Something About You Page 32

“Agent Trask, during cross-examination, the defendant’s attorney asked you several questions about the arrangement you had with the defendant while you were working undercover. In your conversations with the defendant, did you have specific discussions that he would be providing you with security for drug deals?”

The FBI agent nodded. “Our arrangement was crystal clear. I paid the defendant five thousand dollars. In exchange, he agreed to serve as a lookout and to be ready to intervene in the event other police officers attempted to interfere with the drug transfer.”

“Is there any possibility the defendant was not aware that you were purportedly transferring narcotics?” Cameron asked.

Agent Trask shook his head. “None. Before each transaction, I confirmed that the defendant was carrying his firearm, then I would discuss with him the specific amount of cocaine or heroin involved. My partner would then arrive at the scene pretending to be the buyer, and the defendant would assist me in carrying the duffel bags of narcotics to the car. One time, he even joked with me and my partner that we were stupid to be doing the exchanges in fast food parking lots in the middle of the night—he said that would be the first place he and his fellow police officers would look for trouble. He informed us that if we wanted to deal drugs, the better location to do that was the train station.”

The defense attorney rose from his chair. “Objection, hearsay. Move to strike.”

Cameron turned to the judge. “It’s a preliminary hearing, your honor.”

“Overruled.”

Cameron wrapped up her redirect and took her seat at the prosecutor’s table. Because her office was swamped and understaffed, and because it was a preliminary hearing for what she considered to be a virtually open-and-shut case, she sat alone.

The judge glanced over at the defense attorney. “Any recross?”

“No, your honor.”

Agent Trask stepped down from the witness stand. Then, as he passed by Cameron’s table, the strangest thing happened.

He gave her a polite nod.

Cameron blinked twice, not sure she’d seen that correctly. Maybe he had some sort of tic she’d never noticed. Because for the last three years, the Chicago FBI agents she’d worked with hadn’t given her the time of day once they stepped off the witness stand, let alone the courtesy of a head bob. Apparently now that Jack was back, they’d decided to “forgive” her supposed crimes.

“Counselor?” the judge asked her.

She stood. “I have no further witnesses, your honor.”

The judge issued his ruling. “In light of the testimony I’ve heard today, along with the detailed FBI affidavit the government submitted with its complaint, I find there is probable cause to bind this matter over for trial. Trial is set for December fifteenth at ten A.M.”

They wrapped up the few remaining housekeeping items, then everyone rose as the judge exited the courtroom. The defense attorney whispered something to the defendant before making his way over to Cameron’s table.

“We’d like to talk about a plea bargain,” the attorney said.

Cameron was not surprised, but also not interested. “Sorry, Dan. It’s not going to happen.”

“There were several other Cook County Sheriff’s officers doing the exact same thing. My client can give you names.”

“I’ve already got names from Alvarez,” she said, referring to another man the FBI had arrested, a civilian, who had provided additional backup “security” for several of the fake drug deals.

“But Alvarez wasn’t at the meeting on June fourth,” Dan argued.

Cameron packed up her briefcase. “If I cared that much about the meeting on June fourth, I would’ve come to you with the deal instead of Alvarez’s lawyers.”

Dan lowered his voice. “Come on, Cameron—give me something I can tell my client. Anything.”

“Okay. Tell him I don’t make deals with dirty cops.”

Dan called her a bitch and walked off, taking his client with him.

Cameron shrugged and watched him leave.

Ah . . . it was great being back in court.

WHEN SHE GOT back to her office later that afternoon, Cameron spent a couple hours returning phone calls and kidding herself that she’d somehow squeeze in the time to work on an appellate brief she had due the following week. At six thirty, she gave in and wrapped things up. Never enough hours in the day, particularly not this one.

After clearing it with Officers Phelps and Kamin, she was set that night for her date with Max-the-investment-banker-I-met-on-the-Bloomingdale’s-escalator. They’d seemed to get a kick out of the story—a few weeks ago she’d been doing some shoe shopping on her lunch break and was on her way back to the office, on the down escalator, when her phone vibrated, indicating she had a new message. She saw it was a notification from the court on a ruling she’d been waiting for, so she’d gotten off at the landing to read the decision. When she’d finished, she forgot where she was and stepped right into the path of a man getting off the escalator. They’d collided, and her purse and shopping bag went flying.

“Oh my gosh, I am so sorry,” Cameron said as she stumbled, then righted herself. “I wasn’t looking.”

She caught sight of the tall drink of water standing before her. Not just tall, but also blond, bronzed, and gorgeous. She was looking now, all right.

She smiled demurely. “Oh. Hello.”

He spoke. “I think you dropped some things.”

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