Timeline 191 - Fall from Grace, The Flora Hamburger Story

Discussion in 'Alternate History Books and Media' started by Cire, Jul 5, 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
    Defense Attorney Peter Shapiro is played by Dustin Hoffman
    The unnamed bailiff is played by Kenneth McCord.

    The Setting: From his high bench Judge Thomas Merrill scowls as he overlooks a crowded courtroom that has just erupted following testimony from a star prosecution witness. Behind Judge Merrill's bald head hangs a large engraving of an eagle sitting on shield encircled by the words "Department of Justice - United States' Attorney's Office - Southern District of New York". The gold fringed US and New York state flags located on either side of Judge Merrill's high back leather chair only seem to add to the judge's already intimidating level of officiousness.

    (Judge Merrill bangs his gavel and then loudly declares.)

    Judge Thomas Merrill: Counsel for the Prosecution, do you have your next witness ready to take the stand? (The courtroom instantly quiets down at the sharp rapping sound of the gavel.)

    (Prosecuting attorney Adam Devito stands of up from his chair and announces.)

    Prosecution Attorney Adam Devito: Yes, Your Honor, our next witness is ready, and the prosecution wishes to call retired New York City Police Sergeant, Patrick O'Donnell as an expert witness in this case.

    Judge Thomas Merrill: Good, then make it snappy.

    (Judge Merrill then places the tips of finger on his forehead as if he is beginning to experience the onset of a headache.)

    Prosecution Attorney Adam Devito: The prosecution calls Patrick Michael O'Donnell to the stand! (Ceremoniously)

    (A stout red-faced man seemingly in his early senior years waddles down the center aisle of the courtroom towards the bench where he is met by the bailiff. The bailiff asks the witness to state his full name, occupation, and address. The witness states his full name, states that he has been retired from the police force since 1941, that he now works as a civilian security guard at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and that he now lives in Brighton Beach. The bailiff administers the Oath of Sworn Testimony, and instructs the witness to have a seat in the witness box next to the judge's bench. The attorney for the prosecution approaches the witness box in a friendly manner and then places his hand on the railing surrounding the box.)

    Prosecution Attorney Adam Devito: Former New York City Policeman, is that correct?

    Sergeant O'Donnell: Aye, I was a cop on the beat for many a year.

    (Several people in the rear of the courtroom titter at O'Donnell's quaint old-world manner. Judge Merrill instantly slams down his gavel.)

    Judge Thomas Merrill: Order in the court! (The tittering immediately stops.)

    Prosecution Attorney Adam Devito: Now, just how many years were you a policeman? (Almost fatherly tone.)

    Sergeant O'Donnell: I served on the New York City Police Force for thirty-eight years, making me the longest serving plainclothes officer in the department's history. (Proudly, raises chin as if he is willing to punch anyone who disagrees.)

    Prosecution Attorney Adam Devito: Very good. Very impressive. Now, Sergeant O'Donnell, how familiar are you with the defendant, Flora Hamburger Blackford, and can you point her out in this courtroom?

    Sergeant O'Donnell: That's Flora Hamburger sitting right over there next to her defense attorney, tis as sure as I'm sitting right here! (O'Donnell points a stubby finger towards Hamburger sitting at the defense table. (Hamburger visibly flinches from the gesture thrown in her direction.)

    Prosecution Attorney Adam Devito: And when did you and the Defendant first cross paths?

    Sergeant O'Donnell: Tis would have been shortly after the Fourth of July Holiday in 1914. Some men from the US Marshalls Service had come up from Philadelphia and presented us with a list of radicals whom they wanted help keeping an eye upon, and since I was assigned to the Tenth Police Precinct in Lower Manhattan, the commissioner himself assigned me to keep an eye on the doings of Miss Flora Hamburger.

    Prosecution Attorney Adam Devito: And why did the US Marshalls Service request assistance from the New York City Police Department in order to keep tabs on the defendant, who at that time, in 1914, was seemingly a mere low-level organizer for the Socialist Party? (As Devito paces like a predatory shark in front of the jury box.)

