The Trial Of D. J. Strumps
Who can say how the name of the offender slipped past the judge? Perhaps it was the hour - the wee, wee hours of morning. It could have been the volume of traffic. (After a few dozen cases some things just get by.) Whatever it was the warrant had been issued for one D. J. Strumps. The detective who applied for the warrant was there in the courtroom to pick it up. His partner was with him. They looked at each other in disbelief. Now, to serve it. It was hard enough to get into the White House. Getting in to arrest the president? They imagined an army of Secret Service wearing Kevlar under their off-the-rack suits brandishing MP-5s consecutively laying down their lives to defend their principle. Still, the house was in their jurisdiction. The crime was in their jurisdiction. Obviously, there was enough evidence to obtain a warrant. If the guy didn't want to get arrested he could have done like everybody else who's never seen the inside of a hoosegow - obey the law. He didn't. He had to have his day in court.
"You know," said Sergeant Adams after a long, brooding silence, "we can't just go walking up to the White House and knock on the door."
"No kidding," replied his partner Sergeant Jefferson.
"And, we can't go into the White House carrying pistols, either."
"Your brilliance is astounding," came the droll response.
"So, how are we going to do this?"
"You tell me."
"We could take the tour."
"What, and slip away - go wandering around looking for his TV room?"
"Maybe when he comes out we can get him."
"You ever seen the caravan he travels with?"
"We'd need a tank."
"He has air support."
"Who do you know in the White House?"
"Who do I know in the White House…who do YOU know in the White House?"
"I don't know anybody in the White House."
"What if we can lure him to a spot where we can drop a net over him?"
"What…leave a trail of Kentucky Fried Chicken legs down the sidewalk up to the back of our van?"
"You're not really helping."
"What can I say? I never expected to get this far with this."
"Look. The guy is a criminal. He committed a crime against one of our taxpaying citizens. Anybody else who did this would be in a cell right now. Besides, if he didn't want to be in our jurisdiction, he could have gotten a job with a better housing arrangement. We can't allow the fact it's difficult do the deciding for us."
"I do like the lure idea, though. He assaulted one lady. We can get him to try to assault another. You don't think he takes the Secret Service everywhere he goes, do you?"
"I was thinking the same thing, pard, the very same thing."
Of course, it was easier and more likely a D.C. cop would know a high-priced hooker before he'd know a White House employee. However, the "high-priced" part would be another obstacle. Neither of them had that kind of money. Getting the department to finance it could be seen as funding entrapment, but they weren't going to try to catch him with a hooker. They just wanted to arrest the guy, with this warrant in hand, away from his entourage. The over-aged bodyguard would be no problem. They'd certainly have their guns out first. Jefferson contacted someone he'd met during his days with vice. She wanted $1500 for the evening. He got her to come down to $900 for old time's sake. Adams raised his eyebrows at this, but he didn't ask. The idea was to have this leggy blond hover around Limo 1 on the president's side of the car. She'd show a little this, and show a little that, and with any luck, the window would roll down. They'd follow. It was likely he'd drive her to a posh hotel, one that didn't say "Strumps" on its front, so there'd be no pesky employees to wade through. Nabbing him at the elevator would be simplest. Cuffing him and escorting him out the back would ensure a head start on the avalanche of people sure to begin as soon as word got out.
It was well-known the president spent evenings at a hotel he owned in town. People of varying importance would nonchalantly go there to spend copious amounts of money in hopes of impressing the president with their own importance. He, of course, loved this. His limo arrived. The ringer was a pro and knew how to let the Secret Service guys clear the area for the president, then slip up behind them as they moved their circle outward. She stood by the door, her back to it, and did some clothing adjustments, providing several advantageous angles for any possible onlooker behind her. Sure as the world, the window rolled down. She leaned over and appeared to listen to someone. The door opened. In she went. The limo drove off leaving the Secret Service guys holding back a crowd that didn't materialize as there was no one getting out of any limo at the moment. Scant seconds passed before it struck them what had just happened. Meanwhile, Limo 1 tailed by the two detectives drove a few blocks further up the avenue to another high-end hotel. The two got out. The detectives hurriedly parked and ran to keep up. The two went in, flagged on by the doorman. They flashed their badges, the doorman looked the other way as they entered. There they were waiting for the elevator.
