Law & Order (1990–2010): Season 11, Episode 24 - Deep Vote - full transcript

Brisco and Green investigate the shooting death of 31 year-old Martha Krasner who was shot while driving her car out of a downtown parking garage. Her husband has no idea of who might have wanted her dead. With good reason as it turns out that the intended victim was in fact some who drove the same color car, investigative journalist Kate Pierce. It leads them to the inept hit man Marty Blatt who claims he was hired by a hood Albert Bennato. He also says the hit was about vote rigging in a State Senate race. It just so happens that Bennato's one-time lawyer was State Senator Anne Benton and suddenly McCoy has a very political case on his hands.

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.

ZACK: Are you kidding me?

If Babe Ruth was playing today,
he'd be lucky to hit 200.

Two hundred home runs,
that's what he'd hit.

(SCOFFS) The pitchers
are stronger.

They're a bunch of bums.

They throw faster.

The baseballs today
are like super balls.

Babe Ruth had a drinking
problem, a hot dog problem.

Drunk and fat, he'd still
hit 200 home runs.


Oh, my God.

Whoa. I'll call 911.

MAN: Get some help!



Two vehicle event.

One injured, one dead.

Driver of the Volvo,
Martha Krasner.

Would've been
32 next week.

Hey, I'm sorry for the lady,
but why call us?

At first, EMT couldn't
figure why she cashed in.

Compression chest wounds
didn't look life-threatening.

She had a heart attack?

Bullet. Small entrance wound
behind the left ear.

Hell of an exit
under the hair.

BRISCOE: Well, that'll impair
your driving skills.

Any additional rounds fired?

Still checking for slugs
and casings.

By the nature of the wound,
they couldn't have gone far.

What about
the second driver?

Says Krasner drifted into the intersection.
Didn't see her coming.

Didn't see a shooter either.

Any luck with
the huddled masses?

Bag lady might've
seen something.

Or she's just trying to
get her 15 minutes.

I was on the corner
back there by the donut shop,

and I hear somebody yelling
and honking their horn,

so I look up
'cause I was sitting down,

so I can't see so good.

Well, what did you see?

This car coming out
of the parking spot.

Which side of the street?

It was the right side.

It was a gray car.

One of them big ones
that kids are driving now.


Is that what?

Who was doing the honking
and the yelling?

I... I couldn't see.

I guess it was somebody
who wanted it to hurry it up,

or wanted the spot
or something.

BRISCOE: Where was it parked?

On the corner, right there.

And then, finally,
it takes off,

and then five seconds later, these
other two cars, they crashed.

Did you see who was
in the gray car?

No, I... I was, you know,
working. I'm sorry.

That's all right.
You did good.

You call me if you think
of anything else.

I don't have any money.

So the guy in the car behind
her wants the parking spot,

so does Mrs. Krasner,
she flips him the bird.

He gets pissed, over-reacts,
and pops her one.

Or she's honking at
the guy in the SUV

telling him to get a move on,
and then he pops her.

Either way, the last thing she does in
this life is put her foot on the gas.

The car keeps going,
the shooter takes off.

You could spend your whole life
fighting traffic in this town.

Yeah. And then you die.

I don't understand how something like
this can happen over a parking space.

We're very sorry
for your loss.

Can you think of anyone who would have
wanted to hurt your wife, Mr. Krasner?

I thought you said
it was road rage.

That's what it
looks like.

Martha had no enemies.
For God's sake.

We're just trying to
touch all the bases.

This is one base
you can skip, Detective.

Nobody was having any affairs
or selling any drugs.

Please, just find her killer.

We're gonna do our best.

Tell me the truth.

Did she suffer?

No, sir.
She never felt a thing.

The window was rolled up
about three-quarters.

Bullet entered between
the glass and the frame.

Eye level.

So she's yelling at the guy,
she sees the gun,

she tries to roll up the
window as she hits the gas.

Or she's rolling the window
down to yell back at him,

but he shoots her first.

How many shots?

Just the one.
No other slugs or casings.

One shot to
the side of the head.

Guy was a hell
of a marksman.

Or just lucky.

Well, not with
this kind of bullet.

Found it under
the passenger seat.

.38 caliber 158
grain Black Talon.

Hollow point. Double your
damage, double your fun.

The lady picked the wrong guy to
get into a traffic dispute with.

Yeah, that's why I don't
even honk my horn anymore.

You guys got a visitor
in Interview One.

A Mr. Simon.
Drives a gray SUV.


BRISCOE: How'd you find out
we were looking for you?

Uh, on TV. That bag lady.

I was parked on the corner,
like she said.

And you got
into the car and...

