فصل 12

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فصل 12

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CHAPTER TWELVE

The Washington Post

The photographs said it all. Because of Drake and Sweeney, these poor people were dead.

The file was thick; Rafter had worked very hard. It was my copy of Drake and Sweeney’s complaint to the Bar Association. In one sentence: I had stolen their file, so now I should lose my license.

But it was a shock. Drake and Sweeney wanted blood, my blood. It was frightening. Since I had started law school ten years earlier, I had never thought of any other kind of work. What would I do without a law license?

But there was one thing Drake and Sweeney didn’t know yet. Tomorrow morning at nine o’clock, Mordecai and I were starting a four million dollar lawsuit against them for the death of the Burton family.

I went into Mordecai’s office.

“What do I do?” I said.

He smiled. “Same as they did. Call the Washington Post. I was at college with Tim Claussen. He’s one of their best journalists.”

Next morning we told Tim Claussen about the lawsuit against Drake and Sweeney. The Burton story was already big as a result of the march and my night in prison, and this made it even bigger. He asked us a lot of questions and I was happy to answer. Drake and Sweeney went to the newspapers first.

The story was in the newspaper the next day. For an old law company like Drake and Sweeney, it was the worst thing in the world. Arthur Jacobs’s photo appeared next to DeVon Hardy’s. There were also photographs of Lontae Burton taken from the march. You didn’t even have to read the story; the photographs said it all. Because of Drake and Sweeney, these poor people were dead.

The next day it got even worse for Drake and Sweeney. The Post Office didn’t like all these stories in the newspapers and they didn’t want RiverOaks as their real estate company. That left RiverOaks with nothing. RiverOaks told the Washington Post they didn’t know the evictions were illegal. A million dollar lawsuit for lost business by RiverOaks against Drake and Sweeney was becoming possible.


Arthur Jacobs phoned Mordecai at the Law Center. He wanted to meet Mordecai at Drake and Sweeney’s offices to talk about the lawsuit. Without me. Mordecai smiled at me. “This could be the meeting,” he said.

“Maybe,” I replied.

My future could depend on Mordecai’s talk with Arthur Jacobs. That night I couldn’t sleep. Mordecai was enjoying himself. He told me afterward that he couldn’t believe Arthur Jacobs was nearly eighty.

The old man told Mordecai immediately that Braden Chance was gone. He didn’t choose to leave Drake and Sweeney. They told him to go. Chance had been the only one who knew those people were tenants. I believed that.

Mordecai showed Arthur Jacobs the missing note from the file, and the receipt. Rafter was at the meeting too, with some other lawyers, and for a long time none of them said a word.

Then Arthur Jacobs made a suggestion: he said he wanted to meet with us and a judge. With the judge there, we could decide everything on one day - the Burton lawsuit, the theft of the file lawsuit, and the Bar Association complaint. The judge would be Judge DeOrio, who Mordecai knew was a fair judge.

“What do you think?” Mordecai asked me.

“What do you think?”

“I say we do it. I’ll call Judge DeOrio and arrange a time.”

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