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Authors: Alan M. Dershowitz

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“All right, that sounds plausible—at least to me. Now back to the sexual harassment suit. When and how did you first learn
about it?”

“Do I have to tell you, Abe? It’s embarrassing.”

“Yes, you’ve got to tell me, Joe. I’m your lawyer. I’ve got to know everything.”

“I’d really rather not get into that, if you don’t mind. I don’t think it has anything to do with the case, and it makes me
uncomfortable to talk about it.”

“Joe, you’ve got to tell me. It may turn out to be important to the case, especially if the prosecutor digs it up. I don’t
want to be blindsided.”

“If I tell you,” Joe replied, “will it be entirely confidential? Do I have your promise that you will never disclose it to
anyone?”

“Look, Joe, there are clear rules of confidentiality and clear exceptions in the Code of Professional Responsibility. I live
both by the rules and by the exceptions.”

“If I tell you what you want to know, will that be within the rule or the exception?”

“If it’s about anything in the
past
, it’s within the rule, and I can never tell anyone. If you tell me that you’re planning a
future
crime, then it’s within the exception and I can disclose it.”

“I’m not planning any future crimes, Abe. I didn’t commit any past crimes, either. Everything you want to know relates to
the past. But I still don’t know whether I should tell you. It’s not that I don’t trust you personally. But I’m a, you know,
a celebrity, and stuff gets out. Your secretary, your daughter—anyone could gossip.”

“You can trust me. And everyone on my staff. We’re all professionals. We live and die by our oath of confidentiality. As far
as my daughter or anyone else not on my staff is concerned, I don’t tell her anything confidential. That’s why she had to
leave our meeting at the Harvest. You have my word about all this. I
have to
know. I can’t defend you successfully without it. I can’t afford the risk of being sandbagged by the prosecutor.”

“Okay, if you promise me you’ll never tell anyone what I tell you, I guess I have no choice.”

“No one except my law associates and investigators, and only on a professional need-to-know basis.”

“Okay, Abe, I’m putting myself in your hands. It’s not pretty. If it ever got out, it would ruin my life. It would make me
look like a sicko.”

“What is it?” Abe asked, wondering if he might have been better off in the dark.

“Whenever I meet, or hear about, a woman I’m interested in, I check her out on my personal computer.”

“That’s your big secret?” Justin asked incredulously. “Lots of people check out their dates. I bet she scoped you out, too.”

“Well, I guess I’m old-fashioned about this sort of thing. I’ve got to be especially careful considering my position.”

“It’s totally understandable,” Abe said. “How do you do it?”

“As you can see, I’ve got a modem, and all this fancy software, even a password-cracking program. It’s probably illegal to
use it. I got it off a computer network.”

“What does it do?”

“Every secret file has a password that you need in order to get into the database. You’d be amazed how obvious most passwords
are. A large jeans company used ‘zipper’ as its password. An advertising agency I know uses ‘subliminal.’ A lot of people
use their birthdays, sports teams, children’s names. This program can figure out almost any password that appears in a standard
dictionary.”

“But what if it isn’t a Scrabble word?”

“No problem. If it’s a big company, I learn whatever I can from the open files and then call a secretary, pretending I’m in
the accounting department. You’d be amazed how gullible some people are and how easy it is to get them to give up the password.”

“How did this help you find out about Dowling’s lawsuit?”

“Piece of cake,” Joe said proudly. “First, I checked her out in the open databases—CompuLaw, Nexis—and found out that she
had filed a lawsuit, that it had been dismissed, and that the reasons for the dismissal had been sealed. So I figured that
the company she used to work for must have a closed file on the lawsuit. It took me a few hours to break their password. A
little more subtle than most, but not that difficult. It was ‘spin.’ I got into the database and there it was. No problem.”

“I can’t believe it’s so easy to break into.”

“Watch your own files, Abe. I bet you don’t even know the password to your secret files.”

“You’re right, I don’t. You can be damn sure that I’m going to change them tomorrow.”

“Randomize them, Abe, randomize them. Just a series of random numbers with no rhyme or reason. That’s impossible to break—and
change them every month. And tell your secretary not to give them to anyone.”

“Thanks for the excellent advice, Joe.”

“Just remember your promise. Nobody learns about my little secret. Right?”