It was a tight spot, you know,
and I just got the car.

So I'm trying to pull out, and I guess
I was going kind of slow or something.

Anyway, somebody's honking their
horn, I look over, and...

Did you get out of the car?

Why would I do that?

Maybe you got mad.
Someone was giving you lip.

Nobody gave me any lip. Look, I
came in here of my own volition.

Did you see
the cars behind you?

There was a blue car.

It looked like it
was waiting for the spot.

Was there a woman driving it?
A strawberry blonde?

I think so. She the
one that was killed?

Any other cars?

I think maybe there was
a green car next to it.

What kind?

I couldn't be sure.

Big? Small?



Wait a second.

The lady was shot from her left.
Simon's in the spot on her right.

It doesn't make sense.

Her husband drives
a green mid-size sedan.

Yeah, and the shooter really wanted her dead.
He used a dum-dum bullet.

Maybe we should round
those bases again.

Look, Martha was killed
by some lunatic.

BRISCOE: Where were you
Monday morning, Mr. Krasner?

Teaching at PS 124,

and I have 30 ten-year-olds
who can vouch for me.

Where was your car?

On the street.

Mr. Krasner, is it possible that
your wife was seeing someone else?

It was nothing like that.

We were just having
disagreements, you know.

Disagreements about what?

Martha used to
be a teacher, too.

She was terrific
in the classroom.

Then her, uh, cousin Jeff convinced her
to jump on the Internet bandwagon.

It was a disaster.

We're gonna need Jeff's
full name and address.

They were family.

ED: We still need his name.

You guys never stop, do you?

Do you know why your
wife was in Tribeca?

Maybe a meeting.

This woman bought her
groceries at Key Food.

She bought her clothes at
JCPenny's in a New Jersey outlet.

Martha Krasner,
party animal.

City pension, IRAs.

The largest cash amount she
withdrew in the last year was $400.

Well, she wrote a check
last week for $7,000,

payable to a Jeffrey Waites.

That's the dot-com cousin.

Yeah, the husband never mentioned
seven grand changing hands.

Mmm. Maybe he didn't know.

JEFF: It was a dynamite
business plan.

Which was?

Boilerplate websites
for public schools.

Schools buy the websites,
Martha sells the ad space.

There's 100,000 schools in this country.
Virgin territory.

What was your role
in this dot-com?

I gave her an office,
got her some meetings,

helped with the first round of
financing, that sort of thing.

BRISCOE: Sounds idyllic
Why the split?

I had a lot of contacts
in the candy business.

They wanted to run ads
on Martha's websites.

So what was the problem?

Martha didn't think candy products
were appropriate for school websites.

How come two weeks ago
she paid you $7,000?

Compensation for the
connections I threw her way.

And, uh, who gets the rights to this dynamite
business plan now that Martha's dead?

Guys, I don't need to shoot people to get rich.
I'm already rich.

ED: Then how come you
hit her up for seven grand?

It was business.

Did you, uh, ever throw Martha any
connections downtown in Tribeca?

That's where she was killed.

Actually, I hooked her up
with a firm uptown,

on 55th and Madison,
that morning.

ED: What's the name
of this firm?

Reynolds Advertising.

Martha Krasner?

Yeah, Jeff Waites' cousin.

Right. I felt bad
about blowing her off.

Something came up, and I had
to babysit this idiot client.

So you didn't see her?

Just for a second,
to apologize.

What's this about,

Someone killed
Mrs. Krasner, sir.

You're kidding.
I wish we were.

You know where
she went when she left?

Like I said, I was dealing
with this crisis.

She asked to
borrow my phone.

Her cell wasn't
working or something.

ED: Do you know
who she called?

ED: What time was this?

About 9:30.

We can pull the records
from the phone company.

Actually, I have them
all on my PC.

We monitor the phones
for personal calls.

I met Martha at an IT
conference in Seattle.

Her sites would have been ideal for
advertising our trading cards.

I'm so sorry
to hear...

Ms. Snowden, Martha called you
yesterday morning, about 9:30?

She said a client canceled on her,
did I have time for a cup of coffee?

And did you?

I told her to park
in my space downstairs.

ED: In the garage?

It was a nice morning
I walked to the office.

I figured why should she pay
20 bucks for a cup of coffee?

Was that wrong?

Mrs. Krasner was shot when she was
driving away from your building.

Did you tell anybody else that
she was going to be stopping by?

No. It was
totally last minute.

Unless our shooter
was psychic,

he couldn't have known that she
was gonna be in that garage.

Maybe he tailed her.

Or it was
road rage after all.

Fancy joint like this, you think
the garage has security cams?

Okay, here's your Volvo.

