This is Part Two. Readers want to begin with “The Gateway” Part One of the Gateway Series!
Here is the first chapter of “The Curse of the Gateway.”
“The Curse of the Gateway”
Missing Parts of the Case: Part Two of the Gateway Series
By: Aimée Marie Bejarano
The Curse of the Gateway
(Part Two of the Gateway Series)
Copyright © 2014 Aimée Marie Bejarano
All Rights Reserved
No parts of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without prior written permission by the copyright owner. IF this novel is given out as a free pdf, it is NOT by permission of author and it’s piracy.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.
Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental.
Published August 19, 2016 Released under “Missing Parts of the Case” later redone and released as “The Curse of the Gateway” Missing Parts of the Case (Part Two of the Gateway Series) Both are the same novel and under copyright of the author.
Gabriel violently yanks Aiden by his t-shirt, wrenching him across the threshold of Grace’s brick home. Aiden is stunned gaping at Grace, disheveled on the ground hugging herself. Tears streaming down her red face. He briefly questions if Gabriel has finally figured out that he has feelings for her.
“What?! What is it, Grace?” His blue eyes widen.
Several months prior.
Aiden Jenson nervously sits on the witness stand, having just endured a thorough and detailed testimony. His account of the days leading up to, and the day of his shooting is on display, naked as day. It was a dark day set up, and meticulously planned out by Detective Phil Linton.
Aiden wipes his sweaty palms on his ironed suit pants, crinkling them. The D.A. settles in her chair at the prosecution table, with her notes strategically laid out. She waits for the defense attorney, whom she’s gone to bat against before, to question her witness.
Stewing in a new, navy blue suit, calm and cool, appearing like he doesn’t have a care in the world, is the deceptive and cunning, Phil Linton. He carefully studies Aiden, thinking and presuming the color tie his attorney instructed him to wear will give off a wonderful, first impression to the jury. Linton scowls at Aiden, wishing he was in a pool of blood, and imagining every crooked, menacing thing he’d like to inflict, if only given the chance.
Judge Prodeman, the man with the scar on his face, who was indicted with the attempted murder of Aiden Jenson and bribery, was wise and took a plea deal. He avoided a lengthy trial, but lost his high paying job. The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the case of Chacho Macho since Judge Prodeman was the judge presiding over his case. It was due to the fact it was not a fair trial from the start. Because of all the evidence admitted, Chacho Macho also took a plea deal for the murder of young girl he brutally raped and murdered.
Justice has been served for everyone. But, not just yet for Phil Linton. He’s willing to brazenly stand toe to toe with Aiden Jenson. More of a sick, foolish challenge. He despises Aiden. Always has. And in his pride and arrogant ways thinks he can get away with attempted murder, not only that day in the bushes, but in the hospital, after the gateway episode. Aiden was recovering from his severe burns and bite to his leg. Linton’s also charged with a slew of minor charges which he’s denied with preposterous claims of being framed. But there’s far too much evidence piled against him. Amidst wise counsel from his defense attorney to take a deal, knowing the enormous amount of evidence, Phil Linton refused and wants his day in court.
One huge problem stands in his way; the D.A. sitting rather comfortably is Rose Lee, a powerful District Attorney known for tearing people apart on the witness stand. She has a 98% conviction rate and can’t wait to see if Linton will take the stand. She’s fully prepared and confident in this case regardless that Aiden Jenson was not being truthful in the beginning, about the attempt on his life. Rose Lee has made it simple to the jury in her opening remarks, how Aiden Jenson must have felt, from nearly being murdered and dumped down a shallow embankment, like a bag of garbage. Plus, the continued threats from the man in blue, the constant torment, and fear he must have endured. Linton would have killed Aiden if he loosed his lips.
At the defense table, Linton’s lawyer stands up and straightens his striped tie, he behaves rather smug and pedantic. He figures he knows precisely how to handle this snot nosed journalist. Discredit. His plan is to catch Aiden Jenson in a lie, and bring up past lies, regardless of Aiden’s valid reasons.
“So, Mr. Jenson,” He clears his throat and swaggers towards the witness stand. Aiden swallows preparing himself, knowing he’s going to be dragged through the ringer with this man. The jury eyes Aiden then the defense attorney.