    Sergeant O'Donnell: As I understand it, the US Marshalls Service was short on manpower due to all of the men going off to fight in the war, and thus they needed help from our department for what they described as an issue of vital national importance. (proudly)

    Prosecution Attorney Adam Devito: I see. And for the benefit of the jury, what was the specific reason why the US Marshalls Service wanted you to keep an eye on Flora Hamburger for them? (Still pacing with his hands behind his back, eyes to the floor.)

    Sergeant O'Donnell: Well now, this would have been just a few days shortly after the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo, and at the time there were all sorts of crazy rumors going around regarding who might be responsible.anarchists, socialists, or whatever sort of dangerous lot might be working to destabilize the world at that time. The way I see it, the Marshalls Service was probably worried about something similar happening over here in the US, and they wanted to keep tabs on people they considered to be potentially dangerous.

    Defense Attorney Peter Shapiro: Objection your Honor! The prosecution is asking the witness to speculate on international affairs, a topic which he has no firsthand knowledge of, and to also speculate on the motives of the US Marshalls Service, which he also has no knowledge of. (As Shapiro springs from his chair like a toy jack-in-the-box.)

    Judge Thomas Merrill: Objection sustained; the witness may only testify to things which he has a firsthand knowledge of.

    Prosecution Attorney Adam Devito: Sergeant O'Donnell, isn't it true, that the US Marshalls Service wanted you to keep an eye on Flora Hamburger because at that time the US Government considered her to be a potentially dangerous person?

    Sergeant O'Donnell: Tis true, the men from the US Marshalls Service described her as a subversive agitator, and they were concerned that she might be involved in the planning of violent acts against the US government.

    Defense Attorney Peter Shapiro: Objection your Honor!

    Judge Thomas Merrill: Overruled! (Loudly, with an irritated edge.)

    Prosecution Attorney Adam Devito: And what was the approximate time frame in which you observed Flora Hamburger on behalf of the US Marshalls Service?

    Sergeant O'Donnell: I observed Flora Hamburger from early July 1914 through January 1917 when she was sworn in as a member of the US House of Representatives. As I understand it, a special agent from the US Marshalls Service took over the case from there due to the amount of time she began spending in Philadelphia after that point.

    Prosecution Attorney Adam Devito: I see, and when was the first time you went out with the express intent of actively observing the Defendant on behalf of the US Marshalls Service?

    Sergeant O'Donnell: (O'Donnell scratches his knee before answering.) That would have been on the afternoon of Wednesday, July the 8th, 1914.

    Prosecution Attorney Adam Devito: I see, and why did you pick this particular day to begin observing the Defendant?

    Sergeant O'Donnell: A fellow by the name of Max Fleischman ran a kosher butcher shop on the first floor of the same building where the Tenth Ward Socialist Party headquarters were located. After paying him a friendly visit, Mr. Fleischman informed me that Hamburger liked to occasionally spend her afternoons on a soapbox at the corner of Hester and Chrystie streets in Lower Manhattan making her fiery speeches, about what not, so I decided to go down there to have a listen to what the young lass had to say.

    Prosecution Attorney Adam Devito: So, Mr. Fleischman was a police informant and he routinely supplied you with information about the Defendant?

    Sergeant O'Donnell: Aye, that's right (as O'Donnell adjust the legs of his slacks) such things were common back in those days, just as they are now.

    Prosecution Attorney Adam Devito: And did you find Mr. Fleischman's information to be reliable?

    Defense Attorney Peter Shapiro: Objection your Honor!

    Judge Thomas Merrill: Overruled! (Becoming explosively irritated.)

    Defense Attorney Peter Shapiro: Please continue.

    Sergeant O'Donnell: Oh absolutely! Mr. Fleischman was a hardworking businessman, and as he expressed things to me, he didn't necessarily see eye-to-eye with the younger generation in his neighborhood who, in his words, wanted to burn everything to the ground and to remake the world according to their fairytale ideals.

