Judge & Jury

Judge & Jury

BY James Patterson & Andrew Gross

Andie DeGrasse, an aspiring actress and single mom, is not your typical juror. Hoping to get dismissed from the pool, she tells the judge that most of her legal knowledge comes from a bit part curling around a stripper's pole in The Sopranos. But she still ends up as juror #11 in a landmark trial against a notorious mob boss.

The case quickly becomes the new Trial of the Century. Mafia don Dominic Cavello, known as the Electrician, is linked to hundreds of gruesome, unspeakable crimes. Senior FBI agent Nick Pellisante has been tracking him for years. He knows Cavello's power reaches far beyond the courtroom, but the FBI's evidence against the ruthless killer is iron-clad. Conviction is a sure thing.

As the jury is about to reach a verdict, the Electrician makes one devastating move that no one could have predicted. The entire nation is reeling, and Andie's world is shattered. For her, the hunt for the Electrician becomes personal, and she and Pellisante come together in an unbreakable bond: they will exact justice-at any cost.

James Patterson spins an all-out heart-pounding legal thriller that pits two people against the most vicious and powerful mobster since John Gotti. Judge & Jury is a stunning feat by "one of America's most influential authors" (New York Times).

Chapter 3

JUDGE SEIDERMAN STARTED OUT by asking each of them a few questions. Name and address. What you did for a living. Whether you were single or married, and if you were, if you had kids. Highest level of education. What newspapers and magazines you read. If anyone in your family ever worked for the government or for the police.

Andie glanced at the clock. This was going to take hours.

A few of them got excused immediately. One woman announced she was a lawyer. The judge asked her to come up to the side of the bench. They chatted a few seconds, and she let her go. Another man complained that he’d just served on a jury up in Westchester. He’d only finished up last week. He got a pink slip, too.

Some other guy who was actually half cute announced he was a crime novelist. In fact, another woman in the jury pool held up his book. She was reading it! After he finished up, Andie heard him snicker, “I don’t have a prayer of ending up on this thing.”

Then, Judge Seiderman nodded Andie’s way.

“Andie DeGrasse,” Andie replied. “I live at 855 West One eighty-third Street, in the Bronx. I’m an actress.”

A few people looked back at her. They always did. “Well, I try to be,” she said, qualifying. “Mostly I do proofreading for The Westsider. It’s a community newspaper in upper Manhattan. And regarding the other question, I was, Your Honor, for five years.”

“Was what, Ms. DeGrasse?” The judge peered over her glasses.

Married. The nuclear option, if you know what I mean.” A couple of people chuckled. “Except for my son. Jarrod. He’s nine. He’s basically a full-time occupation for me now.”

“Please continue, Ms. DeGrasse,” the judge said.

“Let’s see. I went to St. John’s for a couple of years.” What Andie really wanted to convey was, You know, Your Honor, I dropped out in the fourth grade, and I don’t even know what exculpatory evidence means.

“And let’s see, I read Vogue and Cosmo and, oh yeah, Mensa. Charter member. I definitely try and keep up with that one.”

A few more chuckles rippled around the courtroom. Keep it going, she said to herself. Push out the chest. You’re almost off this thing.

“And regarding the police”—she thought for a second—“none in the family. But I dated a few.”

Judge Seiderman smiled, shaking her head. “Just one more question. Do you have any reason or experience that would prejudice you against Italian Americans? Or render you unable to reach an impartial verdict if you served on this trial?”

“Well, I once played a role in The Sopranos,” she replied. “It was the one when Tony whacks that guy up at Meadow’s school. I was in the club.”

“The club?” Judge Seiderman blinked back, starting to grow short.

“The Bada Bing, Your Honor.” Andie shrugged sheepishly. “I was dancing on one of the poles.”

“That was you?” a Latino guy cracked from the first row. Now a lot of people were laughing around the courtroom.

“Thank you, Ms. DeGrasse.” Judge Seiderman suppressed a smile. “We’ll all be sure to check out the reruns when they come around.”

The judge moved on to Rosella. Andie was feeling pretty confident she had done her job. She felt a little guilty, but she just couldn’t be on this jury.

Now, Rosella was perfect. A juror’s dream. She’d cleaned house for the same woman for twenty years. She’d just become an American citizen. She wanted to serve because it was her duty. She was knitting a sweater for her granddaughter. Oh, you’re a lock. Andie grinned to herself. Rosella hit every question out of the park. She was like a juror commercial!

At last the judge said she had just one question for the jury at large. Andie’s eye checked the clock. One fifteen. If she was lucky, she could still catch the Broadway number 1 and pick Jarrod up at school on time.

Judge Seiderman leaned toward them. “Do any of you know the name, or have you been associated with in any way, Dominic Cavello?”

Andie turned toward the stolid, gray-haired man seated in the third row of the courtroom. So that’s who that was. A few people murmured. She glanced at Rosella, a little sympathetic now.

These people were in for one scary ride.

Copyright © 2006 by James Patterson

Read by Joe Mantegna

Joe Mantegna won a Tony for his portrayal of Richard Roma in David Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross. Selected film credits include Bugsy, Searching for Bobby Fischer, and The Godfather III.

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