At first, as if through a glass darkly. But a lot of important things are like that.
Between the hospital record and Adrian, I could now account for much of Sephora’s time in the day leading up to the robbery, something Sephora was unable to do for reasons that were now obvious. Specifically, I knew where she was and more or less what she was doing between roughly 9 AM until maybe 5 or 6 PM on December 8th. From Adrian, I could also account for the period from roughly midnight on. What I could not determine was how Sephora wound up passed out in the back of Mechal Fuoco’s car around midnight, and where she had been or what she had been doing for the roughly six hour period before that.
In theory, of course, it should be enough for my purposes to show that she was passed out and not involved in the robbery itself, but in reality that’s not all there is to it. When you try a case – and as a trial lawyer you must always be thinking about the trial – your evidence has to support a coherent story that a jury can believe. Because the criminal defendant is a disfavored litigant, you must overcome skepticism. Consider that in this case, my own skepticism had to be overcome – and I was Sephora’s lawyer, predisposed to that. A jury has the opposite predisposition. So that six hour gap had to be filled in, somehow.
I got a bunch of Sephora’s medical records in the days leading up to the Grand Jury appearance. I had done quite a bit of personal injury work. I was used to reviewing medical records.
One thing that immediately appeared even more puzzling in retrospect after my interview with Adrian was Sephora’s emphatic assertions that Eric Harder had never been in her car, that she did not know him “…at all, whatsoever”. This was false, and from Adrian’s account it seemed that Sephora knew it was false, yet in every other respect the interview with Adrian led me to conclude that Sephora had been largely honest with me, if ultimately mistaken or misguided in what she thought she knew. Except this bit about Harder.
I took the medical records home and began reviewing them. There were quite a few over a one year period. I am always struck by how often many young women seem to go to the doctor. I thought there might be clues that would help me fill in the six hour gap. The Grand Jury appearance was in less than 48 hours and I had to scrap the statement I had crafted over the previous few weeks and come up with an entirely different narrative based on the evidence I now had, review it with Sephora and re-prepare her.
But the story the records told was quite unexpected. Suffice it to say, for now, that there was evidence in these records which, when coupled with Sephora’s odd but emphatic denials about Harder suggested that he had raped her. In fact, sitting at home reviewing those records was the second time in as many days that I experienced that dizzying paralysis resulting from a complete reversal in what I thought I knew.
In fact, in a way that still strikes me as strange and non-rational, or perhaps meta-rational, it was like I knew , sitting there in my dining room looking at some papers, that Harder had raped Sephora some time that day, even though neither the records nor her directly and explicitly said so, which you might think – and I certainly would have thought – entirely precluded such a conclusion.
Nevertheless, I have rarely been so immediately certain of an inferred fact.
What I didn’t know was when, or where, or how. Or why, if it was true, she hadn’t told me or anyone else. These are, of course, important details.