    Defense Attorney Peter Shapiro: Objection your Honor!

    Judge Thomas Merrill: Overruled! (Increasingly irritated bordering on volcanic.)

    Prosecution Attorney Adam Devito: And what did you find when you went down to observe Miss Hamburger making her speech at the corners of Hester and Chrystie streets that day? (Devito slyly licks his lips like a hungry fox about to take a bite out of a plump rabbit he has just cornered and killed.)

    Sergeant O'Donnell: Flora Hamburger was there standing on wooden box alright, and she made the following remarks to a group of people who had gathered to hear her - (O'Donnell deftly removes a policeman's flip notebook from the inner pocket of his sportscoat as he nimbly flips it open to a particular spot in the booklet.)

    Defense Attorney Peter Shapiro: Objection your Honor!

    Judge Thomas Merrill: On What grounds?

    Defense Attorney Peter Shapiro: Your Honor, the Defense has not received a copy of Officer O'Donnell's notebook, and we also have no way of knowing if the information contained within the notebook was written at the time O'Donnell allegedly observed the Defendant making her speech at the corner of Hester and Chrystie streets on July 8, 1914, or if the information was written into the notebook at some later date.

    (Judge Merrill leans over the side of his bench to peer down towards O'Donnell sitting in the witness box.)

    Judge Thomas Merrill: Sergeant O'Donnell, is the information written in that notebook in your own handwriting?

    Sergeant O'Donnell: Aye, it is. (Perhaps with a touch of nervousness as if events have suddenly taken an unforeseen turn.)

    Judge Thomas Merrill: Was the information you were about to read aloud written on July 8, 1914?

    Sergeant O'Donnell: Aye, it t'was written on July 8, 1914. (With extreme earnestness in his voice.)

    Judge Thomas Merrill: Have you made any revisions, corrections, or erasures to your notes since that time?

    Sergeant O'Donnell: Nay, I have not. (Almost pleadingly.)

    Judge Thomas Merrill: Do you require your written records in order to refresh your memory during your sworn testimony here today?

    Sergeant O'Donnell: Nay, my memory is as sound as the day I graduated from the police academy, and I can give testimony with or without my notebook in hand.

    (Judge Thomas then looks squarely at Peter Shapiro and asks.)

    Judge Thomas Merrill: Would the Defense like to withdraw their objection now?

    Defense Attorney Peter Shapiro: We would your Honor. (Begrudgingly)

    Judge Thomas Merrill: Good. Now open that notebook to the date in question and pass it up hear so that I can follow along as you are describing what you saw and heard on July 8, 1914. The prosecution may now continue questioning the witness. (Sounding almost happy.)

    (Judge Merrill places the notebook on the bench in front of him, puts on a pair of dark frame reading-glasses, and begins to study the notes in front of him.)

    Prosecution Attorney Adam Devito: Sergeant O'Donnell, I believe that you were about to tell the court what you saw and heard on the corner of Hester and Chrystie streets on the afternoon of Wednesday July 8, 1914?

    (The camera angle switches to a perspective just above Judge Merrill's left shoulder. O'Donnell's note book lies open on the bench in front of Judge Merrill. The penciled worlds on the slightly yellowed pages precisely match O'Donnell's spoken testimony.)

    Sergeant O'Donnell: As I was about to say, the Defendant made the following remarks as I observed her on the day in question, "Mobilize (as O'Donnell pumps his fist in the air) We must not allow the capitalists to make the workers of the world their bloody victims! We must continue our ceaseless agitation in the cause of socialism, and in the cause of worker's solidarity around the world. If we let the upper classes divide us then we have all but doomed ourselves to more untold centuries under the yoke of slavery! Can we let the madness of nationalism destroy everything? The workers of the United States, and also Germany, and Austria, and France, and England, and even Canada and the Confederacy must unite in order to prevent this from happening."