"Sir, I have a warrant for your arrest," Jefferson said to the back of the president's head. He turned around in his own disbelief not really realizing what was just said to him. However, the grip the cop had on his wrist and the handcuffs were quite enlightening. He began to shout.
"Do you have any idea who I am?" The hooker decided to slip out the back.
"Yes, sir, and here's a warrant with your name on it." Adams held the warrant up to the president's face not expecting him to read it as it was well-known the president didn't like to read. The president got louder and started to become belligerent.
"You can't arrest me! I'm the president of the United States!" The two detectives paid no attention to him. He was cuffed. While he tried to talk them out of the arrest, they could hustle him to the rear of the hotel, which they did. They passed a couple of employees on the way out; one maid returning with her cart at her shift's end, and a busboy who was in the alley smoking a cigarette. Jefferson, who was as tall as the president, though not as overweight, pressed him against the wall of the hotel with one extended arm, a fist in his chest. The president's hands were cuffed, so he tilted backward in an awkward position unable to put up much resistance. Still, he bellowed, "I'm the president, goddamit! You can't arrest me!"
"Looks like they already did," the busboy offered stifling a laugh. The president gave him a dirty look. Then, the busboy had to laugh. "Cooperate, D. J. They'll go easy on you," he said then burst out into raucous laughter. He thumped away his cigarette butt and pulled open the heavy door to go back in to find someone to tell what he just saw laughing all the way up the hall. At that moment Adams squeaked the car to a stop. Jefferson pulled the back door open and forced him in, taking care to not let him bump his head, despite his stated policy on how to treat arrestees. All the way to the station the president clamored and wailed. "You can't.…" this and "you can't.…" that. Jefferson so wanted to backhand him in the mouth, then say he fell into a wall trying to escape, but Adams sensed it and tried to calm him down.
"Don't do it, partner. He's just a perp." Upon hearing "perp" the president redoubled his verbal output doubling its volume. When at last they arrived at the station, rolling around to the building's rear they were met by the officers Adams had radioed ahead to meet them in case they needed help ushering in their prisoner. They did. With his twisting, and turning, and heel-dragging compounded by his corpulence, they had to wrestle their bellowing perpetrator into a holding cell. He was in one by himself for fear other prisoners might take advantage of him. It would be a long wait until morning. Morning dawned early since the two detectives decided to sleep over at the station to get a head start on transferring their prisoner to the courthouse. He was out like a log. They had to get into the cell and shake him a few times to wake him up. At first, he was quite groggy, more so than is usual. They suspected medication of some sort. That could account for his manic behavior as well, however, they weren't ruling out a well-tended, fully-matured ego.
He eventually roused and his first major concern was his hair. It was in a rather desperate condition. Awry would be accurate. Just as they were beginning to feel a tinge of sympathy he starts with the bellowing again. Unable to muster the volume of the night before, he was more or less wheezing, but the verbiage was the same; don't you know who I am, you can't keep me here, you can't do this to me, etc. Again Jefferson thought a shot to the ribs with the butt of his pistol would straighten him out. Again Adams cut him off at the pass. Whatever happened from here on in you could rest assured will be under microscopic scrutiny. As they wrestled him down the aisle between the lines of cells, the prisoners his shouting had awakened (two hours early) were cursing him more loudly than he could complain. Once they closed the door behind them they could hear applause ring out behind it. "I know who you are, and you're really not worth this," Adams said quietly in his ear. For some reason that shut him up. "You can make one phone call. Make it good. You have three minutes."
"You have my cell," he said smugly.
"Do you have any change?" Adams asked benignly.
"I don't carry change," he replied rather haughtily. Adams dropped a quarter on the aluminum shelf under the phone. "I don't have any numbers. They're all in my cell."
"Dial 202-555-1212. That's directory assistance. Tell them who you want to call, they'll give you the number and return your quarter." Adams was an infinite fount of patience. He got a feeling this guy really didn't know how to do things like make a simple phone call. He was beginning to pity him. Of course, calling information and asking for the White House number was on the side of supreme idiocy. It would seem this service would be available to the president - to phone his own house. An information operator had all day to argue why didn't he have his own number if he's the president? He gave her an attorney's name and the building his
office was in. That was enough. After some muffled barking, and whining he was finished with a minute and a half to spare.
