Authors: Scott Turow
Tags: #Psychological, #Legal, #Fiction
Arthur objected immediately that the question called for hearsay. Muriel and he fenced for a moment, making arguments for the record, but in a deposition under the federal procedure, a judge would only rule later. For the time being, Mrs. Carriere was required to answer, and Marta reinforced that with a slight nod toward her client. As the years had slid by, Marta had grown somewhat stout, but she also had cleaned up her act. She'd assumed a coiffed look, and wore a wedding ring, too, Arthur noticed. The parade went on. Everybody but him.
"Yes," said Genevieve.
"Did she ever discuss the nature of her relationship with Erno Erdai?"
Genevieve said she did not understand the question.
"Did she ever express negative sentiments about Mr. Erdai?"
"And were there occasions when she made these expressions and appeared to be in a highly excited or emotional state?"
"I suppose you could say that."
The rule excluding hearsay had an exception allowing so-called excited utterances to be admitted, on the theory that when people were overwrought, they were unlikely to speak calculated untruths. The exception, like many rules of evidence, had been around for centuries and took 110 account of contemporary learning about the soundness of what people said or observed under stress, but with that foundation, Arthur knew Genevieve Carriere s testimony, whatever it was, would be received in court.
"Mrs. Carriere," said Muriel, "I would like you to think back to the occasion when Ms. Remardi was most excited and spoke to you about Erno Erdai. Can you remember that time?"
"I remember a time. I don't know if it was when she was most upset, but she was upset."
"All right. When did this conversation occur?"
"About six weeks before Luisa was killed."
"Where were you?"
"Probably at the ticket counter at DuSable Field. We shared a drawer. Our shifts overlapped. Things were usually very quiet then and we'd count out the drawer and spend a lot of time gabbing."
"And do you know of your own independent knowledge what had taken place to upset Ms. Remardi?"
"If you mean did I see what had happened, the answer is no."
"Did Luisa describe the event?"
Arthur asked for a continuing hearsay objection. He could tell that Muriel realized he was just attempting to break her flow, because she did not even look in his direction as she called on Mrs. Carriere to answer.
"Luisa said she'd been searched for drugs. A pat-down search."
"Did she explain what was upsetting about the search?"
"She didn't need to explain. It's obviously upsetting to come to work and get frisked. But she was especially angry with the way they went about it. She put it in pretty crude terms."
"What exactly did she say?"
Genevieve darted a resentful look at Muriel and permitted herself a sigh.
"She said they searched her through her clothing, but it was pretty thorough-she made some remark to the effect that she'd had sex with men who hadn't touched her in all those places."
The court reporter, whose job description required him to remain as uncommunicative as statuary, broke code and laughed out loud. Around the table, the lawyers smiled, but Mrs. Carriere did not relax her tense expression.
"And when after this search did she speak to you about it?"
"Within an hour. They'd done it right before I came on."
"And what did she say about Erno Erdai?"
"I try not to use those words. It was also very colorful. What they call in the paper 'barnyard epithets.' "
"Would it be fair to say that she expressed hatred for Mr. Erdai?"
"Very fair. She said he knew she had nothing to do with drugs and that he'd lied to get her searched."
Muriel appeared caught off guard. Up until now, there seemed to have been a reasonably good understanding between witness and questioner. Arthur took Marta at her word when she said she hadn't permitted Muriel to interview Mrs. Carriere again, but Marta and Muriel had obviously engaged in a certain amount of back-and-forth, aimed, from Marta's perspective, at getting her client out of here as quickly as possible.
Arthur saw Larry lean over and whisper to Muriel. He was wearing an open-necked polo shirt and a khaki poplin sport coat that had wrinkled up like a used paper bag in the summer heat. The casual attire seemed characteristic of Larry and many other detectives, always eager to remain aloof from the formalities of legal proceedings. In spite of the court reporter, Larry had a small spiral-topped pad, in which he was scratching his own notes now and then.
"Did she say how she knew it was Erno Erdai who had lied to get her searched?" Muriel asked.
"She assumed that?"
Arthur objected to Mrs. Carriere testifying about Luisa s assumptions and Muriel retreated, withdrawing the question. Larry again held his hand to her ear, beneath the billowy black curls.
"Did she explain what she thought Mr. Erdai was trying to accomplish by having her searched?"
"No. She just said it."
Muriels obsidian eyes remained stuck on the witness. Tiny as Muriel was, the force of concentration sometimes made her look like a puppet on a string.
"When she made these negative remarks about Mr. Erdai, was that the first time you'd heard her speak about him?"
"And in anv of those earlier conversations, had she talked abou
Erno Erdai in any capacity other than his role as a fellow employee and head of security at DuSable Field?"
Genevieve once more took her time before saying no.
"And had she previously made remarks that indicated she disliked him?" Muriel asked.
"I don't remember her saying before the search that she actually disliked him."
Usually sternly poker-faced as an advocate, Muriel betrayed some disappointment.
"Did she indicate any positive feelings about him?"
"I don't recall anything close to that. No," said Genevieve.
"Is it fair to say that the overall tone of her commentary about Mr. Erdai prior to this occasion was negative?"
Arthur objected on form to the question. Instructed to answer by Muriel, Mrs. Carriere said, "That's probably fair."
Muriel looked down to her yellow pad, apparently ready for a new subject.
"Mrs. Carriere, you repeated a remark Ms. Remardi made to you referring to her love life."
Genevieve pouted, displaying a dimple on her chin. She clearly regretted the unforgiving nature of this process.
