Jefferson whistled. "Does this mean what I think it means?"
"You mean they met the guy?" Jefferson nodded. "Looks like it," Adams said with a hint of incredulity in his voice. "You don't think he'd really be a no-show...do yah?"
"If anybody would, this guy would."
That was a "what if?" they had to consider all along, since the arrest. Imagine trying to do that twice. Later that day Adams received an email using a bulk mail/no reply sending address with a sketched map of the White House floor plan where it had to do with where to enter, and how to get to where D. J. would be holed up. "They really must not like this guy," he thought to himself. The entrance was by a covered drive-through. They could park their car there with the door open, shove the perp in and drive away in no time at all. The TV room was surprisingly easy to get to, as well. The next day his case number was called. The bailiff called out "D. J. Strumps!" four times, then looked admonishingly at the judge. She ordered a bench warrant. Adams asked to approach the bench. He told her about the call and the email. She designated Adams and Jefferson to serve the warrant. They drove up to the gated White House entrance. It was open. The guard in the shack had his back turned and seemed to be reading a comic book. They drove through. Not a soul was in sight.
They found the entranceway marked on the map, left the engine running with the rear door on the side of the building open, and cautiously went inside - Adams holding the map. They easily found the TV room, its door shut, and could hear a TV blaring behind it. Adams looked up and saw the first lady down the hall. She obviously saw him, but expressionless she went on her way. Adams shrugged. Jefferson tried the handle. It was unlocked. He opened it quietly and peered into the room. There was the president his back to the door watching Wombat News on his wider-than-average widescreen. He was shouting encouragement to the entertainers pretending to be news presenters. "You tell 'em! That's right! Fake! Fake!" He was about to let out another "Fake!" when he felt a strong grip on his right shoulder. He looked up and saw Jefferson there with a grin on his face. "Hello, Mister President! So good to see you again!" For a moment horror spread across the president's face, then his ego once again took hold and out he came with the righteous indignation which was his running theme. "Who let you in here?"
"Why. No one," Jefferson said trying not to hide his delight. "We let ourselves in."
"Aren't you supposed to be somewhere, Strumps?" Adam asked as if he was talking to a schoolboy.
"O'dell! O'dell!" the president started shouting. Adams and Jefferson assumed he must be the Secret Service agent in charge.
"O'dell isn't going to help you," Jefferson said. He and Adams pulled Strumps from his seat, one on each arm. Jefferson expertly wound his prisoner's arm around and behind him turning him to cuff him. Adams handed him his other arm, and out the door went the three, down the hall to the entrance with the car, door open - engine running. Strumps was about to turn and bellow something at Jefferson. He kneed his prisoner behind his knee collapsing his leg then pushed him into the back seat. He muttered "Watch your head, D. J." as he did. Of course, Strumps knew berating the two detectives would get him nowhere, so he rode to the courthouse skulking out the window. Adams and Jefferson tried to pretend he wasn't there, but he was huffing and puffing in his outrage sounding like some sort of livestock in their car. At last, they arrived at the station and repeated the procedure. This time before the same judge as before, the very one that had released him on no bail as a gesture of trust.
"I'm glad you finally decided to join us," she said dryly looking at him over her glasses. "If you were out on bail I'd revoke it right now. Be advised you aren't leaving without bail this time. Bailiff, announce the case please."
"Case number 70395, D. J. Strumps versus Washington, the District of Columbia!" he announced.
"I suppose your counsel hasn't had time to arrive, Mister Strumps." The president stuck out his chin with a protruding lower lip. "Don't act sullen with me, Mister Strumps, unless you want to be looking at a contempt citation. Will you be represented by an attorney for this proceeding?"
"Yes, if he ever finds out where I am," Strumps haughtily replied.