“What you’re saying is you lied? You’re an admitted liar is that what you’re saying?! You obviously just admitted to all of us, that you lied when you were shot!” The defense attorney motions towards the jury for brownie points.
“Objection your honor! He’s harassing my witness!” Ms. Lee stands up and angrily smacks a hand on the table. Reporters and news stations stand piled inside the courtroom, for the most anticipated, broadcasted trial of the year.
The judge bangs the gavel; the courtroom erupts with gasps and echoing whispers. The judge’s deep, brown eyes scowl at the defense attorney. “Counselor, clean it up! He’s already admitted he was not truthful in the original report. You need to move on. Quiet in the courtroom!” The Judge grimaces across the courtroom, his robe more as sackcloth and his presence commands the utmost authority.
Ms. Lee sits back down while the defense attorney nods and carefully eyes the judge. “Yes, your honor,” The defense attorney takes a different tone then shoots a firm glare at Aiden, with a hand on his chin. “So, Mr. Jenson, tell us why you lied then?”
Ms. Lee gives a 360 eye roll and sits down. The defense attorney steps closer to the witness stand. Linton proudly smiles as he fixes the edges of his mustache with the tips of his calculating fingers.
“I was scared, sir. That’s what I’ve been relaying here, in detail.” Aiden nods, without so much as a smile or his impish grin at the murderer’s attorney who in his mind has a special place in hell.
“Scared?” The attorney crosses his arms, and rubs his chin.
Aiden shifts and fidgets on the witness stand. “Yes, scared,” His ocean, blue eyes pierce at the attorney. He knows he must remain strong. All eyes rest upon him, the time is now.
“Look, I frankly don’t care what you think, but a man of the law plotted to have me shot and killed. He dumped me down a hill thinking I was dead. He paid off Judge Prodeman, and when he found out I was alive, he decided to pay me a little visit in the hospital, and threatened to kill me if I said anything!” He loudly speaks into the microphone before him. His eyes tell a tale of their own. The jury has no doubt, he’s more than truthful.
“But you admitted to lying when filing your original report,” The defense attorney smirks. The tone of his voice nettles Aiden, like the continuing sounds of fingernails scratching on a chalkboard.
“If I presumably lied, then why did Detective Harry Jade and two security officers at the hospital testify to the fact that Linton tried to kill me yet again, when I was being treated for severe burns last year? Are they lying to you as well?”
“Let’s be correct here, Mr. Jenson,” He flings his index finger up in the air. “Only Detective Jade testified that my client allegedly made an attempt on your life. Security officers arrived after the fact. Isn’t that right?”
Aiden clears his throat and scopes the jury. “Yes, sir. That is correct.”
“Let’s return to what we were originally speaking of, shall we? You were about to explain to all of us that you were scared, and that’s why you lied, in the original reports. Is that what you want me and this,” He pauses for impact. “hardworking jury to believe?” The attorney considers each of the juror’s then looks back at Aiden. Some of the jurors frown.
“He knew exactly where to find me, and could end my life whenever he wanted. He reminded me of that every chance he had. Usually, and cowardly I might add, when I was alone.”
“Uh huh! A decorated detective said this to you? He said he was going to kill you if you said anything?” He sarcastically states again peering over at the jury, with an arrogant look.
“Yes, Phil Linton did. And I’d refrain from calling him decorated or a detective. From what I’ve heard, he was suspended and then fired,” Aiden looks directly at a fuming Linton at the defense table.
Some in the courtroom laugh, while the judge fires a threatening glare across the courtroom hushing all spectators.
“Your honor, I want that last comment stricken from the record.”
The judge clears his throat. “Denied. It’s already been brought into trial through evidence. Move on counselor.”
The defense attorney grinds his teeth. “He has a medal and a commendation. He’s a hero cop regardless of your lies!” He points his long, bony finger at Aiden.
“You really believe that crap he’s told you?”
Easy there, Aiden. Ms. Lee thinks hopeful his defensive attitude won’t sway the jury against him.
“Mr. Jenson, please stick to answering the questions,” The judge politely interjects.
