Marshall (2017) Script

(NEEDLE CRACKLING IN RECORD GROOVE)

(BLUES GUITAR PLAYING)

MAN: ♪ Oh, honey ♪

(FULL BAND: BLUES CONTINUES PLAYING)


A confession.

Is that what they call it?

Billy Lyons was thrown in jail for three days without cause.

In the case of Inez Washington v. the CR&L Bus Company, gentlemen, I have reviewed all the papers and briefs in my chambers and I am prepared to rule.

The court finds that service of the complaint was in fact made at the wrong address, as Attorney Friedman has argued.

Therefore, the defendant's motion to dismiss is granted.

(GAVEL RAPS) Thank you, Your Honor.

Great work, Friedman.

(SOBBING)

And to get their confession, Special Agent Cheatwood, sent by the governor himself, took this club... his "nigger beater," he called it.

He tied Billy Lyons to a chair... and he pounded Billy Lyons in the head with it.

And still Billy Lyons insisted he had not committed these murders.

We had this one pegged as a loser.

You've got a real knack for spotting technicalities.

Thank you, Mr. Sprague.

(SOBBING, GASPING)

I'll be sending some more files your way, if you've got the time.

I will make the time. Good.

They forced him into their car and hauled him off to the murder scene.

The bodies had been burned and were decomposing.

They took some of the bones of these dead bodies, put them in a pan and placed them in Billy Lyons' hands.

They admitted this.

Delirious with exhaustion and pain, Billy Lyons confessed to a crime he did not commit.

And it is based upon that confession alone that they now seek to hang Billy Lyons by the neck... until he is dead.

WOMAN: You'll get them the next time, baby. There may not be a next time.

We needed this one. All right.

When you coming home? I'll be on the next train to Knoxville.

I should be home by midday Wednesday.

Okay. Be safe. I love you. I love you too.

Bye, baby. See you soon.

(COIN DROPS IN PHONE)

Hey, boy.

Boy, what do you think you're doing here?

(CONDUCTOR MAKING ANNOUNCEMENT, INDISTINCT)

What you gonna do, nigger?

(TRAIN WHISTLE BLOWS) CONDUCTOR: All aboard.

I'll see you boys another time.

That son of a bitch. Let's go scare him.

Shoot him.

WOMAN: NAACP.

Please hold.

Good morning, Mr. Marshall. Good morning.

Welcome back. Thank you.

(SCOFFS)

Thurgood, you're going to Bridgeport.

What? Now?

No, I swore to Buster I would...

How many Thurgoods are there? Five or 10? There's only one.

And that one is gonna get his ass on the train tomorrow.

Why? Why?

"Nightmare in Greenwich." That's why, Thurgood.

"Wife Attacked by Negro Driver." That's why, Thurgood.

How about, "Fear Grips Connecticut"?

What's the reaction? Fear.

Getting calls from all over the country. Negroes getting fired.

White families afraid to have us in their home.

If we can't work as domestics, Negro families are going to starve.

And this is a hell of a time to lose half of our staff.

It's got everything, doesn't it?

"Eleanor Strubing, fair-haired Greenwich socialite, was the victim of a beastly attack in her own bedroom."

Yes, and the boy that they're holding is straight out of Native Son.

Look at that.

Wow.

"Joseph Spell.

Uneducated Negro servant with a criminal past."

A fable that the New York City press is gonna feed on to the last morsel.

Yeah. They're starving for this one. So are we.

We win this thing, our big donors are coming right back, Thurgood.

There's only 13 million Negroes depending on you.

Irwin said I would find you here.

(SPITS) What?

Your brother said I would find you here. You know, swimming.

Nice swimsuit.

Who the hell are you? Tad Lancaster.

Bridgeport High. Remember?

Trombone? Yeah!

Still blowin' it too, man. What are you doing here, Tad?

Oh, I am, uh, working with the Bridgeport NAACP.

Actually, I am the Bridgeport NAACP, and I need a little favor.

Do you know that Spell case?

The guy who attacked the girl from Greenwich? Yeah.

Now, National is sending a lawyer from the city to handle his defense, and we need a local guy to get him admitted.

(WHEEZING LAUGH) (CHUCKLES)

Uh, sorry, no. I'm not gonna do that.

There's nothing else required. I'm not interested.

Think about the publicity. That's exactly what I'm thinking of.

Your brother seems to think... My brother is an absolute idiot.

Listen, Tad, thank you so much for thinking of me.

Honestly, I'm grateful.

But I don't handle criminal cases. Okay?

Find someone who wants that kind of attention.

Irwin already filed the papers with the court.

He did what?

(RADIO: ANNOUNCER) ...scattered over many parts of the country.

Nazi aircraft were reported over the south coast, the midlands... Paper, please.

As well as over the London area.

Thurgood Marshall.

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Sam Friedman. Um, Friedman and Friedman.

Good to meet you, Sam.

Give me a hand with these, would you? Sure.

What have you got in here? Cement?

Guns.

Books, Mr. Friedman.

My law library.

It goes where I go.

Look, I told Tad Lancaster I'll get you admitted, as a favor.

But I can't get involved with a case like this. Yeah? Why not?

Well, I do insurance defense. You know, accident cases.

I've got a reputation to think of.

Ah.

That must be difficult. What?

Having a reputation to think of.

You meet our client yet? Your client. And no, I was waiting...

Well, come on then. Let's get to it.

(SIREN WAILING)

Got another one coming in. Okay.

University of Maryland Law School.

Was walking distance from home.

But they didn't accept colored, so I had to go to Howard.

An hour and a half each way by bus, and well-known as a school for failures.

That's too bad.

No. No, it was the best thing that ever happened to me.

They'd just brought in a new dean, Charles Hamilton Houston.

Turned that place around, taught me everything I know, including how to sue the University of Maryland.

You sued them?

You bet your ass I did. Soon as I passed the bar.

And?

Supreme Court ordered the bastards to integrate.

(COUGHS, CLEARS THROAT)

You argued in the United States Supreme Court?

What?

No, the Maryland Supreme Court.

I didn't argue in front of the US Supreme Court until last year.

Your boy is ready for you.

Spell. Lawyer's here to see you.

(DOOR LOCKS)

Mr. Spell, I'm Thurgood Marshall with the NAACP.

You heard of us?

You a lawyer? I am.

This is Sam Friedman. He's a lawyer too.

You can go. Got no money for lawyers.

Anybody ask you for money?

Did you rape that woman, Joseph?

No.

Why does she say you did? I don't know.

She says you raped her and tried to kill her.

She's lying.

I was up in White Plains, at a club.

Come on, Joseph. All night long?

No, not all night.

I was at the house but couldn't sleep, so I went to play cards.

Got back maybe 6:00, 6:30.

Anybody see you at the club?

Yeah, but I don't know their names or nothin'.

For an alibi defense, you need witnesses, Joseph.

Otherwise it's her word against yours.

And who do you think they're gonna believe?

There was a cop.

A cop? Stopped me in Port Chester on the way to the club.

Looked at my license, then let me go. What time was that?

I don't know. Maybe 3:00 in the morning.

I'm telling you this up front.

The NAACP, we're not like most lawyers.

We only represent innocent people, people accused because of their race.

That's our mission. You understand?

So I need to know this... Look at me now.

Did you do what they said you did?

I never touched that woman.

Okay, Joseph.

You got lawyers now.

(CAR RADIO: CLASSICAL MUSIC PLAYING)

(CLASSICAL MUSIC CONTINUES, STOPS)

(TUNING FREQUENCIES)

Go ahead. Change the station.

(RADIO: JAZZ PLAYING)

What do you know about the prosecutor?

Lorin Willis.

Graduated Yale the day he was born.

Unless you came over on the Mayflower, you're nothing to him.

They're grooming him to be senator, I hear.

What do you know about the judge? Judge Foster?

Former law partner of Willis's father.

(CHUCKLING)

(ENGINE, RADIO OFF) I'll move your admission Monday morning, and then...

Back to fighting off those insurance claims.

Yeah, I know.

(GRUNTS)

(PIANO: JAZZ PLAYING)

Ah. So you like Langston Hughes, huh?

Of course. Don't you?

I don't give a damn about no poetry.

(CHUCKLES) Come on.

I actually went to school with Langston.

I just wish he'd do something more worthwhile with his time.

Another bourbon, Mr. Marshall? Sure. (SIGHS)

You know, Tad's got a law degree too. From Fordham.

You told me you were a driver. Yep.

