Back when DH was incarcerated, his nephew and I spent so much time running errands it could end up being all day. I’d gotten in the habit of eating a HUGE breakfast because no telling when we would be able to break for another meal. It might be 8 pm when we got home with no chance to eat in between. A sample breakfast was a couple of Eggo waffles with real butter and syrup, two eggs, scrambled, with cream cheese and Pace Picante Sauce, two or three “Greaselets” as my niece calls them (vegetarian link sausages), OJ and a large cup of tea with milk and honey. Depending on what time I got to bed the night before, there could be a second cup of tea. The breakfast and an equally huge supper (with maybe a sandwich in between) had packed on the lubs. I went from 107 to 135 with hardly a pause. I’d started out in a size 7 and ended up in a 14. One of the people I’d become acquainted with was shocked at my ballooning. DH never said anything either way so I don’t know that he cared. It may be he hadn’t even noticed.
On the day that there was to be the jury selection, DH suited up and I put on the only dress that fit—a maroon polyester with a gray pinstripe. Not beautiful but it covered my body. We had to take DD with us because my sister-in-law was working. DH’s nephew, DD and I sat back in the spectators section while DH took his place at the table with his lawyer. The proceedings had begun. One by one, the jurors were selected.
The judge did his judgely duties and adjourned for the day. We were told when to come back and we went on our way to the West Bank. Beside the road, I spied a sign that said, “Stuffed Artichokes”. Oh, that sounded SO GOOD! One of my favorite foods was artichokes cooked with lemon slices and served with hollandaise sauce. I was salivating. We went on and that was that.
While I’m talking about food, DD’s birthday had come up during the course of the trial. There was no time to bake a cake but there was a French pastry shop across the street from the lawyer’s office. We got the most delicious cake I’ve ever tasted from there. It was a white cake, very delicate, with buttercream frosting and decorated with fresh strawberries. New Orleans can be hot in April and the pickup truck we were riding in that day didn’t have air conditioning. The icing had started to melt when we got back to the house but that was soon remedied by putting it in the fridge. It was a cake I tried to duplicate over the years but was never able to.
When we went to court the next time, DH’s nephew was looking around and decided no one ever cleaned in there. He purposely put something on the floor that he’d be able to recognize. Sure enough, it was still right where he’d flung it when we went back. It didn’t take much to entertain us.
The proceedings were tedious and not at all like “Perry Mason” or “Matlock”. We learned all about hearsay, direct and redirect, hostile witnesses—you name it, we heard it. Day after day it went on, seemingly without end. It wasn’t a long trial but it in my mind it took forever.
It was when DH’s turn to be tried that we perked up. Our lawyer elected not to put him on the stand but to use the co-defendants as witnesses. That shattered another misconception of mine. I’d thought a witness couldn’t be in the courtroom during the proceedings but they were all right there. The prosecution had the agents to testify against DH and they’d been there all along, too.
The questioning started. The prosecution mounted the offense and called an agent. How could he implicate DH in the conspiracy? Well, he had talked to DH before the flight and found out where he’d flown before. I didn’t quite know what that had to do with anything but our lawyer didn’t object. He just sat, listened and took notes. Evidently, it wasn’t enough for the prosecuting attorney, either, so he proceeded to take a different tack. What about the flight? Wasn’t that when all the discussion regarding “deals” was going on? Yes, it was. Where was the pilot? In the cockpit. Was the cockpit where he could hear what was being said in the cabin? No. The cockpit was ahead of the bulkhead and the cabin was behind that. The plane was pretty noisy so he couldn’t have heard anything from up there. Then how could he be part of the conspiracy? Well, he left the cockpit and came back to the cabin stopping on his way to use the facilities and took part in the conversation. The prosecution declared no further questions and our lawyer declined the cross-examination. I was livid! What were we paying him for?! He wasn’t doing his job!
The other agent was put on the stand and pretty much the same procedure took place. Question, answer, question, answer. Nothing else and no cross. Yikes!
Those two were the only witnesses against DH and our lawyer called ONE of the co-defendants to the stand. He set up the scenario. The plane had taken off, it was airborne and flying along at altitude. Now what? The witness said DH was in the pilot’s seat and the others, including himself, were in the cabin. And DH got up to go use the facilities? No. Why not? Because the auto-pilot was on the blink and the plane would crash if he wasn’t at the controls. I felt like the lawyer was nine feet tall and invincible! He had given the agents all sorts of rope and proceeded to hang them with a few simple questions.
With five of them on trial, it went on longer than it would have had it been DH alone. We stayed for every minute of it. Closing arguments took place and, of course, our lawyer shone like a shining star in a sea of darkness! No, not quite, but he did stand out. I was proud and felt like we were home free. The judge cautioned the jury and the bailiff led them off to deliberate and decide the fates of the men.
We’d been warned it could take hours but probably not days for the jury to hand in the verdict. We went to a little restaurant we’d found that served a good assortment of vegetarian food including a delicious broccoli soup. The name of the place was The Apple Seed but DH called it The Apple Core. We had broccoli soup with crusty fresh baked bread and returned to the courthouse. The jury still wasn’t back.
It was stuffy in the courtroom so we made ourselves comfortable in the wide hallway outside. DH and DD were running around and playing like the kid she was and the one he was acting like when the lawyer came and informed us that the jury was on its way back in. What was the verdict? Would they believe the agents or the co-defendant?