“No, it’s alright your honor. I’d like to know what he means,” The defense attorney passively waves his arm challenging Aiden Jenson, apparently not cognizant to who he is, or what he’s dealing with.
Ms. Lee smirks understanding Aiden Jenson and how he plays. And from the countless hours spent grilling him in her office, she knows his sly ways. She was in fact, counting on this.
“We have history. There have been several cases I had written about previously, where the person behind bars was proven to be innocent.”
“And what does this have to do with my client?” The defense attorney crosses his arms. He knows full well that Aiden Jenson had Phil Linton as his source only once, and it ended in a near homicide. Ms. Lee’s heart pounds with excitement.
“Well, sir, he was the arresting officer on all of those cases I had written.”
The courtroom erupts in gasps and low chatters, while camera’s flash. The judge bangs the gavel harder.
“You’re honor, I move to strike that!” The defense attorney points his long arm at Aiden.
Ms. Lee stands up. “Your honor, defense opened the door,” She gives a child-like grin in the defense attorney’s direction.
“Indeed,” The judge nods his head. “Sorry, counselor, but you opened the door by asking the witness what he meant. The objection is overruled.”
Ms. Lee scoots back into her seat, while the courtroom continues whispering and gossiping. The judge grows irate and hot under the collar.
“If you don’t settle down, I’ll clear this courtroom and remove the cameras! You’re here out of a courtesy. Don’t make me take it back and send you out!”
The courtroom quiets down. The defense attorney clears his throat. “Nothing further your honor,” The attorney straightens his tie. I shouldn’t have asked him that! The defense attorney thinks avoiding eye contact with Phil Linton; he can sense his evil inspection in his peripheral vision.
Ms. Lee stands up. “Uh, your honor, since the defense has made it clear they do not believe Mr. Aiden Jenson, I’d like to now present state’s exhibit Y. It’s the video tape of the day of the shooting. Also exhibit Z which has photos of that day as well.”
The defense attorney springs up. “I object to this, your honor! It’s a blatant attack against my client, which could only serve to prejudice the jury against him!”
The judge sighs. “Counselor, you’re objection has been noted and we’ve already discussed this in chambers, in great lengths. You’ve made your detailed arguments. You’re objection is again, overruled. There is no violation here. This is a recording of a crime, and the jury has every right to see it. Ms. Lee, you may continue,” The judge courteously motions with his arm.
“Thank you, your honor. I’ll be redirecting the witness after as well. If someone could please get the lights and after the video is over I’ll get your response, Mr. Jenson,” Aiden Jenson nods at Ms. Lee.
Ms. Lee steps up to the television and places a dvd into the player. The courtroom is darkened. All spectators rest on pins and needles to view the actual crime.
Aiden grins at Ms. Lee as Linton shoots daggers at him from his chair, on the opposite end of the courtroom. There is no denying the plans and actions of the ex-Detective Phil Linton. The jury attentively watches the video completely floored. Some look back and forth between the video and the defendant. The video moves around, but very clearly captures the crime and faces of the perpetrators. It is still fresh to Aiden and difficult to watch. Aiden clears his throat and turns away. It’s as if he can feel the pain of that bullet fresh in his abdomen.
Then the gun blares. *Bang!*
Aiden swallows, almost unable to hold back the bile bubbling in his throat. He breathes deeply in and out, calming down. Ms. Lee notices his demeanor and gives him a look of concern. His nod in return reassures her that he is fine and can hold it together.
Ms. Lee is fully prepared and has blown up several photos of who is holding the gun. No denying it’s the judge and Phil Linton.
When the video is complete, Aiden explains in greater detail and points at the photos he had taken of the two men dumping his body. While the men were certain he was dead, Aiden made sure he snapped pictures with his microfilm and hid the video recorded in his van. It’s clear Linton tried to murder him. In addition, he bribed a powerful judge who earlier that day testified against Phil Linton as part of his plea deal for a reduced sentence.
“Uh, Mr. Jenson, you mentioned that Detective Phil Linton was the one who was your source that day, correct?”
“Yes ma’am, he was.”
“Did you have any idea he was bribing Judge Prodeman the day of your arrival?”