There's nobody tailing her.

Can I see?

Lennie, what's Krasner's
plate number?

MST 592.

That's not our Volvo.

BRISCOE: Our Volvo?

That's not our lady.

All right,
here comes Jane Doe.

And two minutes later, there's
our DOA Martha Krasner.

Two identical cars,
two redheads.

On the theory that the killer
was waiting for Jane Doe,

Reina's got the running DMV plates on
every car that entered that morning.

Especially mid-sized
green sedans.

Any ID on the woman
who got away?

DMV's checking that, too.

Well, since nobody could've known
Krasner was in the building,

we're thinking the shooter
was waiting for the Jane Doe,

screwed up, and nailed
Krasner by mistake.

That's a real big oops.

And we're sure he
didn't follow Jane Doe in?

There's nothing on the tape.

We figure
he was already inside.

Why not do her inside?

If we find him,
we'll ask him.

Well, what about when Krasner drove out?
Anyone follow her?

There's no security cameras
on the exit ramp.

'92 Buick Skylark, green,

entered the garage
at 9:20.

ED: We got film
on the driver?

Face is turned away
from the camera.

VAN BUREN: Maybe on purpose.
Who's the owner?

Guy named Mendel. Reported
it stolen three days ago.

Well, that's convenient.

Second time this year.

Let's go.

MENDEL: Nice they send you
all the way from Manhattan.

That where they found it?

Yeah, it was seen
there two days ago.

What do you mean, seen?
Seen by who?

Why don't you just start by telling
us where it was stolen from?

The synagogue parking lot, if you can imagine.
On Shabbes, yet.

Yeah, Rabbi, this is the second time
you've reported the car stolen.

The other time doesn't
matter. I got it back.

ED: We figured as much. But there's
no police record of the recovery.

We think your car may have
been involved in a homicide.

Now, if you have any idea who might
have stolen it, please tell us.

Last time, it was my nephew
David, my sister's youngest.

He borrowed it, he brought it back.
No problem.


So maybe
he borrowed it again?

He's in New Mexico.

He's on one of those, you
know, uh, like a kibbutz.



Excuse me.

Detective Green.

I'll tell you the truth. I liked him
better when he was stealing cars.

I got a nephew
just like that.

All right. Lennie,
Jane Doe's got a name.

Thanks for your time, Rabbi.

Her name's Kate Pierce Reina
gave me her work address.

How do you tell someone
somebody wants them dead?


KATE: A bullet
to the head, huh?

I read about it, but I don't
think she really looks like me.

Well, still, from a distance.

Garage was dark. You have the same car,
same height, same weight, hair color.

Must be 10,000 woman in New
York fit that description.

We wouldn't be here
if we weren't concerned.

Do you park in that garage
on a regular basis?

I work out in the second floor
gym every morning. Why?

Predictable movements.

Fits what?

ED: The theory that the
killer was waiting for you.

Can you think of anybody who might
want to harm you, Ms. Pierce?

No, I never really
thought about it.

You married?

My last boyfriend
broke up with me.

And if anybody's gonna kill
anybody, I'm gonna kill him.

"Crooked Cops:
Exception Or The Rule?"

Is this typical
of your work?

I'm an investigative

Pissed anybody off lately?

If I'm doing my job right.

Ms. Pierce, we really could
use your help here.

Believe me,
I get it, Detective.

It's just, what can I do? I
can't just turn over my files.

Still, you might want
to consider it,

given that somebody
may be trying to harm you.

I covered the Taliban in
Afghanistan without a veil.

No one is questioning
your courage.

I can give you clippings,
anything that's public record,

but that's as far as I can go.

We'll need everything from
the last three months.

Now, uh, do me a favor.

Sit facing the door.

This is a profile
of the Gucci Family.

"Warfare Among
the Properly Attired."

Guns don't kill people,
handbags do.

Here's another one. "Battle of the Ballots.
State Senate Race on Hold."

The election's over.

Here's one,
a couple of weeks ago.

"Caputo Crime Family
Moves in on Public Housing."



Replacement units
for the Housing Authority.

The Caputos got
a lock on the market.

ED: This is newsworthy?

We're talking 30,000
windows per year,

hundred bucks a pop,
pure profit.

Three million bucks?
I'd kill somebody for that.

How'd the Caputos
corner this gold mine?

The usual. A little shmear,
a little kneecapping.

We just turned in the Organized
Task Force investigation.

Between you and me,

U.S. Attorney's about to hand
down some major indictments.

Any chance that Kate Pierce sparking the
investigation pissed off the Caputos?

Wouldn't take much.

Guys, got a hit
on the Rabbi's car.