    Prosecution Attorney Adam Devito: I see, (Brief pause while pacing) and exactly how far where you standing from the Defendant when she made these firebrand remarks?

    Sergeant O'Donnell: I twas not more than thirty feet away from her as I stood at the edge of a small group of people that had gathered to listen to her speak. Back then the New York City Police Department still issued tall British style campaign helmets to all of its beat officers in order to make them easier to identify on the street. I believe that when Flora Hamburger saw my helmet towering over the heads and shoulders of her audience, that the tone of her speech immediately became less treasonous and less seditious.

    Prosecution Attorney Adam Devito: And in your expert opinion as a retired New York City police officer, why do you believe that the Defendant would moderate the tone of her speech if she knew that a police officer was watching her?

    Defense Attorney Peter Shapiro: Objection your Honor, the Prosecution is asking the witness to speculate.

    Judge Thomas Merrill: Objection overruled! The witness is being instructed to use his past experience and training as a New York City policeman to formulate a theory as to why the Defendant would suddenly change her behavior at the sight of a policeman in her nearby presence. Sergeant O'Donnell, please answer the question!

    Sergeant O'Donnell: Yes, your Honor. I believe that the Defendant, Flora Hamburger toned-down her words because she knew that what she was saying was possibly illegal in the eyes of the law, and that if she continued on with her calls to mobilize the workers to violence, then she might be faced with an arrest.

    Defense Attorney Peter Shapiro: Objection your Honor! We do not dispute the fact that the Defendant may have made these remarks nearly thirty-five years ago, however, the Prosecution is clearly attempting to mischaracterize a set of remarks made by the Defendant when she was only twenty-five years old in order to smear her as a radical terrorist!

    Judge Thomas Merrill: Objection overruled! You'll get your chance to put the Defendant on the stand, so that she can explain her own words under oath, and in the meanwhile the Witness will continue offering his expert testimony. The Prosecution will please continue.

    (Flora Hamburger visibly squirms in her chair at the defense table.)

    Prosecution Attorney Adam Devito: Thank you, your Honor. (Devito admires the shine of his own shoes as he strolls back towards the witness stand. Devito stands in front of the witness box and looks at O'Donnell as he asks.) Now Sergeant O'Donnell, how did you construe the Defendant's remarks as you stood there listening to her address the crowd? What did you take the Defendant's words to mean exactly?

    Defense Attorney Peter Shapiro: Objection your Honor, again, the Prosecution is asking the witness to speculate.

    Judge Thomas Merrill: Sergeant O'Donnell is an expert witness, and he is able to offer his professional opinions on what he saw and heard that day. Objection overruled.

    Prosecution Attorney Adam Devito: Please go ahead. (As he gestures a friendly hand towards O'Donnell.)

    Sergeant O'Donnell: Before I answer that question, I'd first like to provide some additional background concerning a conversation I had with, Mr. Fleischman, a few days after I observed Hamburger making, her soapbox speech.

    Defense Attorney Peter Shapiro: Objection your Honor, the witness is attempting to provide hearsay testimony as fact. (In a tone bordering between nagging and begging.)

    (Judge Merrill slams his gavel against its sounding disc.)

    Judge Thomas Merrill: OVERRULED! (Judge Merrill points the head of his gavel at Shapiro as he begins to admonishes him.) Mr. Shapiro, I'm getting awfully tired of your baseless objections. Are you hoping to win this case by constantly challenging every procedural step in this trial? Because if you are, you're really barking up the wrong tree with me.

    Defense Attorney Peter Shapiro: No, your Honor, (Now standing with his chin in the air) and with all due respect I was simply trying to assure that my client here receives a fair and impartial trial carried out without any irregularities in the eyes of the law.

    Judge Thomas Merrill: Have you witnessed anything in this courtroom which would lead you to believe that I'm doing anything other than conducting a fair and impartial trial?

    Defense Attorney Peter Shapiro: No, your Honor, it's just that..

    (Judge Merrill slams his gavel down even louder this time.)

