Timeline 191 - Act II, Fall from Grace – The Flora Hamburger Story

Discussion in 'Alternate History Books and Media' started by Cire, Jul 10, 2019.

  1. Cire Mr. Wrinkled Shirt

    Jun 25, 2015
    Cebu, Philippines
    (Color film footage from the 1963 American Artists film titled: “Fall from Grace – The Flora Hamburger Story”.

    Flora Hamburger is played by Suzette Cabot.
    Retired Police Sergeant Patrick O’Donnell is played by James Cagney
    State Prosecutor Adam Devito is played by Ernest Borgnine
    District Judge Thomas Merrill is played by Raymond Walston
    Public Defender Charles Augustine is played by Fred Gwynne
    Bailiff Edward Young is played by Chuck Connors.
    Unnamed courtroom clerk is played by Marlo Thomas

    The Setting: It is 8 am, Tuesday, June 15, 1948 in Room 21-A located on the twenty-first floor of the Charles C. McLaughlin United States Courthouse in Lower Manhattan. The courtroom clerk looks up from her desk and gives the bailiff the thumbs up go signal. The bailiff, an even larger and more imposing looking man than the bailiff who served in the courtroom the previous week, walks to his position near the judge’s bench and announces…

    Bailiff Edward Young: All rise, the Federal Court of the Southern District of New York is now in session. Everyone will remain standing until the Honorable Judge Thomas Merrill enters and is seated!

    (District Judge Thomas Merrill hurriedly emerges from his chambers with his black robes flapping behind him and climbs the stairs leading up to his bench. Everyone in the courtroom sits down slightly after Judge Merrill has taken his own seat.

    Bailiff Edward Young: Your Honor, today’s case is a continuation of the People of the United States vs. Flora Hamburger Blackford.

    Judge Thomas Merrill: Thank you, Edward, is everyone here this morning? (As Merrill puts on his reading glasses and studies a note that has been left for him on his bench.)

    Bailiff Edward Young: Yes, they are, your Honor.

    Judge Thomas Merrill: Very Good. (brief pause) Is the counsel for the prosecution ready to continue?

    Prosecution Attorney Adam Devito: Yes, Your Honor, we are ready to continue (smartly).

    Judge Thomas Merrill: As the Defendant had the opportunity to obtain new representation? (While looking doubtfully at Flora Hamburger sitting alone at the defense table.)

    (Flora Hamburger arises from her chair.)

    Flora Hamburger: Your Honor, I have decided to represent myself, therefore I no longer require legal counsel. (Somewhat smugly.)

    Judge Thomas Merrill: My dear Madam, that maybe your right, but do you fully understand the criminal charges against you, and that if you are found guilty, that you could be facing the electric chair? (In a somewhat fatherly tone.) This is a very serious case; do you have any legal experience in your background?

    Flora Hamburger: No, your Honor, I have no real legal experience but I hardly think that will make any difference at this point.

    Judge Thomas Merrill: Alright (sighs) according to this note I’ve been given, the New York City’s Public Defender’s Office as agreed to assign someone to serve as your defense attorney. (Has Merrill puts his glasses back on and studies the note in his hand some more.)

    Flora Hamburger: And if I refuse?

    Judge Thomas Merrill: Well, no one can force you to accept free legal representation, but I am going to order you to sit down with mister (pause while searching note) Mr. Augustine for thirty minutes in my chambers, so that he can go over the details of your case with you. However, if after that you do not wish to use Mr. Augustine’s services, then that will be entirely up to you.

    Flora Hamburger: With all do respect your Honor, I would like to decline meeting with Mr. Augustine, and I would prefer to cross-examine the prosecution’s witness, retired Police Sergeant Patrick O’Donnell, instead.

    Judge Thomas Merrill: Listen! (showing signs of losing patience) This is my courtroom, I’m the only who gives orders around here, and right now I’m ordering you to meet with Mr. Augustine for thirty minutes, and if you refuse to meet with Mr. Augustine, I will find you in contempt of court, and then you will be spending the next three weeks sitting in a cell down in the basement of this building! Now what is it going to be? (With increasing volume and intensity.)