"I imagine everyone knows where you are about now. However, in the interest of fairness you seem to find it difficult to muster, I will recess these proceedings for twenty minutes to give your counsel time to get here." Strumps harumphed, arms folded across his chest. "No need to thank me, sir." She retired to her chambers. Strumps sat at the defense table. An ADA sat at the prosecution's table. Adams and Jefferson sat in the gallery. They were to testify about the victim's visit and the subsequent arrest. There wasn't much to investigate. They had photos they'd taken of her that night in her disheveled dress, and they had her testimony. He, of course, would deny it happened, or use the SODDI defense (some other dude did it.) He'd question her character and motive. In fact at this point with this defendant, Adams and Jefferson were beginning to lose confidence in their chances. Outside the courtroom, an army of reporters waited with cameras and microphones. Outside the courthouse, a fleet of live news trucks was parked. After about fifteen minutes the doors swung open and in shuffled the half-a-dozen attorneys. The bailiff disappeared into the judge's chambers. After a minute he came out, and close behind him came the judge. They did the "all rise", she sat down then looked over her glasses at the defense table seeing the half-a-dozen ensconced there. "Gentlemen," she said heartily. "I see that we meet again. I certainly hope you're prepared this time." The one selected to speak the first time spoke up again.
"We are, your honor."
"Let us proceed, then," she said.
"First, your honor," Strumps' lawyer still standing raised his hand. "I have a motion."
"We'll hear your motion, counselor."
"Your honor, the defense moves the case should be dropped as this court has no..."
"I'm going to stop you right there, counselor. I'm not going to sit here and listen to you replay all the motions you've already had thrown back at you this past month and a half. If you have a motion you haven't made previously I'm willing to hear it. Barring that we will proceed."
"We do not, your honor."
"Then have a seat. Would the prosecution please proceed?" She was finished with him and he knew it.
The ADA then presented to the judge what evidence Adams and Jefferson were able to collect. As Adams suspected might happen the judge said she thought it was a bit thin. However, she was aware of a tape of the president, prior to becoming president, bragging to someone about this kind of behavior and admitting he not only has done it but that he does it frequently. He even seemed amused. Given this insight provided by the defendant himself, she felt the case should go to trial. Then the judged turned her attention to the problem of bail. "Mister Strumps, I gave you the benefit of the doubt as to your trustworthiness and released you on your own recognizance. You repay my consideration by not showing up for your court date. I had to issue a bench warrant and have two people bring you here at considerable inconvenience to them, I might add."
"I was coming, your honor," he said loudly but almost in an adolescent whine. "I lost track of the time, but I was dressed and ready." He honestly believed she should take him at his word on this, yet she was not so moved.
"Be that as it may, sir. The agreement was for you to show on your own effort, not by the effort of others. This you did not do. I shall now set bail for you. Does the prosecution have anything on this matter?"
The ADA held up her hand, "As a matter of fact, your honor, I do. Obviously, he's the president and resides at the White House. I don't know how the officers who did managed to get him out of there with no confrontation with his security, but I don't wish to take that gamble a second time. This defendant would also have the world know he's a 'very wealthy person' according to him. Since his charges are a Class-A felony, I think bail should be considerable both to reflect the seriousness of his crime, and with an amount that gets his attention this time." The judge seemed pleased with how the ADA phrased this.
"I must say I agree with the ADA on this. Does the defense have anything to offer?"
"No your honor. My client is willing to put up whatever bail your honor deems fit."
"Well then, her honor deems two million dollars 'fit'."
"I've got that," Strumps said smugly, his bottom lip protruding.
"I'll set a trial date for December 15th. That should be adequate for both sides. This proceeding is adjourned." She tapped her gavel once sharply then dropped it with a clatter as she rose and retired once again to her chambers.