“None,” He shakes his head then wipes his sweaty palms on his suit pants again crinkling them.
“What about any of the times previous to that day you were brutally shot? Did you know about the bribe?”
“No, Ms. Lee. I was stunned to see what I did, and was thankful I caught it on video and film.”
“And the video we saw, please explain to the jury how you were able to capture that?”
“I had a specially made button that matched my coat. Inside of it holds a little camera. It sends a direct feed into my van. It recorded everything.”
“Impressive, Mr. Jenson. And did you have that specially made specifically because of your occupation as a journalist, and the possibility that some jobs can be dangerous?”
“Uh, yes, Ms. Lee. That’s exactly why I had it made.”
“And uh, what made Phil Linton become your source that day?” Ms. Lee paces around the front of the witness stand in her high heels and arms crossed. Her long, thick, black hair trails down her back. She looks pristine in her olive colored skirt suit and smells of Jasmine.
“I was merely trying to pry information from police officers, which wasn’t working, I might add,” Aiden’s slight smirk has the jury giggling. Terrific! He has the jury on his side believing him. Ms. Lee ruminates.
“That’s typical I imagine, as a journalist, to try to gain information from law enforcement?”
“Uh yes, Ms. Lee.”
“Alright. Please, continue, Mr. Jenson.”
“Well, that’s when Phil Linton strolled by. He nudged my arm and pulled me aside. He explained how he overheard how I was trying to gather information, from some of the officers. He told me where to be that day. I had no idea whatsoever, what I was in for.”
She approaches the witness stand and folds her hands. “So, from what we’ve seen, we can only state that Detective Phil Linton set you up for murder, am I right?” She turns and plunges her manicured finger directly at the dirty ex-cop who swallows.
“Objection, your honor! She’s testifying!” The defense attorney shoots up from his chair.
“Withdrawn! Nothing further. Thank you, Mr. Jenson,” Ms. Lee gives a nod to the judge then stands back at the prosecution table. “The people rest, your honor.”
The judge nods then veers at the defense table, as Ms. Lee gracefully sits down along with the opposing attorney. Ms. Lee is beginning to grate on him. The defense knows he has no chance of winning.
The judge politely grins at Aiden. “Mr. Jenson, you are dismissed.”
With a nod, he steps down and sits next to Ms. Lee.
“Counselor, are you ready for your first witness?”
The defense attorney clears his throat then stands again to his shaky legs. “Uh, your honor, we will rest on all of our objections.”
The courtroom is livid this perplexes the jury by the look on their faces.
The judge raises his brows and glances towards the jury. “Ladies and gentlemen, I’d like you to go to lunch. When we resume, you will hear the state and the defense’s closing arguments. See you in an hour. Actually, you have been patient over several weeks of this trial. Jury, please take an hour and a half. I’m told they have a wonderful spread of deli for you, and dessert.”
The jury smile heading out of the courtroom in an orderly line alleviated they are appreciated.
The reporters lurk nearby. They give updates of the case live while others try catching Aiden Jenson or Phil Linton for a brief interview. They shout their questions at Aiden yet he ignores them.
Aiden stands up and stretches his arms overhead then leans over to the D.A with a disconcerting glare. “What are they pulling, Ms. Lee? I wasn’t expecting this.”
“Aiden, relax this is good news for us. He has absolutely no defense to his crimes. We have witnesses and video along with photos. I believe he knows it’s best not to put up a fight if he’s going to try to appeal this. Can’t argue you’ve had a lousy defense if he puts up a good defense. I’m certain that’s what he’s doing, and where he’s headed.”
“Yeah it figures. I hate the system sometimes,” He peers down at Ms. Lee. “No offense.”
She laughs and tucks her hair behind her ears. “None taken. It’s not a perfect system, but there’s no way, with the amount of proof we have, that Phil Linton will ever see this world again uh, outside of a prison that is. Rest assured, Aiden. I’ve got this under control. You should trust me,” She brings out more folders from her briefcase for her well prepared closing argument.
He gives a subtle wink. “You’re not the one I don’t trust. I can’t wait for this to be over. Perhaps I can get a good night’s sleep.”