    Flora Hamburger: Your Honor, I’d like to meet with Mr. Augustine in order to discuss my case with him. (obedient with barely detectable belligerence.)

    Judge Thomas Merrill: Good! Now see how easy that was? Have a seat while we get this straightened out. (Merrill cranes his neck to look down at Eddie the bailiff standing in front of his bench.) Eddie, according to this note, Mr. Augustine should be waiting in the elevator lobby down the hallway in case we need him. Will you please go down there and retrieve him now?

    (In less than ninety seconds Eddie the bailiff leads Mr. Augustine into the courtroom. Mr. Augustine is a Caucasian male, sandy colored hair, green eyes, approximately forty-five years old, six-foot-six in height, with a firm build. Augustine is wearing an expensive looking tailored suit of the latest postwar fashion, but his custom-made suit appears slightly rumbled as if he may have spent the night in it.)

    (As the bailiff leads Mr. Augustine toward the bench many in the courtroom take note of the fact that Mr. Augustine is actually an inch or two taller than the intimidatingly oversized bailiff leading him, and that he is perhaps a bit wider in the shoulder as well. The bailiff suddenly instructs Mr. Augustine to stop in the center aisle next to the defense table. Mr. Augustine nods his head slightly in the direction of the judge’s bench and announces…)

    Public Defender Charles Augustine: Good morning, your Honor! (Friendly chipper)

    Judge Thomas Merrill: Good morning (somewhat curtly while reading something) Mr. Augustine, have you had a chance to go over the written transcript of everything that has occurred in this trial thus far?

    Public Defender Charles Augustine: I have your Honor. (As Augustine holds his brief case near his chest while fingering its latch.)

    Judge Thomas Merrill: And have you familiarized yourself with all of the evidence that has been presented thus far including the witness testimony?

    Public Defender Charles Augustine: Uh, I have indeed your Honor. Also, I just wanted to say that it is my understanding that this trial is now only in its third day, and thus far not a great deal of evidence has been submitted up until now? (Somewhat concerned tone.)

    Judge Thomas Merrill: That is correct, Mr. Augustine, unfortunately this trial has been moving at a snail’s pace, and not a lot of ground has been covered. What is more, the Defendant, Flora Hamburger Blackford is extremely reluctant to obtain new legal representation following the departure of her previous attorney (Merrill shuffles paper on bench) and she has expressed a strong interest to representing herself. Irregardless however, I’m ordering the Defendant to sit down with you so that you can give her a complete rundown on where her case now stands. Do you agree with this arrangement, Mr. Augustine?

    Public Defender Charles Augustine: I do agree, your Honor, and I’d be happy to represent the Defendant is she should happen to change her mind during our meeting.

    Judge Thomas Merrill: You will have the use of my court chambers for the next thirty minutes to confer with the Defendant, but before I declare a recess, I’d first like to ask you a few brief questions, if you don’t mind?

    Public Defender Charles Augustine: I’d be happy to answer any questions that the court may have. (Perhaps with the slightest tinge of tenseness, as Augustine begins shifting his weight from foot to foot.)

    Judge Thomas Merrill: According to this information I have here, you graduated with honors from Harvard Law back in 1922. What in the world is someone with a degree from Harvard Law doing working in the Public Defender’s Office? Did you just join the Public Defender’s Office last Friday in order to squeeze yourself into this trial? (Sternly.)

    Public Defender Charles Augustine: Your Honor, I’ve been working with the Public Defender’s Office since 1934, and currently I’m splitting my time between the law firm of Brown, Epstein, and Augustine and the Public Defender’s Office.

    Judge Thomas Merrill: And I’d take it that you’re a senior partner with Brown, Epstein, and Augustine?

    Public Defender Charles Augustine: That is correct, your Honor. (Continuing to shift weight from foot to foot.)

    Judge Thomas Merrill: And what is your area of legal expertise at Brown, Epstein, and Augustine?

