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Six months later, Cate sat in her high-backed chair atop the dais, waiting to start the day's session. The courtroom was packed, and she hid her anticipation behind a professional mask, which was turning out to be a job requirement. The jury trial had taken all last week, but today was the only day that counted, like the final two minutes in a basketball game.
Sixers-Hornets. It was on at the bar last night. Wonder who won.
Cate shifted behind the slippery wall of stacked pleadings in front of her. She hadn't slept well last night and was relying on her concealer, but was otherwise in full costume: synthetic black robes, dark blond hair in a judicial chignon, a swipe of pink gloss on her lips, and neutral makeup on largish, blue eyes. Finally the courtroom deputy flashed Cate a wink.
Showtime. Cate gestured to plaintiff's counsel. "Mr. Temin, let's begin. I assume that plaintiff continues his testimony this morning."
"Yes, Your Honor." Nathan Temin was a roly-poly lawyer with the paunch of a much older man and a dark suit that begged to be ironed, worn with equally unruly black hair. Still, Cate knew better than to judge a trial lawyer by his cover. She had dressed down for court many times. Prada didn't win jury verdicts.
"Excellent." Cate nodded. "Fire when ready."
"Thank you, Your Honor." Temin hustled to the podium with a Bic pen and a legal pad, then pressed down his suit with a pudgy hand. He greeted the jury and turned to his client, already rising from counsel table. "Mr. Marz, please take the stand."
Richard Marz walked to the witness stand, and necks craned from the gallery. Reporters scribbled away, and sketch artists switched to their flesh-toned chalk. The Eastern District of Pennsylvania didn't allow cameras in the courtroom, for which Cate thanked God and Chief Judge Sherman.
"Good morning, Your Honor," Marz said in his soft-spoken way, sitting down after he was sworn in. He was barely thirty years old, and his baby-blue eyes showed litigation strain. He smiled tightly, his lips taut as a rubber band, and he ran a finger-rake through muddy-brown curls that sprouted from under a crocheted yarmulke. A dark suit jacket popped open over his white shirt, and his striped tie hung unevenly. Everybody knew that people looked like their dogs, but Cate thought they looked like their lawyers.
"Good morning, Mr. Marz." She smiled at Marz in a professional way, feeling subterranean sympathy for his position. He was claiming that a powerful TV producer had stolen his idea for a series about Philadelphia lawyers and developed it into the cable blockbuster Attorneys@Law. In this battle between David and Goliath, Marz held the slingshot.
At the lectern, Temin tugged the black bud of a microphone down to his height. "Now, Mr. Marz, you testified last week that you had two meetings with Mr. Simone, leading up to the critical meeting. Please remind the jury of what took place at the first meeting, on June 10."
"Objection, Your Honor," said George Hartford, defense counsel. Hartford had gray eyes behind slightly tinted bifocals and was prematurely bald. He had to be about fifty, and stood tall and fit in a slim Italian suit with a yellow silk tie. "Asked and answered. Plaintiff's counsel is wasting the jury's time."
Temin said, "Your Honor, it's appropriate to review this proof because the weekend intervened."
"Overruled." Cate shot both lawyers her sternest look. "Let's not let the objections get out of hand today, boys. Play nice."
"Thank you, Your Honor." Temin nodded, but a cranky Hartford eased back in his chair next to his client, producer Art Simone. Even seated, Simone looked tall and trim, in his prime at a prosperous forty-something.
Dirty BlondeBy: Lisa Scottoline