Nicholas Easter – (real name is Jeff Kerr) Juror that was a plant on the jury. He and his girlfriend Marlee had money motives. Nicholas molded the jury from day one to vote his way. Marlee – (aka Claire Clement – real name is Gabrielle Brant) Nicholas Easter’s accomplice on the outside of the courtroom. Rankin Fitch – Ran the show of high-priced lawyers and consultants for the defendant, Pynex (tobacco co. ). Directed all the illegal proceedings going on outside the courtroom for the defendant. Durwood Cable – Head lawyer for the defendant team. Wendal Rohr – Plaintiff’s, Mrs.
Jacob Wood, head lawyer. Judge Frederick Harkin – the presiding justice for this case. This story was about how two very smart and focused individuals who could manipulate a jury and the defense team in a multi-million dollar legal battle to receive a very large cash payment. The defense was Pynex, a tobacco company, and they had very deep pockets and were willing to pay for the correct verdict. A verdict for not guilty. The story starts with the very laborious job of jury selection. The tobacco industry has on their payroll a man by the name of Rankin Fitch.
Fitch foresees the selection of the lawyers and consultants. Fitch and the consultants foresee the selection of the jurors. Each perspective juror is investigated and watched. The defense as well as the plaintiffs want to secure a verdict so they only want jurors sympathetic to their side. Fitch along with Rohr, the plaintiff’s lawyer, also had high priced detectives tailing perspective jurors. Anyone who was the least bit wrong for their cause had to be eliminated from the process.
One person both sides couldn’t find any information on was Nicholas Easter. He seemed rather neutral which is good for both sides but not being able to find out his past made them nervous. Nicholas had covered his tracks rather well along with Marlee his accomplice. The two of them wanted Nicholas on that jury for personal as well as monetary reasons. Their hard work was paid off because Nicholas along with eleven other people was selected as the jurors. The case had to do with Mr. Jacob Wood. He died in his early fifties from lung cancer. The plaintiff was trying to prove that the lung cancer was directly caused from smoking. Wendall Rohr’s first witness was Jacob Wood on video sitting on his deathbed.
There were many experts on lung cancer and doctors with statistics. Durwood Cable tried to prove that smoking did not give Mr. Wood his lung cancer and he had his own experts and statistics. Nicholas Easter’s job was to sway the verdict one way or another to the side with the deepest pockets. In other words the side that paid him the most. All of the time it was the tobacco companies that had the most money. They had never lost a case yet and they weren’t about to lose this one and Nicholas knew this. He would make them pay big for a sure verdict.
Nicholas and Marlee had to get Fitch’s attention to let him know that there was someone working on the jury and outside and they could make his life miserable or quite pleasant. This was Marlee’s job. She left Fitch a note telling him what clothes Nicholas was going to wear the next day. Fitch knew he had to investigate Nicholas deeper. He hired Doyle, a private eye, to search Nicholas’ apartment. He found nothing of interest and couldn’t get into Nicholas computer. It had a sophisticated security system. When Nicholas came home he went directly to his computer.
What Doyle didn’t know is that Nicholas had surveillance cameras hidden throughout his apt. and now the tape, which was on the computer, with him breaking and entering, was there for Nicholas to use to get what he wanted. Meanwhile, Nicholas was getting the jurors trust. They started to look to him for information and advice. He told them that at one point he was a law student and he seemed very knowledgeable so they asked him many questions. He was also very confident in things he did and said and he was very friendly ready to lend a hand to anyone.
All these things enabled him to sway these people his way. He even swayed Judge Harkin to get the jurors better food and walks for relaxation. On the weekends the defense team did their share of swaying the jury or should I say a light touch of blackmail. For instance one of the jurors, Lonnie Shaver, worked in a manager position in a supermarket chain. The tobacco company just so happened to purchase the chain and they approached Lonnie saying that he would have an upper management position if he could just vote the right way and maybe sway some other jurors. If he didn’t his position was not to promising.
