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The jury was ready.
After forty-two hours of deliberations that followed
seventy-one days of trial that included 530 hours of
testimony from four dozen witnesses, and after a lifetime of
sitting silently as the lawyers haggled and the judge
lectured and the spectators watched like hawks for telltale
signs, the jury was ready. Locked away in the jury room,
secluded and secure, ten of them proudly signed their names
to the verdict while the other two pouted in their corners,
detached and miserable in their dissension. There were hugs
and smiles and no small measure of self-congratulation
because they had survived this little war and could now
march proudly back into the arena with a decision they had
rescued through sheer determination and the dogged pursuit
of compromise. Their ordeal was over; their civic duty
complete. They had served above and beyond. They were ready.
The foreman knocked on the door and rustled Uncle Joe from
his slumbers. Uncle Joe, the ancient bailiff, had guarded
them while he also arranged their meals, heard their
complaints, and quietly slipped their messages to the judge.
In his younger years, back when his hearing was better,
Uncle Joe was rumored to also eavesdrop on his juries
through a ?imsy pine door he and he alone had selected and
installed. But his listening days were over, and, as he had
con?ded to no one but his wife, after the ordeal of this
particular trial he might just hang up his old pistol once
and for all. The strain of controlling justice was wearing
--From Chapter One of The Appeal
Politics has always been a dirty game.
Now justice is, too.
In a crowded courtroom in Mississippi, a jury returns a
shocking verdict against a chemical company accused of
dumping toxic waste into a small town’s water supply,
causing the worst “cancer cluster” in history. The company
appeals to the Mississippi Supreme Court, whose nine
justices will one day either approve the verdict or reverse it.
Who are the nine? How will they vote? Can one be replaced
before the case is ultimately decided?
The chemical company is owned by a Wall Street predator
named Carl Trudeau, and Mr. Trudeau is convinced the Court
is not friendly enough. With judicial elections looming, he
decides to try to purchase himself a seat on the Court. The
cost is a few million dollars, a drop in the bucket for a
billionaire like Mr. Trudeau. Through an intricate web of
conspiracy and deceit, his political operatives recruit a
young, unsuspecting candidate. They finance him, manipulate
him, market him, and mold him into a potential Supreme Court
justice. Their Supreme Court justice.
The Appeal is a powerful, timely, and shocking story of
political and legal intrigue, a story that will leave
readers unable to think about our electoral process or
judicial system in quite the same way ever again.
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