“Most victims I speak to find when they testify it’s good medicine. I have a feeling you’ll have a restful sleep tonight, Aiden. It’s almost over. I do need to speak with you, before the day is over. It’s a rather difficult subject so please, stick around,” Her tone worries Aiden.
When the jury returns from lunch, the powerful, shark Ms. Lee presents her passionate closing statement, to an expectant jury. She refers to photos again and vastly animated. She helps them relate, if placed in Aiden Jenson’s shoes. Many nod in agreement, one juror in particular tears up. Some of the jurors refuse to glance at Phil Linton, which is a good sign. And again, photos of Aiden Jenson sit on display when he was in the hospital recovering from his bullet wound. The particular photo she ends with is the empty syringe which almost seals the nails in Linton’s coffin. Ms. Lee gives the jury thanks for their patience and service as the judge gives a subtle smile. He motions for the defense to make their closing arguments.
Ms. Lee holds her breath, sits, and crosses her legs waiting to hear what these guys have planned. Aiden gives her a high five underneath the table.
The defense attorney stands, straightens the knot on his tie, and strolls to the jury box. He purposefully glares at each of them dead in the eye. Some appear uncomfortable while others seem plain old irritated by his demeanor. The courtroom eagerly awaits wondering what his argument will be. How can he leave reasonable doubt, and how can he compete with the argument which was just left by Ms. Lee?
“Ladies and gentlemen of the jury,” He smirks. “This whole trial is one, big attempt to smite my client’s good name! Everything is a sham! Who have we been talking about this entire trial? A man named, Aiden Jenson. He’s a popular journalist working for a big newspaper, a top newspaper I might add. He’s only doing this to further his reputation, name, and gain more money! Especially with his book “The Gateway.” This is all a publicity stunt to sell more books and more newspapers!”
Jeez, this guy’s an idiot. Aiden scrutinizes.
“Phil Linton is innocent! A-hem, thank you.”
The defense attorney nods then sits back down with Phil Linton whom he can feel hot daggers, at his collar. Linton’s beginning to give him the creeps.
The judge is not impressed and raises both brows. “Okay. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, you are not to use this man’s prior reports of misconduct as an officer against him. In other words, the prior investigations from Internal Affairs against him. They have nothing to do with this case…”
As the judge finishes his statement to the jury, he dismisses them for deliberation.
Aiden takes a deep breath outside the courtroom. Ms. Lee strolls to him with a sly grin. “You did very well, Aiden. There’s no denying what was done to you. And I believe that every juror was sympathetic. If an officer of the law threatened them, after they survived from a first attempt on their lives by that same officer, well, they would have done the same thing and maybe hesitate come forward. I expect a quick verdict on both counts of attempted murder, and all the smaller counts included.”
Aiden shakes her hand. “Thank you. I appreciate that. I hope they convict him too.”
“Well, your friend uh, Grace Rodriguez testifying at the beginning of the week was wonderful. Her account of how he had you pinned up against the wall of her apartment had the courtroom on the edge of their seat.”
“Yes, she said she’d help me and testify. She knew then something was wrong. And Harry, well, he saved me from Linton’s last failed attempt. He always has my back.”
“Yes. Harry Jade. Wonderful detective. His testimony helped as well. Linton really should have taken my plea, but can’t cure stupid. Why don’t you get some fresh air and relax. I’ll call you first thing when there’s a verdict. And uh, just ignore the riff-raff of reporters,” She chuckles and gives him a friendly pat on his arm.
“What did you need to speak with-”
“Later, Aiden. I promise I’ll let you know.”
Highly concerned, Aiden heads over to the water fountain, he leans over sipping some cool water. Linton hatefully swaggers up behind him with his hands in his pant pockets.
“This ‘aint over, Aiden. You’ll pay for this one way or another,” Linton curtly whispers near the journalist’s ear.
Chills crawl up Aiden’s back. He wipes his mouth and quickly spins around. The look on Linton’s face is sheer evil.
“You’re threatening me again, Linton?”
Aiden raises his voice drawing the reporters’ attention as they step out of the courtroom. Immediately, they rush up to the men who stand toe to toe. Ms. Lee hears the ruckus, pushes through the gathering spectators, and hustles over with a few officers at her side.