    Judge Thomas Merrill: Then sit down and shut the hell up! You'll get your chance to cross examine the witness as soon as the Prosecution is done. Now stop trying to derail this trial with your baseless procedural objections before I find you in contempt of court. Do I make myself clear?

    (Flora Hamburger herself seems deeply affected by this latest development as she attempts to squirm lower into her chair.)

    Defense Attorney Peter Shapiro: Yes, your Honor, you've made yourself perfectly clear. (As Shapiro quickly folds himself back into his chair and steeples his fingers on the table in front of him.)

    Judge Thomas Merrill: The Prosecution may now continue questioning the witness!

    Prosecution Attorney Adam Devito: Thank you again, your Honor. Now, Sergeant O'Donnell, you were about to elaborate on a conversation you had with Mr. Max Fleischman a few days after you observed the Defendant making her speech? (Devito clasps both hands and suppresses a grin as if he were expecting a big payout from a casino slot machine.)

    Sergeant O'Donnell: Aye, Mr. Fleishman had informed me that Flora Hamburger had on numerous occasions expressed a view that it was the duty of the Socialist Party to educate the workers of the world on the need to seize the means of production from the capitalists and to establish their own global dictatorship of the proletariat. (slight pause) In light of Mr. Fleishman's remarks, I believe that Flora Hamburger was attempting to agitate the crowd that had gathered around her that day into violent rebellion against the United States government (pause) just like what occurred with the black Marxist guerrillas in the Confederacy during both Great Wars, and more recently with the Red revolution which occurred in Russia last year.

    (A collective gasp arises from the crowded courtroom. Judge Merrill enthusiastically bangs his gavel to bring order. Judge Merrill looks directly at prosecutor Adam Devito and announces..)

    Judge Thomas Merrill: Counsel for the Prosecution, just where are you going with this?

    Prosecution Attorney Adam Devito: Your Honor, I'm attempting to show that the defendant's extremist political beliefs provided her with a motivation to engage in a conspiracy to overthrow the Government of the United States of America, and that her intentions in attempting to do so were to destroy our beloved republic and to replace it with a global socialist dictatorship! Furthermore, the Defendant's extremist political beliefs are also shared by many other high-ranking members of the US Socialist Party, and thus was the driving force behind their decision to secretly funnel millions of dollars to the revolutionary forces of Leon Trotsky in violation of the US Logan Act. And as we all know, Premier Leon Trotsky now has the blood of perhaps millions of Russians on his hands, thanks to the actions of the Defendant and her cohorts.

    (An angry murmur arises from the crowd of spectators at the rear of the courtroom. Once again Judge Merrill enthusiastically bangs his gavel as if he is driving roofing nails.)

    Judge Thomas Merrill: Order in the court! I will have order in the court or I will order the spectators and press removed from my courtroom! Do I make myself clear? (No one answers the judge's question, and the room returns to silence.)

    Judge Thomas Merrill: Go ahead, counselor I'll allow this line of questioning for now, but you're going to need to layout the groundwork for your theory fairly quickly before I change my mind.

    Prosecution Attorney Adam Devito: Thank you, your Honor. Now Sergeant O'Donnell, during the time you were observing the Defendant on behalf of the US Marshalls Service, did you witness any other incidents which caused you to raise your eyebrow?

    Sergeant O'Donnell: Aye, there is one incident in particular which I think about every day, and sometimes causes me to wake up at night with the chills. (In a somewhat grave tone of voice. O'Donnell reaches over to a nearby glass pitcher and pours himself as glass of ice-water.)

    Prosecution Attorney Adam Devito: And can you tell us about that incident now?

    Sergeant O'Donnell: (O'Donnell's eyes take on a cold look as his accent seems to fade a bit. He stares directly at Hamburger as he is speaking.) T'was Remembrance Day 1915. (pause) Hamburger and a bunch of other Socialists from all over New York City had gathered on Broadway to watch the parade. (pause) Although Broadway wasn't part of my regular beat, I'd been sent over there anyway on special assignment to keep tabs on things. (Voice becoming tight.)