The state of Connecticut decided to not allow me a license to practice law.

They were generous enough to give me a driver's license, however.

I see.

What about you, Irene?

What are you gonna be when you grow up? A nurse like your mother?

No. A lawyer then?

No. A fighter pilot.

(MOTHER CHUCKLING) A fighter pilot?

Well, I feel a whole lot more safe knowing that.

TAD: All right, say good night to Mr. Marshall, Renie.

Good night.

You got kids?

Uh, Buster and I have been trying for a while.

Buster is my wife. Sometimes people think I'm talking about my dog.

You should get a dog and name it "Mrs. Marshall." Ah!

So, you think this boy did it?

Hey, whose side you on?

Women don't just go around lying about being raped, Mr. Marshall.

You're going to have to figure out why she'd do such a thing.

Burden of proof is on the State. Is it now?

Hey there.

So what can you tell me about this Friedman guy anyway?

Sam and me played trombone together in the high school band.

You trust him? Sam? Oh, yeah. Yeah, yeah.

If you dropped a nickel while kicking him in the balls, he'd return it to you.

Mmm. (BOTH LAUGHING)

Couldn't play trombone for shit though.

(REPORTERS CLAMORING) Gentlemen! Can I have a minute, please?

Just a minute! Who is this, a relative of Spell?

I'm Mr. Spell's attorney. Thurgood Marshall.

I thought you were Spell's lawyer, Mr. Freeman.

It's Friedman. Sam Friedman.

Of Friedman and Friedman. Local counsel. That is all.

The defense team, huh? Is your boy innocent, Mr. Friedman?

He is not my... Let me state this to you all clearly and unequivocally.

Our client, Joseph Spell, is an innocent man.

REPORTER: Well, let's get a picture of you two.

(SPECTATORS CHATTERING)


All rise.

Superior Court is now in session.

The Honorable Carl Foster presiding.

(CLEARS THROAT) You may be seated.

The State of Connecticut v. Joseph Spell.

Are the parties ready to proceed?

WILLIS: The State is ready, Your Honor.

FOSTER: Ah, Mr. Willis. Good morning.

How's your father doing?

He's better. Thank you. That's kind of you to ask.

Uh, the defense is ready as well, Your Honor.

Well then, let's get on with it.

Mr., uh...

Mr. Friedman.

You filed an application to admit an out-of-state attorney?

Yes, Your Honor. Attorney Thurgood Marshall of the Maryland Bar.

I have the application in front of me, Mr. Friedman.

Uh-huh. (CLEARS THROAT)

Why do we need to admit this lawyer, Mr. Friedman?

Does he have a long-standing relationship with the defendant?

Uh, no, Your Honor, uh, but...

How long has he known him? Not long, Your Honor, but...

Exactly how long?

Well, he met him for the first time a few days ago.

However... (SPECTATORS LAUGHING)

FOSTER: A few days ago?

Well, then what possible reason could there be to admit him?

You're a perfectly capable attorney, are you not, Mr. Friedman?

You have tried cases before, haven't you?

Only civil cases, Your Honor. But Mr. Marshall is with the NAACP.

And they are concerned that their defendant receive a fair trial.

So are we all, Attorney Friedman.

So are we all.

But he's not a member of our bar, is he?

No, he's not.

However, Your Honor, Mr. Marshall is a respected attorney.

He argued in the United States Supreme Court.

That has no bearing on this case.

Your Honor, may I be heard?

No, you may not.

The court has heard enough and will rule.

(CLEARS THROAT)

The court sees no legal requirement to admit out-of-state counsel in this case.

But, Your Honor... However, the court not only wishes to be fair to all of the parties, but to maintain the appearance of fairness as well.

Therefore, the court will allow Mr. Marshall to enter his appearance for the defense...

Respectfully...

His written appearance, Mr. Willis.

Mr. Marshall may sit at counsel table.

However, he may not speak.

Your Honor, I must speak for the client.

He may not speak, argue, or examine witnesses.

If he violates this ruling, he will be held in contempt of court.

And you as well, Mr. Friedman.

You will conduct this case.

Me? Yes, you.

The trial will begin a month from today at 10:00 a.m.

Court adjourned. (GAVEL RAPS)

BAILIFF: All rise.

What the...

What the hell just happened?

What just happened here? (WHISPERS) Shut up and be quiet. Let me think.

I can't do this. You know that. Shut up.

Excuse me?

That son of a bitch.

I've tried cases before judges who were Grand Dragons of the Ku Klux Klan, who forced me to enter through the back door, but this horseshit is a first.

I cannot get involved in a case like this.

Are you listening to me? It would destroy my practice.

This is not my problem.

The hell it isn't.

No, you heard the judge.

Until we can find somebody better, it's you and me.

It's our problem now.

Uh, Mr. Marshall...

(BRAKE SETS) (ENGINE IDLING)

(DOOR OPENS, CLOSES) (WHIMPERING)

According to Eleanor Strubing's account, Spell rapes her at home, ties and gags her, then drives up here.

He stops approximately 60 feet onto the bridge, like so...

(SCREAMING) Joseph! Please!

THURGOOD: Takes her out of the car...

No! No! (SOBBING) then pushes her over the guardrail, into the reservoir, right about here.

He throws rocks at her, then drives away.

Somehow she gets to shore.

Dripping wet.

Then climbs up to the road.

(GASPING, PANTING)

Ah.

Awfully scary down there though.

Go take a look where she climbed out.

Me? These are my best shoes.

Please try to make yourself useful.


(GASPING, PANTING)

Stop. Stop!

(HORN HONKS)

Stop.

This is where the truck driver found her.

What do you want with those?

It's an old Negro superstition.

Always take a little piece of the earth with you.

Really?

(DOOR CLOSES)

Mr. Friedman, your picture's on the front page with Mr. Marshall.

Oh. Not a bad picture.

Of me, anyway.

Also, your wife called. Oh, Sam. Perfect.

Where you been?

Out getting the cutlery I need to castrate you.

You must be Irwin. I am.

Mr. Marshall. Pleasure to meet you. Pleasure.

Sam, listen, I have great news.

I made some calls. Harry Gruber, he wants the case.

Harry Gruber. The Communist.

Sam, at least he handles criminal defense.

Can you get Gruber on the line, Ruth?

Sure thing. Thank you.

This is not a cut-and-dry case.

You should really consider whether or not this is something you want to commit to.

You want the Communist Party taking over?

They'll martyr Spell for their own cause.

Not my problem.

You think he did it. That's for a jury to decide.

You think he raped this woman and drove her to the reservoir to kill her?

People have done stranger things.

That's right. People do all sorts of strange things, horrible things.

But throw a woman over the bridge, into the water, not check to see if she's dead, then drive back to her house?

You've gotta have a pretty dim view of Negroes to think any one of us would do anything so goddamn stupid.

The papers say he was dishonorably discharged from the army.

This isn't a court-martial.

He was fired from his last job for stealing.

No charges were brought.

He left behind a wife and two kids in Louisiana, Thurgood.

Yes, he's got baggage. Criminal defendants usually do.

They're not perfect citizens like you and me.

But none of that makes him guilty of this crime.

I got Gruber on the phone. What do you want me to tell him?

I don't know. Tell him he's a schmuck.

Sam, come on. Irwin! Genug, huh?

(SIGHS)

Why me?

I need someone who will do as I say.

What makes you think I will do as you say?

You have no choice. You don't know what you're doing.

You're quite a salesman.

THURGOOD: There's no time for that.

You want me to try this case.

No, I need you to try this case.

"And the Lord commanded Moses to enlist his brother's help.

He shall speak for you to the people."

(BOTH, IN UNISON) "He shall be your mouth, and you shall be as God to him."

Tell Gruber to go fuck himself.

All right.

And find the cop who stopped Spell. We need a witness.

Okay. I'm on it.

What is this?

You say you've never tried a criminal case before, right?

Yeah, that's right.

You'd better start reading then.

You've got one month.

Hey, look who's back. You coming tonight?

No, not tonight.

Oh, man, I was really looking forward to catching up with you.

All right, you need to stop feeling sorry for yourself.

I am the one who's been sick... every morning... for the past month.

What? (LAUGHING)

You better not be lying. Look at the bump.

Oh! I see it.

You see it? Mmm!

Mmm, mmm. (LAUGHS)

I'm not going anywhere after this.

Hmm.

What?

You don't believe me. No, I don't.

I swear.

You swear.

