Law & Order (1990–2010): Season 5, Episode 8 - Law & Order - full transcript

McCoy charges a city councilman with "larceny by extortion," after a female colleague claims that she had to sleep with him or lose her chance at partnership at their law firm.

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NARRATOR: In the
criminal justice system

the people are represented by two
separate yet equally important groups,

the police who investigate crime

and the district attorneys
who prosecute the offenders.

These are their stories.

So she turns out the lights and
brings out this big birthday cake.

"Happy Birthday,
Harry," it says.

How old's the little guy? Two.

She tried to get him to blow out the
candles. You should have seen that.

Managed to open his
own presents, though.

What'd you get him?



A doghouse, so he'd stop
sleeping in the bed with us.

No such luck.

You know, Shepski, maybe it's time
you two started thinking about kids.

WOMAN ON POLICE RADIO: Any available
2-7 car for a 10-53, possible fatality.

Ambulance en route.

2-7 sector Charlie standing
by. Will respond, Central.

(SIREN WAILING)

1-David-1-0-9-9-9-6-3-6...

CROCKIT: Oh, boy.

It's bad.

2-7 Charlie to Central.
Better put a rush on that bus.

This better be good, Crockit. I was
on my way home. I don't feel so good.

Hey, don't look at me.

AIS guy says there's
something fishy, call the suits.



I do what I'm told.
What happened?

Judging from the skid marks,
this guy's going the wrong way,

swerves into the other car, and wham.
The other guy never had a chance.

Last time I looked I don't
do accident investigations.

(POLICE RADIO CHATTERING)

Here's your murder weapon.
Rest in peace, you sorry bastard.

What the hell happened?
Didn't you hear? We got demoted.

RANDALL: Briscoe,
Logan. Over here.

Randall, this is a traffic
accident. I'm going to bed.

Just take a look at this, would
you? I'm getting ready to write it up.

Looks like a standard
54 with a DOA,

and then I noticed most of her
wounds are on the right side of her body.

Except she's in
the driver's seat.

Yeah. Well, she's
about 5'4 ", 5'2",

but the seat's all the way back and
her feet can't even touch the pedals.

So maybe the seat
got jarred in the crash.

No. It would've
gotten jarred forward.

I don't think she was driving.

So what are you saying?
Somebody moved her?

Then fled the scene.

Not one law-abiding
citizen saw any of this?

A woman down the block says
she heard the crash about 1:45.

That's verified by some people
coming out of Club Mania.

But nobody actually
saw anything.

(SIGHING) There
goes my beauty sleep.

A guy smacks up his
car, takes off into the night.

I'd say he's got
something to hide.

You ever think maybe he
went for medical treatment?

Well, then either he never got there
or he didn't go to any ER in this city.

So what do we have,
leaving the scene?

AIS says it was
the drunk guy's fault.

No reason to leave the scene.

What, you still got a head
cold? He moved the girl's body.

Whoever it was didn't want
anyone to know he was there.

What do we have on the girl?

Lyssa Wesley. 497 West 83rd.

It was her car. Looks
like she lives alone.

Well, odds are our mystery man
has a wife and a couple of kids at home

who thought he was at
his office working late.

This is a matter for the
divorce lawyers, not us.

If he took off before
she died, it's us.

Talk to the ME's office.

See this horizontal
laceration on her forehead?

Looks like she hit the
dash. Died instantly.

Thank you for small favors.

Yeah, but somebody did her a big one
before she died. Look at these bruises.

Well, you should've
seen the car.

These were on her legs and arms
which are not consistent with the crash.

Abrasions on her buttocks and
more bruises resembling finger marks.

Looks like her
underwear was ripped off.

And there's vaginal
tearing. Semen.

So we're talking rape.

If it was a romantic evening at
home, I'd hate to meet her boyfriend.

Her head hit the dash here
at this dent, point of impact.

Whoever moved her
was 6', maybe 6'1",

judging from the seat
and the rearview mirrors.

You get any lifts? Yeah.

A few off the steering wheel
and gear shift that aren't hers.

Sent them to latent. The
guy doesn't have a record.

He went all out
for his first offense.

Anything else inside the
car? Yeah. Right over here.