“Take this man into custody!” She points, as they swiftly remove Aiden Jenson, the state’s best witness safely into another room.
Linton’s lawyer wipes his glossy forehead, and yanks his client away from the reporters for a much needed tongue lashing which naturally Linton refuses to heed.
Within the hour, the jury relays a message that they have reached a verdict. They’re brought back into the courtroom. A record and a shock. Every officer including Detective Harry Jade waits to hear the anticipated verdict hoping this will be the end of Phil Linton. The evidence is clear of his guilt however one can never be too certain how a jury will be swayed.
Grace is working at the law office and eagerly awaits by the television set when those red letters fly across the screen saying, VERDICT REACHED. She’s been praying for a guilty verdict knowing how deceptive Phil Linton is. The attorneys’ in the office cease from their work, and scurry around the television, for the decision broadcasting all across America, interrupting regularly scheduled programs.
“I have been told that the jury has reached a verdict,” The judge clears his throat, as cameras roll the live footage.
The jury foreperson stands up, with a piece of paper folded in his grasp.
“Yes, we have your honor.”
“Please, pass it to the bailiff,” The judge motions with a pleasant smile.
The bailiff brings the verdict slip to the judge who reads it then passes it back to the bailiff. He hands it to the foreman.
“And what say you?”
“For count one hindering prosecution, we find the defendant guilty,” The courtroom gasps, as the judge bangs his gavel down. “For count two of intimidating a witness, we find the defendant guilty. For count three of staging a crime scene, we find the defendant guilty.”
Ms. Lee confidently folds her hands as her shoulders lower. All of her hard work is indeed paying off.
“For count four of bribery, we find the defendant guilty. For count five to the attempted murder of Aiden Jenson, we find the defendant guilty. To count six of the attempted murder of Aiden Jenson, we find the defendant….guilty.”
“We’ve got him!” Ms. Lee smiles beams and stares at Aiden, by her side.
Gasps fill the courtroom again, as Aiden sinks in the chair sighing. Ms. Lee slaps him a high five. Detective Harry Jade approaches Aiden and places a strong hand on his friend’s shoulder. Aiden peers back at his best friend with a nod of relief. The gavel bangs down with a stern eye from the judge silencing the courtroom. Phil Linton curses under his breath snapping a few choice phrases to his idiot attorney who can’t wait to flee the courtroom and get away from his client. He’s already packing up his briefcase.
The judge specifically addresses them. “Thank you members of the jury.”
Then the jury foreperson stands again and speaks up. “Your honor, we the jury well, we had one thing we wanted to add to our verdict.”
“Objection, your honor!” The defense bellows jolting up with sweat dripping off the sides of his temples.
The judge sighs. “Relax, counselor. They want to add something, and I’m eager to know what it is. Foreperson please, continue,” The judge pleasantly motions.
“We wanted to say that we admire Mr. Aiden Jenson, and how he came forward after all this time. Fear is a terrible thing,” Aiden smiles and gives a nod to the jury who has all eyes peering at him.
“Objection!” The defense attorney bellows again. The judge ignores him, for only a moment.
“Indeed, fear is a terrible thing,” The judge nods. “I thank you for that. Counselor, sit down. They are merely wishing him well before they leave,” The defense attorney sits as Ms. Lee smirks. “Jury, we thank you so much for your service over the past weeks. You are dismissed. You are also free to speak to anyone of the press as you see fit. Or you may keep silent regarding this case. That is your right and your decision. Thank you again for the time you have taken away from your jobs, and your families. This court doesn’t take lightly your service and sacrifice. We thank you. You are dismissed.”
The jury is escorted out of the courtroom. Some reporters stagger out incredibly anxious to interview the jury, as the judge speaks up.
“We need to return for sentencing. I see that we can meet…” the judge looks down studying his calendar. “…next month at a date to be set. But, there is another issue I’d like to address,” The courtroom sits on pins and needles, while the white haired judge looks up and tosses his pen down. “I’m told there was something of a threat that happened over an hour ago. Sir? Did you in fact threaten, Aiden Jenson, by the water fountain?” The judge folds his hands curiously, and intently eyes the untrustworthy ex-cop.