I swear I swear. Nowhere, nowhere.

I swear. Mmm!

(BAND: JAZZ PLAYING)

♪ Trouble in mind ♪

♪ Guess I'm blue ♪

♪ But I won't be blue always ♪

♪ Sun is gonna shine ♪

♪ In my back door someday ♪ Langston, he swore on his mother's life that he wouldn't be going anywhere anytime soon.

My mother's name was never mentioned. (BUSTER GIGGLES)

Well, this case is all anybody in this city is talking about.

Which only means that the inevitable loss will be that much more devastating.

Don't bet against me. You're not even trying the case, baby.

Every single word that man utters in that courtroom will be mine.

I'm just making the point that a Negro charged with ravishment by the Greenwich gentility should probably save himself the time and unpleasantness of a trial.

Langston, maybe you should just go back to Spain.

Or back to Russia.

Write your little poems, explore big ideas with your comrades.

I was fighting Fascists in Spain.

Well, you were writing about fighting Fascists in Spain.

(LAUGHS) Listen, by the time the baby comes, Thurgood's gonna be out of a job.

Do none of you have any confidence in me?

I'd say you have enough confidence for us all, misplaced as it may be.

(BUSTER GIGGLES)

(MAN LAUGHS) Great to see you!

LANGSTON: God, here comes Zora.

Probably leaving dinner with Charles Lindbergh.

Don't you dare... Zora!

(MAN SHOUTS) Sit down!

THURGOOD: Come on over here.

Zora Neale Hurston! Hi!

How y'all doin'?

Langston Hughes. Zora.

Mmm.

(KISSES)

ZORA: And who is this? I'm August.

I've heard so much about you. Huh.

That's funny, 'cause I haven't heard a thing about you.

Huh, Langston?

♪ Oh, trouble in mind ♪

(VOCALIZING)

(SONG ENDS) (APPLAUSE)

MAN: You had it now, girl!

Okay, guys. We ready to go?

You're still not talking to me.

It's... It's not my fault.

You have no idea how persuasive this guy can be.

(DOOR OPENS)

(CONGREGATION MURMURING)

Shh. (WHISPERING) Stella.

What on earth is Sam thinking?

With all that's going on in the world today, we don't need this kind of attention focused on us.

Well, he wasn't looking for it, Rose. Irwin got him involved.

Well, you tell him that everybody is terrified by what this man did.

Sophie Gittelson fired her girl today.

She's been with them for 11 years.

They fired Gladys? Why? She's lovely.

Yeah, she's lovely.

But what if one of her relatives comes to visit?

They have their daughter to think of.

I would've done the same thing. (ORGAN PLAYING)

(RABBI SINGING IN HEBREW)

(CLEARS THROAT)

Well, if it isn't Mr. Friedlansky.

Mr. Weisman.

Dora and I couldn't remember. Were you born here or in Minsk?

We, uh... We came over when I was one.

That's what I thought.

So you feel like a really big shot, I bet, defending that schvartze.

What do you think your father would say?

I could not tell you.

I think he'd say he was proud.

For the defense.

Don't mention it.

To anyone.

(ENGINE STARTS)

BOY: Eew!

FOSTER: Jury selection, gentlemen.

Clerk, call the first venire person.

Lester Gilman of Norwalk.

Mr. Gilman. (CLEARS THROAT)

Mr., uh, Gilman, um, in this case a colored man is accused of raping a white woman.

Could you be fair in deciding such a case?

I think so.

No further questions.

Accepted by the defense.

To tell you the truth, I don't know much about them, the colored.

We don't have too many in Stratford.

Excused.

I'll be honest with you. I don't like the colored.

Seems to me they're always getting into some sort of trouble.

I don't think much of Hebrews either.

Excuse me?

Well, you're one of them... I figured.

Thank you for your candor, Mr. Wright.

Uh, no further questions.

(WHISPERS) Excuse for cause.

Counselor?

Your Honor, we move to have Mr. Wright excused for cause.

On what grounds?

(WHISPERS) Bias. (WHISPERS) I know.

He just admitted he's biased.

Mr. Wright, you are a law-abiding citizen.

Wouldn't you say? That's right, Your Honor.

If I instructed you that the law requires that you set aside your bias, would you obey my instruction?

Guess I'd have to.

The challenge for cause is overruled.

You may use the peremptory challenge.

Your Honor, with all due respect... I've made my ruling.

(CLEARS THROAT)

Excused.

Mr. Ellis, you agree, do you not, that as a colored man you could not fairly pass judgment on Mr. Spell.

No, sir.

You agree you could not be fair.

No. What I mean is, yes, if he's guilty, I'd have to convict him.

I'll use a challenge.

(WHISPERS) Object.

On what basis? Just do it.

Uh, Your Honor, I object.

Grounds?

(THURGOOD WHISPERING) He can't use the challenge to discrim...

I heard that, Mr. Marshall.

It's a peremptory challenge, Mr. Friedman.

The State may use it for whatever reason it wants.

Mr. Willis, you have four left. The defense has one.

(WHISPERING) What was the point of that?

Every single time they discriminate, we're going to object.

Recognize it. Now.

WILLIS: Mrs. Richmond, do you reside in Greenwich?

Yes, Mr. Willis. I do now.

And if the State proves its case, you could convict the defendant?

Yes, of course I could.

Thank you, Mrs. Richmond. That's all I wanted to know.

Mrs. Richmond, I notice you have an accent.

Really? Here I thought you were the one with the accent, Mr. Friedman.

Fair enough.

Mrs. Richmond, where did you live before moving here?

Raleigh, North Carolina.

But now you live in Greenwich. Yes, that's right.

So if you live in Greenwich, you must have heard about this case.

It's all anybody talks about.

I assume, then, that you've come to some sort of conclusion regarding the defendant's guilt or innocence?

You assume incorrectly.

I don't have all the evidence, now, do I?

Have you met Mrs. Strubing?

In passing, at parties and community events.

I believe we belong to the same club.

Do you really think then, Mrs. Richmond, that with all of these connections... the club, the parties... that you could really just set all of that aside?

I don't see why not.

Thank you. No further questions.

The State accepts Mrs. Richmond.

Your Honor... (WHISPERING) What?

No. Absolutely not.

Mr. Friedman. (CLEARS THROAT)

Your Honor, may we have five minutes, please?

Fine with me, Your Honor.

The court will recess for exactly five minutes.

But we're not gonna make a habit of this, are we, counselor?

No. No, of course not. Thank you, Your Honor.

(GAVEL RAPS)

We have one challenge left. It was made for this woman.

Just trust me on this.

She's a Southerner. Lives in the same town.

Take her. I'm not your goddamn puppet.

I'm getting rid of her.

She's smart, she's confident, she resists authority.

Did you see the way she talked back to you?

The other jurors will listen to her. Which is exactly the problem.

She knows Mrs. Strubing. They run in the same social circles.

And she doesn't put her on a pedestal.

Maybe Mrs. Strubing is a drinker.

Maybe she has a boyfriend in town. This woman may know things.

You are stabbing in the dark.

Maybe, but this I do know.

The one thing Southerners like her hate more than the colored... arrogant Yankee pricks like Willis.

Were you watching her?

She folded her arms and sat back when Willis spoke.

When you began, she opened up, leaned forward, removed her glasses.

These are signs.

Signs of what?

She likes you.

No, my gl... my glasses!

I need my glasses.

(WHISPERS) Well, it's about time. Yeah.

Mr. Friedman?

The defendant accepts Mrs. Richmond.

(WHISPERS) Am I missing something?

Mrs. Richmond, you've been accepted by both of the parties and will serve as our 12th and final juror.

The evidence will begin tomorrow morning at 10:00. (GAVEL RAPS)

Hey, hey! Hey, hey! Mr. Friedman! Mr. Friedman.

What do you have to say about today's comments by the NAACP?

What comments? The press release by Walter White?

He says that, "The Spell case will show the world that a colored man cannot get a fair trial in the United States of America."

Do you agree, Mr. Friedman? I have nothing to say about that.

What about you, Mr. Marshall?

Hasn't it been proven in this courtroom already?

(REPORTERS CLAMORING)

How can a man have a fair trial when he's denied counsel of his choice?

When the members of his race are eliminated from service on his jury?

When fear and bias against his race are the central points of the case against him?

(REPORTERS SHOUTING) In Europe right now, the forces of tyranny have mobilized behind the vision of a so-called master race.

But here in America, our differences aren't supposed to matter.