    Public Defender Charles Augustine: We are a very small firm, so I must specialize in several areas including criminal law, immigration, trust & estates, banking law, and also maritime law.

    Judge Thomas Merrill: Maritime law? Why you’re a jack of all trades, aren’t you Mr. Augustine? (Somewhat sarcastically)

    Public Defender Charles Augustine: Many of our clients are individuals and small businesses who have disputes with the Brooklyn Navy Yard, so therefore there is actually a larger demand for maritime law in our office than you might imagine.

    Judge Thomas Merrill: Do you tend to represent a lot of clients over First Amendment issues including Freedom of Speech, Freedom of the Press, and that sort of thing?

    Public Defender Charles Augustine: No, your Honor, and we do not consider ourselves to be an activist firm. The majority of our cases are generally centered around breach of contract, negligence, professional malpractice, property rights, deportations, and criminal defense – and we generally refer political cases to other firms.

    Judge Thomas Merrill: I see (pause) I’m not familiar with Brown, Epstein, and Augustine, where are they located?

    Public Defender Charles Augustine: We are located at Atlantic and Fourth Avenues just across the East River over in Brooklyn.

    Judge Thomas Merrill: How many cases did you handle for the Public Defender’s Office last year, Mr. Augustine?

    Public Defender Charles Augustine: (Augustine makes a funny little facial expression by pursing his lips to the side as he drums his finger tips on his brief case.) Your Honor, I’d say that I handled approximately thirty-five cases last year, with approximately half of them being dismissed during the pre-trial phase.

    Judge Thomas Merrill: You are aware that there are people within the Public Defender’s Office who handle hundreds of cases a year, yet you managed to handle only thirty-five cases, is that what you’re telling me?

    Public Defender Charles Augustine: That is correct, your Honor.

    Judge Thomas Merrill: Mr. Augustine, do you have any affiliation with the Socialist Party of the United States of America, and or with the Daily Worker newspaper?

    Public Defender Charles Augustine: No, your, Honor, I do not.

    Judge Thomas Merrill: Do you have any affiliation with the staff or faculty at either Dickinson College or Columbia University?

    Public Defender Charles Augustine: No, your Honor, I do not have any affiliations with either of those two institutions, and if it pleases the court, I’m a registered Republican, and I neither believe in or support the socialist cause. (Almost as an afterthought) I’m a firm believer in liberty and justice, the US Constitution, and the rule of law. (With confidence.)

    Judge Thomas Merrill: Mr. Augustine, can you please tell the court what motivated you to go to work for the Public Defender’s Office back in 1934?

    Public Defender Charles Augustine: Your Honor, as a law student I learned that the thing which sets the US above all other nations of the world is our unique system of justice, under which even the poorest members of society could expect to receive equality and justice in the eyes of the law, which just so happens to be a situation nearly unheard of anywhere else on the face of this earth. (Augustine spreads his hands wide as he describes the face of the earth.) However, during the economic downtown of the 1930s, justice in our great country seemed to falter a bit, due to the fact that poorer criminal suspects could not obtain quality legal representation. Therefore, I decided to do my part by volunteering some of my time free of charge to the Public Defender’s Office.

    Judge Thomas Merrill: I see, well now, we have a bleeding-heart liberal here in our courtroom! (Judge Merrill lets out a long sigh as he drums the bench in front of him with both hands.) Alright, Mr. Augustine, I want you to go into my chambers with the Defendant for the next half…lets make it a full hour, in order to explain her options to her. I’m ordering the courtroom to be emptied out, and the court will respect any attorney client privilege that may come to exist between you and the Defendant. Do you have any questions?

    Public Defender Charles Augustine: No, your Honor, everything is crystal clear to me.

    Judge Thomas Merrill: Eddie, please escort Mr. Augustine and the Defendant to my chambers and secure the door once they are inside. Mr. Augustine please press the red button in the center of the table if you need anything, it will connect you with the bailiff’s desk just outside the entrance to the courtroom. I’m declaring a one-hour recess. Court will resume at 9:20 am.

