The large conference room at the United States Marine Corps base was filled to overflowing. Outside the room, a squad of armed guards was on the alert. Inside was an extraordinary gathering. A special grand jury was seated in chairs against the wall. On one side of a long table sat Adam Warner, Robert Di Silva and the assistant director of the FBI. Across from them sat Thomas Colfax.
Bringing the grand jury to the base had been Adam's idea.
"It's the only way we can be sure of protecting Colfax."
The grand jury had agreed to Adam's suggestions, and the secret session was about to begin.
Adam said to Thomas Colfax, "Would you identify yourself, please?"
"My name is Thomas Colfax."
"What is your occupation, Mr. Colfax?"
"I'm an attorney, licensed to practice in the State of New York, as well as in many other states in this country."
"How long have you been practicing law?"
"For more than thirty-five years."
"Do you have a general practice?"
"No, sir. I have one client."
"Who is your client?"
"For most of those thirty-five years it was Antonio Granelli, now deceased. His place was taken by Michael Moretti. I represent Michael Moretti and his Organization."
"Are you referring to organized crime?"
"I am, sir."
"Because of the position you held for so many years, is it a fair assumption to say that you are in a unique position to know the inner workings of what we shall call the Organization?"
"Very little went on there that I did not know about."
"And criminal activities were involved?"
"Would you describe the nature of some of those activities?"
For the next two hours, Thomas Colfax spoke. His voice was steady and sure. He named names, places and dates, and at times his recital was so fascinating that the people in the room forgot where they were, caught up in the horror stories Colfax was telling.
He talked of murder contracts given out, of witnesses killed so they could not testify; of arson, mayhem, white slavery - it was a catalogue out of Hieronymus Bosch. For the first time, the innermost operation of the largest crime syndicate in the world was being exposed, laid bare for everyone to see.
Occasionally, Adam or Robert Di Silva would ask a question, prompting Thomas Colfax, having him fill in gaps wherever necessary.
The session was going far better than Adam could have wished when suddenly, near the end, with only a few minutes left, the catastrophe occurred.
One of the men on the grand jury had asked a question about a money-laundering operation.
"That happened about two years ago. Michael kept me away from some of the later stuff. Jennifer Parker handled that."
Robert Di Silva said, "Jennifer Parker?" There was a bursting eagerness in his question.
"Yes, sir." A vindictive note crept into Thomas Colfax's voice. "She's the Organization's house counsel now."
Adam wanted desperately to quiet him, to keep what he was saying off the record, but it was too late. Di Silva was going for the jugular vein and nothing would stop him.
"Tell us about her," Di Silva said tightly.
Thomas Colfax went on. "Jennifer Parker's involved in setting up dummy corporations, laundering money..."
Adam tried to break in. "I don't - "
The word hung in the room.
Adam broke the silence. "We - we have to stick to the facts, Mr. Colfax. You're not trying to tell us that Jennifer Parker was involved in a killing?"
"That's exactly what I'm telling you. She ordered a hit on a man who kidnapped her son. The man's name was Frank Jackson. She told Moretti to kill him and he did."
There was an excited murmur of voices.
Her son! Adam was thinking: There has to be some mistake.
He stammered, "I think - I think we have enough evidence without hearsay. We - "
"It's not hearsay," Thomas Colfax assured him. "I was in the room with Moretti when she called."
Adam's hands under the table were pressing together so hard that they were drained of blood. "The witness looks tired. I think that's enough for this session."
Robert Di Silva said to the special grand jury, "I'd like to make a suggestion about procedure..."
Adam was not listening. He was wondering where Jennifer was. She had disappeared again. Adam had repeatedly tried to find her. But now he was desperate. He had to reach her, and quickly.
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