Here we're promised equal protection under the law.

Separate but equal!

Nothing complicated about that.

That promise has not been realized, not even close.

Not in Birmingham, Alabama, nor in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and certainly not here in Bridgeport, Connecticut...

(REPORTERS SHOUTING) where your bigotry is simply covered by a northern accent.

But a fair jury can always render a just verdict.

That's what we're striving for here today.

The Constitution was not written for us. We know that.

But no matter what, we're gonna make it work for us.

From now on we claim it as our own.

(SHOUTING, JEERING)

What's bothering you?

Sam. Not now.

What's bothering me?

You insulting the judge on the courthouse steps. That's what's bothering me.

(SCOFFS) Just relax.

Excuse me?

I have to live in this city after you're gone. Understand?

No more public statements until this trial is over, or I'm gone.

Let me make this clear.

My people will decide what to say to the newspapers and when to say it.

The newspapers should have no place in this trial.

But they already do. People are losing their jobs because of these stories.

Those people are not my clients! Well, they are mine!

My jury isn't just the 12 people in that jury box. It's the whole goddamn nation.

You just focus on this case, try your best not to screw it up and leave the big picture to me.

(CLEARS THROAT) Sam.

What is it, Irwin? Don't you have something to do?

There's someone waiting for you in my office.

Yes? And who is this someone?

Uh, Officer McCoy.

And who the hell is Officer McCoy?

The cop who pulled Spell over that night.

I just did what you said.

I drove around Port Chester, pulling over police cars, and I found him.

Attaboy, Irwin. Attaboy.

What time did you pull over Mr. Spell?

Did you hear the question?

3:37 a.m., according to my notes.

Why'd you stop him?

It didn't look like... a man like that would drive that car.

Was anyone with him in the car?

No. He was alone.

You're willing to testify to that in court?

If I have to.

Irwin, get a sworn statement from Officer McCoy, then escort him out.

Officer.

Wow.

An honest policeman.

(CROWD SHOUTING, JEERING)

See what your publicity stirs up?

No, it just brings 'em out where you can see 'em.

Give us justice!

That doesn't look anything like me.

Does it?

The State of Connecticut v. Joseph Spell.

Are counsel ready to proceed?

Ready for the State.

We are, Your Honor.

Mr. Willis, you may call your first witness.

The State calls Greenwich Police Captain Burke to the stand.

Would you identify these photos, Captain Burke?

Yes, sir. That's the Kensico Reservoir.

Did you find any evidence at the scene that pertains to this case?

Yes, sir, we did.

We found Mrs. Strubing's sealskin coat floating in the reservoir, under the bridge, about here.

Then about here, on the guardrail, we found some strands of fabric.

I believe they were stuck to some bird droppings.

Were you able to identify the fabric?

Yes, sir. It matched the fabric from Mrs. Strubing's sealskin coat.

Thank you. Nothing further.

FOSTER: Your witness, Mr. Friedman.

(WHISPERING)

Bird droppings.

Sorry?

Uh, bird droppings, Captain Burke?

Yes, that's right.

Were you able to identify the bird?

(SPECTATORS CHUCKLING)

May I?

Thank you.

Now... (CLEARS THROAT) on one side of the bridge is the reservoir, placid as a lake.

On the other side is a 30-foot drop onto a jagged rock bed.

Is that correct? You could say that.

And the fabric that you found was on the lake side, right about here, around 60 feet onto the bridge.

BURKE: Sixty-seven feet, four inches.

Okay.

Did you conclude, then, that Mrs. Strubing fell or jumped off the bridge?

I concluded that she was pushed. Pushed?

To murder her.

BURKE: That's right.

As a trained crime investigator, Captain, did you ever ask yourself, if someone wanted Mrs. Strubing dead, why not push her onto the sharp, jagged rock bed rather than the still lake water?

Object. Asking for speculation.

Sustained. The jury will disregard the question.

Now... (CLEARS THROAT) Mrs. Strubing told you that after pushing her into the water, Joseph threw rocks at her from the bridge.

Is that correct? Yes.

Mm-hmm. Were there any rocks on the bridge?

I don't know. There may have been.

But there were rocks in the area around the bridge. Is that correct?

Yes, there were.

About how big were they?

I really couldn't say.

(PEBBLES SHAKING)

Were they... any bigger than this, Captain?

I can't say they were.

This... This is a pebble, isn't it, Captain?

You could call it that.

What would you call it?

A pebble.

(SPECTATORS LAUGHING)

A pebble.

So, in summary, Captain, it is your belief that this man threw Mrs. Strubing into a placid lake, then gathered pebbles to toss at her while she waited patiently under the bridge.

Object.

Withdrawn.

No further questions, Your Honor.

Captain Burke, you are excused.

Court is adjourned.

BAILIFF: All rise.

Mr. Friedman.

Well done.

Well done. Let's go.

Why are you smiling?

I think we scored some points there.

This isn't a sporting event.

A man's life is on the line.

A word with you, Friedman.

Yes, of course.

Alone.

Or to you both.

The doctor who examined Ellie is testifying tomorrow.

It's rather personal, of course.

These are private people...

Please get to the point.

Excuse me?

I've spoken with John Strubing, and he's willing to consider a plea.

It's my decision, of course, but plead your boy and I'll recommend a sentence of 20 years.

Otherwise, he gets life. No.

No deals. (EXHALES)

Mr. Friedman?

Not my call.

Of course. You have to speak to your client.

I'll expect a different answer in the morning.

THURGOOD: Even with good behavior, you'd be locked up at least 14 years.

I could maybe do that.

They don't know we found the cop, Joseph.

We don't even know if Strubing will show up.

You could walk out of here a free man. But if she does...

If you wrong... SAM: Listen.

The decision is yours. Sam.

I need to talk to Joseph.

Are you asking me to leave? Of course not.

He's your client.

I'm asking you to listen.

When we first met, I told you I'd only defend you if you were innocent, and you told me you were innocent.

You remember? I remember.

Did you lie to me? No, I didn't lie.

So I'm gonna ask you again. Did you commit this crime?

No. But you're willing to say you did.

If I got to. For the deal.

If you "got to"?

My great-granddaddy was a slave.

Were your people slaves, Joseph?

When we were slaves we had to do what the master said.

But... we're not slaves now, are we?

No, we ain't slaves.

You say that like it's nothin'.

We ain't slaves because we rose up and we fought and we fought and we fought till we got our freedom.

Isn't that right?

My granddaddy escaped when he was 15.

Fought off four men and an attack dog, my mama said.

Okay, then you tell me this.

After what your granddaddy did to get his freedom, you're just gonna give it right back for nothing, for something you didn't even do?

Understand this.

If you want your freedom, you're gonna have to fight for it.

But you don't have to fight alone. That's why I'm here.

We've got weapons now, Joseph.

Our people do.

Weapons we didn't have before.

We've got the law.

And you've got Sam, one of the finest young trial lawyers in this country, on your side.

You really think we can win?

I wouldn't be here if I didn't think we could win.

Dr. Sayer, please tell the jury your field of specialty.

I specialize in the field of gynecology, and I deliver babies.

SPECTATORS: Aww!

On the morning she was discovered in the reservoir, did you have occasion to examine Mrs. Eleanor Strubing?

Yes.

She was brought to my home by the police at, uh...

Let's see. 6:30 in the morning.

Did she tell you what had happened?

Objection. Hearsay.

Overruled.

WILLIS: Doctor?

I've forgotten the question.

What did Mrs. Strubing tell you?

She told me that she had been raped by a colored man who worked for her.

What was her mental state during all of this?

SAYER: She was severely distraught, weeping.

She kept repeating, "Am I pregnant? Am I pregnant?"

Did you then examine her? Yes.

My wife assisted by removing her clothing.

It was torn, wet, and muddy.

I noted bruises on her arms and legs and numerous abrasions and contusions on both extremities.

I then performed an internal exam.

Do you have an opinion, based upon reasonable medical certainty, as to whether or not she had been raped?

Beyond question, Mr. Willis.

It was all consistent with rape.

Thank you.

Your witness.

(WHISPERING) Get the records.

Medical records. Get them.

Your Honor, may we please see the medical records of Dr. Sayer?

Object. These are personal.

Overruled.

I'm sorry, Mr. Willis, but the witness referred to them.

They must be turned over. Thank you, Your Honor.

(CLEARS THROAT) May I?

(WHISPERING)

Abrasions and contusions. Those are scrapes and cuts, aren't they, Doctor?