One person that never would show his feelings because he never discussed the case, as per Judge Harkin’s rules, was jury foreman, Herman Grimes, who happened to be blind. He was very honest and took his position seriously. One day during court the man, Doyle, who had broke into Nicholas apt. appeared in court. Nicholas wrote a note to the judge to tell him that a man who followed him was in the court room. Doyle disappeared out of the courtroom before anything could take place. At recess the Judge told Nicholas to keep him informed of any other strange occurrences.
Marlee called Fitch again to tell him that the jury would come into the courtroom and instead of sitting down they would say the Pledge of Allegiance. When this happened Fitch was amazed at what control Nicholas and Marlee had over the jurors. That weekend Marlee followed jurors, Stella Hulic and her husband to Florida. When they were in their hotel room Marlee called and said to Stella, “You need to be careful, they are following you”. Mr. Hulic got on the phone and Marlee explained that the tobacco agents were watching his wife and they were vicious. She hung up. Stella was hysterical.
That Monday Stella told Nicholas and he made her even more scared telling her that the tobacco co. would not stop at anything to get the verdict they wanted. At lunch Nicholas saw Judge Harkin and told him of what happened to Stella. Then he said that Frank Herrera had already made up his mind and was trying to influence other jurors. Then he showed the judge the tape of the man breaking into his apt. This was all being done to get rid of some jurors who would be hard to sway and on the wrong side. Meanwhile Marlee calls up Fitch to tell him what Nicholas told the judge about Doyle and the breaking in the apt.
Fitch panics because he can’t afford to have the tobacco co. get caught in illegal goings on. Fitch now knows Marlee and Nicholas are in charge and not him. That afternoon Judge Harkin released Stella Hulic from her juror position and put in an alternate. He also sequested the jurors and advised them to home and pack and that the next two weeks would be spent in a hotel. During all this upheaval in the trial, the tobacco stock in the stock market kept going up and down. Marlee requested that Fitch meet her face to face. At this meeting she told Fitch that she would give him his verdict for a price that would be discussed at a later date.
She disappeared without a trace. During all these mystery meetings and phone calls from Marlee, Fitch was trying desperately to find out her real identity and also Nicholas’. The tobacco company still had phony people on the outside trying to sway, or blackmail, juror’s relatives. Millie Dupree’s husband, Hoppy, was one of them. Two persuasive men told Hoppy of a great real estate deal and being that Hoppy was in real estate he was interested. They told him he could make mucho money and he wouldn’t ever get caught or in trouble. It had to do with casinos coming into the town.
Hoppy was to persuade Jimmy Hull Moke, a local politician, to let the casinos in without a zoning problem. A few days later two men who said they were with the FBI came to see Hoppy. They said they knew of the illegal real estate scam Hoppy was involved in. He could get a substantial amount of time if he was convicted unless he worked with them. They made a deal with Hoppy, if he could persuade his wife, Millie Dupree, to vote in favor for the defendant, the tobacco co. them his charges would be dropped. Fitch had Nicholas’ apt. broken into again and they stole his computer and all the disks.
Then they set the apt. on fire but got all the other people in the building out so no one was hurt. Nicholas’ discs were inpenatratable. One disc did give them information on Nicholas, his mother, Pamela Blanchard. The jury kept listening to experts testify on how smoking is bad and how commercial advertising targets children. Then they heard from the defendant’s experts on how smoking doesn’t cause cancer. Fitch kept trying to dig up the past on Nicholas, and Marlee. He kept sending private eyes to ask questions of friends or people they worked with in the past. Fitch even dug up some dirt about another juror, Rikki Coleman.