    (Judge Merrill bangs his gavel has he is already standing up and about to take his first step off of the bench. The crowded courtroom immediately begins to empty out into the hallway beyond the main doors as people begin to look for a place to grab a quick cigarette or maybe a cup of coffee.)

    (The bailiff leads Mr. Augustine and Flora Hamburger though a doorway located near the base of the judges massive bench - Inside the room beyond the door is an ornate conference table which appears to be at least a century old, several large wooden filing cabinets lining one wall, and also an expensive looking round eyed television set in one corner.)

    Bailiff Edward Young: There is a washroom through that far door, and as the judge said, you can reach me by pressing that red intercom button if you need anything. One other thing, if it looks like you’re going to go beyond one hour, please try and let me know ten or fifteen minutes ahead of time, so that I may notify Judge Merrill. Will you be needing anything else before you get started?

    (Augustine places his brief case atop the conference table and sits in a swivel chair located near the end of the table. Hamburger sits directly across from him facing a bank of windows that is located beyond Augustine’s shoulder. As Hamburger is slipping into her chair, she notices a faint scar running down the entire left side of Edward the Bailiff’s face. The scar starts somewhere up in Edward’s hairline, and continues on down below his shirt collar, bisecting his left eye in its path. The wide shallow scar, the open mouth grin, and the glass eye give Edward the Bailiff a sinister inhuman look, and Hamburger shivers slightly at her first closes up glimpse of him.)

    Public Defender Charles Augustine: No, Sir, I think that we have everything we need, and that we’ll be fine. Thanks. (Warmly as if talking to a child.)

    (Edward the Bailiff gently closes the door as he leaves the room.)

    Flora Hamburger: Who sent you?

    (Augustine holds up his hand to silence her. Hamburger holds her tongue for the moment. A second later the sound of a key being inserted into a lock and tumblers being turned can be heard. Augustine continues to hold up his hand as he listens to the sound of Edward’s receding foot falls on the marble floor beyond the door. A few seconds later the sound of another door being closed and locked can be heard.)

    Public Defender Charles Augustine: First question, have you been tortured or mistreated in anyway?

    Flora Hamburger: I’m fine, but they are leaving the light on in my cell all night long, I’m not sleeping well, and they keep sending a guard into my cell every fifteen minutes to check on me because they say I’m suicidal, but I’m not suicidal, but they keep telling me that I am!

    Public Defender Charles Augustine: Hmm…that’s not a good sign. (As he scribbles something on a notepad he has produced from his briefcase.) I’ll see what I can do about the light being left on, but I cannot make any promises. But in the meanwhile (pause while writing) you have no untreated injuries or illnesses that need to be attended to? (continue scribbling)

    Flora Hamburger: My ankle got badly sprained when the NBI agents manhandled me during my arrest back in March, but it has healed since then. (Somewhat absently – and then as if she suddenly remembered something important…) What happened to Pete Shapiro? No one will tell me anything about him, is he going to be okay?

    Public Defender Charles Augustine: (Stops writing in his notebook and then looks squarely at Hamburger as he is answers.) Mr. Shapiro has been transferred to a county hospital up in the Bronx, he’s slipped into a coma and his prognosis isn’t very good at the moment.

    Flora Hamburger: Oh, my goodness, he was just twenty-seven years old, and now he may have thrown is entire life away just because of me! (Genuinely crest fallen.)

    Public Defender Charles Augustine: Well….Mr. Shapiro chose a very foolish defense strategy, and instead of trying to attack every motion made by the prosecution, he should have instead focused upon challenging the validity of the evidence being submitted against you.

    Flora Hamburger: What do you mean?

    Public Defender Charles Augustine: Just as an example….(Augustine fingers through the papers in his brief case, pulls out a single sheet, and then slides it across the table towards Hamburger.) Take a look at this document, who signed it?

    (The document is from the First National Bank of New York outlining a telegraphic transfer of funds from New York to a bank account in Zurich, Switzerland. The document is signed by someone named, Deborah Click.