Yes. Scrapes, scratches, bruises.

Right.

Well, the fall from the bridge and the climb through the pine forest could be responsible for cuts and bruises, could it not?

It's possible.

(TAPPING)

You did an internal exam and you found...

"edema, swelling, traces of blood."

Yes. Mm-hmm.

And it was based on this that you determined that she was raped?

Indeed.

But those same findings... are equally consistent with a woman who took a lover and engaged in vigorous sexual intercourse over the course of an evening.

Objection. How dare you. There is no evidence of any lover.

FOSTER: Sustained.

There's no place for that in my courtroom, Mr. Friedman.

Um, of course, Your Honor.

(DOOR CLOSES) I-I'm sorry.

Hello? Hey, baby.

No, they just pulled me out of proceedings.

The baby... didn't make it.

And it was just so much worse this time. The bleeding was just...

It wouldn't stop. (SIGHS)

I'm so sorry.

(SLAMS WALL)

I should be there.

Buster?

Buster, are you there?

Yeah, I'm...

I'm here.

Where are you?

Do you have any further questions, Mr. Friedman?

Mrs. Strubing told you that she resisted her assailant?

Yes, she did. Mm-hmm.

And you looked under her fingernails too, didn't you, to see if you could find any traces of skin?

I did.

What did you find?

Splinters, dirt in some...

Any skin, Doctor? (MURMURS) No, Sam.

Yes. I was just about to get to that.

Excuse me?

There was skin.

Wh-Where...

Where in these records does it say anything about finding traces of skin?

It's not in the records.

My wife took the notes. She did not write down that bit of information.

Why not, Doctor? Why would she not record that?

Out of respect for the patient's privacy, Mr. Friedman.

It was the skin of a colored man.

SAM: No further questions.

It wasn't in the records. They got a doctor to lie under oath.

How do we fight against that?

You asked the exact question Willis wanted you to ask.

What were you thinking? Where the hell were you? Hmm?

Getting instructions from Walter White?

See what happens when I don't hold your hand? You panic like an amateur.

You should have let him take the deal.

Goddamn it, would you shut up about the deal? We have an alibi witness.

What don't you get?

They will have McCoy change his testimony. Just watch.

Let them. We'll take his sworn statement and shove it up his ass.

No, tomorrow morning I'm asking Willis if the offer is still on the table.

The NAACP isn't taking any deals.

The NAACP isn't the one with its life on the line here.

Yes, it is, goddamn it.

(EXHALES)

You're using him.

That's all this is.

Just like you said the Communists would.

We're giving him the best possible defense under the circumstances.

Mmm. Yeah. (CLICKS TONGUE)

I'm sure he'll feel really lucky as he sits in prison for the rest of his life.

Let's not act like it's Joseph Spell you're concerned for all of a sudden.

What is that supposed to mean?

From the moment you got involved in this, you've been looking for a way out.

Play nice with the DA, earn yourself a favor, maybe they'll let you in their neighborhood or their club one day.

Well, get this through your head.

The only way to get through a bigot's door is to break it down.

Must be easy for you to say, huh?

See, it's my life that is on the line here.

My family, my practice, my future.

What do you have? You have nothing to lose.

No, you just sweep through town, stirring up all kinds of ugliness, then move right on.

No one will ever even remember you were here.

Oh, fuck you, Sam.

Fuck you.

Hey. You two okay?

FOSTER: Please take the stand, Mrs. Strubing.

Mrs. Strubing, you reside in Greenwich?

Yes. My husband John and I moved from Philadelphia about a year ago.

Is your husband here in the courtroom today?

Of course.

Sitting in the front.

Mrs. Strubing, do you remember the night you were attacked?

Mr. Willis, I assure you, I will never forget it.

Please tell the jury what happened.

My husband was away on business, as he is often, I'm afraid.

I had dinner with friends... the Moores.

And I arrived home around ten o'clock and then I decided to shower before bed.

And I was fixing my hair.

And he came in the room.

He came after me and started chasing me.

He had a knife.

The knife was pointed at my throat, and I...

I thought of screaming, but...

I couldn't.

He... He penetrated me.

I couldn't make him stop.

His body was crushing me.

What happened next, Mrs. Strubing?

He said he wasn't finished with me.

(SNIFFLES)

And then he did it again.

Did what?

Raped me, Mr. Willis.

WILLIS: And then what happened?

When it was over, he said, "We're going for a ride, Mrs. Strubing."

After all that, he still called me "Mrs. Strubing."

Then he tore my dress with his hands... and gagged me.

I show you Exhibit "H."

Is this the dress? Yes. That's it.

And is this, Exhibit "I," taken from that dress, similar to the gag he used on you?

Identical. Then what happened?

We started driving.

I had to lay down on the floor so that I wasn't seen.

He came around, pulled me out of the car.

And I remember feeling weightless.

Suddenly I was freezing.

Rocks were hitting around me.

Mrs. Strubing, do you see the man who raped you in this courtroom today?

(SIGHS) Yes.

He's right over there.

The colored man.

For the record, Mrs. Strubing, which colored man?

The one in the brown suit.

Thank you.

One more question, Mrs. Strubing.

Did you encounter anybody else during your time with Mr. Spell?

Yes, as we were driving toward the reservoir, the car suddenly filled with red light.

It was the police. I thought, at last, I was saved.

And then Joseph said to get down back there and if I made a sound, that he would cut my throat.

Then I heard the policeman.

And I thought, please, please, just look.

But he didn't.

He-He spoke with Joseph and then he left.

(SNIFFLING)

I'm so sorry. I did not want to cry.

I'm so sorry.

You've been very strong, Mrs. Strubing.

WILLIS: She certainly has, Your Honor.

No more questions.


Hi there.

Name, sir? Sam... Friedman.

Sam Friedman. Friedman.

I don't seem to have your name here, sir.

Actually, I'm a friend of...

Hold onto this for me.

Sir, you can't go back there.

Gentlemen, you must leave now!

Marshall, this is not the kind of place you want to make a scene.

I know. I used to work in a place just like this.

That's exactly what my father said.

If we just let the Reds and the Nazis fight it out, they'll take care of each other beautifully.

This club is for members only, boy.

Lorin, it appears that you have some rather unique admirers.

(CLEARS THROAT)

This is a private club. She wasn't in the car, Lorin.

Excuse me? You had her lie on the stand today.

Are you accusing me of a crime?

Yeah. That's exactly what I'm doing.

Who do you think you are?

We have a sworn statement from an Officer McCoy that Spell was alone that night.

I don't care what you have.

Ellie Strubing told the Greenwich police everything when she first recounted the crime.

If she wasn't in the car, how could she have known the car had been stopped, hmm?

Here.

Read it. What is this?

Another sworn statement.

This from Ellie Strubing the morning they found her. Dated, timed, notarized.

Everything she told the Greenwich police.

This is fraudulent.

Get out of my club.

I've had better.

(MAN CLEARS THROAT)

(PIANO: JAZZ)

(WOMAN SINGING: JAZZ, FAINT)

Are you okay, sweetie?

You look blue.

And a man as good-looking as you has no cause to be blue.

(CHUCKLES)

Where is he?

Attorney Friedman.

I'm not much of a conversationalist tonight.

It's okay. I am. I'm Jen.

Thurgood. Pleasure.

I've never seen you here before...

Attorney Friedman.

Attorney Friedman, hold on a minute.

What do you want?

We're just eager to introduce ourselves.

To you and the nigger lawyer.

You don't want to have anything to do with this man, miss.

Excuse me.

You gentlemen are making a big mistake.

There's no mistake. We know who you are.

Bet you wish you had your nigger lawyer friend now.

(GRUNTING)

Get out of here. Get out of here. Hey!

Hold him up.

JEN: Let him go! Hold on.

You liking this? You kike!

Let him go! Let him go!

Let him go!

(HORN HONKING)

Go, go! Kike bastard!

Sam!

(SHOTGUN COCKS)

This here is Mr. Thurgood Marshall.

This man is an attorney.

You'll be showing Mr. Marshall all the respect he deserves.

Understand?

Sit down and finish your bourbon.

Say something!

You're late.

(GROANING)

What happened? Huh?

I didn't mean to start trouble.

It's not your fault.

Here.

It's okay.

Listen.

Men are men...

and women are women.

Right?

(CHUCKLES)

Right.

(ROOSEVELT ON RADIO) The Nazi masters of Germany... have made it clear that they intend not only to dominate all life and thought... (DOOR CLOSES) in their own country, but also to enslave the whole of Europe.