Phil Linton glares at his attorney who gives him a nod that he must answer the judge. Linton stands up and clears his throat for the obvious lies about to spiel forth. “Sir, I merely told him he will pay. But, I meant for the lies he has said. I certainly did not mean death or injury.”
Aiden makes an obvious noise with his mouth blowing off the bull crap excuse.
The judge glances at Aiden. “Mr. Jenson, what did you make of this when he stated those words to you?”
Aiden Jenson stands to his feet. “Your honor, I was simply getting a drink of water when he approached me. He said, this isn’t over and I would pay one way or another. If it was as he said, then why on earth did he lower his voice and corner me? Why was his tone less than amiable?”
The judge raises his brows again drawing his attention to the dirty ex-cop. “That’s a valid question. Why did you lower your voice and have an unfriendly tone? And why address, Mr. Jenson, by the water fountain, which is clearly off near a corner of the courthouse?” The judge’s tone grows more disconcerted, sensing he’s being lied to.
Linton thinks of another lie. “I uh, don’t know uh, possibly because of the news crews,” He fixes the edges of his mustache. “They’d make anything news even if innocently said,” He coolly remarks.
Aiden shakes his head and sits down as the judge places the gavel down. “I have not seen someone as cunning as you seem to be. I’m ashamed and completely stunned, that a man of the law is so crooked and was able to stay on the police force, as long as you have done. I think New York will be a lot safer knowing you no longer patrol the streets. Now, Aiden Jenson, do you wish to press charges to this threat?”
Aiden quickly converses with Ms. Lee then stands up. “Your honor, I think Phil Linton is in enough trouble. I will be glad when the sentence is handed down. I’d rather just let this go.”
At his words, Detective Harry Jade’s face is unnerving knowing Linton may still attempt something to hurt his friend.
“Phil Linton, I think you have been temporarily reprieved. You’re bail is still set at two million dollars.”
Ms. Lee swiftly stands. “Your honor, we would like his bail revoked. The state again would like to remind you of the callous nature of his crimes and would like Phil Linton to be remanded until sentencing. He is now a convicted man. This is highly unorthodox to allow a convicted man out on bail!”
Aiden swallows, Jade swallows as well and crosses his arms, eying the judge peculiarly. Something isn’t sitting right.
Linton’s attorney shoots up. “Uh, your honor, I’d like to remind the court that my client has come for every day of this court case. He hasn’t fled and he’s been out on bond.”
“Ms. Lee, you’ve already stated your objections in great detail. He has given us his passport and agreed to return for sentencing. I have the stipulation that he is remain on house arrest being monitored 24/7. Mr. Linton, you are ordered to be back here for sentencing next month. That will give your attorney time to get an argument together, as to why you shouldn’t receive life in prison without the possibility of parole. And at that time, I will hear the victim’s statement. I’d suggest you get your faculties together, Mr. Linton. Thank you. We are adjourned!”
He bangs the gavel down as the reporter’s hustles out to snag Aiden or Linton outside and catch a reaction to the verdict.
Reporters waste no time surrounding Aiden Jenson, the man of the hour, as he steps outside of the courtroom. He has a glow about him, a weight has indeed been lifted, yet something is troubling him greatly. Linton is out on bail for thirty days. He sighs and rubs his sleepy eyes. Sleep may not be possible, after all.
“Sir, did the short verdict time stun you?” “Aiden, what does your editor, Carlisle, have to say about this case?” “Mr. Jenson, will you write a book about all of this since “The Gateway” has been an international bestseller for so long?”
Aiden raises his hand and shoots a slight nod at Saline Davis also up front waiting to get the goods from him. She looks great in a pin striped, skirt suit still trying to make it big as permanent news anchor and leave the world of newspaper articles behind. George, of course, is holding his camera standing behind her. He wiggles his fingers at Aiden.