It was a quiet drive the few blocks to the courthouse. He cooperated with the transfer. The detectives handed him over to the courthouse boys who handled prisoners. Adams and Jefferson went around to the courtroom where Strumps was to be arraigned to make themselves available for any questions from the bench. An assistant district attorney was there to represent the city. She had a copy of the warrant. The detectives halfway expected her to say something signifying the magnitude of what they were trying to do, but she didn't. It dawned on them both at the same time, she didn't put together who the guy is. A desire to take some of that long-accrued vacation time then gripped them both at the same time. Mentally, they were tiptoeing out of the courtroom. Physically they were doing their best Bogart routine. "D. J. Strumps! Case number 70395!" a bailiff announced. Another bailiff went up to Strumps and signaled for him to move to the little podium in front of a plexiglass window to address the judge over a microphone. On the other side of the plexiglass half-a-dozen lawyers pushed their ways up to the judge's bench.
"How does he plead?" the judge asked not knowing which of them to address.
"Do you know who you have here?" one of the lawyers answered in a derisive tone that set the judge's jaw on edge.
"How does he plead?" the judge asked again.
"That's the president of the United States! You can't ask him how he pleads!" another of the lawyers said, raising his voice as he did.
"Which one of you legal beagles represents this man?" she responded in her this is my courtroom voice.
The six huddled together hissing for a couple of minutes. Finally, one pokes his head up, strides closer to the bench and says, "That would be me, your honor."
"How does he plead?" the judge asked yet again, having no trouble keeping her composure.
"Your honor. Do you realize you have the president of the United States here?" He tried not to sound condescending.
"I realize I have Case number 70395 before me, and you're here to enter a plea." She was now stern.
"I'm not sure you can do this, your honor. I'm not sure it's legal."
"Mark the defendant as non-responsive. Enter a plea of not guilty," she told the court recorder. "Any input as to bail?"
The ADA said, "We don't think he's a flight risk. We have no problem with OR."
"OR it is then. The defendant will be released on his own recognizance. We'll fix a court date for a preliminary at October 3rd; six weeks from now. If you have a problem with that argue it out amongst yourselves before you file anything in here. We're too busy to referee petty squabbles."
"Yes, your honor. We have no problem with the date," the ADA said firmly. The half dozen lawyers seemed uncertain about what they should do next.
"Gentlemen," the judge now addressing the half-dozen lawyers gathered before her, "the next time you enter my courtroom I suggest you be prepared. Bailiff!"
"Alberto Gonzales! Case number 70396!" the bailiff announced. The judge got her courtroom security chief's attention with a look, then nodded toward the half-dozen lawyers who still didn't seem to know what to do next. He, in turn, nodded to two of his people. The three of them gently but firmly herded the team of lawyers out of the courtroom. As they did a loud, belligerent voice could be faintly heard somewhere far off in the building shouting, "You can't do this to me! I'm the president! I'm the president!"
To say an explosion occurred when word of the president's arrest got out would be accurate. Every news outlet with bus fare to D.C. just had to have this story. The usual unwanted infestation of his front lawn by a teeming army of TV camera crews was, of course, impossible. Still, he complained he was beset on all sides "like no one has ever been before." What he and his lawyers discussed is a secret or several secrets. However, an inside connection with the narrator can divulge some of this. Initially, they discussed his arrest as a kidnapping, setting up the detectives for a capital crime. However, they weren't sure who the high-priced hooker was. She had slipped away and not resurfaced, something they'd expect to happen eventually. Then, they had the idea of claiming entrapment. However, though he was snared by two clever cops, they really couldn't present a believable case that using a high-priced hooker for bait, and it working, should be something the president would want published daily for a month on the front page of every newspaper in the world. Their combined legal expertise gave them the wisdom to understand clearly their client did indeed assault the lady in question on whose behalf the warrant had been issued, no matter what their client insisted to the contrary. This was, after all, not the first time. He'd even been captured on tape bragging about how he viewed assaulting women as a personal hobby with particular ego-gratification features.
