02-20-2013, 12:57 AM
Monique rose from her seat and stepped daintily to the witness stand. The attorney for the plaintiff administered the oath and asked her to be seated. The attorney stepped up to the stand without the Milton Dewey theatrics and got to the point.
"Ms. Wesley, did you order the arrest of Mrs. Sarantakos and Father Mykolos on October **, 20**?"
"I did," she replied.
"On whose authority did you have them arrested?"
"Mine, of course. They were trespassing on private property."
"Do you have clear legal title to that property? When did you purchase it?"
"I offered ten thousand dollars for it, and I claimed it under the eminent domain law of this state, and the Fifth Amendement regarding public use."
"But you had no documentation of ownership at the time."
"At the time, no."
"So Father Mykolos was still the legal owner of the property at the time of the arrest."
"I had ordered his eviction within thirty days of the original notice. As I stated before, I claimed it under the eminent domain laws."
"That does not answer the question, Ms. Wesley. Was Father Mykolos still the legal owner of the property?"
Monique drew a deep breath. "For the time being."
"Could you be more specific?"
"It's just as I said: for the time being that he resided there until the thirty days were expired."
The attorney picked up a file from his table. "From the last suit regarding this case, it was ruled that you had no legal claim to any property in North Las Vegas whatsoever. You tried to use the Fifth Amendement and the eminent domain laws to unlawfully sieze property from private owners for your own purposes. Your attorney even tried to invoke Poletown vs. GM-Cadillac to defend your actions. Yet the judge overruled it, and you were ordered to pay restitution to the residents of North Las Vegas. Is that true, Ms. Wesley?"
"Unfortunatly, yes," she replied, "but we are appealing it."
"I see. But for the time being, as you put it, you had Mrs. Sarantakos and Father Mykolos arrested under false pretenses--"
"They were not false pretenses!"
"--even though Father Mykolos was still the legal owner of the property and had given Mrs. Sarantakos permission to stage a protest on said property." He set the file down in disgust. "Ms. Wesley, being the CEO of a major corporation does not give you the right to strongarm anyone into giving you their land, no matter what the law may say--or what you think it says. Your avarice has given you nothing but a bad reputation, even worse than the late Leona Helmsley. Your own board of directors have ousted you from your position at SilverStar Enterprises--"
Criss sat up, startled at this news. Ousted? The board of directors had kicked her out of the corporation? This was heavy news, yet he could not help but savor the feeling of schadenfreud over Monique's fall from grace. It served her right, he thought. She got what she deserved for all the misery she had caused him, his mother, the church, and the entire community of North Las Vegas. It was poetic justice.
"--though it will be years, if not decades, for it to rebuild the integrity it once had before you took over as CEO. On top of all that, you are suing my client for a remark he made to you which you twisted into an assault charge."
"He threatened to punch me! That is not a 'remark', Counselor, that is a threat!"
"My client said he 'wished you were a man for about five minutes', Ms. Wesley."
"He said he wanted to punch my lights out, Counselor! That was assault!"
"If you were a man, Ms. Wesley, not as a woman."
"What difference does it make? It's still an assault!"
"Did you see Mr. Angel make any move to strike you, Ms. Wesley? Did he raise his fist against you?"
"He threatened to punch me," Monique insisted. "That was all it took."
"But he made no move physically? Remember, Ms. Wesley, you are under oath."
"Not at that moment," Monique replied, but added hastily, "but he was ready to, I could tell."
"Did you see Mr. Angel make a fist?"
"I saw the anger in his eyes only. It was as threatening as a fist."
"But no physical movement toward you."
"Not at that moment. I was lucky to escape with my life."
Criss rolled his eyes. Oh, boy, the BS just keeps getting deeper and deeper. She just won't quit, will she?
"You may leave the stand, Ms. Wesley."
Monique rose and tripped daintily to her seat next to Milton Dewey. The attorney was about to call Criss back to the stand when a uniformed guard slipped into the courtroom and handed a message to the bailiff, who in turn handed it to Judge Jewel, who unfolded it and read the content of the sheet. The Honorable Judge Jewel rose from the bench.
"This court is recessed for fifteen minutes," she announced, bringing down her gavel with a bang.
Criss looked at his attorney, bewildered. "What's the deal?" he asked.
His lawyer shrugged. "Can't say," he replied. "This has never happened before, at least in my experience. Must be some sort of emergency. We won't know until court reconvenes."
"Well, I'm gonna grab a bite to eat," Criss said. "I'm sure it's no big deal if it's only for fifteen minutes."
"If it interrupts court proceedings," his lawyer told him, "it is a big deal."
"You said you were gonna nail him," Monique hissed in Dewey's ear. "You said you were gonna force him to admit to assault. You questioned him for a full fifteen minutes and he didn't even break a sweat. What's the matter with you?"
"Monique, honey, don't sweat it!" Dewey assured her. "Just because he won the first round doesn't mean he won the fight. I"ve cracked tougher nuts than this one. So relax, this case is in the bag!"
"It'd better be," Monique said through gritted teeth, "because this is one case I can't afford to lose. If we blow this, we're both in the soup."
"We're not gonna blow it," Dewey insisted. "Round two will be a TKO, and Criss Angel will be flat on the mat. And you and I will be ten million dollars richer. Trust me, everything will be all right."