“Right. Your secret is safe with me. I don’t understand why you care so much. It’s not that bad a secret—wanting to learn
more about a woman you’re about to go out with.”

“It makes me seem so damn calculating, so devious. It’s also probably illegal. By the way,” Joe added almost as an afterthought.
“I’ve got the Dowling printouts in a file. You want them?”

“Darn right I do. And anything else you’ve got.”

Campbell opened a drawer in his desk, pulled out a neatly labeled file, and handed Abe several pages. The first was a case
denying the motion to dismiss the complaint, the second a case stating that the complaint had later been dismissed by the
judge, and the third a memorandum from the secret file of the defendant’s company, setting out the reasons for the dismissal
in cryptic legalese. There was enough to show that Jennifer Dowling had lied in a sworn deposition and had destroyed her credibility.
It was a great investigative lead.

Abe took the first two printouts, then he gave the third back to Joe after reading it carefully. “I don’t want this one in
my file,” he explained. “It’s probably stolen property.”

“Why the hell didn’t you tell us about this yesterday?” Justin asked with a distinct edge to his voice.

“I told you that I was a little embarrassed to admit that I check out my dates by computer before I see them again. It’s not
very gentlemanly. Remember, we were in the Harvest. Anyone could have been listening. Also, I wasn’t sure I could trust you.
I needed to hear you promise me that everything would be kept confidential. I value my reputation as a gentleman.”

“This is not about being a gentleman,” Abe interjected. “This is about defending a false rape charge. You just can’t hold
anything back. And you did worse than that just holding this back. You actively led us to believe that you were hearing about
the harassment charge for the first time last night.”

“You’re right. I’m really sorry. It won’t happen again.”

“It
can’t
happen again. This kind of thing can really come back to bite us in the ass at a trial. Do we have an understanding?”

“We certainly do. I never make the same mistake twice, just ask Coach Riley. You can count on it.”

Chapter Seven

When Abe got back to Cambridge that night, Emma, Jon, and Rendi were watching the evening news. Jon was working on a class
project with Emma. Rendi—who was making dinner—had invited Jon to join them for a Sabbath meal.

Abe liked Jon. He was a child of academia. His mother was a law professor at Harvard, and his father was an aeronautical engineer
at the Lincoln Lab, connected with MIT. Jon was born in New York, hence his loyalty to the Knicks. His family had moved to
Cambridge after he finished the first year of high school.

Jon was polite and considerate to Emma, and he always called Abe “Mr. Ringel.”

“Hi, Mr. Ringel. Great case. I’m sure you’ll win. Even Emma got converted last night, and if you can win over Emma, you can
persuade anyone.”

“Dad didn’t win me over,” she corrected him. “His antediluvian arguments couldn’t convince anyone who knows anything about
rape. Joe Campbell won me over. He was really nice. Put him on the stand, Dad, he’ll win his own case.”

“What a show of confidence in your own father, my dear. The client will win without any help from his lawyer. Don’t let Campbell
hear that—especially before he pays my very considerable bill.”

“Oh, you know what I mean, Daddy. I’ve heard you say it a million times. An innocent client is more important than a good
lawyer. You’re a great lawyer, Dad, but in this case you have a rare innocent client. It should be a piece of cake.”

“It’s never a piece of cake,” Rendi said. “Something always makes the cake crumble.”

The Ringel family and guests always seemed to gravitate to the kitchen, and tonight was no exception. And because they were
hooked on news, a miniature TV was permanently placed on the counter. Suddenly Campbell’s picture flashed across the small
screen. The voice was the familiar one of Cheryl Puccio, the sex prosecutor from Middlesex County. She was being interviewed
by Bob Maverick, the sports reporter. Puccio was holding forth:

“Rape by athletes is becoming an epidemic. It’s got to be stopped. We’re going to make an example of Joe Campbell. He was
invited to Boston to play basketball, not to attack women. Now he’s being invited back to Boston to stand trial, and I predict
that he’ll be spending a lot more time in Massachusetts, living at the taxpayers’ expense in a prison.”

Maverick asked Puccio whether she had a strong case, then reminded her that several other allegations against athletes had
been dropped.