There's flanken. (CLEARS THROAT)

Why are you so...

My God, Sam. What happened to you?

I... I could use some ice.

Hey. What is it? What's wrong?

I got in the first punch.

Wh-What's wrong? What is this?

You've been crying.

No. Not now. Let's...

Tell me.

My cousin Anna, in Kraków.

They took her?

(SPEAKING YIDDISH)

(KNOCKING)

Who is that? I don't know.

Stand back.

Yeah.

(KNOCKING)

Who is it? It's me.

Thurgood. Your co-counsel. Open up!

What happened to you?

Did I come at a bad time? What do you want, Thurgood?

(BABY CRYING) I have thoughts about tomorrow.

(WHISPERS) Tomorrow? Get out of my house.

No.

Not until I tell you why I'm here.

Hear me out.

You were right.

I had it all wrong all along.

Spell was with her all night.

Spell lied.

This is your big epiphany?

Eleanor Strubing lied too.

Neither of them have been telling us the truth.

Thurgood, you have just broken this case wide open.

My God, you really are a legal genius.

Men are men and women are women.

Men are men and women are women, Sam.

You think it was consensual.

It's the only explanation that makes sense.

How can we be certain?

We need to talk. Talk about what?

Listen to me carefully now.

Did you have sexual intercourse with Eleanor Strubing?

No. Why you keep asking me that?

I never asked you that before.

Did you have sex with her?

Speak, goddamn it. I told you I didn't.

She says she was in that car when it got stopped.

You hear her say that in court? I heard, but she's lying.

No, she's not lying.

You're lying. Why are you taking her side?

The cop... The cop never searched the car.

She was in the back seat, wasn't she?

No. Look, I'm telling you...

Get this through your head.

She gave a statement to the police early that morning.

She knew then the car had been stopped.

Okay. Okay, she was there.

And did you have sex with her that night?

Mmm.

Answer me. Answer me now!

Yes.

How many times?

Two times.

So, you're guilty.

You've been lying all along. No!

It wasn't rape.

What about the skin under her nails? The doctor lying too?

When we got to the reservoir, I parked the car.

But she starts screaming, opens the door to run out.

So I grabbed her just to keep her there.

That's when she scratches me.

You lying to me again? No.

It's the truth.

Why didn't you tell me the truth in the first place?

Because I-I was confused.

That's not good enough, Joseph.

Willis is gonna ask you why you lied, sure as you're standing here.

He's gonna ask you in front of everyone.

The jury's gonna be studying you with all 24 eyes.

And you're just gonna say you were confused? I couldn't think straight.

That's not gonna swing it.

You lied in a sworn statement.

Why would you do that?

Because I was scared. All right?

I was scared what they'd gonna do to me if they find out.

(PEOPLE CLAMORING)

(SHOUTING, FAINT)

My father told me once, "If anybody calls you nigger, you not only got my permission to fight him, you got my orders to fight him."

Your father say anything about being called a kike?

No.

Not to me anyway.

You look like a real fighter now, Sam.

Like a Jewish Joe Louis.

Nah.

Barney Ross is my guy.

Barney Ross it is.

Good morning. Good morning, Mr. Friedman.

Mrs. Strubing, you're originally from Philadelphia, is that correct?

Yes.

College grad?

Bryn Mawr, Mr. Friedman.

And you were an athlete, I understand?

Yes, I was on the swim team.

Ah.

You and your husband moved to your estate in Greenwich last spring, is that correct?

I don't know if I'd call it an estate.

I'm sorry. A mansion?

John and I moved here, to Greenwich, rather, last May.

Mm-hmm.

But your husband was away on the night of this incident. Is that right?

Yes, as I said, on business.

You've testified that you went out on the evening in question.

That is correct. To the Moores'.

Did you, um... Did you drink at the Moores' home?

As I recall, I drank some wine.

How many glasses, would you say?

I don't remember.

But it was more than one.

I didn't say that. I said I didn't remember.

Mm-hmm.

When you drove home, were you tipsy?

I never drink enough to get tipsy.

Okay. So you went straight up to your room to shower. Is that correct?

Yes.

And when you came out of the shower, you say Joseph was waiting for you.

I didn't see him at first.

I had no reason to believe that I wasn't alone.

But then... he was there.

You were attracted to Joseph, weren't you, Mrs. Strubing?

Objection! That's an absurd accusation! What?

You invited him into your bed, didn't you?

Your Honor!

He attacked me! Strike the question and answer from the record.

Mr. Friedman, no more of this. You understand me?

SAM: Yes, Your Honor. Yes, of course. I'm sorry.

Now, your bedroom is just below the room where the maid slept?

Yes.

Did you scream for help?

I couldn't. He had a knife.

Did he hold the knife as he removed his clothing?

He must have.

So he removed his pants, belt, zipper, whatever, with one hand?

Apparently so.

You told Mr. Willis that you fought him, but he overpowered you.

Is that right? Yes.

There was a phone right next to your bed.

Did you attempt to use it? No. I was terrified.

Afraid to use the phone or scream for help, but not afraid to fight back?

You have no idea what it feels like to be so afraid.

But at no point... at no point during the hours and hours that the two of you were together did you ever attempt to make any calls, to escape, to raise your voice for help?

Object. This is argument. I was scared for my life!

Sustained. The jury will disregard the question.

You knew you had been unfaithful to your husband.

You were terrified of what he would do to you if he found out.

And you wanted to get away. He is badgering the witness!

That is not true! I was forced to leave the house. He bound me!

He gagged me and he dragged me to the car.

The police stopped the car?

Yes. But still you did not scream?

He had a knife! Right. Right. The knife.

As you testified, you were afraid that he was gonna slash your throat from the front seat of the car, was it?

I couldn't make a sound.

Because of the gag? Yes.

Mrs. Strubing, this Exhibit "I" is identical to the gag that he used?

Yes.

Let's just show the jury what he did then.

Mrs. Strubing, please, please instruct Mr. Marshall, if you would.

The gag was between your lips. Is that correct, Mrs. Strubing?

Yes. That's correct.

Is this about right?

(SIGHS) No, it was a bit tighter than that.

How 'bout this, ma'am?

Yes, that's about it.

(SCREAMING)

Now, you could have done that, Mrs. Strubing.

He would have killed me.

Who would have killed you? Your husband? Objection!

Quiet, Mr. Marshall. How dare you speak to me that way.

There was a policeman standing not three feet away from you. You did not call out for help.

Instead, Joseph drove on to the reservoir.

I'm warning you. No speaking!

You bolted from the car because you were ashamed of what you had done with another man, with a colored man! Objection!

One more word out of you and I will hold you in contempt!

You were afraid of what your husband would do to you if he found out.

Afraid that you were pregnant with a colored child.

Objection! This is argument! Sustained.

Jury will disregard. You jumped into that water.

You wanted to end it all. Jumped? I was thrown.

I was thrown. My hands were tied. He tried to kill me!

Your hands were not tied, Mrs. Strubing.

You were able to remove your coat and let it float in the water as you swam to shore.

That's not true. That's a lie. He gagged me. He tied me.

Raped me.

I am so... so sorry for your unhappiness, Mrs. Strubing.

No more questions.

Mr. Willis? I have no questions.

How can we put Spell on the stand with all this baggage?

The jury needs to hear him deny it.

And you bring out all the bad stuff yourself.

Don't leave anything for Willis.

What happens to the organization if we lose?

I don't even want to think about it.

You could blame me. (CHUCKLES)

You're one of us now, Sam.

Haven't you noticed?

In the papers they write, "Sam Friedman and Thurgood Marshall of the NAACP."

Joseph, please tell the jury where you were raised.

Louisiana.

You have a wife and two children, right? Uh-huh.

Even though you have a wife, you have another woman in White Plains, is it?

Yes. What's he doing?

Ever served in the army, Joseph? Yes, sir.

Fort Benning, Georgia, six years. Discharged.

That was a dishonorable discharge?

Yes.

Then you moved north? That's right.

Before working for the Strubings, you worked for another family in Greenwich?

Yes, sir.

They accused you of stealing and fired you.

Yes, sir.

And when you worked for the Strubings, did you run into any other difficulties?

No, sir. Did the Strubings treat you well, Joseph?

She was always real nice to me.

What about Mr. Strubing?

Was he mean to you?

He was mean to everybody.

It is what you did. Don't lie to me.