I got an old playbill
from My Fair Lady,

an eyebrow pencil,
some loose change...

Valet parking ticket. Yeah.
Found it down in between the seat.

Hotel Intercontinental.

Oh, yeah, I remember her. She
left right before my shift ended.

Around 1:30, 1:45.

She leave alone? No.
She was with some guy.

And they weren't having
the best time, either.

You mean they were
fighting? I didn't see them.

But she was crying

and it seemed like he was in a
big hurry to get her out of here.

Could you describe him?

Six feet, maybe. Dark
hair. Wearing a tuxedo.

Would he stand out in a crowd?

Not really. The place was
crawling with tuxedos last night.

Some kind of fundraiser
for that Talbert guy.

Councilman Talbert?
Yeah, that's the one.

Man, I hate politicians.
They don't tip for nothing.

PENNY: I've known her
about three months now.

We worked together
on the campaign.

I just can't believe she's
dead. I just saw her last night.

That would be at the
fundraiser, right? Yeah.

Mr. Talbert invited the whole
staff, including the peons.

We even got to meet the mayor.

Was Lyssa there with a date?
No. Her fiancé had to work.

LOGAN: What time did she leave?

I don't know.

9:00 maybe. I was supposed to get
a ride home with her after the party.

She went to make a call to
her fiancé and never came back.

The valet said she left with a
tall man, dark hair, wearing a tux.

Well, that could be anybody. Half
the guys here were wearing tuxes.

Any of the guys talk to
Lyssa? You know, flirt with her?

Lots of guys flirt with Lyssa.

I don't remember. I'm sorry.

She leaves the party
around 9:00, vanishes,

and then turns up dead in
a car accident around 1:45.

Yeah. And in between she gets
raped by some gentleman in a tuxedo

who's kind enough to
give her a ride home later.

We sent a sketch artist over to the
parking guy, so maybe we'll get lucky.

Call the Times.

See if they sent a photographer
over to cover the party.

You might get luckier.

Councilman Talbert
with the mayor.

Councilman Talbert
with the archbishop.

Councilman Talbert
with Councilman Talbert.

You see the guy or
what? No. No, not yet.

Here's Lyssa at her table.

Any of these guys look familiar?

It's hard to say,
you know, these...

No... There he is. Which one?

The one smoking a
cigarette. That's the guy.

Third from the
right. Todd Locke.

Look, you have to understand. I
am Councilman Talbert's chief aide.

A scandal like this hits the
paper and I... What scandal?

Thought you said you just
gave the lady a ride home.

I did. But how was I supposed to
know a drunk was gonna swerve into us?

It was an accident. So
why'd you move her body?

I panicked. It was
a stupid thing to do.

So what am I charged with?

Leaving the scene of an
accident, tampering with evidence...

We're just getting
started. This is...

I told you. She had a
little too much to drink...

No. No. No. No. Not according
to our medical examiner.

She looked drunk, okay?
So I offered to drive her.

Was that before or
after you raped her?

What? Whoa, whoa, guys. You got
this all wrong. I never touched her.

What were you two doing between
9:30 and 1:45? Taking a poll?

I don't know what she
was doing. I wasn't with her.

So after the party you just
hung around for five hours?

And then you just
happened to run into her?

That's stretching
it pretty thin, bud!

I had a drink in the
bar. Bar closed at 12:00.

I was in the lobby after that. Well,
then we'll find some witnesses.

Give me your cuffs, Lennie.

In the meantime, you're under
arrest for the rape of Lyssa Wesley.

And for leaving the scene of an
accident. Okay, okay. No. Please. Listen.

I didn't rape anybody! I swear.

But you know who did, don't you?

LOGAN: Mr. Locke, sit down.

Now, I think you know
you're in very deep here,

so why don't you tell us
who you're protecting?

Look, she told me in
the car before the crash.

She said she had been raped.

She said it was
Councilman Talbert.

Spencer Talbert's an elected city
official. He's running for Congress.

So what? He broke the
law and we want him.

We can't just barge into his office
and publicly accuse him of rape. Not yet.

He stood with us, Mike.
City budget went to the bone.

Talbert came through
for this department.

I'm not saying we
don't investigate.

But we do have to consider
Talbert's public reputation.