It took the president a little more than three hours to at last finalize the arrangements for his bail. Firstly, he didn't actually have the money as he'd told the judge, though he knew where to get it. Or, at least, he knew someone he could lean on, make feel guilty, then wheedle the money out of. Secondly, as most people know courthouses are rarely conveniently placed near banks or other areas of commerce. At one time the great downtown squares had everything from lawyer's offices to hardware stores and drugstores that sold ice cream floats with that grand First National Bank of Wherever. Those days are long gone, and for the president, most of his financial buddies (if you could call them that) were in New York City. After some doing requiring so-and-so to call so-and-so who in turn called so-and-so who ran over there to pick up that then ran over here to drop it off, the county clerk was squared away. A much frazzled, befuddled and chagrined president finally made it home having done no presidential work all day. He'd been sequestered in the courthouse, almost in its attic, while others did the legwork to get things in order for his release. He was then somewhat disguised in janitor's clothing and hustled out the maintenance crew entrance into an innocuous automobile. When they drove past the flock of press, which they had to do, not one turned his (or her) head to wonder who was in that old, dented car in need of a paint job.
Later that evening, after he'd taken a nap and had something to eat, a meeting was hurriedly called so he could berate and hyper-criticize his so-called legal team for being unable to hold at bay the puniest of legal entities; some municipal judge and two city detectives. With the mass of high-class, overly paid, ivy league graduated legal eagle gray matter assembled before him, not one of these Einsteins of the Bar had anything more to say than, "It's your word against hers. They'll never make it stick." He shouted, "I coulda heard that on a Hawaii Five Oh rerun!" After much remonstrance, rebuke and reproach he seemed to tire of the game. He left the room and went back to his TV room to play with his smartphone. The bevy of attorneys was speechless. Though none of them had any trial experience, being contract, real estate and finance lawyers, they all had called somebody, who called somebody to pass word along to them as to what to expect, as well as what might be done. To a man the response was, from that wide net of inquiry spread out over the D.C. area, "It's his word against hers. They'll never make
it stick." This somehow, even to them, didn't seem enough. Of course, the sources of this wisdom, various attorneys who did have trial experience, might have elaborated. They might have added, "It all depends on how you pick the jury," and "As long as the jury doesn't think your client is a giant asshole." None of the attorneys consulted felt it polite or wise to add those two bits of information though they knew the entire case hinged on these two things, all else being equal.
Some will say it takes years of practice to get down the art of voir dire; questioning possible jurors to ascertain their desirability. The above-mentioned attorneys, once told to whom they were offering advice, knew none of the lawyers involved had ever selected jurors for a panel. In fact, they were willing to wager their only experience with it was while watching television, or the occasional movie. They knew as soon as they heard the questions the president was pretty much sunk barring an act of God. No one had a reputation for being a more scurrilous, womanizing ne'er-do-well. Most of the country was embarrassed he was even near the White House, much less its current occupant. In fact, the odds of finding a jury among the majority wishing to see him twist in the wind was so astronomical the joke became making a motion that the entire population of the country was tainted as a jury pool, and D. J. could not possibly get a fair trial as a result. What was funny was, it was probably true. Local trial attorneys knew the judge he was before. They knew she was more than likely insulted by his mere presence in her courtroom, and if he'd managed to run into a hanging judge, she was it. Many a round of scotch and water was tossed back for many evenings to come while chuckling over this dim reality. "It couldn't happen to a nicer guy," was the toast of the town during the next few months. The vice-president, a certain Mister Penny, was already practicing saying, "My fellow Americans, I come to you with a heavy heart...." in front of a mirror. It was all he could do over this span of time to keep from seeming enthusiastically eager.