“First off, I was extremely shocked at the time the jury was out and I’m certainly thankful, for their service and that they saw the truth. My editor, Carlisle, is behind me as long as I write an article for the paper,” The reporters laugh as cameras flash. “And as far as another book, I’m not sure about that. I’m just thankful that next month Phil Linton will be behind bars, and know what it’s like to live in fear. No more questions, please. I’d like to go home. Read the rest in The Daylight News tomorrow.”
“Come on, Aiden! Tell us were you at all afraid that the jury would come back with a not guilty? Late Breaking Channel Nine News wants to know!” Saline Davis shoves her microphone in his face stopping him from leaving. He frowns; her mic almost pops him in the lip.
“Ms. Davis, you look terrific!” Aiden sarcastically eyes her up and down then gives a flirtatious wink. She clears her throat with an embarrassing smile as reporters smirk and giggle knowing the rivalry between the two.
“Saline, anyone in my position of course would be afraid that the jury may not rule in my favor. But, that’s why there’s a sharp D.A. named Ms. Rose Lee, who has had my back one-hundred percent!”
Aiden points to Ms. Lee just stepping out of the courtroom carrying her thick briefcase. The reporters surround her and shout their questions, as she looks over at Aiden and sends him a friendly wink. She begins addressing their questions one at a time.
Then Phil Linton steps out of the courtroom also thronged by reporters. It seems with his presence, the temperature in the courthouse changes a few degrees.
“Mr. Linton, why did you threaten Aiden today?” “Are you angry with the verdict?” “Is it true you bribed Judge Prodeman?” Why did you try to kill Aiden Jenson? Twice?” “Is it true you were under investigation for several years by Internal Affairs?” “Why do you think the judge allowed you out on bail, after you’ve been convicted of these crimes?”
Saline Davis also shoves her microphone in Linton’s face, in hopes to squeeze the dirt out of him or twist what she can.
“I’m very disappointed with the accusations against me. They’re all lies! I never threatened, Aiden Jenson, and I never bribed anyone,” He gives a slight nod of his head and purses his lips. “A good cop is now fired and going to do time,” He touches up his mustache with his thumb and forefinger. “It’s a sad day today that the system has failed the people of New York.”
Phil Linton’s defense attorney escorts him outside down the front steps of the packed courthouse and into a cab fleeing from the mass of reporters.
Aiden Jenson hugs Ms. Lee who joins him outside. Aiden breathes in the fresh air as relief and redemption embrace him.
“I can’t tell you how hard this was, but you made it much easier. Thank you.”
“Hey, it’s my job, Aiden. And this case brings my conviction rate up to 99%.” She winks. “Listen, now that we’re alone, uh, there’s a problem. I want you to know, I have the very best people and law enforcement working on it.”
“Does this have something to do with why Linton is out on bail?”
She clears her throat. “Aiden, we suspect the judge has been bribed. Then after this, allowing a convicted man for murder out free on bail, well,”
“Great. This is just great. Are you saying I’ll have to go to court again?”
“Calm down, Aiden. I’m not saying anything like that. Right now, we only have the judge and his peculiar behavior, buying expensive things and such. He also has been meeting someone late at night, during the trial, and we have no clue who it is. However, we’re now tapping his phone. I’m so sorry, Aiden. I know you wanted this whole charade to be over. I need definite proof before I go around accusing a judge of bribery.”
“That makes a lot of sense, as to why Linton is out.”
“Trust me, Aiden. I’m on top of it. One-hundred percent. I can have a unit detailed to you.”
“No, no. I can’t have that. If he’s going to kill me, I’m fed up. He should get it over with.”
“Well, keep your friends Jade and his partner near you, please. Until this is over. They’re bad for business.”
“Yes they are. Listen, I’m confident we will figure this entire thing out. For now, join me across the street for a steak. I’m starving. I’d like a big dinner,” Ms. Lee hands her coat to Aiden, who politely lays it around her shoulders.
“You’re absolutely right, Ms. Lee. I’ll focus on the bright side. Dinner is on me. For a job well done. You drink champagne, right?”
“I’m a lawyer, Aiden. I’m not dead,” He laughs as they walk arm in arm towards the restaurant. “Plus, I don’t have to go in until Monday. And uh, call your detective friends to join us. We all need to celebrate.”
“Oh those boys love a good steak.”
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