I hate to say this, but I hope
it's not true. He's the good guy.

His get-tough-on-crime
platform won him the election.

Sounds more like we're
trying to protect him

from getting his picture
on the front page.

I just think we can make a better
case if we kept it off for a few days.

Okay. Well, how do
you propose we do that?

Because the minute we
start asking him questions...

If Todd Locke cooperates,
there may not be too many to ask.

It's a gift, Todd.
Listen to the DA.

I shouldn't have told you
anything as it is. Loyalty, you know.

Cooperate and the charge is
leaving the scene of an accident.

Six months’ probation.

Don't, we add tampering with
evidence, accessory to rape, conspiracy.

All felonies. No pleas. Feed
the homeless, clean a park.

You don't need
Talbert's problems.

We're at the fundraiser
and Talbert spots Lyssa.

He's interested but his wife's
there. So I have to tell Lyssa.

Talbert wants to speak
to her later in his suite.

He heard what a good job
she's doing on the campaign.

So I brought her up. He
told me to wait in the bar.

How'd you wind up with her?

Talbert went home in the limo and
he told me to make sure she got home.

She had a car.

No, there was no
way she could drive.

When she came down
she looked like hell.

You know, make-up was
running, eyes were red.

Real bad shape.

I kind of had a feeling
what happened.

Are you assuming she was
raped, or did she tell you?

Eventually she told me.

She asked me to
take her to a hospital.

That's where we
were going when...

She was a nice girl.

Wait. Let me get this straight.

Todd told you that Lyssa
told him that I raped her?

That's the charge.

She was in your suite. Your
aide was driving her home.

If you wanna take a cup into
the men's room and clear yourself.

All right, detectives. I...

I was with Lyssa. But
understand, I'm a married man.

I hold public office. Incidents
like this can be damaging.

No disrespect to the office,
but this is more than an incident.

It's a load of crap. LOGAN: That's
not what the medical examiner said.

Lyssa was roughed
up. Torn panties.

Heat of passion. Heavy bruising.

She died in a car wreck. The
bruises were between her legs.

Believe who and what
you like, detectives.

But I'm afraid Lyssa's unfortunate
death brings this matter to a close.

So what did you expect?
Of course he's gonna deny it.

We have Locke's sworn
statement and the ME's report.

The statement's hearsay,
probably inadmissible.

The ME's report's
not definitive.

What can I tell you guys? McCoy
wants more before he goes to court.

What do you think?

My personal
feelings are irrelevant.

CLAIRE: A rape trial boils
down to lack of consent.

Yeah. So this piece of cheese gets to walk
because the victim happened to get killed

in a head-on with a drunk.
I'm not saying we drop this.

No?

What do we do, get Madam
Losanda to throw a séance?

I'm thinking maybe this wasn't
the first woman he got friendly with.

If we can establish a pattern,

it's possible to prove Lyssa's lack
of consent without her testimony.

Well, she did work
for Talbert, right?

Maybe there are
some other employees

who performed above
and beyond the call of duty.

As soon as I heard the rumors about Lyssa
and Mr. Talbert, I said I am out of here.

Did you ever hear
any other rumors?

I just answer the phone. I'm not
exactly high up on the totem pole.

So he never came on to anybody else?
You know, made a few suggestive remarks?

He let his hand linger
on my arm a few times.

Just enough to make
me uncomfortable.

BRISCOE: You the only one he
touched? Nobody's ever complained.

But people around here
practically worship the guy.

You'd think Lyssa Wesley's
death would change all that.

Around here, I don't think so.

At home it may
be a different story.

When Mrs. Talbert left this
morning she didn't look happy.

I can't believe you're actually
dignifying this nonsense, detectives.

Mrs. Talbert, I think it would
be better if we spoke privately.

Of course. Molly, honey,

why don't you go find Flannery
and see if lunch is ready, okay?

I don't really know what
you expect me to tell you.

Spencer and I have been
together for 13 years now.

We have a very strong marriage.

Strong enough to
withstand a rape accusation?

I'm sure I don't
have to explain to you

the difference between
rape and false accusation.

With all due respect, Mrs. Talbert,
this girl was pretty badly beaten up.

And she said
your husband did it.

And if she hadn't been
killed in that car accident,

she'd probably be
next month's centerfold.

