Prolog: “A Degree of Betrayal”

“They’re back!”

Maya sat stiffly in the courtroom at the defense table. As Defense Attorney Wilson predicted, the cautious judge had not been happy at the idea of having new evidence presented in his court at this late stage of the trial. However, he reluctantly agreed to meet with counsel for prosecution and defense at 8 a.m. to render a decision about the admissibility of the evidence.

Maya’s knees shook as she stood. She kept her eyes firmly fixed on Michael’s back, hoping that he wouldn’t turn and see the tears flowing from down her cheeks. On her left, she could feel the presence of the old man that she had dragged into the courtroom this morning.

The Prosecutor and Defense Attorney Wilson entered the courtroom, followed slowly by Judge Allan Davis. They had just come from their unexpected and brief encounter in the judge’s chambers. Maya could not read Wilson’ face. While the judge was busy shuffling his papers, she leaned over and asked, “Will he allow the new evidence?”

“He didn’t say,” whispered Wilson. “He understood the circumstances, and I think he realizes that the evidence has direct bearing on the case.” He paused and took a deep breath. “If he’ll just allow us to present it to him in court now, I’m sure he’ll see fit to have us enlighten the jury about our new evidence, too.”

Judge Davis banged his gavel and cleared his throat. “As you know, I have met with counsel from the prosecution and the defense to evaluate a rather unusual request by the defense to submit new evidence.” He pointed toward Wilson. “At this late stage of the trial. It is now incumbent upon me to make that decision.”

Maya held her breath.

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