As a teenager she had an abortion and her current husband doesn’t know about it. He would hold that over her head to get her vote. Marlee told Fitch she found out that he was spying on her past. She told him to stop or she would make a deal with the plaintiff. He promised to stop. She also told him she would be in touch about the amount of money she wanted for a defendant’s verdict and where the money should be wired. The defense also got a hold of a man named Derrick Maples who was the lover of the Juror Angel Weese. They promised to pay him money if he could sway Angel’s vote for the defendant.
Nicholas planted copies of newspapers and magazines that had articles on the court case in Colonel Herrera’s room. He then told the judge that Herrera was reading inappropriate material. When the judge saw the newspapers hidden under Herrera’s bed he was taken off the jury and replaced with an alternate. Marlee told Fitch this would be done and when it happened Fitch saw what control Nicholas had on the jury. Marlee gets in touch with Fitch and tells him to wire 10 million dollars to the Hanwa Bank in the Netherlands Antilles for a verdict for the defendant. Fitch did it.
Hoppy was told by the fake FBI agents that since he couldn’t persuade his wife he would have to tell her that she has to vote for the defendant if she was to save her husband from going to jail. Hoppy did just that and after he left Millie cried. She was so confused. She saw Nicholas in the TV room and decided to confide in him. She trusted him. He took the names of the so-called FBI agents, Napier, Nitchman, and Cristano and told Millie not to say anything to anyone until he had a chance to do some investigating. Meanwhile, Fitch’s PIs got a hold of a old friend of Marlee’s named Beverly Monk.
They were trying to get information out of her but she wasn’t talking big until she got big bucks. She was also a drug addict so she wasn’t so reliable but she was all that Fitch had. When Nicholas found out that the FBI agents that visited Hoppy were fake he snuck into Millie’s room when Hoppy was there to devise a plan. ***This is where this story takes a twist. Even though Nicholas and Marlee are getting money from the defendant to cast the votes their way, secretly they are planning to have the jury vote for the plaintiff and give a big settlement. Nicholas had Hoppy ask for a meeting with Napier and Nitchman.
When they showed there would be a real FBI agent waiting to reveal their true identity and show that they were impersonating FBI agents. True FBI agent Madden took them for a ride. They made up a lame story of why they did this scam and Madden let them go with a warning. They told Fitch and he blew a cork. Beverly Monk told Fitch’s PIs that Marlee’s real name was Gabrielle Brant. Now they could get closer to Marlee’s past. Nicholas put tablets into Herman Grimes’, the jury foreman, coffee. It wouldn’t kill him but make him deathly ill. It worked and an alternate was placed in his place and Nicholas was then voted in as foreman.
This enabled Nicholas to sway the jury his way. Marlee told Fitch to now wire the money to her account in Panama. He did it hoping his verdict was solid. She then took a Learjet to Panama. At that time Fitch’s PI told him Marlee’s real name, Gabrielle Brant. Marlee arrived in Grand Cayman and went to her hotel. This was their plan. She would use the 10 million dollars to buy and sell stocks in the tobacco industry. With the stocks fluctuating because of the trial and her buying and selling if she played it right she would double their money in days.
As Nicholas was swaying the jury towards a plaintiff verdict, Fitch was finding out about Marlee’s true past. Her mother and father both died of lung cancer and they were heavy smokers. This was Marlee’s pay back for her parent’s deaths. She got money from Fitch who was the tobacco co. and then doubled it by playing with cigarette stocks. She then would really hit the tobacco co. where it hurts with a large verdict for the plaintiff. It would be a double bang. The verdict came in, the jury found for the plaintiff $2 million in compensatory damages and $400 million in punitive damages.
The vote was 9 to 3 in favor of the plaintiff. Nicholas slipped into the night and had a Learjet take him to Marlee. Six weeks after the trial ended Marlee showed up where Fitch was eating lunch alone. She gave Fitch back the $10 million since she already made her money from using it in the stock market. She explained to him she was returning the money because it wasn’t hers and that she did this for her parents. She told Fitch she would always be watching him and if they went to trial again she and Nicholas would be there in some way.