"Did Ms. Remardi often discuss her intimate life with you?"
"Did she tend to keep you posted on what was going on with men?"
Once more, Arthur said, "Hearsay." Muriel again said she expected to overcome the objection and asked the court reporter to read back the question.
"I probably listened to more than I should have," said Mrs. Carriere, showing the very first wisp of a smile. "I got married when I was nineteen."
"Did you ever see Ms. Remardi in the company of men?"
"Now, based on your close friendship with Luisa Remardi, your many conversations with her, and your observations, do you have an opinion about whether or not Luisa Remardi had an intimate relationship with Erno Erdai?"
For the record, Arthur objected at length that this was not a proper subject for opinion testimony. When he was done, Muriel again requested an answer to her question.
Mrs. Carriere said, "I don't believe they had an intimate relationship. I knew Erno. It would have been unlike Luisa not to tell me if she was seeing somebody I knew."
Muriel nodded once, her thin mouth fixed by the effort to evince no sign of triumph. With that, she tendered the witness to Arthur.
He took a moment, wondering how much weight Harlow or the appeals court judges might put on Mrs. Carriere's testimony. Probably a good deal. Judges trusted people like Genevieve, one of those industrious, decent sorts who kept the world spinning straight. Overall, he agreed with Marta's assessment of his situation: he had been wounded but not fatally. Mrs. Carriere s opinions were not enough to counterweigh Judge Harlow's finding that Erno was credible. Arthur reminded himself to proceed delicately with the damage control.
He began by eliciting the obvious, asking her to acknowledge, as she readily did, that she had no means to know if Luisa told her everything about her personal life or kept some secrets. Mrs. Carriere remained prim, but appeared slightly more receptive to Arthur, probably because he was not the antagonist who'd forced her to come here. To his latest question, she responded, "I'm sure there were things she didn't tell me, because I sometimes disapproved."
The answer provided a cushion for Arthur to take a few chances in hopes of rehabilitating other aspects of Erno's account.
"And bearing in mind that there may have been things about Ms. Remardi's personal life you didn't know, were there times she indicated she was seeing more than one man?"
Genevieve pursed her mouth and looked downward in thought.
"I need to explain to give a fair answer," she said, and Arthur motioned her to go on. "After her divorce, Luisa didn't really have much use for men. At least not for relationships. Sometimes she wanted company. Sometimes she wanted something else. And when she was in the mood, frankly, she wasn't especially choosy. Or even discreet. And there could have been months in between. Or a day. She could see somebody once. Or several times. I don't know the right word. Pragmatic? I think I'd say that when it came to men, she could be pretty pragmatic. So yeah, now and then, I heard about more than one guy."
Arthur had merely been hoping to nudge Genevieve toward acknowledging that it was possible that Luisa pursued multiple interests. This was a small triumph. He considered whether to ask if she had ever heard about Ms. Remardi conducting encounters in the airport parking lot, but Mrs. Carriere's responses about Luisa's practical approach to amour gave him enough latitude to argue the point.
Instead, he turned last to Mrs. Carriere's opinion that Luisa and Erno had never been romantically involved, which was already somewhat undermined by Genevieve's concession that Luisa might have kept things to herself.
"You do know," he asked, "from what Ms. Remardi said, that there was bad blood between Erno Erdai and her?"
"Let me rephrase. You knew that as of six weeks before her death, she was very angry with him?"
"And that she thought he'd used a pretext to have something very offensive and physically invasive done to her?"
"Which she related, by her remarks, to intimate acts?"
Genevieve actually smiled at Arthur, enjoying the lawyers' sleighl of hand, before she said yes.
"And the fact, as you testified before, is that she never really told you what she thought had led Mr. Erdai to initiate that search?"
He could see instantly that he'd gone one step too far. Genevieve's eyes briefly fastened to his, as if in warning, and she rolled her lips back into her mouth.
"As I said, she didn't explain what she thought Erno was trying to accomplish."
Anxious over whatever he'd missed, Arthur chose to smile benignly, as if her reply was just what he'd hoped for. "Nothing further," he added. He didn't dare look at Muriel and wrote several lines on his pad. Were it he across the table, the nuances of Genevieve's response might well have escaped him. But this was Muriel, possessed of something extrasensory, a kind of unreasoning sonar. He was not at all surprised when she asked the court reporter to read back Arthur's last question.
"Did she did tell you why Erno Erdai initiated the search?" said Muriel then.
"She didn't explain what she thought he was trying to achieve, no."
"Not my question. I'm not asking what end she thought he had in mind. Did she say anything to explain what led Mr. Erdai to do it?"
Genevieve waited, then said yes. Muriel turned to Larry. Arthur saw Larry flip up his palm: what the hell.
"And why was that?" asked Muriel.
Again Mrs. Carriere looked to her lap and sighed heavily.
"Because of something I had said to Erno the week before."
"You had said? Let's wind this back-"
Genevieve lifted her hand. On her wrist, a charm bracelet jingled and among the miniature figures swinging back and forth were four golden silhouettes, surely representing her kids.
"After Luisa was searched, she was angry at Erno. But she was also angry at me. Because I'd told Erno something and she thought that was why he'd had her frisked. That's the reason she told me about it in the first place. She was basically reading me out for opening my mouth."
"And what had you told Mr. Erdai?"
Genevieve again took her time.
"I was working the overnight, which I usually alternated with Luisa, but for some reason she worked the early morning shift that day. Anyway, a man had come in looking for Luisa." "A man? Did he give you his name?" "No. He didn't give his name." "Can you describe him?" "In what sense?"