Spencer is not the first public
figure to be attacked with vicious lies.

You seem pretty sure about that.

My husband told me about
his indiscretion with this girl.

It hasn't been easy, but we're
working through it. We'll survive.

You learn how to do that
during 13 years of marriage?

If you're asking me if there
have been others, Detective,

I can honestly tell you no.

The worst thing he ever
did was get touchy-feely

with one of his
campaign workers.

Yeah. And the wife
sang Stand By Your Man.

Not much of a pattern.

Well, he's a politician. He
knows how to cover his tracks.

So maybe we should find out what
he did before he had to be so discreet.

Spencer was head of the
department for ten years.

After he was bitten by the
political bug, I took over.

Must be tough giving up all
this for a councilman's salary.

I don't think Spencer's sights
stop at a congressional district.

LOGAN: Yeah, well, he might've
just run into a brick wall, Miss Maslin.

The papers say the
accusations of rape are bogus.

Well, that's the word that Talbert's
people are putting out. What do you think?

We can talk to
everybody in the building.

You've got to understand.

The firm likes to see its name in
the law journal, not the tabloids.

And that might be our next stop.

It was nothing, but it
could be misinterpreted.

Well, why don't you
let us decide that?

A year before Talbert left,

our office manager accused
him of sexual harassment.

We disposed of the matter
before it got out of hand.

Disposed of? As in, "Here's a
check, keep your mouth shut"?

Like I said, it was nothing. This
office manager, is she still here?

That was part of
the settlement, too.

You should have seen
them circle their wagons.

These lawyers, they
protect their own.

So you took the money and
ran? Money? That's a joke.

Talbert had to be
pulling in seven figures,

they gave me a
one-time-only offer of 50 grand.

50 G's. Sounds like a
lot of money to me. Yeah.

Well, he got his money's worth.

It was a Christmas
party, five years ago.

Imagine 300 attorneys at the Cat
Club without their significant others.

So Talbert let his hair down?

Pulled up my skirt in the fire
exit. The guy was all over me.

Did he rape you?

He would have. I tried to
fight back but he's so strong.

Thank God, he heard some
people coming down the hall

and he told them I
had too much to drink.

He was taking me out for some
air. Did anyone see anything?

Sounds like you could have
held out for more money.

Yeah. That's what Sarah said.
Sarah? Sarah Maslin, his partner?

Yeah. I just wanted out of there.
She talked me into seeing an attorney.

It's simple. It's called libel.

And if this doesn't
stop immediately,

I guarantee all of you will
find yourselves in civil court.

The police are investigating
a charge of rape.

What they're doing is defaming one
of the most honorable men in the city.

I know at least one woman
who would beg to differ.

TALBERT: Jerolyn Addams?

The girl got drunk at an office party.
She had to tell her husband something.

And the $50,000 was
just a Christmas bonus?

POWELL: It was
blackmail. Believe me,

if you push this any further,
we'll take her to court, too.

Or didn't she tell you
that the settlement

required her to sign a
non-disclosure form?

Which is meaningless
in a criminal trial.

But it goes a long
way in civil court.

She opens her mouth,
she returns the $50,000

and turns over another
$100,000 as punitives.

Adam, you're in the public eye.

You know what something like
this can do in an election year.

Good. So I assume
we've heard the last of this?

You're not going
to ask us to back off.

A dead victim.

A witness who could lose her
life savings if she takes the stand.

Look at it from our
point of view, Lieutenant.

Without more, it's not much
of a case. Then we'll get more.

BRISCOE: It does seem
kind of curious, counselor.

You talking the office
manager into suing the firm.

I was trying to do the right thing.
LOGAN: But you told us it was nothing.

Which makes us believe that maybe
you knew she was telling the truth.

BRISCOE: Yeah, and
the question then is how?

Because she told us there weren't
any witnesses at the Christmas party.

LOGAN: Or she could be lying.

But why? There's
nothing to gain from that.

I have nothing to add.

Listen. He almost raped one girl.
Another girl he did rape is dead.

This is a hell of a
time to stonewall.

If there were others, you're
gonna tell us. Eventually.

It was me.

He raped me, too.

I can't believe I'm doing this.