    Prosecution Attorney Adam Devito: Please continue. (In response to O'Donnell apparently becoming lost in his own thoughts and growing silent.)

    Sergeant O'Donnell: As a veteran's group known as the Soldier's Circle passed by, one of the men in the Socialist delegation ran into the street with a knife in his hand and began shouting insults at the parading veterans.

    Prosecution Attorney Adam Devito: Uh hum, and what sort of insults did the Socialist with the knife in his hand shout at the passing veterans?

    Defense Attorney Peter Shapiro: Objection your, Honor. (tentatively) Although the man with the knife may have come from the area of the sidewalk where members of the Socialist Party were standing, the man with the knife has never been identified, and there is no way of knowing if he was actually an active member of the Socialist Party or not.

    Judge Thomas Merrill: Sustained, and from now on the man carrying the knife will simply be referred to as "the subject carrying the knife". (Almost absently) The Prosecution may continue.

    Prosecution Attorney Adam Devito: Alright, what did the subject carrying the knife (pause) who had just emerged from the area of the sidewalk where the Socialists were standing say or do next?

    Sergeant O'Donnell: The subject with the knife screamed that the marching veterans were tools of the capitalists, and then he plunged the knife he was carrying into the chest of the veteran that was closest to him, killing the man instantly.

    Prosecution Attorney Adam Devito: And where was the Defendant while all this was happening?

    Sergeant O'Donnell: She was standing not more than twenty feet away on the nearby sidewalk, just as serene as a nun.

    Prosecution Attorney Adam Devito: And what happened after that?

    Sergeant O'Donnell: Then the Defendant turned to face the others in her group, gesturing and pointing as if she were giving out orders like a commander on the battle field.

    Prosecution Attorney Adam Devito: Go on

    Sergeant O'Donnell: At that moment, several people in the crowd brought out hand guns and began shooting widely into the mass of people that gathered to watch the parade, as the parade itself turned into a full-on riot, it did.

    Prosecution Attorney Adam Devito: Go on

    Sergeant O'Donnell: Immediately after that a powerful bomb went off about two blocks away, and as I turned my head in that direction to see what was happening, I heard a woman's voice shout the words "Direct Action!" from the area of the sidewalk where the Defendant was standing along with the other members of the Socialist Party.

    Prosecution Attorney Adam Devito: And what did you take that phrase "Direct Action" to mean?

    Sergeant O'Donnell: A few years earlier the words "Direct Action" had been a rallying call used by Socialists during labor riots and such, so I took it to mean that the Socialists were behind the unfolding violence occurring that day.

    Prosecution Attorney Adam Devito: Do you believe that it is possible that the Defendant herself may have shouted the words "Direct Action" as the parade rapidly degenerated into a riot?

    Sergeant O'Donnell: Aye, I do.

    Defense Attorney Peter Shapiro: Objection your, Honor! I must strongly object to this gross miscarriage of justice!

    Judge Thomas Merrill: Overruled! And watch yourself counselor, I've already warned you once.

    Defense Attorney Peter Shapiro: My client has no hope of receiving justice under the farcical conditions in which these proceedings are being carried out, and it is clear that we are looking at here is a kangaroo trial! (With unbridled defiance.)

    (Judge Merrill wraps his gavel even harder than before.)

    Judge Thomas Merrill: I'll have order in my courtroom, or I'll see to it that you're little snotnose is disbarred and that you never practice law in this country ever again!

    Defense Attorney Peter Shapiro: Dewey appointed you as a federal judge, so of course you're going to be doing his bidding! And this guy..(pause as he turns to look at Devito who is now staring back in open mouthed surprise.) Adam Devito, was Dewey's righthand man back when Dewey was District Attorney of Manhattan (Points a finger at Devito and then announces.) Say, Adam, didn't you help Dewey negotiate quite a few under the table deals between the DA's office and the Turrentine Crime Family?