    Flora Hamburger: This document is signed by Deborah Click, she’s the Treasurer of the National Committee of the US Socialist Party. (Unsure where this is going.)

    Public Defender Charles Augustine: See what I mean? (Hamburger somewhat sleep deprived stares back uncomprehendingly.) None of these documents have your name on them anywhere, and Shapiro should have made the prosecution prove that you were aware of the money Click was sending to Lavrentiy Beria, and that you approved of it. However, he didn’t do anything like that. Very sloppy, and very unprofessional.

    Flora Hamburger: I couldn’t pin all of this on Deborah, it would be unfair for her to go to prison while I’m out walking free. I’ll take the fall for all of this, (As Hamburger circles her fingertips above the open suitcase as if casting a spell.) Deborah is still young, she still has her entire life ahead of her, she can’t go to prison over this!

    Public Defender Charles Augustine: On don’t you worry (shuffling papers and putting things away) Miss Click will be going to prison regardless of whatever you do here, but if she’s smart, she’ll probably accept a plea-deal, turn state’s evidence against you and James Curley, and then she’ll be out of prison in less than two shakes of a lamb’s tail.

    (Flora Hamburger looks absolutely devastated at the prospect of Click testifying against her.)

    Public Defender Charles Augustine: I’m sorry, it is just the way that these things work.

    Flora Hamburger: Mr. Augustine, I think that you really need to tell me who sent you here, and if you cannot do that, then you’d better just press that red button and have the bailiff take me back to my cell.

    (Without answering Augustine gets out of his chair and walks over to the huge console television occupying an entire corner of the room.)

    Public Defender Charles Augustine: I have one of these devices at home. Simply amazing, who would have thought that someday people would have machines in their homes capable of showing them moving pictures with sound. Truly amazing.

    (Augustine flips on the television. A tiny white dot appears in the middle of the round picture screen, but within a matter of a few seconds the dot expands to fill the entire screen. At first the screen only displays a random pattern similar to fallen snow as the speakers fills the room with an ear-splitting static. Augustine rotates the tuner knob accouple of times until he comes across a television channel that is broadcasting a live horse race. The greyscale image on the screen is surprisingly crisp and sharp, while the announcers voice emanating from the large speakers hidden deep in the hardwood cabinet seem to be coming from everywhere at once. Augustine turns the volume down slightly, and then returns to his seat across from Hamburger.)

    (In spite of the predicament she finds herself in, Flora Hamburger is momentarily captivated by this new wonder.)

    Public Defender Charles Augustine: The less you know about this, the better it is for everyone involved.

    Flora Hamburger: Please tell me as much as you can, I’m good at keeping secrets. (Tilting her head forward as if trying to imagine what might be coming next.)

    Public Defender Charles Augustine: My father-in-law just so happens to be retired Supreme Court Justice James H. Clarke.

    Flora Hamburger: My husband appointed Justice Clarke to the Supreme Court! (Hamburger exclaims) Clarke isn’t a Socialist, but he’s a very desent man none the less!

    (Augustine continues talking as if he hasn’t heard or doesn’t care what Hamburger has just said.)

    Public Defender Charles Augustine: Now look, there are many powerful people who are unhappy with this idea of the US Department of Justice carrying out an execution upon a former first lady of the United States. It would be bad for the country, and who knows where it could lead us next. Christ, I need a smoke right now.

    (Augustine reaches into his brief case and pulls out a pack of cigarettes. Next he stands up from his chair and retrieves a large crystal ashtray from the center of the table and moves it closer to where he is sitting. A map of the Sandwich Islands is embossed into the center of the ashtray with the word “Oahu” below the island chain. Augustine offers Hamburger a cigarette from his pack, but she politely refuses. Augustine produces a nickel-plated flip lighter from his pocket and uses it to light his cigarette before continuing.)