If he raped you... Oh,
he raped me all right.

When we worked together.
You mean over three years ago?

It was late at night at the
office. You didn't go to the police?

I'm an attorney, too, Miss
Kincaid. I know the drill.

A rape trial boils down
to "he said, she said."

And when the "he" is one of the
most respected lawyers on Wall Street,

the "she" doesn't
stand much of a chance.

You're an educated woman.
You're articulate, strong.

People would have
believed you. You don't get it.

It wouldn't have mattered.

I had a career to protect.

I was still an
associate at the firm.

I wanted to become a partner.
What difference would it make?

You were the victim. I
was involved in a scandal.

Clients don't like that
much in their legal advisor.

When it happened,
did you tell anyone?

My doctor.

I start seeing patients
at 8:00 in the morning,

which means I get
here around 7:00.

Sarah was waiting
in the lobby for me.

Did she tell you she was raped?

Not at first. She was more concerned
about disease and pregnancy.

I started giving her my
standard lecture on protection.

She started screaming at
me. That's understandable.

Certainly. Whoever attacked
Sarah took more than her body.

He took her dignity.
Sarah was all about dignity.

What about physical
signs of rape?

Well, I gave her
a full examination.

The problem is there
were physical signs of sex.

But no indication of rape.

Are you saying you don't
believe she was raped?

I've known Sarah for 15 years. If
she said it happened, it happened.

It's just not going
to be easy to prove.

Let me ask you this, Claire.

Just between you and
me, forget about Lyssa.

Forget about the office manager.

All you've got is Sarah's
word against Talbert's.

Who do you believe? I'm
inclined to believe Sarah.

I think she's telling the truth.

And with the other evidence?

(SIGHING) I think
Talbert's guilty.

I think we have an
obligation to pursue this.

What kind of witness
will Sarah make?

I looked her up in Martindale.

Summa from Vassar.
Law review at Cornell.

She's head of the securities
department at Adderly, Perkins.

More credibility than the
proverbial busload of nuns.

With Sarah and
the office manager,

we might be able to
establish a pattern.

Even if our victim is dead.

I know it's a long
time ago, Sarah,

but if there's anything,
a torn dress, something.

That's where it happened.
Right there on that couch.

This used to be his office.

It was 4:00 in the morning.

We had just finished an offering
memorandum for B and C Manufacturing.

It took us six months.

He kept a bar over there.

He opened a bottle of
Perrier Jouet to celebrate.

When he left to run for council

they gave me his
office. Lucky me.

I know Spencer Talbert.

I know he raped Lyssa Wesley.
Would you be willing to testify?

We both know that anything
I have to say is inadmissible.

Not if we can convince
a judge there's a pattern.

With two women it's a stretch.
And I can't prove anything.

JACK: Adam, she was in
Talbert's office until 4:00 a.m.

She was in her doctor's office
at 7:00 without an appointment.

And back at her
desk promptly at 9:00.

Now, listen, even if we could prove
that Talbert raped Sarah Maslin,

it's a prior bad act,
it's inadmissible.

Well, then maybe we're making
this whole thing too complicated.

Sarah's our best witness,
let's prosecute her case.

A woman comes forward after three years,
doesn't say too much for her credibility.

She has no reason to lie. No.

When the mayor, the city council
president, five borough presidents

and the president of the Bar Association
will say that Talbert doesn't either.

JACK: Good. Let
them all take the stand.

The best thing Talbert can
do is put his character in issue.

There are already two
other women that we know of.

One who took a $50,000 payoff.

One who's conveniently deceased.

And this one, for all we know,
could be an affair gone bad.

Adam, the papers
already know all about this.

If we drop it, guess whose
name's gonna hit the op-ed page

as part of a political cover-up?

What the hell is that?

You believe in the case, you
prosecute it. Don't lay this off on me!

"Docket number 561253. People
v. Spencer Randolph Talbert.

"The charge is rape
in the first degree."

How do you plead? Not guilty.

The People request
bail of $100,000.

For what? These
charges are outrageous.

My client has served the
public faithfully for four years.

His record is exemplary.
And I'll be sure to vote for him.

Bail set as requested. Next.

Do you actually think you can
get a conviction, Miss Kincaid?

That'll be up to the jury.