    Prosecution Attorney Adam Devito: I don't know what you're talking about. (Shrugs shoulders and turns away.)

    Judge Thomas Merrill: ORDER IN THE COURT! I WILL HAVE ORDER IN MY COURTROOM! (Judge Merrill is now on his feet with both hands placed on the top of his bench as leans forward and shouts at the top of his lungs into the open air of the courtroom.)

    Defense Attorney Peter Shapiro: (Turns to face the jury) And then there is the fact that all of the senior partners at my law firm were killed in a suspicious restaurant explosion while eating lunch together. Giorgio's had just passed its fire inspection less than a month earlier, but then on the day when all of our managing partners happen to be in one place discussing strategy for this case, POOF! (Shapiro does a little poof gesture with his fingers like a magician making a rabbit disappear.) the entire place goes up like a Chinese fireworks factory. Also, criminal charges weren't filed against my client until after she introduced a motion on the house floor calling for President Dewey's impeachment. Clearly the charges against my client are politically motivated, and perhaps the question we should be asking ourselves right now is can we sit idly by as Dewey turns our justice system into a weapon to destroy his enemies? (Pleading to anyone who will listen, but no one will make eye contact.)

    Judge Thomas Merrill: Bailiff! Arrest that man and remove him from my courtroom! Shapiro, I'm giving you a thirty-day sentence for Contempt of Court.

    (As Judge Merrill is speaking a young stocky bailiff dressed in a police style uniform rapidly approaches Shapiro and attempts to grab Shapiro by the wrist. Shapiro backs away, the bailiff misses the wrist but instead manages to quickly knocks Shapiro off of his feet with swiping kick to the ankles. Shapiro lets out a loud "Uhmmpf" as he goes down like a sack of potatoes.)

    Defense Attorney Peter Shapiro: Don't you people see? (As Shapiro lays face down on the floor and attempts to resist the bailiff who is struggling to put cuffs on his wrists.) Thomas Dewey is no better than Jake Featherston, and this is how democracy dies. Evil men are able to get away with murder when ordinary people sit by and do Hummpf! (A blow to the back of the head from the bailiff's billy club cuts Shapiro off in the middle of his sentence.)

    Judge Thomas Merrill: Good! That worthless piece of shit is finally quiet for once. Take him out of my courtroom, I never want to see him in here again.

    (The bailiff passes in front of the Judge's bench easily carrying Shapiro's limp body over his shoulder as if he were carrying a dead house cat. Judge Merrill looks up from the bailiff passing by to the defense table where Hamburger is now sitting alone.)

    Judge Thomas Merrill: Will the Defendant please rise.

    (Flora Hamburger rises stiffly from her chair.)

    Judge Thomas Merrill: Congresswoman Flora Blackford Hamburger, if you cannot obtain an attorney by the time this trial resumes from recess then the court will appoint you a competent attorney. Do you understand?

    Flora Hamburger: Yes, your Honor.

    Judge Thomas Merrill: Good, you may now sit down. (pause while shuffling papers) Now, I'm declaring a news blackout regarding this trial. All reporters in attendance will turn over their notes to the bailiff and the news photographers will turn over the film in their cameras as well. Furthermore, the pay phones in the lobby will be unavailable for press use. Secondly, anyone who violates this order will find themselves in jail, or worse, so please don't test me. (pause) I'm declaring a three day recess, trial will resume at 8 am Tuesday morning. Court is dismissed.

    (Judge Merrill wraps his gavel to dismiss the court.)
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2019
  2. traveller76 Member

    Jul 29, 2006
    Fort Worth, TX
    Well done and I would like to read more.
  3. Cire Mr. Wrinkled Shirt

    Jun 25, 2015
    Cebu, Philippines
    Thanks for the kind compliment. I was imagining that the above courtroom scene would have originally taken place approximately during June of 1948, and that later on Hollywood would probably make a movie about it after enough time as passed.

