Sugar Free Page 51

No one could take that statement from her as a compliment, as the derision in her voice conveys a distinct lack of respect for Beck’s attorney.

Nichols answers instead. “I am indeed a big gun all the way from New York, Miss Hammond, but I’m not representing Mr. North or Miss Halstead.”

“Then why are you in this room?” she snaps.

Nichols opens the laptop that has been sitting in front of him completely ignored until this moment. He punches a few of the keys and turns it to face Hammond as he says, “Because we have evidence that proves Miss Halstead acted in self-defense and Mr. North was not there when it happened.”

And yup…that’s a strangled noise she makes now, followed by a scoffing cough. “You can’t expect me to believe—”

“Miss Hammond,” Nichols interrupts with a feral flash in his eyes. “I strongly suggest you be quiet and watch this before you embarrass yourself further.”

Seven hours earlier…

There’s a knock on the door and Beck gets up from where he sits next to me at the dining room table to answer it. Kerry’s on the other side, looking flustered. “Sorry I’m late, traffic was a bitch.”

“No worries,” I say from my seat as she walks in and looks around at the people assembled. She nods at Doug, who’s sipping on coffee, but looks curiously at Dennis, who is sitting beside me.

Beck makes introductions.

“Kerry, this is Dennis Flaherty. He’s an investigator who works for me. And that man over there”—pauses and points to Roger Nichols, who is standing in the living room texting on his phone—“is Dennis’ attorney from New York.”

He looks up from his phone, walks into the dining area, and extends a hand to Kerry. “Roger Nichols.”

She shakes it as she asks Beck, “So what’s going on? What’s so urgent you asked us all here?”

Beck moves and pulls out a chair for Kerry, then comes to stand behind me. Neither Beck nor I have any clue why we’re all here. We just did what Dennis asked, which was to gather our attorneys.

That’s done and Dennis, interestingly enough, brought his own attorney in from New York. When we’re all seated around the table, Dennis pulls his iPad out from his briefcase sitting on the couch and turns to us. “When Beck originally hired me to work for him, it was to investigate JT and see if the identifications of Sela’s other attackers could be made. As part of my service, I set up surveillance on Mr. Townsend, which included tapping into his home security system. I was trying to see if he had any contact with the other attackers or use any of his conversations to find out more about them.”

A jolt of surprise stiffens my spine and I tilt my head up and to the side to look at Beck standing behind me. His eyes are filled with shock and confusion as they return my stare.

Dennis taps on the screen of the iPad and a black-and-white video starts to play. At first, I can’t place what I’m looking at, but then I understand. It’s the inside of JT’s den taken from the southwest corner of the room. The couch and back wall of windows runs across the top of the screen, and the desk where we had our scuffle sits at the bottom right.

And holy shit, that’s JT walking in from the left with me following.

I gasp as I realize what I’m looking at.

The actual events of that night.

I’m even more stunned when I hear JT say like a ghost from the past, “Want something to drink?”

My head snaps toward Dennis and he gives me a casual smile. “I was able to tap into video and audio. He had a state-of-the-art system set up but it wasn’t activated. He wasn’t paying any company to monitor his house. It was ridiculously easy to hijack the feed, which we routed straight to my office server.”

We all watch in silence, but there’s no mistaking the increasing buzz of energy as the video continues. Kerry gasps when I pull my gun on JT.

Doug cringes when JT walks up to me, lets the barrel push into his chest, and says, “I dare you to fucking do it, Sela.”

And Beck’s hands come to wrap around me from behind as he mutters, “Jesus fuck” when JT’s hands wrap around my throat and he screams, “You goddamn filthy cunt!”

Beck curses again when JT admits to raping Caroline and Kerry mutters, “Unbelievable.”

We all watch as JT tries to kill me and then I pull out a miracle of all miracles…the letter opener. I have to close my eyes as my arm swings and makes contact. I don’t open them again until I hear his body hit the carpet with a thump.

Dennis taps a button on the screen and stops the video, and we all stare back at him in stunned silence. You’d think he’d be gloating right now. You’d think we’d all be screaming and dancing in victory.

But as stunned as I am by Dennis having this, I have no clue how this can help.

“Well, someone say something,” Dennis says lightly to the group.

“Is that enough to get Sela and me off the hook?” Beck asks to no one in particular as he straightens up from behind me but keeps his hands on my shoulders.

“It definitely proves self-defense,” Kerry says confidently. “No jury will convict her after watching that.”

“And it proves Beck wasn’t there,” Doug says with wonder in his voice that he’s watching evidence that completely exonerates his client. But then his tone turns somber. “But the video would have to be authenticated.”

“What do you mean?” Beck asks. “There’s no doubt that’s JT and Sela on that video. It’s crystal clear.”

Doug shakes his head. “Doesn’t matter. Before it could come into evidence, it would have to be authenticated by the person responsible for the video.”

All heads turn toward Dennis. He nods to Roger. “That’s why I asked my attorney here. He’s already seen this, and obviously there are certain repercussions for me.”

Roger nods. “Invasion of privacy, which is a criminal offense. It carries up to six months in jail and a thousand-dollar fine.”

“Then we can’t use it,” I say as my heart sinks. “No way we’re putting Dennis out there like that.”

“Well, Roger and I came up with an idea,” Dennis says, and I can’t help the hope that swells up in my chest again. Beck’s fingers dig into my shoulders. “We take this to the DA and let her watch it. See if she’ll do the moral thing and accept it. If she doesn’t, we then threaten her with a leak to the press. Worst-case scenario, I’ll testify and authenticate it. I’m not too worried about criminal charges against me anyway, but I’d rather avoid the possibility first by trying out this idea.”

Source: www_Novel22_Net

Prev Next