A majority of whom probably
voted for the councilman.

Even if he is
acquitted, Miss Powell,

do you think this is the
end of his political career?

Councilman Talbert is
devoted to public service.

He will not allow this smear campaign
to diminish his commitment to this city.

What is it? You people are hell-bent
on destroying my client's career.

I think he's done
that all by himself.

I was Sarah Maslin's boss.

Maybe I was too tough
on her, too demanding.

Is this payback time?

And what's your angle, Mr. McCoy?
You have your eye on Gracie Mansion?

No, I don't like politics.

And I don't much care for politicians.
But I won't hold your job against you.

We know Sarah was in the office
with Mr. Talbert past 4:00 a.m.

We know she went
immediately to her doctor.

We know she had sex.

And if you'd had the decency to
call me before you sent your goons,

maybe you would have
heard an explanation.

Are you admitting you
had sex with her? Yes.

Not only was it consensual,
it wasn't very good.

You really are a piece
of work, Mr. Talbert.

Sarah Maslin will make
a very credible witness.

That may be. But we
have a witness of our own.

Mr. Talbert's former secretary was working
right outside his office that night.

Don't you think she might
have heard something?

I'll tell you what, with Talbert I
made twice the money I make now.

All the overtime.

So if he stayed until 4:00 in the
morning? I was right outside his door.

With him there were
11 commandments.

"Thou shalt not answer thine own phone,
take smoke breaks, or go to the bathroom."

He got calls at that hour?

During the B and C thing, the
phone didn't stop. Calls from overseas.

Accountants, printers. The
office was working day and night.

Was Sarah Maslin
typically here with him?

As long as I was here,
they were joined at the hip.

And you're sure you would
have heard an argument

or a raised voice
from his office?

Believe me, I've heard him yelling
for me through that door more times

than I care to count.

Look, if what you're saying actually
happened, I would have known.

Don't you think you should have
asked me before you ruined my life?

You said you were willing to
testify. No, I never said that.

I had a reason for keeping
this private for three years.

But you came forward
now. The police came to me.

I only went along with it so you
wouldn't drop the Lyssa Wesley case.

I never thought I'd
have to go public.

Now the press is
all over my office.

They're in the lobby
of my apartment.

I can't live like this, Miss Kincaid.
We can convict him, Sarah.

Well, you're gonna
have to do it without me.

She has a press conference
scheduled for tomorrow morning.

My guess, she's going to deny
everything. We put her up to it.

Did we, Claire?

Did personal feeling cause
us to be a bit over-enthusiastic?

You were the one who decided
to prosecute Sarah's case.

You're the one who
assured me she was raped.

Anyone in this office
keep up on current events?

"Talbert's accuser
member of fem-lib PAC."

So she's politically active.

It doesn't prove he's innocent.

She is spearheading a drive to
block Talbert's congressional run.

She's not fond of his voting
record on women's issues.

Neither am I. I gave
them money. So what?

Yeah, but you did not
accuse the man of rape.

I'm starting to think Sarah
Maslin is using the DA's office

as the blade in a
political hatchet job.

Fine. Don't believe me.
Drop the whole thing.

That's what I want anyway.

Well, the case against
Talbert is dropped, Miss Maslin.

The case against you for
conspiracy is just beginning.

It does look a little
strange, Sarah.

You wait until he's running
for Congress to come forward.

I came forward because
of the other women.

And why were there no
physical indications of rape?

Why didn't his
secretary hear anything?

You consented, didn't you?

He was going to ruin my life.

Sure I consented.

But I didn't have
any other choice.

He told me if I didn't sleep
with him I wouldn't make partner.

He'd blackball me
from any other job.

I killed myself for eight years.

I deserved to be a partner
in this law firm, Mr. McCoy.

In her mind she was raped.

Unfortunately the people
who drafted the penal law

are not bouncing
around in her head.

She put in eight
years at that firm.

He was going to take away any chance
of promotion if she didn't sleep with him.

So he's a pig. He belongs in a sty,
not a prison. There is no crime here.

Sexual harassment does
not equal forcible compulsion.

But in this case it could
be larceny by extortion.

Talbert forced Sarah
to give him property

by instilling in her
the fear that he would

"materially harm her
business calling or career."