Let me guess.
Not New Mexico.

Driver ran a stop light.

Keep me posted,
this connects to the Caputos.

You got it.

We found gunshot residue on the
front seat of the Skylark, Mark.

I didn't... I didn't shoot
anybody, I swear.

We also have a video of you
driving into the garage

where the lady was shot.

What garage? What lady?

How old are you?


That's good.
That's good for you,

because that means that
the D.A. can't touch you.

Yeah. The Supreme Court says
minors can't be held

legally responsible if they
cooperate with the authorities.

If you cooperate.

I only got the car yesterday.


I'll get in trouble.

Mark, look around you.
You're already in trouble.

I bought the car off a guy
I know. Three hundred bucks.

Give us a name.


Jimmy Coleman.

ED: Where'd he get it?

Place he works.
Junkyard up in the Bronx.

Look, will you tell him that you tortured
me or something to get me to talk?

Yeah, rubber hoses.

BRISCOE: Jimmy Coleman?

Who wants to know?

Consumer Reports.

ED: We're looking for
a '92 green Buick Skylark.

I can't help you.

Try again, and ask yourself if we'd be
here if we didn't already know something.

I sold it.
It's not a crime, is it?

Only if it wasn't yours.

ED: How'd you come
by the car, Jimmy?

Hey, man, if you don't tell us, we're
gonna have to assume you stole it.

You know, I'm guessing that a guy in your
business has at least a couple of priors.

That three strikes
sentence can be brutal.

Hold on, hold on. Some guy brought it by.
Told me to put it in the crusher.

Some guy?

I never saw him before.

He gave me two C-notes. Told
me to mash it and trash it.

Didn't make any sense.

BRISCOE: You still got
the bills he gave you?


ED: Martin Blatt.

Armed robbery, assault,
burg two. Should I go on?

We got your prints from one
of the hundreds you gave

to the junkyard dude
up in the Bronx.

Guy's an idiot, but he's
got real good eyesight.

He picked you right
out of this six-pack.

I never liked that picture.

Oh, yeah? You prefer the one from the
garage where you waited for that lady?

Is this the part where
I slip up and confess?

ED: You might as well.

We found gunpowder
residue in the Skylark.

I'm strictly
a Ford man myself.

You might want to watch
your back, Marty.

The Caputos can't be real
happy with you right now.

I don't know what
you're talking about.

You did
the wrong broad, genius.

Hitter like you, that can't
be good for your rep.

You better
start talking, Blatt.

BRISCOE: Who hired you?


Yeah, well, you're gonna be
joining The King pretty soon.


We didn't turn up any weapons
in Mr. Blatt's apartment,

but we did find a cute little
hollow space in a VCR

that contained a box
of .38 caliber,

158 grain
Black Talons.

Usable prints, too.

Thought you'd
want to know.


Have a short life, bro.

What's in it for me?

How about three hots and a
cot instead of a gurney?

The lady wasn't Pierce, huh?


Go figure.

Who wanted the reporter
dead, Marty, and why?

I want protection
in the joint.

We'll take care
of the Caputos.

The Caputos? What've
they got to do with this?

This isn't about
the windows?

What kind of windows?

Guy that gave me the button said it
had something to do with an election.

What election?

I don't vote.

The shooter claims the hit had
nothing to do with family business.

People say politicians
play for keeps.

I doubt they envisioned
anything like this.

Who exactly did Blatt
say gave him the contract?

Small-time wise guy
named Albert Bonatto.

No major crime
family affiliation.

And what was Bonatto's
connection to all this?

Well, Blatt claims
he doesn't know.

Just that Bonatto wanted this
reporter out of the picture.

She's writing an article
about some state senate race.

What are we doing
to pick him up?

Well, I've got people sitting on his
house, places he normally frequents.

Okay. Let me see if I can get this
reporter to give me any more.

CARMICHAEL: So if what this
shooter is saying is true,

this Bonatto is somehow
connected to your story.

Who is he?

Convicted felon. Not previously
in the muscle end of things.

I don't recognize him.

Well, what can you tell me about the
election story you were working on?

It was about the 63rd
District State Senate race

and some irregular
absentee ballots.

Right. Anne Benton's

Benton was reelected
by less than 200 votes.

Then they discovered almost 400
overseas ballots had been altered.

Altered in what way?

Official at
the Election Board

was adding registration numbers to the
ballots after they'd been received.

What happened?

Judge tossed them out.

Well, doesn't sound like much
of a motive for murder.

There was something else.

I'm sorry,
I can't answer that.

Even if your life
is in danger?

I'm not a hero,
Ms. Carmichael.

But when you take a job like this,
it comes with certain risks.