Watch where you're standing. Yes, sir.

Just a second, Joseph. I'm sorry.

That's quite all right, ma'am.

On the night of this incident, why did you go into Mrs. Strubing's room?

To ask her for money. I had to pay a man I'd been playing cards with.

What happened when you got to the room?

I knocked on the door.

Come in.

JOSEPH: I could tell she'd been sad. She was crying.

Are you okay, ma'am? What do you want, Joseph?

It can wait, Mrs. Strubing.

JOSEPH: But she told me to stay, ask my question.

I told her I needed some money. She asked what for.

There's a man I owe.

Ah.

JOSEPH: So she went to the bureau.

She said, "Is this enough for you, Joseph?" I said, "Yes, ma'am. Thank you."

But she didn't give it to me. Then she asked me...

I'm not awful like him, am I, Joseph?

No, ma'am.

Joseph.

She asked me not to leave her alone that night.

And, uh... I didn't.


SAM: Then what happened?

Well, we went down to the living room, me and her.

We had a drink together. What did the two of you talk about?

She told me he beats her.

Who beats her?

Who did that?

My husband.


Did she ever resist you, Joseph?

No, she didn't. Not at all.

What happened next?

(EXHALING SHAKILY) We were lying on the sofa.

(MOANS)

(DOG BARKING) (GASPS) Oh, God.

JOSEPH: And she heard some dogs barking. Joseph.

She was convinced somebody was gonna come to the house and find us together.

Get up. Get up!

(DOG BARKING) Nobody gonna wake up.

JOSEPH: She started panicking. I told her there's no one coming. Everything's fine.

But she was insisting on, "We gotta get out of here.

We gotta get out of here right now." So we left the house.

We go down to the car, and we drive around for a bit.

She sat in the back, so it don't look wrong.

Then the cop car come up from behind.

She get real scared.

She say... Why don't you lie down and keep quiet?

I can't be seen with a colored man.

I say, "You lie down and keep quiet then."

Don't move. Shh. Shh.

Oh. Shh, shh.

Where'd you get this car, boy?

I'm a chauffeur, sir. Belongs to John Strubing. Greenwich, Connecticut.

Identification. Yes, sir.

Drive slower, boy. Yes, sir.

Get your ass out of Port Chester.

On my way right now, sir. Thank you.

SAM: What happened next?

We get to the reservoir, and, uh, she scream at me.

Joseph, stop the car. Stop the car!

Joseph, stop the car! (TIRES SCREECH)

What's the matter?

She keeps shaking her head and saying, "What have I done?"

Everything's gonna be fine, Mrs. Strubing.

Just take a deep breath, okay? No, no, no, no.

No, you don't understand. (CRYING)

Maybe we should just go back to the house, huh?

You don't understand. You don't understand.

She keeps saying, "I'm gonna get pregnant." "No, you ain't," I said.

You're not gonna get pregnant. I can't have a colored child.

You're not gonna have no babies at all, okay?

I say, "Just let me take you home."

And she screamed at me.

Let me out of the car!

I'm gonna tell everybody you raped me!

She go to open the door, and I grabbed her.

Let me go! Just to keep her there.

That's when she scratches my arm. Mrs. Strubing.

Hey. Hey!

Whoa. Whoa, whoa, whoa.

Mrs. Strubing, what you doing up there?

I yell at her to come back, but...

Come on down right now. Let's get in the car and go home.

She just turned away.

Mrs. Strub...

Joseph, did you rape Mrs. Strubing?

No. I did not.

Thank you, Joseph.

Your witness.

Not bad.

You wouldn't lie to the jury, would you, Joseph? Not bad at all.

No, sir, I wouldn't.

But the fact is, you are a liar, aren't you?

Objection! Argumentative.

Overruled. It's cross-examination.

He's okay.

When you married your first wife, Hattie, you swore to God you'd be faithful to her, did you not?

Yes, sir. But you weren't. It was a lie.

You could say.

You told her you'd take care of your children, didn't you?

Yes, sir. But you haven't, have you?

Not so much as I should.

Then you were in the service and you swore to honor your country.

But that was a lie too. No.

Then you came north and you stole from your first employer?

When the police picked you up, you lied to them about your whereabouts the night before.

Didn't you? Yes, I did.

You gave a statement under oath that you were in a bar all night.

Yes.

So you lied to your wife, you lied to the State of Louisiana, you lied to the police, you lied to God.

Why should anyone believe you now?

I don't know why they should, except it's the truth.

The truth? If it's the truth, why not tell it from the beginning?

If you're an innocent man, why lie?

Why lie, Mr. Spell? Answer the question. Tell him, Joseph.

If you were an innocent man, why would you lie?

I tell the police I was with her, it was what she wanted?

If it's the truth.

In Louisiana, you know what they do to me for being with a white woman like that?

If they don't kill me right then and there, soon enough the others come, they drag me off, they tie me up, they cut off my manhood.

And then I'd be swingin' off the branch of some tree.

So... why'd I lie, Mr. Willis?

Because the truth gets me killed.

That's why.

I move the answer be stricken.

(SIGHS)

The answer will stand.

Mr. Willis?

Nothing further, Your Honor.

(RADIO: JAZZ BAND)

You know what?

It finally looks like a respectable law office in here.

(LAUGHING)

(KNOCKING) Come in.

There's someone here to see you, Mr. Marshall.

Walter?

What are you doing here? Can we talk?

I'll just move to Irwin's office.

(DOOR OPENS)

Come on, Walter. (DOOR CLOSES)

What is this?

Fourteen-year-old boy in Mississippi. They say he killed a cop.

He needs a lawyer.

And I have to leave tonight? Uh-huh.

He ready with the summation?

Sam? He will be.

Then there's no reason for you to stay. I'll take care of everything.

You get the picture Renie left you?

Ah, yes.

Now, what kind of plane is this?

She said it's supposed to be you.

Those are ears, not wings. Ah!

She's quite a talent.

You were right, you know.

About what? "Why would she lie?"

Mmm.

That is the question we needed to answer.

Well...

I'm thankful Renie got to see there's men like you in the world.

I don't understand how you can leave before closing arguments.

Doesn't do anyone any good having me sit around waiting on a verdict.

What if something comes up?

The case is in, Sam.

Walter will represent the NAACP.

And you'll be there for Spell.

(CHATTERING)

Sam, did you know I only have one testicle?

Um... no.

Yeah.

In my college years, I found myself running from a gang of bigots in a part of town they didn't believe I should be in.

My buddies, they're ahead of me in a truck.

I jump for the back, and I'm pulling myself up, but there's a jagged spike of metal I don't see.

It slashes right through my sack.

Yeah.

Why am I telling you this?

Well, I want you to know that even sitting in the back of that pickup, my scrotum torn, every bump sending shocks of pain down my leg, even that wasn't as excruciating as sitting there watching you argue this case these past few weeks.

(WHEEZING LAUGH)

(HITS TABLE)

But I did learn something. Huh?

I need an army of lawyers just like you, Sam.

Lawyers who don't even know they want to make a difference, who with just a little bit of training can be just as capable as me.

Well, almost as capable.

And until then what?

You just travel around the country on this crusade?

Putting out fires in Mississippi, Oklahoma, Bridgeport?

It's not really fires I'm after, Sam.

It's fire itself.

Get out your pen now.

Here's the closing argument you're gonna give.

Who is telling the truth?

A woman from a fine family with an unblemished background, or a depraved man, a repeat criminal with no morals, a man whose whole life has been composed of a series of lies?

Did this decent, church-going, intelligent woman, the graduate of a top college, engage in voluntary sexual relations with her Negro servant and then jump into the water, for what?

For pleasure, as the defense would have you believe?

Of course not.

Joseph Spell raped Eleanor Strubing.

Then he hurled her over the bridge to kill the only witness to his crime.

Acquit him, and you will set a wild panther loose in our midst to stalk more victims, to threaten the safety and security of each and every woman in the State of Connecticut.

As a jury, you have been exposed to the darkness of a sinister man's soul.

But you're also in a position of great privilege.

Because you... you have the power to do justice on behalf of all of us.

(WHISPERS) Bullshit. Thank you.

And God bless.

Mr. Friedman.

Why would a woman like Eleanor Strubing consent... no, encourage... sexual relations with a man like Joseph Spell?

Let me tell you why.

Eleanor Strubing's story is nothing less than tragic.

She is a respectable woman from a fine family.

She attended the best schools.

She went to church each and every Sunday.