What property did she
give him? Her body.

It fits the literal requirements
of the statute, Adam.

Wonderful.

So now all we have to
do is convince this woman

to admit in open court that
she slept her way to the top.

You must be out of your mind.
We both want Talbert in prison.

I slept with him
to save my career.

I don't especially
feel like ruining it now.

Look, I know it
could be awkward.

Look,

I know we like to see ourselves as
lawyers who happen to be women.

That's fine and good, but the fact
is we're perceived as women first

and lawyers second.

And you're willing to live with
that? That's how it is, Claire.

I was a bright young attorney
with a great future ahead of me.

And I actually thought that
Talbert recognized that, too.

But all he was thinking
was getting between my legs.

Maybe you should have kicked him between
his and hauled him into civil court.

Sounds easy, but
then it happens.

I'm faced with losing
everything I've worked for,

and I think,

"How bad can it be?
It's only one time."

Because you were
forced to think that.

By this bastard who
stood in your way.

If I testify, the story will be I
used sex to get a partnership.

And if you don't, the story will be
you're just another radical feminist

using sex to destroy
a political enemy.

I became politically active
because of what he did to me.

But no one's ever gonna know
that as long as you remain silent.

This has to be a joke.
Larceny by extortion?

That's when the mob says, "Pay
up or I'll burn down your restaurant."

"Sleep with me or I'll destroy
your career." Same thing.

To make out a
case for extortion,

you have to plead value
with specificity, Mr. McCoy.

Exactly my point, Your Honor.

Although I agree that,
metaphorically and poetically,

a woman's body may be priceless,

but scientifically,
it'll get you $8.84.

And that's a misdemeanor.

And legally, it's worth what
someone is willing to pay for it.

In this case the value of a
partnership in a major law firm.

And that makes it a felony.

Do you have an expert to
quantify that? I do, Your Honor.

May I remind Your Honor that it
is not his place to write new law.

Nothing new here, counselor.
Just expanding the old.

HENDRICKS: At the time of the
incident Miss Maslin was 32 years old.

Assuming that she worked
until standard retirement,

that would give her 33 more
years as a working attorney.

What is the average compensation
for a partner at Adderly, Perkins?

HENDRICKS: According to
The American Lawyer magazine,

the average partner
profit participation

was a little over
$500,000 per year.

So over those 33 years, Miss
Maslin could expect to earn

about $16.5 million?

That's correct.

How many law firms
are there in the city, sir?

Of the caliber of Adderly,
Perkins? I'd say perhaps 100.

Is it possible that Miss Maslin

could have obtained
employment in one of those firms?

There's a big difference between
employment and partnership.

So you're saying that she could not
have become a partner elsewhere?

In the early '80s, perhaps,

but the legal business has
suffered just like everything else.

I'd say it was unlikely.
But not impossible?

No.

As a practicing psychologist,

I have reviewed thousands of cases
of sexual harassment in the workplace.

Have you found that there is a
typical reaction to such harassment?

Well, it really depends on
the extent of the harassment.

Some women go public.

Some choose to leave their
place of employment quietly

and others just
suffer in silence.

But all of them describe it
as a demeaning experience.

Why do some choose to put
up with this kind of behavior?

There's a sense of
impotence, of futility.

So in essence, some of these
women feel they can't leave.

That's correct.

Sexual harassment
isn't a crime, is it?

No.

But offering sex
for financial gain is?

Your Honor. What do
you expect, Mr. McCoy?

Overruled. It's
called prostitution.

Miss Maslin is
hardly a prostitute.

Why? Because she
has a law degree?

If I buy you a drink,

you promise not to charge
me with assault in the morning?

If you promise not
to call me a hooker.

J&B, neat. She's buying
me a vodka on the rocks.

My client may be two
steps below a leech

on the evolutionary chain,

but that doesn't
make him a criminal.

I know you know that, Jack.

Be careful. The Women's Bar Association
will take away your membership card.

So be it. I'm tired of sitting
around drinking herbal tea

and complaining how
tough it is wearing a skirt.

You'd rather lead a
life of quiet desperation?

Sleeping with the
enemy is no solution.

Passivity is the culprit.

Think of yourself as a
victim, you become a victim.