    Public Defender Charles Augustine: Right now, the country is at a very dangerous fork in the road and the next few years are going to determine what type of a country we are going to be in the future. (In hales on cigarette enjoys nicotine rush.) There are many who feel that if we go around sentencing former first ladies to death, then we are going to take the wrong path, and we are never going to be able to become the great country envisioned by our Founding Fathers. Moreover, if that happens then most likely our constitution will just become an empty mockery of what it once was, and then what will be the point of anything?

    (Hamburger listens intently, but doesn’t say anything.)

    Public Defender Charles Augustine: On the other hand, there is some pretty damning circumstantial evidence against you, and with US troops now engaging Trotskyist insurgents up in Northwest Canada, there is even a larger number of people, including the general public, who are calling for your head on a silver platter. So therefore, some sort of a compromise must be found.

    Flora Hamburger: What sort of a compromise? (Concerned.)

    Public Defender Charles Augustine: Before I answer that question, let me first ask you a question. (Augustine leans in close as if confiding a secret.) How much do you know about Judge Thomas Merrill?

    Flora Hamburger: Why nothing I’m afraid, other than the fact that he was appointed as a federal judge by President Dewey.

    (Augustine leans back in his chair and lets out a smoke ring.)

    Public Defender Charles Augustine: Judge Thomas Merrill first began practicing law in Kentucky, back in 1904, back when Kentucky was still a part of the Confederacy.

    Flora Hamburger: NO! (Genuinely astonished)

    Public Defender Charles Augustine: Oh yes. (takes a drag) When Kentucky rejoined the US the first time around in 1916, Thomas Merrill became a US citizen and went to work for the Kentucky State Police. Him and his boss, a fellow by the name of Luther Bliss, ruled Kentucky on behalf of the United States with an iron fist. An iron fist, which by the way was sometimes used to smash anyone for any reason whatsoever.

    Flora Hamburger: And….(pleadingly)

    Public Defender Charles Augustine: In 1921 Augustine was allowed to come here to New York City in order to receive medical treatment for an undisclosed injury he received during an attack carried out by partisans seeking to return Kentucky to the Confederacy.

    Flora Hamburger: Now I think that I’m beginning to see the picture.

    Pubic Defender Charles Augustine: Anyway, after his medical treatment was over, Merrill impressed a lot of people by running around and whistling the Star-Spangled Banner out of his butthole as he told everyone he could find what a great country the United States of America is. After he recovered from his injuries, he was allowed to take the bar exam here in New York, and a few years after that he obtained his judgeship, and from there, the rest is history.

    Flora Hamburger: But how does that affect me and the charges I’m facing? (Some annoyance in her voice.)

    Public Defender Charles Augustine: This is much bigger than just you, and what I’m try to tell you is that – as the former Confederate states are readmitted back into the US, there is going to be a lot more people like Merrill joining our legal system, that is to say, a lot of people who have absolutely no use for justice and the rule of law. And this case, your case, cannot be used as a future legal precedent for a future administration that simply wants to destroy its political enemies by executing them.

    Flora Hamburger: So, what is your plan? You mentioned that you had powerful acquaintances in and around the Supreme Court?

    Public Defender Charles Augustine: My original plan (Augustine snuffs out his cigarette in the souvenir ashtray from Oahu.) was to use this portable camera here to document any visible injuries that you may have, and to get that information back to my father-in-law and his associates so that they could declare this trial to be unconstitutional, and to have you placed in their protective custody. (Augustine reaches into an inner pocket of his briefcase and pulls out a small portable camera and shows it to Hamburger. The camera is so small that it easily fits into the palm of his hand, and appears to be at least ten years beyond anything available to the average person of 1948.)

    (Hamburger nods slowly and then asks.)

    Flora Hamburger: And since I don’t seem to have any visible signs of injury, what is your plan then?

    Public Defender Charles Augustine: However, since you don’t seem to have any visible signs of injury, we will instead be going to plan B and the possible compromise I talked about earlier.

    (Hamburger looks on as Augustine produces a thick file folder from the bottom of his briefcase and places it on the table between them.)