Things a journalist has to
put above her own safety.

Ms. Pierce...
I promise I'll be careful.

Change my schedule.

But if I tell you
what you want to know,

I'd be revealing information
I have no right to reveal.

And there's no way
I can do that.

Any word on Bonatto?

Nothing so far.

And the reporter?

She's blacked out so much of her notes
it's hard to put anything together.

Is she protecting her life
or her story?

Well, either way, she says
it goes with the territory.

And she's made it perfectly clear
she's not about to breach any

journalistic confidences
in order to help us out.

Well, there's no law that says we can't
speak to the same people she spoke to.

As long as I get the byline
when the story breaks.

FEINBERG: Board of Elections have
been doing this for over 100 years.

The only time we get headlines
is when there's a screwup.

A city worker overworked
and under-appreciated.

I can relate.

Now, Kate Pierce interviewed you
about the election three times.

You tell me what
you told her, I go away.

That's what she said.

Pierce was looking into irregularities in
the absentee ballots in the 63rd District.

The added registration numbers.
Anything to it?

My opinion?
Simple honest mistake.

But she came to see you twice
after her article came out.

She wasn't satisfied?

A reporter's questions might
be optional, Commissioner.

All due respect,
mine aren't.

She wanted to know if any
other voting irregularities

could have contributed to
Anne Benton being reelected.

What other irregularities?

We had some voting machines break
down in Benton's district.


You have to understand, these voting
machines are practically antiques.

How many machines?


Is that a lot?

It is when they happen to
be in one polling place.

And you told all this
to Kate Pierce?

Didn't have to.
She was already onto it.

What happens when
the machines go down?

Ordinarily, we'd cannibalize
parts from other machines.

It's a little different when
it happens on election day.

We use emergency
paper ballots.

And who's in charge
of those machines?

I got no idea what went wrong.

Our technician says someone
weakened the rivets at the back.

That's why the levers broke.

On all 12 machines.

Who asked you
to rig those machines?

We know you were the last
mechanic to work on them.

JACK: A woman's been killed,
Mr. Eckert.

If you don't help us,

you'll be held responsible
for your part in the death.

There's a guy I know
from the union.

Al Bonatto.

He asked me if could mess with some
of the machines in Benton's district.

Did he say why?

Just that he wanted them to go
down at this one polling place.

But nothing about any woman.

So when the machines break down, the
voters are given paper ballots.

Following procedures set
forth in the election law.

And we think these breakdowns have
something to do with this woman's murder?

Kate Pierce was
the real target.

Martha Krasner just happened to be in
the wrong place at the wrong time.

On the theory Bonatto was
not working for himself,

we went back to try
to find a connection

between him and
one of the two candidates.

State Senators are allowed to
maintain private law practices

while they serve in office.

Anne Benton was
once Al Bonatto's lawyer.

A lowlife like that and a senator
from the rainbow coalition.

And nobody has been able to find
Bonatto since the shooting.

I think we should have a
conversation with Senator Benton.

Anne Benton was one of the people who
lobbied for my appointment with Rudy.

Are we playing favorites?

Just speak softly
and carry a big subpoena.

I've never made a secret of my
relationship with Albert Bonatto,

however I no longer
represent the man.

I haven't in years.

When was the last time
you spoke to him?

I can't really say.

If you could possibly pinpoint it a
little better than that, Senator,

we'd appreciate it.

Maybe your Chief of Staff
could check your records.

Mr. Coulter?

I'll check the Senator's
appointment calendar.

I'm still not clear what
exactly your concern here is.

At this point, all we can
really say is that

Mr. Bonatto may be
involved in a murder.


That's not the Al Bonatto
I was familiar with.

Two felony convictions for taking
kickbacks from city union officials.

There's a variety
of fraud allegations.

May I ask how
the Senator's name came up?

Only by way of her
connection to Mr. Bonatto.

Which I've already stated
is a matter of public record.

Beyond that, I'm afraid
attorney-client privilege kicks in.

But if there's any other
assistance I could provide,

I would be happy to do so.

Now, Mr. McCoy,
Ms. Carmichael,

if you'll excuse us, the Senator has a
committee meeting in about five minutes.

BENTON: You'll give
my regards to Nora.



Never admitted anything,
never denied anything.

The perfect politician.

It's too much of a coincidence,
her having been Bonatto's lawyer.

Especially with the mechanic tying
Bonatto to those voting machines.

We can haul her before a Grand Jury,
ask her about Bonatto under oath.


But if Benton's involved,
she'll take the Fifth,

and there's no way Nora's
going to give her immunity

until she knows the full
extent of her participation.