While you were an
associate at Adderly, Perkins,

how many hours did
you typically bill per year?

Over 3,000. Far and
away the most in the firm.

Was that because you were
slower than the other associates?

It was because I had
the largest caseload.

At any given time

I had a couple of dozen
active deals on my desk.

So you worked for all the
partners in your department.

On occasion.

But I'd have to say 90% of my
work was for Spencer Talbert.

Did you mind that?
At first it concerned me.

To make partner you need the
votes of the majority of the partnership.

But Mr. Talbert assured
me I shouldn't worry.

And you believed him? He
said people vote as he votes.

And he assured you
that you had his vote?

He said if I didn't
sleep with him...

I didn't have a chance to make partner
at Adderly, Perkins or any other firm.

A partnership was that
important to you? Yes. I earned it.

You could have gotten it
elsewhere. You could have left.

A black woman

who works eight years at a
firm only to get pushed out.

You tell me, where
was I going to go?

Did Mr. Talbert put a
gun to your head? No.

Did he handcuff you? No.

Did he stick a sock in your mouth?
I'm not claiming he raped me.

But once upon a time
you did, isn't that right?

Yes.

And that accusation
was a lie, wasn't it?

You willingly consented
to have sex with my client.

He threatened to
ruin my career. I see.

How much money would you have
made had you remained a senior associate?

$150,000 a year.

Sounds like utter ruin to me.

No. That's not the point.
It wasn't about the money.

Well, that's a shame, counselor.
Because as it turns out for my client,

it was the most expensive
roll in the hay in history.

I bring in more business

than any other
lawyer in the firm.

I teach securities at
Columbia Law School.

I chair several committees
at the Bar Association.

I've drafted legislation
passed by Congress.

No, counselor,
the shame of it is

I couldn't have done
any of those things

if I hadn't spread my
legs for your client.

The People rest, Your Honor.
Call your first witness, Miss Powell.

The defense rests
as well, Your Honor.

Well, we can have
summations tomorrow morning.

No witnesses. I'd say
Powell's a bit overconfident.

Why shouldn't she be?

You're asking the jury to create a
crime behind the legislature's back.

That's because the legislature
never conceived of anything like this.

There are seven women on
the jury. Which leaves five men.

All of whom have probably
fantasized about their own co-workers.

So what?

If we assume that everything
Sarah Maslin said is true,

my client is the quintessential
sexist son of a bitch.

He not only took advantage of
Miss Maslin, he demeaned her.

He humiliated her. He
destroyed her dignity.

As a woman, I'd like to go over
there and smack him in the head.

But as an officer of the
court, all I can do is say,

"So what?"

Sarah Maslin was ambitious.
She wanted to get ahead

and she got what she
wanted by her own choice.

She alone determined her fate.

Sure she may be
emotionally distraught.

But under the law, you
hurt someone's feelings,

you take out your checkbook.
You do not go to jail.

Give me the keys to your house

or I'll charge you with murder.

I'm the DA, I can do it.

Give me $10,000

or I'll tell the Feds about that shipment
of heroin I saw you pick up at JFK.

I'm the DA, they'll listen.

What would you do?

I can tell you what I'll be doing
for the next ten years or so.

I'll be in Attica.

Because what I did is called
extortion. And it's a felony.

Sleep with me or I'll tell your boss
that you're under indictment for fraud.

It's not true, but do you really
think you'll be working next week?

Sarah Maslin
worked for eight years.

She was the best, the most
productive associate in her firm.

She had clearly earned a partnership.
But the only way that she could get it

was to have sex with the man who had
the power to make or break her career.

Sarah Maslin

laid down on that
couch for Mr. Talbert.

But can any of us say that
she really had a choice?

JUDGE SCHREIBER: Have you
reached a verdict? We have, Your Honor.

On the sole count
of the indictment,

grand larceny in the first
degree, how do you find?

We find the defendant guilty.

The defendant is remanded
to custody pending sentencing.

(GAVEL BANGING)
Court is adjourned.

Nothing like making new
law. Enjoy it for three months.

I'm not so sure
it'll be reversed.

Well, it's not the appellate
court I'm worried about.

You think the legislature
will pre-empt them?

I think the jails will be
too crowded if they don't.