In fact, the more they plumbed the depths of this dilemma, the less they could muster enthusiasm for defending this guy. The simple truth was, no one was there to exercise their outstanding courtroom skills or superior understanding of the law. They were there to concoct an elaborate lie to get their client, the president, off the hook. They all, to a man, had hoped their careers at the bar would lead to an honorable legacy, one of which the grandkids could be proud. Pursuing this cause held the obvious risk of sinking their careers entirely and branding them as the ones who tried, and failed, to get the president off yet another abusing females incident. The female in question would write a book and become a celebrity. They'd never get that appointment to the bench which was the economically secure culmination of any legal career. The more D. J. gesticulated, red-faced and slobbering, and shouted making their ears ring, the less inclined they felt to see him escape the noose. Conniving to oneself intentionally sabotaging one's own case was similar to contemplating suicide. It's not really dangerous until it becomes a plan. After six hours of wrestling the bear it was decided to break off the session until the next day, then come in with fresh minds and pick up where they left off. The president was a bit concerned they hadn't hashed out a plan almost immediately. His confidence wilted as he saw each of these august legal warriors don their coats, pick-up their briefcases and depart.
"Why couldn't this bitch just get groped and like it?" he thought to himself, feeling much the put-upon victim in all this. "If she wasn't asking for it she wouldn't have been alone on the elevator with me." He'd begun leaving out of his recall the fact he'd dragged her to the elevator to begin with. Since it was the freight elevator at his own hotel he knew there was no videotape. He was free to recall the event any way he wished. Who were other people to expect him to remember it the way they wanted? "All they had to do was say she was drunk, and couldn't possibly remember." This thought caused him to pout like he did at three years old when his mother accused him of intentionally breaking something. Unfortunately, the woman in question had gone straight to the police department once the elevator door opened, and sat down with Adams and Jefferson who could see she was sober as a judge sitting there in her disheveled clothing. It had taken Adams an epic wrestling with his own will to prevent himself from reacting emotionally. Jefferson didn't bother. He wanted to go right out and drag him back to the station. Adams, of course, knew strategy would be required (the point of cooler heads prevailing.) She assured them she would take the stand and tell the entire story. They could see no reason to not make an arrest. In fact, cases like this usually had a plea deal, meaning: The defendant had to plead guilty, then relate before the court all the details of the crime. The president had good reason to fret.
The story gets a bit shaky along here. There was much back and forth and many comings and goings over the intervening weeks. Several attempts were made by several attorneys acting in an official White House capacity, or as D. J.'s private attorneys. No matter what they filed or what they pleaded, or asserted they couldn't budge the judge. They tried to do end-arounds with higher courts. They tried subterfuge with threats to careers. They even filed a stay with the highest court which refused to hear it as it was not the proper jurisdiction. D. J. became angrier and more and more frustrated. He fired lawyers, then hired lawyers, all of whom kept coming up with the same results; "You have a court date October 3rd. Perhaps we should prepare a response." He began to feel people were laughing at him behind his back, which was pretty much true, and constituted the president's deepest insight of his entire presidency. He went public and assaulted the sitting judge's impeccable integrity. Certain yahoos who didn't care what the truth was, they just supported the president with a loyalty going back to his wrestling days, were eager to "believe" their poor president was being scurrilously attacked by his opposition in this most insidious and despicable way; though their actual vocabularies couldn't stretch that far.
He appeared by phone on Wombat News, a syndicated entertainment channel operating under the guise of serious news gathering. "It's all made up. Not a word of it is true," he exclaimed over the phone. Their audience was livid. They didn't even know the name of the person making the accusation, but they were convinced she was an opposition party operative who was lying her ass off just to get their hero and keep him from converting their country back into their own personal, private property. But, no matter what he did, October 2nd came and he still had a court date the next day. 'T was then he began conniving a more direct way out. He'd just stay home. Safe in the White House the Secret Service had his back. No puny local cops could get past them! Just let 'em try! It seems, however, just as in the days when women's suffrage was a ballot issue, many Secret Service agents had wives who were interested in if their hubbies were going to help their boss escape justice. The inquiries, apparently, were put in such a way these agents could see their foreseeable futures being played out in nights on the sofa in the den. Yes, there was a definite "him
or me" mood in the air. It seems womankind, a little over half the country's population, had pretty much had it with lecherous scum and would be happy to see their leader doing time.
The stage was set for a palace coup. The night of the second an anonymous tipster called the detectives, asking for Adams by name, and intimated that the hallway to the president's TV room would be free of obstruction should someone find the need to serve perhaps a bench warrant for non-appearance in a court proceeding. Adams set the receiver in its cradle with a whistle.
"What was that?" asked Jefferson.
"It was the cavalry," replied Adams.
"And, what did the cavalry want?"
"To tell us they weren't showing up."
"Did they, by any chance, say if the front door would be open?"
"Indeed they did and indeed it shall."