- زمان مطالعه 12 دقیقه
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دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»
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متن انگلیسی فصل
The Case for the Defense
On Wednesday morning, an analyst named Walter Barker wrote in an article in Mogul, a popular weekly financial magazine, that the jury would decide against Pynex and that the sum of money Pynex would have to pay out would be enormous. His opinions were listened to, and he was usually right. Wall Street was shocked. The share price dropped from seventy-six to seventy- one and a half.
The jury arrived in court at nine. Harkin welcomed them, went through his normal questions, and then promised that there would be a speedy end to the trial.
Jankle was called as a witness, and the defense began. Free from the effects of alcohol, Jankle was ready. He smiled and seemed to welcome the chance to defend his tobacco company. Sitting on the second row was Taunton, the black lawyer whom Lonnie had met in Charlotte. It didn’t take long for their eyes to meet. Lonnie managed to nod and smile, because it seemed like the polite thing to do. Taunton’s message was clear. The defense was speaking, and it was important for Lonnie to understand that he should believe every word that was said by the witness. No problem with Lonnie.
Jankle described the different brands of cigarettes his company made, showing the jury a colorful chart of the eight brands, each with the nicotine levels labeled beside it. By offering this wide selection of brands, Pynex allowed each person to decide how much nicotine he or she wanted. Choose the number of cigarettes you smoke each day. Choose what you do to your body with cigarettes. The message was choice, choice, choice. Cigarettes were responsible products if used carefully. However, like many other products - alcohol, butter, sugar, and handguns, for example - they could become dangerous if they were abused.
Fitch watched all of Jankle’s testimony from a seat near the back. To his right was Luther Vandemeer, CEO of Trellco, the largest tobacco company in the world, and the unofficial head of the Big Four. Fitch and Vandemeer had lunch at Mahoneys, alone. They were relieved by Jankle’s success that morning, but they knew the trial would become more difficult.
“How much influence do you have with the jury?” asked Vandemeer.
Fitch wasn’t going to answer truthfully. He wasn’t expected to. No one knew some of the things he did, except his own agents.
“Maybe the usual is not enough.” Vandemeer was scared, with good reason. The pressure was enormous. A large plaintiff’s verdict would mean an immediate 20 percent loss in shareholder value, and that was just the beginning. There could be one million lung cancer lawsuits during the five years after such a verdict. The legal fees would average one million dollars for each case. Nobody dared predict the cost of one million verdicts. The government might try to ban cigarettes.
“Do you have enough money?” Vandemeer asked.
“I think so,” answered Fitch, wondering for the hundredth time how much his dear Marlee might want.
“The Fund should have a lot of money.”
Vandemeer chewed on a tiny piece of grilled chicken. “Why don’t you choose nine jurors and give them a million dollars each?” he said with a little laugh, as if he was joking.
“Believe me, I’ve thought about it. It’s just too risky. People would go to jail.”
Vandemeer stopped smiling. “We have to win, Rankin, you understand? We have to win. Spend whatever it takes.”
With a jury exhausted by sequestration, Durwood Cable didn’t want to extend the case. He’d cut his list of witnesses to five, and he’d planned for their testimony to run for no more than four days.
In the afternoon, Jankle was questioned by Wendall Rohr. Rohr started with a vicious question, and things went from bad to worse.
“Isn’t it true, Mr. Jankle, that your company spends hundreds of millions of dollars trying to persuade people to smoke, but when they get sick, your company won’t pay a dime to help them?” Jankle said something that no one could hear.
“I’m sorry, Mr. Jankle. I didn’t hear that. When was the last time - “
“I heard the question. I can’t recall one.”
“So you say that cigarettes don’t cause sickness?”
“Only if they’re abused.”
“So tell us please, Mr. Jankle, how does one abuse a cigarette?”
“By smoking too much.”
“And how much is too much?”
“I’d say more than two packs a day.”
Rohr spoke more softly. “Will you describe to the jury how you have warned the public that smoking more than forty cigarettes a day is dangerous?”
The damage was done, but Rohr saved the best moment until the end. He showed a video of Jankle, together with the other CEOs, giving evidence before a group of politicians. One by one they were asked if nicotine was addictive. They all clearly said no. Jankle was last, and when he made his angry denial, the jury knew he was lying.
