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[personal profile] gotham_knocking
The trial was everything Knox expected. Every day over the last two weeks, Harvey Lee Dent took on Sal Maroni, and every day it seems like victory was a bit closer. True, Maroni’s lawyer was quite intelligent and able to raise a fair number of objections. But while such maneuvers might be good in an appeal built on technicalities, at the moment Maroni was in deep trouble. Dent’s witnesses, even the Mob turncoats, withstood cross-examination. The paper trail leading from the underlings to Maroni was extensive. And as far as Knox could tell, there wasn’t a single bit of evidence that was not obtained legally. Whatever role Batman played, it was inconsequential.

It was on the fifteenth day of the trial that things changed. The defense was having its turn, and not doing very well. Everyone thought that Maroni’s lawyer would just jump to closing arguments, and hope that the stupidity and gullibility of Gotham’s jurors would save the day. Instead, to the shock of everyone, Sal Maroni took the stand. He tried to look calm and collected, the image of a powerful man much as Carl Grissom had once been, but he was nervous, sweaty, his expensive suit fitting poorly. All through what was rather pointless and blatantly false testimony, Maroni seemed pathetic, a beaten man desperate to recreate the lost image of an untouchable lord of the manor. And his unceasing complaints about his heartburn made him seem ridiculous.

Then it was Dent’s turn. He stood there before Maroni, savoring the mob boss’s foolishness, ready to pepper him with all the questions he thought he could never ask. His smile was, Knox thought, the happiest he had ever seen on an elected official. And then Maroni burped.

”Sorry, Harvey. It’s my heartburn.” Maroni smiled sheepishly, and reached into his jacket. Mylanta. He opened it and was about to drink when the smile changed. “Or maybe it’s yours--”

“GET DOWN, DENT!” From the back row, the bearded man in the knit cap and the pea coat yelled out. He had been in the courtroom every day of the trial, and Knox hadn’t spared him a thought (till now). Dent began to move, but it was too late. Maroni splashed the contents of the bottle at Dent, and Dent howled as something – some kind of acid? – hit his face.

Bedlam broke loose. Maroni’s lawyer was pale as a ghost, totally unaware (it seemed) of his client’s intent. Maroni tried to leap out from the witness box, perhaps to literally kick Dent when he was down. The bailiff, who had watched as Maroni opened the bottle, who froze in panic as he attacked Dent, at last opened fire. Police stormed the room and began evacuating. The man in the pea coat vanished. The strange thing, Knox would think later, was that Dent recognized the voice, and tried to get down. Who was that man? And Harvey still howled in pain.

Knox stumbled out of the courtroom, even as paramedics followed the cops in. There was an unearthly hush among the reporters as they made their way to the bank of payphones in the lobby. Marty Yan, a broken pen in her right hand, found Knox and their eyes locked. Neither could find a word, but he guided her to the phones. “Call it in, Marty,” he whispered. “We have a job.”
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November 2011

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