Marcia Clark: 'Guilt By Association'

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Jake and I exchanged a look. We couldn't argue. From the moment Jake had transferred into Special Trials two years ago, we'd found in each other a kindred workaholic spirit. Being a prosecutor was more than a career for us— it was a mission. Every victim's plight became our own. It was our duty to balance their suffering with some measure of justice. But by an unspoken yet entirely mutual agreement, our passion for the work never led us into personal territory — either physically or verbally. We rarely had lunch outside the building together, and during the long nights after court when we'd bat our cases around, we never even considered going out to dinner; instead we'd raid my desk supply of tiny pretzels, made more palatable by the little packets of mustard Jake snatched from the courthouse snack bar. Not once in all those long nights had we ever discussed our lives outside the office — either before or after becoming prosecutors. I knew that this odd boundary in our relationship went deeper than our shared devotion to the job. It takes one to know one, and I knew that I never asked personal questions because I didn't want to answer them. Jake played it close to the vest in the same way I did: don't ask, don't tell, and if someone does ask — deflect. The silent awareness of that shared sensibility let us relax with each other in a way we seldom could with anyone else.

"Well, she's not entirely wrong, Tone," Jake said with a smirk. "She did get lucky — she had Judge Tynan."

Toni chuckled. "Oh sweet Jesus, you did get lucky. How many times did you slip?"

"Not too bad this time," I admitted. "I only said 'asshole' once."

"Not bad for you," Toni remarked, amused. "When?"

"During rebuttal argument. And I was talking about one of my own witnesses."

My inability to rein in my colorful language once I got going had earned me fines on more than one occasion. You'd think this financial incentive would've made me clean up my act. It hadn't. All it had done was inspire me to keep a slush fund at the ready.

"There is an undeniable symmetry to your contempt citations," Toni observed. "What did Tynan do?"

"Just said, 'I'm warning you, Counsel.' " I sighed, took another sip of my drink, and stretched my legs out under the desk. "I wish I had all my cases in front of him."

"Hah!" Jake snorted. "You'd wear out your welcome by your second trial, and you'd be broke by your third."

"Thanks for the vote of confidence."

Jake shrugged. "Hey, I'm just sayin' . . ."

I laughed and threw a paper clip at him. He caught it easily in an overhand swipe, then looked out at the clock on the Times Building. "Shit, I've got to run. Later, guys." He put down his cup and left. The sound of his footsteps echoed down the hallway.

I turned to Toni. "Refresher?" I said as I held up the bottle of Glenlivet.

Toni shook her head. "Nah. I've had enough of county ambience for one day. Why don't we get out of here and hit Church and State? We should celebrate the hell out of this one."

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