The Medical Mafia
This is excerpted from The Medical Mafia, by Noel Gage, closely based on an actual event in his own life. This book is not yet in print.
Chapter 50 – The Lobbyists
Attorney General Kevin Black was furious. The insurance lobbyists might have been frightened had they not known this was coming and prepared for it. Mark Lindowen, Nancy Rosen, Bruce Abernathy, and Trevor Martin tried to let Black’s excoriation of them roll off their backs.
“What the hell are you doing to this guy?! You said you wanted to catch the guy. I didn’t know you were going to make the whole thing up! You’re having United States prosecutors lie, pay off witnesses, threaten people! This isn’t what you told me you were going to do!”
Mark, as the ranking member of the lobby, stood up. “Kevin, we’re stopping him from conspiring to defraud any other clients.”
“Any other clients? Mark, I’m following this case and there is no evidence he defrauded this one!”
“There are an awful lot of people testifying that he did. That he conspired with that Malachot guy.”
“Yeah, and those witnesses are being torn to shreds on cross! They’re all lying and anyone with any sense can see that. The judge damned near threw the case out before the trial even began.”
“Are you sitting in on this trial? How do you know this?”
“You’re kidding, right?” Black starred nonplussed at Lindowen. “I’m the Attorney General of the United States, for Chrissake! I can find out what’s going on in any courtroom in the country.”
“Well, if he’s done nothing wrong, why are there so many witnesses testifying against him?”
“Because you’re paying them to! Or threatening them with something, I don’t know.”
“Well, if you’ve been following the case, then you know there were millions of dollars he didn’t try to get for the woman.”
Black grew quiet, but it would have been dangerous to have thought he had calmed down. “Look,” he said, addressing all four of them, “you can tell me how insurance works all you want. That’s fine, it’s your job to know more about that than I do. But don’t tell me how to pursue a case. You don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Oh, Kevin, he didn’t mean that.” Bruce Abernathy said mildly, as he stood and walked over to Black. “He’s just frustrated because this case is not going the way we thought it would. Truth is, it’s not going well at all.”
Black stared in disbelief. When he spoke, it was through his teeth. “It’s not going well because there is no valid evidence. It’s not going well because you made the whole thing up and Gifford’s not lying down for it.” He stopped, the truth suddenly taking shape in his mind.
“That’s it, isn’t it?” he said. “You expected him to lie down. You didn’t think he’d fight. You have no case because you never bothered to prepare one because you didn’t think you’d need it.” The lobbyists were suddenly fidgety. Black started to laugh as the absurdity of it all rolled over him. The longer he thought about it, the funnier it seemed to him.
Nancy recovered first. “So, what if that’s true? How does that change anything? He’s still guilt of conspiracy.”
“Maybe. But you can’t prove a thing. You never intended to. You weren’t ready for this,” and he continued to laugh. They hadn’t done their homework! Either on the case or on the man they were accusing! It was the height of arrogance, and that was saying something for these people. The puny kid had stood up to the playground bully and called his bluff. The bully didn’t have a punch to throw! God, he loved it! He wanted to shake that man’s hand, buy him a drink.
Trevor Martin had had all he could take. “Well, I’m glad you find this so amusing, Mr. Attorney General,” he said. For some reason, that cut right through Black’s laughter. He walked back behind his desk, leaned his fingertips on the desk, and regarded the four lobbyists.
“You’re right, Trevor. It’s not funny. You’re destroying a man’s life. More than one man’s. None of the lawyers you accused of this conspiracy will ever get his life back to normal. Their careers are shot already. Federal prosecutors, people I am responsible for, are breaking whatever laws get in their way. How the hell can the country trust the judicial system when it pulls shit like this. You used the power of this office to browbeat witnesses into ruining the lives of people who were inconvenient for you.”
Then the gloves came off. “That’s right, Mr. Attorney General,” Martin hissed into his face. “They are making a mockery of the entire legal system. And you let it happen.”
“The hell I did! You never told me you were going to go to these lengths. You never told me the prosecutors were going to break the law. Repeatedly.”
Martin’s smile showed no signs of amusement. “You said it yourself, Kevin. You are responsible for them.”
Thoughts raced through the attorney general’s mind. It was true, he was responsible. What could he do now? Stop the trial? Tell the judge to dismiss the charges? Attorney general or not, he didn’t have the power to do that. He couldn’t tell a judge how to run his courtroom, not if he wasn’t doing anything illegal. And from what he could see, Adam Worthy had no part in this conspiracy. He registered briefly how ironic it was. There was a conspiracy, all right, but Gifford wasn’t involved in it.
Could he go to the news and expose the whole mess? He’d probably be asked for his resignation when it came out. Was it worth it? He would never be able to work in the legal field at all after that. And besides Nicholas Gifford, who would be better off for it? Okay, besides Gifford and the law of the land. But if he did nothing, if he let this travesty continue, he’d just be digging the hole he was in deeper and deeper. And think of what he was doing to the judicial system by allowing this to continue. It can’t be all right for federal prosecutors to continuously break the law without any consequences.
What it came down to was: Who did he want to be? And then he knew. He wanted to be a man who could hold his life up as an example to his children. He wanted to be a man he could be proud of. Unemployed perhaps, but proud. The clarity dawning on his face was clear to the lobbyists and it frightened them. A little. They looked at each other solemnly and silently agreed it was time.
Nancy Rosen very slowly got up out of her chair and walked up to Black’s desk. “You know, Kevin,” she began, softly, “that trip to the Caribbean you took your family on in November of last year…”
Her calm and quiet was not a good sign to Black. “What about it?” he asked carefully.
She shook her head. “You shouldn’t have paid for it out of federal funds.”
“What are you talking about? I didn’t.”
Nancy pulled the lobbyists’ trump card. “You did if we say you did.”
Black paled, but did not fold. He didn’t give up that easily.
“It would be your word against mine. And I think we all know people would rather believe the attorney general than a bunch of insurance lobbyists.”
“They don’t have to believe us. As you’ve seen for yourself, the accusation will be enough.”
Black shuddered inwardly, but he still had some cards to play. “I’m not elected. The president’s not going to fire me on your word, no matter what the media may do with it.”
“Probably not,” Nancy conceded. “But he might…if there’s proof.”
“What proof? You can’t have proof of that. There is no proof because I didn’t do it.”
“You know, Kevin,” Lindowen joined in, “software is so sophisticated now, you can fabricate a convincing copy of anything you want. Hell, receipts are easy. We can come up with non-existent receipts for just about anything.”
No. This could not be happening. He did a favor for them and now they were talking about destroying his life. Sure he could show the receipts to be fakes, but how long would that take? And while the president might believe him, the public wouldn’t.
And that’s when he got it. He knew exactly how these witnesses were being coerced into lying, saying whatever the prosecutors had told them to say.