Meanwhile, Criss was in the small sundry shop on the lower level of the courthouse, buying a sandwich. The slim brownette cashier recognized him and doubled over squeeing in ecstacy. "Ohmigod! It's you! It's really you!"
"Uh, yeah, it's me," Criss said, "or at least I think it's me. It was when I last checked. Hold on just a minute."
Criss glanced in the large security mirror overhead. "Yep, it's me all right. How ya doin'?"
The cashier and two other customers laughed at Criss's little joke. One customer, a burly maintenance worker in faded grey coveralls, set down his two-liter bottle of Diet Coke and turned to him. "Hey, Criss, how about some magic?"
"You wanna see some magic?"
"Yeah, I wanna see some magic. Go for it."
Criss whipped out a bandana and held it up. "This bandana has special properties," he said. "You can buy it at the MindFreak Store for three million dollars." He held up the bandana in front of the glass case filled with doughnuts and other pastries. "Now, watch."
He slipped his hand under the bandana and through the glass panel. The cashier, the worker, and the other customer, a dreadlocked Jamaican type, looked on in amazement as Criss pulled away the bandana to reveal his arm halfway into the case right through the glass. Criss picked up a strawberry danish from the shelf, concealed his arm with the bandana and withdrew it from the case, pastry and all.
"You like danish?" he asked the worker.
"Yeah, I like danish," the worker replied, taking the pastry from Criss's hand. "You're damn good, you know that?"
"Yeah, I know it," Criss replied casually. He picked up his sandwich (free of charge on the cashier's insistance) and left the shop, leaving the three amazed at what they had just witnessed.
"Hey, you got security tape in this shop, mon?" the Jamaican asked.
"Yeah, we do," the cashier replied.
"If you send that tape in to TV, they pay you money for it, you know?"
"No way," the cashier said, shaking her head, "I'm keeping it for myself!"
Court reconviened in the time it took Criss to scarf down his sandwich. Again the order to rise as the judge entered the courtroom, and the order to be seated. The Honorable Cassandra Jewel adjusted her glasses and stared directly at the two parties before her.
"Will the counsel for the defendant please rise?" she commanded.
Dewey rose from his seat, not knowing what to make of this. The judge stared at him severely.
"Mr. Dewey, it has come to my attention that you had been suspended from practice by the Ethics Committee of the State Bar until your hearing," she said. "That suspension took effect two days ago, yet here you are representing your client. Explain, please."
Dewey swallowed hard. "Your Honor, I had no knowledge of any action taken by any committee of the State Bar," he said. "This is as much a surprise to me as it is for you."
Yeah, like hell it is! Criss thought.
"I assure you, Your Honor, my intentions here are purely honorable," Dewey insisted.
"From what I know of your record, Mr. Dewey, your intentions have always been far from 'honorable'," Judge Jewel said. "For years you have twisted and distorted the law, and manipulated the legal system for your own purposes. Your ulterior motive was to win huge cash settlements for your well-heeled clients, regardless of the evidence or the facts. The law is designed to preserve order and to redress grievances, not to be used as a hustle. Even now you have flaunted the decision of the Bar to gain an outrageous ten million dollar settlement for a seemingly harmless quote from the plaintiff, Mr. Angel. What Mr. Angel had said may have been construed by you as an assault, but no direct threat was made to your client, either verbally or physically. He had been quoted as saying he wished you 'were a man so he could punch your lights out,' not 'I'm going to punch your lights out'. Therefore, the assault charge is dropped."
Criss sighed with relief. He had just dodged the bullet that would have tainted his career. God and luck were on his side, he thought.
"Furthurmore," the judge went on, "since you represented a client on suspension of your practice, the court has decided to rule in favor of the plaintiff, Criss Angel, by default, for the total of one and a half million dollars to be paid to his mother, Mrs. Sarantakos, plus court costs."
Yes! Criss clenched his fists with glee. The system works!
"I hope this will serve as an example for those who use the legal system for their own enrichment," Judge Jewel concluded. "Case dismissed."
The gavel came down with a bang. Dewey's mouth flopped open and shut like a landed trout. Monique did a slow burn, glaring at her lawyer, then at a smugly grinning Criss. The latter rose from his seat and crossed over to the former CEO.
"I hope this will serve as a lesson to you for having my mother arrested," he sneered in her face. "No one harasses my mother or anyone else in my family, got it?"
Monique stared daggers at Criss. "I'll expect your settlement check first thing in the morning, Monique," he said, twisting the knife.
"You won't get (bleep) from me, you (bleeper)." Monique retorted defiantly. "You may have won the battle, but you haven't won the war! Just you wait, Angel--I may be down now, but I am far from out! You'll see! I'll be back on top before you know it!"
"From what a lot of guys told me, you were on top a lot during your career," Criss quipped. "And on the bottom, too, on occasion. Was that how you got to be CEO?"
Monique slapped Criss across the cheek and stormed out of the courtroom. "Was that supposed to hurt?" he called out after her. "I can sue you for battery, you know."
He rubbed the tingling sensation on his face with his hand and turned to Milton Dewey. "So, long, Milt," he said jovially. "Good luck with the Ethics Committee--you're gonna need it!"