    Public Defender Charles Augustine: I met with the prosecution most of yesterday afternoon, and between the two of us we were able to hammer out what I consider to be a more than fair plea-bargain. This document already has Adam Devito’s signature on it, it also has mine, now the only thing that is lacking is yours.

    Flora Hamburger: Just what exactly would I be pleading guilty to?

    Public Defender Charles Augustine: In exchange for pleading guilty to violating the Logan Act, and also some lesser charges regarding bank-wire fraud, the government is prepared to drop its charge of treason, thereby removing the electric chair entirely from the equation.

    Flora Hamburger: But my reputation as the Conscience of the Congress would forever be ruined, and it would take the party years to recover. (As if in a fevered dream.)

    Public Defender Charles Augustine: Well, political scandals come and go, but right now, the most important thing is to keep you away from the electric chair. Besides, if you plead guilty to these lesser charges the court is guaranteeing that you’ll only receive five years in a women’s minimum-security prison. You’ll get to play bridge with a bunch of millionaire heiresses who cheated on their taxes, and maybe one or two jealous wives who killed off the girlfriends of their rich husbands. What could be better than that?

    Flora Hamburger: Is that it, just plead guilty to the lesser charges, and then spend the next five years at a government run country club out in Santa Fe, New Mexico? (Dubiously)

    Public Defender Charles Augustine: Actually, the facility is out in Albuquerque, but that is neither here nor there right now. (pause) According to this agreement, (Places his finger tips on document while giving sales pitch) after you’ve officially pleaded guilty to the charges I’ve mentioned, the Attorney General of the United States wants you to hold a press conference on the front steps of this courthouse, and he wants you to express your extreme remorse to the people of this country for the crimes you’ve committed.

    Flora Hamburger: They can’t make me say those types of things in pubic! I have a political reputation to uphold. Publicly humiliating myself would not only ruin me, but it would also ruin the cause of socialism in this country!

    Public Defender Charles Augustine: This is a very sweetheart deal, and if you take it, you’ll be out of prison by your sixty-fifth birthday. After that you can settle down in some quiet town in upstate New York and maybe even write your memoirs if you so please. But no matter what, you are done politically in this country, and there is no way that you’re walking out of this courthouse a free woman.

    (Hamburger is stunned into silence by the bluntness of Augustine’s words.)

    Public Defender Charles Augustine: Look, I can honestly tell you that nearly everyone else on the Socialist Party National Committee has already accepted a plea-deal, or is about to do so. If you cannot do this for yourself, then at least do it for the good of the country. (Reasonable but pleading.)

    Flora Hamburger: (Crazy eyes) Mr. Augustine, let me get a couple of things straight so that we both understand one another.

    (Augustine gives a friendly gesture with his head and raises an eyebrow for Hamburger to continue.)

    Flora Hamburger: (Now standing) If I’m going to go down for the false charges that are being leveled against me, then I’m going down with a fight, and people are going to remember the name Flora Hamburger Blackford, and that I was a martyr for the cause of Socialism!!! Secondly, I’m representing myself, you are not my attorney, you do not have the right to speak to others on my behalf, and I will not sign that goddamned plea-agreement, which I’m certain came directly from the Oval Office!!!

    Public Defender Charles Augustine: You’re making a tremendous mistake.

    Flora Hamburger: You Republicans would just love to see us Socialists vanish from the face of the Earth, and isn’t it funny how your party failed to back us even though we had a pre-existing alliance between the two of us.

    Public Defender Charles Augustine: You can’t expect us to commit suicide just because you decided to cook your own goose! This is much bigger than party loyalty, this has to do with the future of justice in this country! (Becoming irate himself. Now also standing)

    Flora Hamburger: I’m tired of hearing about your law and order, your patriotism, and your worshipping of the Founding Fathers, because in the end these things are merely meaningless slogans used by the ruling class to oppress the working class! Now press that red button and tell the bailiff that were done in here, or do I have to do that for you?

    Public Defender Charles Augustine: You’re mad! Were you hit on the head during your arrest? (Augustine reaches for the red intercom button.)
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