As the good book says, she was "spotless as the lamb of God."

She was "spotless as the lamb of God."

She and her husband John move to Greenwich.

Oh, he travels frequently, leaving her alone in a new town, away from her friends and family, in a vast, empty house.

The pangs of loneliness hit hard.

She has some drinks.

A knock at the door.

Joseph. Joseph.

She was not expecting this.

A young man, a handsome man.

In a moment of weakness, her judgment impaired by the alcohol of the evening...

Consumed by loneliness, she invites him to share her bed to ease her pain.

As the evening goes on, she becomes panicked that they will be discovered.

She must leave the house, must escape her sin.

What if she is pregnant... And with a colored child?

What if her husband were to find out? What would he do to her?

She cannot live with the fear, the shame.

So then there they are, at the reservoir.

An opportunity to escape her life, her despair.

Joseph tries to hold her back, but she wrangles free, runs from the car.

THURGOOD: And she plummets into the water.

Only as soon as she hits the surface, her years of training take over.

See, she is a swimmer.

And she simply cannot drown.

With the zeal to end her life gone, her only escape...

She must accuse him.

And so a story is created.

A web of...

desperate lies filled with inconsistencies, absurdities, reasonable doubts.

The State must prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.

SAM: It must be a clear case.

No scream for help all night long.

Doubt.

No call on the four family phones.

Doubt.

No cry to the officer just a few feet away.

Doubt.

No rocks on a bridge.

Doubt.

Doubt, doubt, doubt.

The doubt, my friends, is overwhelming.

This is why you must find Joseph Spell not guilty.

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, you've heard the arguments of counsel.

You may now retire to the jury room to begin your deliberations.

Court is in recess.

(CROSSING BELL RINGING)

(KNOCKING)

Who is it?

THURGOOD: It's me.

Mmm!

You're supposed to be on a train.

I have a little time.

I heard you were looking for me.

Well, Friedman, it seems you have beginner's luck.

John Strubing just called me.

This whole thing has been a terrible strain on Ellie, as you can imagine.

They want it over, now.

I'm prepared to offer one final deal.

What is it? Five years.

He'll have to enter a guilty plea right away and admit he lied on the stand.

I'll speak with him. Do it now.

If the jury comes back in, the deal is off.

You'd be out after three years, with good behavior.

Possibly sooner. You think I should take it?

I don't know what the jury will do.

It's a good deal.

And if they convict me?

Most likely you'll spend the rest of your life in a prison cell.

And I got to decide right away?

What I gotta do for the deal?

Admit that you raped her and that you lied on the witness stand.

Can I talk to Mr. Marshall?

He's on a train probably somewhere in Tennessee by now.

I would never be able to reach him in time.

What do you think he would say?

(FOOTSTEPS)

Ah.

So, give me good news.

No deal.

You did advise him to accept, hmm?

I told him it was a good offer.

I told him what the alternative is.

I told him if it was me, I would take it.

And I told him that no man should ever confess to a crime he did not commit.

I thought Jews were supposed to be smart.

But you sound just like the Negro.

Why, thank you, Lorin.

That's possibly the greatest compliment you could've given me.


There's a verdict.

FOSTER: Will the foreman please rise.

I'm the forewoman, Your Honor.

Very well.

Have you reached a verdict?

We have, Your Honor.

Mr. Spell.

Rise and face the jury. (WHISPERS) It's time.

Madame Forewoman, what is your verdict?

We, the jury, find, on the charge of rape, that the defendant, Joseph Spell, is not guilty.

(SPECTATORS CHEERING, APPLAUDING)

(HITS TABLE)

(GAVEL RAPPING)

Order.

Is this your verdict, so say you all?

ALL: We do, Your Honor.

That's it, Joseph.

We did it.

Mr. Spell, the jury has found you not guilty.

You are released from custody.

Jury is dismissed. Court is adjourned.

BAILIFF: All rise. (APPLAUDING)

Congratulations, Mr. White. Thank you.

(SIGHS)

Mr. Spell.

Hi. I'm Tad Lancaster.

Mr. Marshall thought you might need a place to sleep tonight.

(LAUGHS) Oh, Mr. Marshall.

(PHONE RINGING) (SNORING)

Hello? (CLEARS THROAT) Hello.

Sam.

Sam, I can barely hear you.

Is there a verdict yet? Yeah. Yeah, it's me.

(HEAVY STATIC) Sam, are you there? Yeah.

Yes, can you hear me? Sam?

Not guilty! We did it!

What? Not guilty!

Not guilty!

Not guilty.

(STATIC) Not guilty! Sam!

Yes! Oh!

Yes. We won!

Sam, I told you. I told you.

I told you you could bring it home. I told you.

Yeah! Yes, we did it!

(LAUGHING)

(STATIC) Ah.

Thurgood, I'm having trouble hearing you.

Sam, are you there? Are you there?

Thurgood! (LINE: DIAL TONE)

(CHUCKLES)

(INHALES)

(WATER RUNNING)


Oh, Luis. Marshall!

Your wife still putting up with you? Look at me.

She dress me from head to toe.

Got me looking as sharp as you.

God bless you. We really need your help.

I promise you I'll do everything in my power to help him.

Thank you for coming, Mr. Marshall.

We really need you in Mississippi. My pleasure.

Let's get going.

Are you hungry?

You know, I very nearly ate my briefcase on that train.

WOMAN: Well, when we get to the house, I'll fix you a nice supper.

THURGOOD: That'll be nice. You can fill me in on everything that's going on down here.

WOMAN: Can you slow down a little? I got my good Sunday shoes on.

(LAUGHING)

WOMAN: ♪ You can have all the money In your hands ♪

♪ All the possessions Anyone can ever have ♪

♪ But it's all Worthless treasure ♪

♪ True worth is only measured Not by what you got ♪

♪ But what you got In your heart ♪

♪ You can have You can have everything ♪

♪ What does it What does it mean? ♪

♪ It all means nothing ♪

♪ If you don't stand up For something ♪

♪ You can't just talk the talk ♪

♪ You got to walk that walk ♪

♪ Yes, you do ♪

♪ It all means nothing ♪

♪ If you don't stand up For something ♪

♪ And I stand up for you ♪

♪ And I stand up for you ♪

♪ Yes, I will, yes, I will ♪

♪ You do the best that Do the best that you can do ♪

♪ Then you can look In the mirror ♪

♪ Proud of who's Looking back at you ♪

♪ Define the life You're living ♪

♪ Not by what you take But what you're giving ♪

♪ And if you bet on love ♪

♪ There's no way You'll ever lose ♪

♪ Take a stand, make a stand ♪

♪ For what's right ♪

♪ It's always worth Always worth the fight ♪

♪ It all means nothing ♪

♪ If you don't stand up For something ♪

♪ You can't just talk the talk ♪

♪ You got to walk that walk ♪

♪ Yes, you do ♪

♪ It all means nothing ♪

♪ If you don't stand up For something ♪

♪ And I stand up for you ♪

♪ Stand for respect, dignity ♪

♪ If that's all you got Then you got all you need ♪

♪ And without that You don't have a thing ♪

♪ Oh, no, no ♪

(MAN RAPPING) ♪ Rise up Love, lift your hands ♪

♪ I stand with you 'Cause I understand ♪

♪ Ain't here to judge Just to take a stand ♪

♪ The greater plan's The creator's plan ♪

♪ Let's all rise Like the day began ♪

♪ Reach out and touch With the savior's hand ♪

♪ On rock, we stand Like this native land ♪

♪ Let the ways of love Be the ways of man ♪ WOMAN: ♪ And it all means nothing, oh ♪

♪ If you don't stand For something ♪

♪ You can't just talk the talk ♪

♪ You got to walk that walk ♪

♪ Yes, you do ♪

♪ It all means nothing ♪

♪ If you don't stand up For something ♪

♪ And I stand up for you Oh, yeah ♪

♪ I stand up for you ♪

♪ And I stand up for you ♪

♪ Stand up for you ♪

♪ Yes, I will, yes, I will ♪

(SONG ENDS)


(THURGOOD MARSHALL'S VOICE) You know, there's so many people... indeed, my own sons, at times... look at me with an expression on the face that they don't believe what happened in the past.

There are movements by the different branches in this government that are set to push back.

Oh, now it's being done, you know, cleverly.

♪ Mm-mm-mm ♪

♪ Mm-mm-mm ♪

♪ Mm-mm-mm ♪

♪ Mm-mm-mm ♪