When I went to see that Commissioner
at the Board of Elections,

I used Pierce's notes
as a roadmap.

I talked to who
she talked to.

How'd she know
where to go?

She had a source.

You're asking me to force a
reporter to identify a source?

A source who may have information
about a cold-blooded murder,

and whose life may
very well be in jeopardy.

Your Honor, a reporter has to
know that everything she sees,

everything she hears,
is sacrosanct.

Everything? What if a reporter
knew of a terrorist plot?

JUDGE: But doesn't
New York's shield law

bar the People from asking
for a source's identity?

JACK: The protection
isn't absolute.

Knight-Ridder v. Greenberg.

In that case,
the Court of Appeals

noted the limitations of
journalistic privilege.

A journalist was forced to turn over a
videotape of a murderer's confession.

The tape itself
was hard evidence.

JUDGE: He makes a point.

The distinction between
a killer's statement

and the name of a source
sounds pretty real to me.

I talked to this person.

They don't want their name
revealed, and I won't betray that.

JUDGE: There's
the hitch, McCoy.

If I order disclosure, it's only going
to result in refusal by Ms. Pierce,

a contempt citation,
and an appeal.

The motion to quash
disclosure in the identity

of Ms. Pierce's source
is granted.

CARMICHAEL: I wonder how much
Pierce really told her source

about the danger they're in with
Bonatto still on the loose.

She's going to end up protecting
this guy right into his grave.

Let's assume Anne Benton's behind
the scheme to rig the machines.

What's she accomplish?

You mean, other than proving
women can be as ruthless as men

when it comes to
seeking office?

Her margin of victory
was under 200.

Every vote made a difference.

Well, paper ballots would
have meant longer lines.

Maybe voters go home,

and Benton's opponent was carrying
that neighborhood two-to-one.

Yeah, looks like
her strategy worked.

Official tally,
Board of Elections.

Almost 2,000
fewer votes were cast

at that polling place
than in the last election.

Not according to the actual
voter sign-in books.

The vote was up.

If that's right,

about 2,000 votes
are missing.

How many votes
are we talking about?


The polling place was going heavily
in favor of Benton's opponent.

So then
these missing ballots

were the key
to her reelection.

Can we link her to the man
who rigged the machines?

Not directly.

Where are
these ballots now?

According to Mr. Feinberg
of the Board of Elections,

they never arrived,
so they don't exist.

Now you see them,
now you don't.

Briscoe and Green just
picked up Albert Bonatto.

Well, let's see
if he's registered.

Blatt fingered you.

Explains why nobody's
seen the little weasel.


We've seen him,
Mr. Bonatto.

He killed a girl,
and you hired him.

And we've got Joey Eckert,

the mechanic who rigged
the machines for you.

So now we'd like to
know what you have.

I think we all know
what he has.

Anne Benton.

Anne was what you'd call
a motivating factor.

She ordered the hit?

Took a little convincing.

But I always said
Annie's a pragmatist.

People will forgive a
politician almost anything.

Fixing an election
isn't one of them.

What are we looking at?

In exchange for his
testimony, 20-to-life.

Not exactly an offer
I couldn't refuse.

What if I sweeten the pot?

With what?

All present
and accounted for?

Abbie said four boxes,
we got four boxes.

Lot of voters
got ripped off.

So what's new?

And Ms. Benton goes to Albany
instead of her opponent.

Well, maybe they'll find some better
accommodations for her upstate.

Session's over, Senator.

Have you
lost your mind?

Please stand up, ma'am.

Anne Benton,
you're under arrest

for the murder
of Martha Krasner.

I'll call your husband.

Call my lawyer.

ED: You have the right
to remain silent.

Anything you say...

"Docket ending 261,
People v. Anne Benton.

"Charges are Murder
in the Second Degree,

"Conspiracy in
the First Degree."

ls the defendant prepared
to enter a plea?

Not guilty, Your Honor.

JUDGE: Are the People
requesting bail?

Given the fact
that Ms. Benton

has been implicated
in a murder-for-hire,

the People would request
bail in the amount of...

LINDE: This is absurd.

Senator Benton is only
implicated in this awful crime

by a reputed
organized crime figure,

a confessed killer,
and a two-time felon.

There isn't a scintilla
of direct evidence

tying my client
to any of these charges.

Ms. Carmichael, are the
People going forward

with anything more than the word
of this alleged accomplice?

Yes, Your Honor.

The People
are in possession of

certain missing
ballot boxes

which we maintain corroborate
Mr. Bonatto's statements.

This prosecution is nothing
but a political witch hunt.

An effort by my client's
political enemies

to try to do in court what they were
unable to achieve at the polls.