    I was thinking that I should have described certain things in the above story with more detail, in order to convey what type of a world these characters are living in. For example, at the point in which the character Pete Shapiro accuses the prosecution of corruption and arraigning illegal deals between the DA's office and the Mafia, I just have the prosecutor say "I don't know what you're talking about" and then walking away. Originally, however, I was thinking that the prosecutor (Adam Devito) might put a tight lipped smile on his face (so that no one could read his lips) lean in real close to Pete Shapiro and say, "You don't know what kind of a dangerous game your playing here kid, just walk away, before it is too late." - But then after I read it seemed to extreme for someone to say in an open courtroom, even in the somewhat dystopian world that I was imagining.

    Also, at the part where Shapiro stands in front of the jury box and describes how all of the senior partners in his law firm get killed in a suspicious blast, I was imagining that a male juror in the front row might pretend to wind his wrist watch as he feigns boredom, while a female juror might pantomime using her finger to clean her ears, as if she cannot believe what she is hearing. But after I read it it seemed to cartoonish, so I removed it, and just implied that none of the jurors would look at Shapiro as criticized things which they approve of.

    Anyway, I was imagining that Shapiro himself will slip into a coma and die a few weeks later, while Flora Hamburger is found guilty of violating several federal statutes, and dies of somewhat suspicious circumstances following her sentencing hearing. (She actually dies one day after Dewey wins reelection in 1948.)

    I realize that a lot of people don't like the scenario I created in which the Socialist Party gets decimated, but as Kyle Reese said in the first Terminator movie, the future is not set. So, maybe in timeline 191 version A the Socialists hold onto power, the US holds onto Canada, and maybe large parts of the CSA, and 191 version A of the United States goes onto be something like the USSR in our timeline?

    Meanwhile, in revision B of the 191 universe, my version, the voters in the US blame the Socialists for Second Great War, the Socialist do terrible in the elections of 44, and also the midterm elections of 46, so in a misguided attempt to make their party popular again, the Socialist come up with some very bad ideas such as criticizing Dewey's occupation policies, suggesting that the defeated Confederacy should be given some sovereignty as a means of reducing US troop causalities, and maybe they go overboard in criticizing some of Dewey's other policies as well. - Meanwhile, the Czar is on his last legs in Russia, (no more help from England and France) and one of the groups looking to take control of the country are the Trotskyists. (I think that Stalin was killed in 1925?) Anyway, a delegation of Trotskyists travel to the US without anyone really noticing, and they meet with members of the US Socialist Party. Hamburger and others are impressed by enthusiasm of the Trotskyists (who are on their best behavior in front of US Socialists) and the US Socialists naively agree to assist the Trotskyists in taking over the Russian government. However, as soon as the Trotskyists are in power, a blood bath occurs in Russia, followed by the US Socialist Party attempting to cover up any connection it has with the 1947 Russian Revolution. And that is how we got to the part where Flora Hamburger is sitting in a federal court.
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2019
  4. traveller76 Member

    Jul 29, 2006
    Fort Worth, TX
    Maybe Flora Hamburger decides to defend herself, she already knows what is going to happen but decides to go out fighting.
  5. Cire Mr. Wrinkled Shirt

    Jun 25, 2015
    Cebu, Philippines
    That is actually a very intriguing idea, and I think that I may have to work on another act for my above play. Hmmm......
  6. Unknown Member

    Jan 31, 2004
    Corpus Christi, TX
    Forget the Flora Hamburger trial, this is how a trial like that should go:
    Cire likes this.
  7. Cire Mr. Wrinkled Shirt

    Jun 25, 2015
    Cebu, Philippines
    That's pretty much what I had in mind, except with more whipped cream pies thrown in people's faces, and more open palm slaps. You know, a little more Three Stooges and less People's Court. Actually, for whatever it matters, I got my courtroom blah blah from reading the book, The Bonfire of the Vanities, by Tom Wolfe. It isn't alternate history, but it is a very good book for anyone who has the time to check it out.