DISCLAIMER: Please see part 1
NOTES: Please see part 1, with most legal stuff, it's hard to be accurate as
things change from state to state. I consulted my mom on a lot of the
questions I had about the legalities, and I took a lot of the stuff that I've
seen in courtroom movies (which are usually very unrealistic, ::grins::) and
just jumbled it all together.
SUMMARY: Whole lot of shaking going on
"All rise in honor of Judge Wallace Hastings." A short fat man
he got to his feet. Everyone in the courtroom stood and watched as a tall
thin man emerged from the door behind the bench wearing the long, black robe
of a respectable judge. The man had a crooked nose with glasses perched on
them and a long face that seemed almost endearing. He carried his files to
his large chair and sat down. He looked around the room and rested his eyes
on the dark-haired teenager who stood in the last row back with cold eyes.
She looked white as a sheet and her eyes looked wet as if she'd been crying.
Next to her sat a woman who looked remarkably like the young girl, but she
looked more like the two people sitting still further down the row, the two
very recognizable people.
"Be seated." He said suddenly, his deep voice echoing across the
court room. "I see we have some famous guests in our room today. Let's try
not to let it distract us, shall we?" He announced. "Read the case for
reporter please." He called.
"Thursday, August 23rd. The federal district court of Richmand, Virginia.
People versus Eric Knox. Judge Wallace Hastings presiding." A young woman
read off a piece of paper to the reporter who typed away.
"Okay, let's get straight to it. Ms. Benedict, call your witness."
Hastings ordered. A middle-aged woman stood up and straightened her suit as
she called out loudly. Rade recognized the woman as the person who'd talked
to them on the phone last night.
"Prosecution calls Elizabeth Bartlet Knox to the stand." Benedict
exclaimed. Liz squeezed Rade's hand and then got to her feet. She slowly
moved out into the aisle and moved to the witness stand, avoiding Eric's dark
glare the whole time. She could feel his eyes on her. The short fat man step
forward and held out the bible.
"Place your right hand on this." He exclaimed. She obeyed. "Do
to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help you
God?" The man asked. Liz didn't hesitate.
"I do." She said solidly. Eric shifted in his chair as the fat man
returned to his seat. Liz kept her eyes on the prosecutor.
"State your name for the record, please." Benedict said with a smile
a soothing voice.
"Elizabeth Bartlet." Liz exclaimed. There was a murmur. Benedict
hesitated and then nodded. Rade began to tune out the questioning as she
looked over at the jury to see what kind of people would qualify as Eric
Knox's peers. They seemed like normal enough people. Not people who would hit
their child. If they had children. They must have had children. Otherwise,
how could they be Eric Knox's peers? But then again, this wasn't about a
father and his child. This was about Rade and Eric Knox. With a sigh, Rade
looked back at the witness stand.
"And then what happened?" Benedict was asking.
"Then he..." Liz paused. "Then he lifted the chair and swung
her face." She said hoarsely. "He dropped the chair as she fell to the
ground, bleeding. She got up and ran upstairs."
"What did your husband do then?" Benedict asked.
"He mumbled a few curses and left the house. He got in his car and drove
away." Liz recalled.
"Thank you. No further questions." Benedict exclaimed and took a seat.
Then Eric's lawyer stood up. He was a stocky gentleman, and he struck Rade as
someone who smoked too many cigars.
"Ms. Bartlet," The man said hesitantly, as if the name were dirty and
had to give his tongue a second to recover. "After your husband left the
house, what did you do?" Liz paused.
"I went upstairs and went to bed." She admitted. There were many
in the room.
"You didn't check on your daughter?"
"No, I didn't. I felt that she wouldn't want to see me."
"When you found out she'd gone, what did you do?"
"I assumed that she'd gone to her friend's house, as she'd done many
times before and waited for her to come home."
"Three days later, when you go the call that she was in Washington DC,
what did you do?"
"I asked that she be sent home." Liz said unevenly.
"Did you ask about her wellbeing?"
"Yes, of course."
"When you were told that your daughter had explained the events to your
family up north, what was your reaction?"
"I was surprised." Liz started.
"Did you deny the event?" The man asked. Liz paused.
"Yes." She said finally.
"You denied that your husband had hit your child with a chair?" The
"Yes." Liz said softly.
"In fact you made up a completely different story, didn't you?"
"So you tell me, Mrs. Bartlet, which of those stories is true?"
"He did hit her." Liz said sharply.
"Are you sure? Maybe she crashed her bike, just like you had originally
"Objection, your honor. Counsel is making a statement, not a
Benedict spoke up.
"Sustained." Hastings called.
"No further questions, your honor." Eric's lawyer barked before
"You may step down." Hastings said in a kind voice to Liz. She nodded
weakly and moved off the stand for the back row.
"Your honor, we call Mary Bartlet Knox to the stand." Benedict
shakily. As Liz sat down, Rade got up. Her family watched as she moved slowly
down the aisle to the witness stand. The short fat man came forward again and
offered the book.
"Place your left hand on this book and raise your right hand." He
She did so. "Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing
the truth, so help you God?" He asked.
"I--" Rade started but was interrupted by the sound of a door opening.
She gazed across the room and meet the eyes of Toby Ziegler as he closed the
door behind him. She smiled and then regained herself. "I do."
Jury Of Your Peers - 13