In any event,

Senator Benton
hardly seems a flight risk,

unless the People
consider Albany

to be too far outside
its jurisdiction.

The defendant
is released without bail.

JACK: Abbie.

I just saw Benton
and her lawyer.

The Judge let her walk.

She's got a lot of juice
in this courthouse.

Makes you want to play
in a bigger arena.


I've had another
job offer, Jack.

Didn't want to
spring it on you

in the middle of a case
like this,

but they need an answer
in the next day or so.

I guess you're thinking
about taking it.

It's the U.S. Attorney's
Office, Southern District.

Oh. The bigger arena.

They're putting together
a task force on major crimes.

When would you start?

As soon as
this case is over.


But I would be
right next door,

so if there are any problems
with any of my cases...

I don't have to tell you
how much you'll be missed.

No, you don't have
to tell me that.

But I'd still like
hearing it.

LINDE: The Senator
rigged the election,

then tried to kill a
reporter to cover it up?

You've got
the gist of it.

Yeah. Well,
by that reasoning

she'd have to eliminate
half a dozen newspeople.

Pierce had a source.

And the name
of this source?

That's what I thought.

Doesn't change
Albert Bonatto's testimony.

LINDE: That the Senator
did what?

Sabotaged some
voting machines?

Those machines were
due for the scrap heap

the Carter administration.

Those machines were inspected
and declared operational.

That is, until a mechanic
was asked by Mr. Bonatto

to rig them to fail.

What mechanic?
I never met the man.

The beauty of a conspiracy
charge, Senator,

is one hand doesn't have to
know what the other's doing.

LINDE: People's theory,
if I grasp it,

is that the Senator
arranged to steal votes

in a neighborhood that was
going heavily against her.

It's not complicated,

Flaw in your theory.

Those missing votes
would have gone our way.

As I understand it,

the machines didn't go
down until afternoon,

which means
that the paper ballots,

the ones that got lost,

were from people
coming home from work,

people who have jobs.

They're my
core constituency.

So you see,

the Senator had no reason
to tamper with the machines,

and as such
certainly no reason

to kill the reporter.

Other than egg on my face,
what am I left with?

Benton's theory about carrying
that neighborhood is absurd.

It may be.

But at least it's supported by
an official election result.

What is our theory
supported by?

A witness.

Al Bonatto's been
convicted of two felonies.

He's a member of the mob,
for God's sake,

in addition to which he's testifying
pursuant to a plea bargain.

Nora, if we shied away every
time a defense attorney

cross-examined one of our
witnesses about a plea bargain,

we'd never
bring a case.

What about the fact that
Pierce writes mob stories?

Blaming Benton could be
a Bonatto smoke screen.

Covering his own ass
for family business

that has nothing
to do with the election.

You don't believe that.

It doesn't matter
what I believe.

The question is, what's
a jury going to believe

when Benton's lawyer
stands up and says

she had no motive
to commit the murder

because she had no motive
to steal the ballots.

There's not a single exit
poll that can support that.

Exit polls
aren't evidence.

Without a source,
we've got nothing.

We have the ballots.

We count them, they go against
Benton, we have our motive.

LINDE: Count the ballots?
That's outrageous.

What is this, an election
or a criminal action?

Counsel, I'm going to construe your
outrage as a motion to suppress.

But he has a point,
Mr. McCoy.

Not if his client
is going to hide

behind those
uncounted ballots

to get away
with murder.

The bottom line is,
the People can't make out

chain of custody
on those ballots.

Any count would be
hopelessly tainted.

As I understand it,

Mr. Bonatto had the ballots
in his possession?

Yes, Your Honor,

and he's prepared to testify they were
in his social club under lock and key.

He also gonna tell us
how he stole them?

Furthermore, Judge,

the People have provided the
court with an affidavit

indicating that the security tape
on those ballot boxes is intact.

Which doesn't mean the ballots themselves
remain in their original condition.

They've been jostled,

These are paper ballots
marked with a pencil.

How could jostling
possibly affect anything?

You can argue
whatever you like

to the jury about
who killed Mrs. Krasner,

but your motion is denied.

Then I insist on being
part of any process

that involves
counting these ballots.

Counselor, I'm not going to have
a replay of recent shenanigans.

Not in New York.

Not in a murder case.

You can be present,
but that's it.

Tell the Board of Elections
to start counting.

WOMAN: Come on,
that's clearly a yes.

MAN: I counted
those already.

Let me see that.
I say yes.

MAN: Put it in that pile.

He circled the name,
he didn't check the box.

The voter's intention
is clear.

And so are the rules.
No extraneous markings.

Put it with
the maybes.