His team of lawyers couldn't seem to agree on much, other than that something needed to be done. Half of the half dozen thought he should declare presidents can't be tried for petty crimes in Washington D.C. It was tantamount to giving him diplomatic immunity in his own country. They all knew for certain that none of this had been tested in court because no one had ever managed to arrest a president until now. Oh yes, there was one thing on which they all agreed. It sure was a dirty trick to lure the president with a high-priced call girl. Clever? Yes, but dastardly all the same. He tried to go about his day-to-day presidency tasks; signing bills with his tortuously flamboyant signature he'd been perfecting since high school, calling people on the phone to act informed about whatever it was they were dealing with, twittering to and fro with snappy wisecracks trying to perform on social media like the 70-something year old teenager. But, it just kept coming up. "What assault? Who assault? Where assault?" Didn't these reporters have real stories to cover? How about all his plans? He had a plan for everything! He consulted his media relations person. She was a mare of a woman from the deep south. "She probably clomps her foot on the ground when she counts to ten," he mused to himself. "I need these lies about an assault to stop!" he declared to her. "Yes, Sir Mister President," was her response. She was just happy to have an important job. Her integrity was an encumbrance if it kept her from saying she worked at the White House. She believed anything he said. (Some people from her hometown actually believed God had made him president to bring on World War III, half destroy the world and cause Armageddon, thus opening the door for their Messiah to make his second coming.) It was the ultimate in importance to help him achieve this, she thought. "I'll continue to tell them it's a lie Mister President," she had told him trying to reassure him. "I don't know why I gave you this job," he said to her back as she was leaving the Oval Office. She didn't stop. She walked right on out of there.
At last, the day came, and it was D.J.'s moment in court. To open this theater of the absurd the Secret Service had to first descend upon the courthouse facility, sweep it for bombs, place snipers on rooftops, clear windows facing places and sundry other things the Secret Service does when the president is in town. The D.C. police department was commandeered to provide shoe leather. The Air Force had jet fighters scrambled, fully loaded with orders to shoot to kill. There wasn't a whole lot of enthusiasm for the overtime involved. D.C. residents were none too happy with the disruption of their daily routine. This was all to culminate in the D.J. Show, The Greatest Show On Earth. No doubt, he'll have to take the stand and bellow, screech and all the other stuff he found necessary to do in order to demonstrate he was in charge. He left little doubt of that, only people couldn't quite figure out what he was in charge of. It certainly was not himself. But, when duty calls the dutiful must answer to keep their jobs. And, they must suffer silently, again to keep their jobs. Now and then the talking heads on the cable shows would call them "heroic." That was supposed to make it worth it all somehow, that and getting to appear "on TV" for five seconds. (Hi mom!)
They did the all rise, then the judge gaveled the court into session. Right off the bat, his lawyers tried their domestic diplomatic immunity plea. The judge doused that flame before it could flicker. They tried to claim no fair jury could be found because everyone in the world knew who D.J. Strumps is. The judge acknowledged how that might be a problem, but not in an accommodating way. In fact, she shrugged before she shouted, "Motion denied!" and pounded her gavel a nice shot. In fact, over the course of more time than he was president D.J. had insulted so many people in so many places he had no sympathy whatever in these particular precincts, and this was doubly true in D.C. D.C. hated D.J. So, the judge was relentless. And with the prelims over, the voir dire began. As they questioned jurors it became clear only a handful of people as a percentage thought D.J. was anything but a womanizing, greedy liar with a big mouth. Some clearly were licking their chops, eager for a chance to yank the cord on the guillotine. Unfortunately, the prosecution had to dismiss these folks, just as they had to dismiss the half-dozen or so who sneaked in wearing MAGA hats. And, much too quickly for the defense while miraculously fast for the prosecution, a jury of America's tried and true was seated. The judge instructed them as to what they were there to do, and what not to do. Then she said in a rather severe and authoritative tone (which D.J. honestly felt was only his to do) she said, "Mister prosecutor, your opening statement please."
The prosecutor tried the folksy approach, shunning the suit and tie power trip. He'd leave that to the defense. He ran down the gist of the story; the defendant saw a good looking woman. He was overcome with desire. He followed her to an elevator and entered it behind her. He then grabbed her by her hair on the back of her head, and tried to force himself on her. He managed to get a few sloppy kisses in and rip her dress before she swung around, hit the emergency door open button, stomped him on the foot gave him a good women's defense course shove of her palm into his nose, and while he stood blinking back tears trying to regain his orientation she fled out of the hotel, up the street to a police station, sat down with two detectives and swore out a complaint. Of course the defendant claims he never did such a thing, and never saw this lady in his life. (What else was he going to say. His attorneys were hoping they wouldn't find that out.) He called the two detectives, one at a time. They swore to her condition, state of mind and veracity in their own judgement the night of the incident. He then asked how they'd managed to arrest him, and before any of the half-dozen realized someone needed to object, and fast, sergeant Adams related the story to the jury about how they saw him pull a high-priced hooker (one they came to become acquainted with during the course of their duties with the vice squad) into his limousine leaving his Secret Service detachment clueless on the pavement outside, and rushed her to a swanky hotel near the one which bore his name, Strumps House. There, as they waited for an elevator, the two detectives managed to cuff him and load him into an unmarked car.