Fitch and Cable had a tense meeting. Fitch was bothered about Jankle’s defense. Cable, who didn’t like being criticized by a nonlawyer, whom he hated anyway, explained that they’d begged Jankle not to talk about cigarette abuse.
Fitch thought the jury might be tired of Cable. Why couldn’t another defense lawyer talk to a few witnesses? There were a lot of them. Fitch and Cable shouted at each other across a desk. After they’d both tried to become calmer, they did agree that the defense should be brief, and last no more than three days. Fitch banged the door shut as he left the office.
In his car, Fitch read faxes. There was a summary of the investigations into Claire Clement in Kansas. The car went past a store, and Fitch suddenly wanted a beer. He was an ex-alcoholic and hadn’t had a drink for nine years. He knew that if he had one drink, he’d go on drinking. He stopped thinking about beer. Where was Marlee, and why hadn’t she called? He closed his eyes, thought of the jurors, and dreamed of Marlee.
Derrick chose a different place for his meeting with Cleve. It was a bar in the black section of Biloxi. Cleve insisted that they meet in the parking lot first. He arrived late.
“I don’t think this is a good idea,” Cleve said. “I’m the only white face here, and you expect me to go into the bar with five thousand dollars and hand it over to you? If you want the money, meet me at the Waffle House.”
Sitting in the Waffle House, they drank coffee. Derrick was nervous as he spoke.
“So I’m thinking that ten thousand dollars isn’t enough, know what I mean?”
“I thought we had a deal,” said Cleve, showing no emotion.
“Things are different now. I want fifty thousand dollars, plus a percentage of the sum of money that the plaintiff gets. I think 10 percent would be fair.”
“Oh, you do? You’re crazy. We made a deal for ten thousand. Anything larger and we’ll be caught.” Cleve got up and hurried out to the parking lot.
Derrick ran after him and caught up with Cleve in his car. Cleve got out, lit a cigarette, and looked at Derrick.
“Look, what I’m offering you is illegal. Don’t get greedy. If you do, you’ll be caught.”
“But if you offer a percentage, Angel will work harder to persuade the other jurors to decide on a large sum of money.”
“You don’t understand. If there’s a verdict for the plaintiff, it’ll be years before the money is actually paid. Take the money. Talk to Angel.”
“Twenty-five thousand. Per vote.”
“Sure. Angel can deliver more than one.”
Cleve finished his cigarette. “I’ll have to talk to my boss.”
It was time for personal visits at the Siesta Motel. Hoppy had arrived early with some Chinese food and a bottle of wine. He and Millie made love, and then talked about the kids. Hoppy spoke sadly about her absence. Everyone missed her.
He dressed and turned on the television. “You’re not going to believe this,” he said, taking a piece of paper out of his pocket.
“What is it?” said Millie, taking the paper and reading it. It was a copy of the document which Fitch’s people had written, with false information about Leon Robilio. Millie looked suspiciously at her husband. “Where did you get this?” she demanded. “Who sent it?”
“Don’t know. Looks like it came from Washington.” Hoppy hated lying to Millie, but Napier and Nitchman were out there somewhere, just waiting.
“Why didn’t you just throw it away?”
“I don’t know, I - “
“You know it’s wrong to show me stuff like this, Hoppy.” Millie threw the paper on the bed and walked closer to her husband. “What are you trying to do?”
“Nothing. Somebody just faxed it to my office, that’s all.”
“What? Somebody knew your fax number, knew that your wife was on the jury, knew that Leon Robilio testified? And that person also thought that you’d be stupid enough to try to influence me? I want to know what’s going on.”
“Nothing, I swear,” said Hoppy.
“Why have you taken such a sudden interest in the case? I can tell when something’s bothering you, Hoppy.”
“Nothing. Relax. This case is difficult for both of us. I’m sorry I showed you it.”
Millie finished the wine and sat on the bed. Hoppy sat next to her. Mr. Cristano had suggested that Millie showed the document to all of her friends on the jury. Hoppy didn’t know how to tell Mr. Cristano that this wouldn’t happen. As he thought about this, Millie started crying. “I want to go home,” she said, with red eyes.
Hoppy put his arm round her and squeezed tightly. “I’m sorry,” he said. She cried even harder.
Hoppy felt like crying too. The meeting hadn’t been successful. The trial would end soon. He had to persuade Millie to vote for a defense verdict. Hoppy would be forced to tell Millie the truth. Not tonight, but surely during the next personal visit.
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