JACK: Been going on
like that all night?

at its best. Thanks.

Even without the maybes,
the vote's running

roughly 70%
against Benton.

This holds up,

we have our motive for
Martha Krasner's murder.

A.D.A. John J. McCoy?

Right here.

Sir, this is a temporary restraining
order from the Appellate Division

ordering you
and the Board of Elections

to immediately halt the
counting of these ballots,

and for you to appear
tomorrow morning, 10:00 a.m.

How the hell
did they manage that?

They had help.

Committee to Reelect
Senator Benton,

Voters Caucus
of New York,

the Association
for Electoral Justice.

It goes on.

JACK: Just like the election.

LINDE: In conclusion, we ask a
halt to this so-called count

on the grounds that the
District Attorney's Office

cannot prove the bona
fides of these ballots.

That they are, in fact, in
their original condition.

Mr. Linde,
as I understand it,

these ballots have been
missing for over three weeks?

That's correct,
Your Honor.

And they were in
the possession

of a reputed
organized crime figure?

Again, that's correct,
Your Honor.

Well, security tape
or not,

on these facts alone,

it's clear to me they have no
place in a criminal trial.

JUDGE 2: Thank you,
Mr. Linde.

Mr. McCoy.

With all due respect,

I think this court is losing sight
of the purpose of this count.

Let me be clear.

The People have
no interest whatsoever

in the outcome
of this election

except as it pertains
to this defendant's motive

to commit a homicide.

JUDGE 2: Still, regardless
of your reasons,

you're talking about
possibly overturning

a decision by the voters
of this state.

I'm sorry,
but as I understand it,

the outcome of this count

will be strictly limited
to the criminal trial.

That's correct,
Your Honor.

Then I fail to see the harm in
allowing the count to continue.

I think
it's naive to believe

this outcome will be
limited to the trial.

The fact is, any result

which differs
from the official election

is certain
cause for confusion.

JACK: The people
learn the truth.

I don't see
how that constitutes harm.

Well, how is your case without
this evidence, Mr. McCoy?

This evidence is vital to the
People's case, Your Honor.

And right there
is another concern.

Even with
the ballots counted,

your case
is not a strong one.

What happens when we turn this
election on its ear and you lose?

I find this court's reluctance
difficult to fathom.

And any willingness
to let a killer go free,

to protect a politician
from the truth,

is a betrayal of the most
basic principles of law.

Thank you,
Mr. McCoy.

This court
will recess briefly.

None are more conscious of the limits
of the judiciary than this court.

Now, that being said,

when contending parties
invoke the legal process,

it becomes
our unsought responsibility

to resolve the issues
confronting us.

The court,
with two dissents,

grants the injunction
sought by the Petitioner.

The ballots
will not be counted.

Without the ballots
the case against Benton

just becomes her word
against Bonatto's again.

A fact that couldn't possibly
have eluded the court.

The vote went right down
party lines, three to two.

I never thought
I'd see the day

when a court let politics
prevent a murder prosecution.

They're all politicians.

Just some of them
wear robes.

The irony is, Bonatto and Blatt
end up serving 15-to-life.

Anne Benton
gets a second term.

Well, they can always ask Benton
to help them apply for a pardon.

It's all nonsense.

There's no legal basis
for this decision.

Don't kid yourself.

The same thing will
happen on appeal.

It's over, Jack.
We're fresh out of evidence.

Are we?

LEWIN: What are you saying?

Mr. McCoy.

They're going
to let her go.

I wish
I could help you.

We both know you can.

I already told you, my
source won't come forward.

Then give me a name.

I can compel
the testimony.

Don't you understand?

The people who talk to me

have to believe that their
identities will be protected.

It's the only way
I can do my job.

I doubt
a journalist's commitment

to her
professional obligations

will be much comfort
to Martha Krasner's family.

That isn't fair,
and you know it.

This woman's life
was taken

because someone
confused her for you,

and now you're refusing
to give me information

that would prevent
her killer from going free.

What's fair about that?

And when I break
my confidence,

when I violate his decision
not come forward,

what do I tell my source,
Mr. McCoy?

Tell him

Martha Krasner
never had a chance

to decide whether to
become part of the story.

CLERK: Raise
your right hand.

Sir, do you solemnly
swear to tell the truth,

the whole truth,
and nothing but the truth

in the matter in which
you are about to testify?

MAN: I do.

State your name and occupation
for the record, sir.

Matthew Coulter,

Chairman, Committee to
Reelect Senator Anne Benton.

JACK: Mr. Coulter, do you know
a man named Albert Bonatto?

I do.

JACK: Do you also
know Anne Benton?


I do.