The hooker wasn't available to testify, so the prosecutor ended with the injured party relating her tale. All the while D.J. sat sneering at her, shifting in his seat leaning forward, now stretching backward. It wouldn't have surprised anyone if he'd done the forefinger and thumb pistol sign at her mafioso style. His attorneys thought the amount of noise it would require to stop him would create a disturbance as great as the one he was creating all on his own, and even they, at this point, had lost any enthusiasm they may have once had for winning in this courtroom. She, at last, left the stand, and the prosecution rested. "Is that all you got?" D.J. howled contemptuously. "Shhh! Shhh!" six defense attorneys hissed at once. The judge was not pleased.
"One more outburst Mister Strumps and I'll cite you for contempt."
"You can't do that to me!" he shouted, "I'm the pres...!" but before he could finish one of the six physically shoved his shoulder forcing his chair around to face him while another deftly stood up and slid on his butt across the defense table till he was between the judge and his client. A third rose and began, "Your honor, what my client meant to say was..." and before he could finish the judge was pounding her gavel.
"Counselor. Control your client, or I will." Two surly looking police sergeants, one at the jury room door and one at the judge's chambers entrance glared at D.J., their gym-pumped muscles bristling beneath their intentionally too tight short sleeves. It was obvious where their loyalties lie. D.J. took one look at the largest of the two and found a reason to suddenly quieten down. "Now." She knocked the gavel on its pad once more for good measure. "Does the defense have any witnesses?"
"No, your honor." As the one attorney now addressing the judge continued the other two subduing their client managed to push his chair almost to the railing behind the defense table. They had it turned so D.J.'s back was to the proceedings. The one who had sat on the table was now directly obscuring any sight D.J. could have of the judge, while the other one whispered as loudly as he could almost nose to nose with his client in hopes of overwhelming him enough to allow the third attorney to complete his statement. "Our defendant has provided the court with a statement denying the charges. As it's her word against our client's, with no physical evidence, no witnesses and no corroborating testimony we move the prosecution has no case and charges be dropped."
Of course, D.J. heard this, planted his feet firmly on the carpeted floor, and swung his chair around to shout, "Yeah, your honor!" There was a sharp snap of the gavel.
"I have to agree with defense counsel and request the prosecution drop the charges." The judge was stern.
The prosecution expected this. "Yes, your honor," was all he said.
Then the judge said, "D.J. Strumps, I cite you with contempt of court. Bailiffs, remove this man." The two large policemen took D.J. one on each arm, cuffed him, then escorted him out of the courtroom to be placed in a holding cell. The Secret Service agents present all looked on dumbfounded, but not one seeming to possess the need to act. There was another sharp tap of the gavel, and the judge said in her authoritative voice, "Call the next case."
And, so it was that the question of whether a sitting president could be tried for a crime was settled: Yes, if he can be dragged into the courtroom. The judge found him guilty of contempt in a separate session and fined him the maximum, fifteen-hundred dollars. She specified he had to pay in cash. D.C. wasn't going to accept any of D.J.'s checks. A family member managed to make it to the courthouse before it closed with the money, so the president was spared another night in the hoosegow. The entourage made it out to an awaiting motorcade which formed a long black parade back to the White House. Rumor has it he then teetered back and forth from celebrating a win and a tirade of anger because he had to go in the first place. Some of the White House staff managed to get anti-depressants from a friendly doctor employed nearby, thus averting their own nervous breakdowns until the thing passed over. Yet, some say, for D.J., nothing truly passes.