“This one is much stronger than the Coleman and Webber cases,” she replied. “We’ve got a good witness. She’s a successful
businesswoman, not some fly-by-night groupie, and we have physical corroboration, which I can’t go into at this time. Nor
am I at liberty to disclose the victim’s name, since she does not want it in the press. You can certainly understand why.
I am confident that there will be a conviction and a long prison sentence.”

The sex prosecutor spoke some more, referring to other athlete sex scandals.

Abe was furious. The media and the other lawyers were always complaining when he “tried his cases in the press.” Didn’t they
understand? He had no choice. He had to defend against this kind of preemptive strike in the “court’’ of public opinion. Unchallenged,
an interview of this type could really hurt Campbell. The public often didn’t adequately analyze the news—they tended to believe
whichever talking head was talking at the time.

“You’ve got to respond to her,” Rendi insisted. “You can’t let that kind of stuff remain unrebutted.”

“Please don’t put the victim on trial, Daddy.”


She’s
not the victim,” Abe countered. “She’s the accuser, and I think she’s a false accuser.”

“It sure doesn’t sound that way, when her name is kept secret and Campbell’s name is all over the news,” Rendi said.

“You know, that really always bugs me,” Abe said, “the way they keep the names of rape accusers secret.”

“Rape
victims
, Daddy,
victims
.”

“We don’t know that until after the trial, Emma. As of now, Jennifer Dowling is an accuser, not a victim.”

“Daddy, if her name were to be published, she would become a victim.”

“Why? The names of all other accusers are made public.”

“Rape is different. It’s so personal, so private.”

“Not when she publicly accuses someone.”

“And anyway, Daddy, not all accusers’ names are made public. Remember when Rudy Warren, Janie’s younger brother, got mugged
in Harvard Square last year? They didn’t release
his
name.”

“That’s because he was a juvenile. Do you think adult women should be treated like juveniles?”

“When they’ve been raped? Maybe. Yes.”

“Not very egalitarian, Emma.”

“But practical, Daddy. If they start publishing the names of rape victims—”

“Accusers, Emma, accusers.”

“Okay, accusers—a lot of rape victims won’t become accusers. Already many rape victims don’t report the rape. If they knew
that their names would be all over the papers, even fewer would.”

“That’s the price we may have to pay for the presumption of innocence.”

“You know, Abe,” Rendi joined in, “it would certainly make my job as an investigator easier if Jennifer Dowling’s name were
out there. People who know her might call with leads.”

“That’s it!” Abe said assertively. “That convinces me. I’m going to disclose her name at the press conference.”

“No, Daddy, don’t do that. Everybody will get on your case.”

“I can’t help that. Rendi has convinced me that I owe it to Campbell. We can’t afford to blow any opportunity to get information
on Dowling.”

“You mean dirt, Daddy, don’t you?”

“If there’s dirt out there, and its relevant, yes, I mean dirt. As a defense attorney, that’s my job. I’m in the dirt business.”

“Daddy, you hate when the press digs up dirt on people. You’re being inconsistent.”

“No, I’m not,” Abe said with a hint of defensiveness. “I’m not a journalist. I’m a lawyer representing a client. I have no
choice but to do everything I can to help my client.”

“Everything?” Emma asked skeptically.

“As long as it’s legal and ethical. Remember the puppet case? You even helped me make Pepe’ out of papier-mâché.”

“What puppet case?” Jon asked. “Emma never told me about a puppet case.”

Abe and Emma both smiled as Abe recounted one of his favorite cases, which had become part of his repertoire of war stories.
There was a bizarre judge named Crosby in southern Texas who sat on the bench with a hand puppet. Whenever he had a tough
decision to make, he would take out his puppet and ask him how he should rule. Abe had been briefed by a Texas lawyer about
this character and his puppet, named “Pedro,” and asked how a buffoon like that could be reelected. The Texas lawyer replied,
“Well, I guess the folks around here like the way Pedro rules.”

The case involved a well-known entertainer in a drug bust, and Abe’s only chance was to get the search declared unconstitutional.
At the conclusion of the hearing, Judge Crosby pulled out his puppet and asked him, “How should I rule?” Before Pedro could
answer, however, Abe stood up and asked whether “local counsel” could briefly address Pedro. The judge happily agreed, and
Abe pulled out his own hand puppet, named “Pepe,” who made an eloquent argument to Pedro.

BOOK: The Advocate's Devil
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