to be very protective, and though a lot of them have made the point that they’d like to, what, take care of me, he’s the only one who ever came through in a big way.” She pauses a minute, and Natalie and Danny do not break in on her hesitation. “I have the distinct feeling that we haven’t heard the last from him.”
“What do you mean?” Natalie queries.
“Before this whole thing is over, I suspect you will get offers of help.”
“Not extra-legal ones,” I hope. There is a note of concern in Natalie’s voice and Danny’s forehead has grown a frown.
“No, nothing like that. I have no reason to believe that Agung is anything but an honorable and honest man.”
“How did you meet him?”
“We were introduced to each other by a mutual friend. We seemed to click.”
“I assume you mean … ah … professionally?”
“Yes, that’s correct.”
Hochstel is taking copious notes as they go along. He leaves all the talking to Natalie but it is clear that he is listening very closely to everything that is being said.
“I see.” Natalie reaches around to a small side cabinet and pulls out a tape recorder. “I hope you don’t mind, but I’d like to tape this session. It’s only for in-house purposes, and after we’ve extracted what we want, it will be destroyed. Is that O.K. with you?”
“Sure. Of course.”
Natalie starts the machine and puts in on the table.
“Did you get a chance to jot down any of those things we talked about earlier?” she asks.
“Yes, I did,” Mazarine replies and pulls out a notebook from her tote bag and hands it to the lawyer. “I was kind of amazed at how many names I came up with, and I have some problems with this.”
“Well, frankly, the men who see me have a sort of tacit understanding from the service I work for that they enjoy anonymity. I don’t know how much you know about Aspasia’s, but the clients are mostly so-called solid citizens, some of them quite prominent, and it would do them inestimable harm to be, how shall I put it, outed in this fashion.”
“Yes, I can see that that could be a problem. I’m obviously going to do all I can to minimize any risk that their names enter the public domain. But I can’t promise anything.”
“What is this all for, anyway?”
“This is the start of our preparation for a defense. If you recall the judge’s charge to us and the prosecution, we have to share our information with each other. The whole process is called ‘discovery’ and involves finding out as much as possible about each other’s cases. Not the strategy, but the factual data: exhibits, financial data, witnesses, any kind of formal documentation that has bearing on the case. The idea is you can’t sandbag the other side. They have to know what you’re going to be using to present the case. How we – or they – do that is of course another matter. Now, what you’ve done here is start a witness list.”
“You mean you’re going to call all those people as witnesses?” Mazarine asked in horror.
“No,” Natalie smiled, looking at Danny who was also smiling, “not at all. Maybe none of them. The point is that we want to get as many names on there as possible. The prosecution won’t know which names, if any, we are going to call, but they will have been forewarned, so to speak. In effect, we have to let them know the names of any and all potential witness we might call, but we are not obligated to call any of them. It’s much more problematic to call a witness during the trial whom we did not have on the list at the start of the trial. Keep that in mind.”
“So, just make a lot of work for them. Or make so much work they won’t bother checking any of them? Something like that?”
“Yes. Exactly. Something like that.” She and Danny exchange quick glances. “That’s why I want you to keep working on this list. It doesn’t matter who, just get as many names down there as you can. We’re shooting for a long witness list.”
TO BE CONTINUED