19 August 2013

Ambush in Bartlette: Chapter 17

Yusif looked at the files and disks sitting on his desk and the two chairs in his office. After Brad indicted Brownie, Dave, and Jeff on capital murder charges, the feds finally agreed to allow him to discuss the evidence with others. The first thing Brad did was dump all the documents and recordings on Yusif with orders to organize them and put the evidence in order for trial. The stuff Yusif had around his desk was a tithe of the reams of paper which the feds and state police wheeled into his office two weeks back. The rest were in boxes which were stacked two deep up the wall to Yusif's right.

Yusif had read through everything and pulled out the stuff around his desk. He sat looking down at the most important reports and tapes from the boxes and wondered what he was going to tell Brad. Brad had asked for a summary today and Yusif knew what his boss wanted to hear. Brad wanted to hear that the cases were all in good order and would be easily proven in court. Yusif could not tell him that. Sure, a prosecutor would have to stumble in blind drunk to lose the cases against Brownie and Dave. However, the case against Jeff was worse than thin. It did not exist. Everything was supposition and statements by people who had a lot of incentive to put the blame on someone else. The recordings which were supposed to back the statements were useless.

The all important recordings were supposed to be the linchpin of any prosecution against Jeff. Only, they weren't. They were all snippets cut out of larger conversations and they were all ambiguous. Sure, Jeff complained about Bo being in the way of his aspiration to become Sheriff, but he never told anyone to do anything about it. Likewise, there were snippets of conversation about drug trade in Yared, but none of them showed more than the knowledge that Yared was the center of corruption and illegal activity in Bartlette County. Without more of the conversations to give context, these scraps of dialogue lent themselves to whatever meaning the listener cared to give them. There was no way they proved murder beyond a reasonable doubt.

Yusif looked at the clock. It was half past two and Brad should be back in his office by now. He sighed and got up to walk down stairs. Putting this off would not make it any more pleasant. Brad was going to be in a foul mood this afternoon. The third Friday of the month was the Republican luncheon and those meetings were getting more and more acrimonious as Sheriff Minton and Brad faced off over the pending trial. It was becoming more and more obvious that the Sheriff's supporters were trying to push another attorney to challenge Brad for the Republican candidacy for commonwealth attorney.

Yusif found himself standing in the door of Brad's office. He had to wait for a couple minutes because Brad was on the phone griping to someone about the luncheon. Apparently, the Sheriff had announced that he would be running for Sheriff again "because there is no other suitable candidate." This kneecapped Bo Ross, who everyone knew planned to announce his candidacy next week. Brad saw Yusif and waved him to a chair in front of his desk. Then, he used Yusif as an excuse to end the conversation.

As he hung up the phone he glared across the table at Yusif. "Can you believe that shit? That old bastard screwed Bo over. He's already banished Bo to the midnight shift 'cuz he can't stand to look at him. And now Minton's screwing him out of the Sheriff's job."

"Can you do anything about it?" Yusif asked.

"Not a damn thing." Brad replied. "Everyone I can influence would already vote against Minton. If I openly endorse Bo all it will do is drive more people away from him.”

Brad waved his hand. “Enough of the political crap. How are things with the ton of papers the FBI dumped on us?”

Yusif rubbed his hands together, pausing for a beat. “It's not good boss.”

“What do you mean, 'It's not good?' The case the FBI put together is pretty much bulletproof. They walked me through the evidence and I didn't see anything wrong. What is it?”

“Well, it's solid for Dave and Brownie, but there's no case at all for Jeff.”

“Look, Yusif, I know you like Jeff. Hell, I like Jeff. But he killed six people in that alley. He may have sent other people to do it, but he killed just as sure as if he pulled the trigger himself.”

Brad was leaning forward in his chair pointing his finger at Yusif. A big man, Brad was used to being able to pressure other men with his size and he subconsciously reached for that advantage whenever he was in an argument. However, Yusif was offensive lineman large – a full two inches taller and sixty pounds heavier than his boss. He had also seen Brad in action for years and realized when Brad was trying to intimidate someone into agreeing with him. And Yusif did not intimidate easy. He did not lean into his boss, but he did not retreat an inch either.

“No, you look, Brad. There's. No. Case. Against. Jeff. All there is are the statements by three crooked-to-the-gills ex-police who are trying to get out of things by blaming other people. Absolutely nothing supports their story. I've gone over all the FBI stuff. There's nothing there. Nothing.”

“Bullshit. I've heard those tapes. Jeff knew what was going on. He pushed it. He's the God-damned ring leader and it's obvious. You just don't want to believe because Jeff fooled us all. Hell, he still has you fooled! Do your fucking job. We are going to convict Sanger and he is going to get the fucking needle. No discussion. No debate. He killed them. He dies.”

“But the people who actually shot everybody get a pass? Because the only way you can possibly make that case is to put them on the stand and they won't testify unless you take the death penalty away. They killed without remorse, Brad. And now they are lying without remorse. And you're falling for it. You are going to kill an innocent man based on their lies. You can't do that!”

“I can. I will. He is guilty as fucking sin and you and the Sheriff are the only assholes who think any of those assholes are innocent. Do your job and get the damn case ready.”

Yusif looked Brad in the eyes and steadied himself. “I will not. You knew from the day you hired me that I go to a Church that doesn't believe in the death penalty Still, you assigned me work on the cases in which you are trying to get it. Okay. I can hold my nose and do the work - as long as it's just. This isn't just. It's stupid. You're planning on letting two killers get away with it so they can help you try to kill the guy who you've got absolutely no evidence did anything. There's no evidence that Jeff did anything and I won't do it.”

“Get out of my office.” Brad's voice was flat, but his face was bright red and his eyes boiled with anger. “In fact, get out of the building. I don't want to see you at all until Monday. Now get out!”

No comments: