Order hardcover edition
Order e-book edition

New! short novel

Download from Amazon

table of contents

Click for text of an episode, or for audio. New text episodes added every weekday, audio frequently.



Chapter 13 - April 4, 2003 AM - Episode 1

Listen to podcast Listen to Episode

Initial Interview by NYPD Detective Mark Cohen 4/4/2003

Ahmed Qali  (9:01 A.M.)

Q:   Mr. Qali this is an informal interview. However, you do have the right to an attorney of your choosing. If you cannot afford an attorney, the City will provide one for you. Moreover, any statements you make to me today could be used against you in a court of law. This interview is being taped. Do you understand and agree to these conditions?

A:   Yes. I understand.

Q:   Do you also agree to these conditions?

A:   Is it necessary for me to agree?

Q:   I cannot proceed with this informal interview unless you agree to these conditions. However, you are not required to submit to a voluntary interview at this time and do have the right to be represented by an attorney.

A:   And, if I do not agree to these conditions and this interview, then what are the consequences?

Q:   You do have the right to be represented by an attorney to answer questions. Your willingness or unwillingness to cooperate cannot be taken as evidence of guilt or innocence. If you are not willing to submit to this informal interview, you can and may be legally compelled to answer questions. At such time, you will still have the right to be represented by an attorney.

A:   Am I likely to be “compelled” to answer questions?

Q:   That decision is not up to me. However, I can tell you that we are interested in learning more about your whereabouts early on the morning of April first and your relationship with the deceased, Lawrance Lazard.

A:   I believe that means I have no choice but to cooperate.

Q:   I must reiterate that, at this point, your cooperation is purely voluntary. You also have a right to be represented by an attorney. We cannot proceed any further unless you do agree to the terms of this interview.

A:   I have no choice. Please proceed.

Q:   You have a choice. Do you agree to the terms of this interview as I described them to you? Would you like me to repeat those terms?

A:   I agree to these terms. Please proceed.

Q:   Do you wish to be represented by an attorney?

A:   I already said...

Q:   You said you agreed to the terms. The terms include your right to be represented by an attorney. Do you understand and agree?

A:   Yes; yes. I have said that.

Q:   Do you wish to be represented by an attorney?

A:   No, no.

Q:   If, at any time during this interview, you wish to be represented by an attorney, please make that known and the interview will cease until representation has been arranged. Is that understood?

A:   Yes, it is.

Q:   I am now handing you a consent form in which you acknowledge that I have advised you of your right to be represented by an attorney and that you have elected to proceed without an attorney at this time. Are you comfortable signing this form?

A:   No, I am not. But I will sign it.

Q:   You should not sign this form unless you are comfortable with it.

A:   I will sign.

Q:   The transcript of this interview will show that you reviewed the consent form, signed it and handed it to me. What is your full name?

 A:  Ahmed Qali.

Q:   Do you have a middle name?

A:   I do not.

Q:   Are you married?

A:   No, I am not.

Q:   Have you ever used any other name?

A:   I have given you the English version of my name. In my native country and in other Arab countries, I use the Arabic version of my name.

Q:   What is that?

A:   Siyyid Ahmed Qali.

Q:   You said you didn’t have a middle name; it sounds as if Ahmed is your middle name and your first name is Siyyid.

A:   Siyyid is a title, rather. It means simply that I am a descendant of the Prophet.

Q:   Would native Arabic speakers consider these to be two forms of the same name?

A:   I believe they would.

Q:   Have you ever been married?

A:   No.

Q:   What is your address?

A:   145 111th street. It’s at the corner of 111th and Amsterdam. In Morningside Heights.

Q:   Is that in Manhattan?

A:   Yes. It is.

Q:   Is there an apartment number?

A:   Yes. It is apartment number two.

Q:   Does anyone reside there with you?

A:   I believe you already know the answer to that question.

Q:   For the sake of this interview, you must assume I know nothing. Would you like me to repeat the question?

A:   No.

Q:   No one else lives with you at that address?

A:   No. No, I don’t need you to repeat the question.

Q:   Does anyone else live with you at that address?

A:   I said I did not need you to repeat the question.

Q:   Please answer the question.

A:   Yes.

Q:   Who lives with you at that address?

A:   A woman named Rachel Roth.

Q:   Do you and Ms. Roth have an intimate relationship?

A:   We both pay equal shares of the rent.

Q:   That doesn’t answer my question.

A:   Then I don’t understand your question.

Q:   Are you and Ms. Roth lovers?

A:   I have told you we are not married.

Q:   Please understand that it is necessary for me to ask personal questions. I will rephrase my question. Do you and Ms. Roth have a sexual relationship?

A:   We do not. As I have explained, we pay equal shares of the rent.

Q:   Are you saying that Ms. Roth and yourself are only roommates?

A:   We are roommates, yes.

Q:   How long have you and Ms. Roth shared this apartment?

A:   Approximately three years and one month.

Q:   Has anyone else lived with you and Ms. Roth in that apartment during this time?

A:   Yes.

Q:   Who was that and during what time frame?

A:   I do not remember the exact dates. On one occasion my brother visited and stayed with us.

Q:   Approximately when was that? For how long was he with you on that occasion?

A:   It was approximately in March of 2000. He was with us for two days.

Q:   Has anyone else resided in the apartment with you and Ms. Roth for a period of longer than two weeks?

A:   No. No one has.

Q:   Was there a time during your co-residency with Ms. Roth that you had a sexual relationship?

A:   Please define what you mean by “sexual relationship”?

Q:   I think you probably know what that term means. I would appreciate it if you would answer the question.

A:   I believe your own President, Mr. Bill Clinton, has said that that term is difficult to define.

Q:   Are you a politician, Mr. Qali?

A:   I am not political.

Q:   In that case, I would assume you know what I mean by “sexual relationship”.

A:   I would like a definition of “sexual relations” before I answer that question.

Q:   A few minutes ago, I asked you whether you and Ms. Roth have a sexual relationship. You answered me that you do not. I inferred from that answer that you understood what I mean by “sexual relationship”. Would you like to withdraw that answer?

A:   I would not.

Q:   In that case, assuming I mean the same thing by “sexual relationship” now as I did when I asked the prior question about your relationship, please answer the question: At any time during your co-residency with Ms. Roth did you have such a sexual relationship?

A:   I would prefer not to answer that question.

Q:   Do I take that as a “yes”?

A:   As I said, I am not answering that question. Am I compelled to answer that question?

Q:   At this time you are not compelled to answer any question. Would you like to end this interview until you can be represented by an attorney?

A:   I have said that I do not now currently require an attorney.

Q:   I must warn that you that I will terminate this informal interview if you insist on remaining uncooperative.

A:   I believe I am being cooperative.

Q:   At what point during the three years that you and Ms. Roth lived together did you cease having a sexual relationship?

A:   I do not understand the meaning of “sexual relationship” well enough to answer that question. I am sorry.

Q:   Did your sexual relationship with Ms. Roth end when her sexual relationship with the deceased began?

A:   I do not know when her sexual relationship with the deceased began.

Q:   But you know she had one?

A:   I did not say that.

Q:   Do you know that Rachel was seeing Larry Lazard?

A:   Of course, she is seeing Larry. Of course I know that. Her firm is the banker for hackoff and she is responsible in her firm for that account.

Q:   Mr. Qali, please don’t play word games with me.

A:   My English is not sufficient—

Q:   Your English is fine. When did you first know that Rachel and Larry were having sex?

A:   I ... I do not have an interest in her private life.

Q:   Did you stop having an interest in her private life when you stopped having sex with her yourself? Was that when you found out that she was fucking her client, now deceased?

A:   Detective, I believe you are being abusive in the conduct of this interrogation.

Q:   This is an interview, not an interrogation. Would you like to end this interview until you can be represented by an attorney?

A:   I believe it would be prejudicial for me to end this interview.

Q:   You can believe whatever you like. I have explained that the choice is yours. We can have this discussion now, informally, or we can have a formal discussion in which you are under oath and are represented if you like, by an attorney.

A:   Please continue the interrogation.


coming back later, set blookmark here | display next episode now »

Buy hackoff.comTell a friendWrite a Review

Chapter 13 - April 4, 2003 AM - Episode 2

Listen to podcast Listen to Episode

Q:        When and where were you born?

A:         I was born on May 1, 1968 in Beirut.

Q:        Beirut, Lebanon?

A:         That is correct. Beirut is the capitol of Lebanon.

Q:        I have been told that you identify yourself as Palestinian.

A:         Yes, I am Palestinian.

Q:        But you were born in Beirut, which you have just reminded me is the capitol of Lebanon. How does that make you Palestinian? Have you ever lived in Gaza or the West Bank?

A:         I have never lived in the occupied territories. My family is from Palestine...

Q:        Did they live in Gaza or the West Bank?

A:         They lived in what is now called Tel Aviv. That was their home for many generations. They were driven from there. Our house was confiscated by Zionists. They went into exile in Beirut. They lived there when I was born. That does not make me Lebanese.

Q:        What does it make you?

A:         I am a Palestinian who cannot go home. I am a Palestinian whose home was stolen from him. Like many other Palestinians. Are you Jewish?

Q:        During this interview, I ask the questions. Are you Muslim?

A:         I would like to know the answer to my question. I know a great many Jews, especially since I have come to the United States. My ... Miss Roth is a Jew. Larry Lazard is a Jew but his father is not. I cannot tell whether you are a Jew or not.

Q:        What is your opinion of all these Jews you have met in the United States?

A:         They are quite intelligent. They do not think so differently than how we Arabs think. I believe we Middle Eastern peoples are more like each other than we are like the Europeans or other peoples who are here in the United States.

Q:        But there is great conflict between Middle Eastern people.

A:         There is great conflict between European peoples. There is great conflict between African peoples, Asian peoples. We are not unique in that.

Q:        You sound quite enlightened.

A:         Are you surprised? Perhaps you have an American prejudice against Arabs. Are you a Jew?

Q:        That reminds me that you did not answer my question: Are you Muslim?

A:         Yes.

Q:        Would you consider yourself an observant Muslim?

A:         I observe my faith as I believe is appropriate. I am here in Western clothes. I live among Westerners. I have not performed the Haj.

Q:        Will you make the Haj? Do you attend a mosque?

A:         God willing, I will perform the Haj. I do attend a mosque.

Q:        How often do you attend mosque? Which mosque?

A:         I attend mosque infrequently here in the United States. The mosques I have attended are usually in Brooklyn.

Q:        There’s not one mosque which you consider to be your home mosque?

A:         There is not.

Q:        Why is that? Isn’t that unusual?

A:         You have not told me what religion you have. I believe it is common for many Americans to have no place of worship that they attend regularly even when they identify themselves as belonging to a particular religion.

Q:        Are you an American citizen?

A:         I am not, but I have made my residence here for many years. In some respects I am American.

Q:        Have you made a study of Americans?

A:         I do not understand that question.

Q:        You have shown your familiarity with our former President Clinton; you have made a comparison between the various ethnic groups which live here; you talked of American prejudice; you have now made a correct observation of American religious life. Are you a student of American culture?

A:         I am not a student; I am a businessman.

Q:        Have you studied American culture academically?

A:         I did in preparatory school. Now I study Americans as a businessman. I must know the people I make business with.

Q:        Please tell me your educational background.

A:         What would you like to know?

Q:        What schools you attended and when. What degrees you achieved.

A:         From the age of six to nine, I attended the Koranic uh ... Institute, I think you would call it in English. It is in Beirut. I did not receive a degree from there.

Q:        I understand. Was that first through fourth grade?

A:         That system is not used in that school. We were there and we progressed at an appropriate rate.

Q:        I assume from its name that this is a religious institute.

A:         The school was not formally associated with a mosque, if that’s what you mean.

Q:        But you did study the Koran?

A:         Of course. The Koran is the well-spring of our culture. The study of the Koran is the study of Islam. But it is also necessary for understanding the secular as well as religious aspects of the cultures of Islamic peoples.

Q:        Were the teachers in this school Imams?

A:         Some were and some were not.

Q:        Were you taught in this school to hate America and Jews? Was it a Madras?

A:         I believe you mean Madrassa. No, it was not that kind of school. All Muslims are not taught to hate; that, itself, is propaganda. We do not have the fanatic separation between secular and non-secular that you Americans have.  Often they cannot be separated at all. But the schools I attended, while certainly Islamic, were at the secular end of the spectrum.

Q:        Thank you for clearing that up. Why didn’t your parents have you attend schools which were more religious?

A:         They had me attend schools they believed would best prepare me for life, as your parents probably did.

Q:        Where did you go after the Institute?

A:         I attended the Palestinian Middle School also in Beirut. I was there through what Americans would consider Junior High School, until I was fourteen. I did not receive a degree from that institution, either. Nor was I taught hate there although many of us — students and faculty alike — were very bitter at having our homes stolen and being exiled from our country.

Q:        I understood that most Palestinians left Israel voluntarily because they were informed that the surrounding Arab countries were going to attack and they should get out of the way. Is that why your family left?

A:         I think you were taught propaganda in your school. Was it a Jewish school?

Q:        I’ll ask the questions. Why did your family leave their home?

A:         They left because they were driven out by Zionists.

Q:        Literally? Did armed Zionists come to the door and drive them out?

A:         I believe so. I was not yet born.

Q:        Where did you go after middle school?

A:         I attended Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts until I graduated from that institution.

Q:        Is that a religious school?

A:         It is not. It is a secular school although it was religious at one time.

Q:        When was it religious? What religion was it associated with?

A:         I believe it has been secular for the last century. It was originally associated with some denomination of Protestant.  I do not understand these sects well.

Q:        Join the club...

A:         What do you mean? I do not understand that. Do you mean that one must be Protestant to join some clubs in the United States? Have you been excluded from the clubs because you are Jewish?

Q:        Please forget that last remark. Did your parents pay for you to attend this school in Massachusetts? Where did you live while you were there?

A:         Yes. My parents did pay for me to attend Andover and to board there as well. I lived in a dormitory called Abbot Stevens House.

Q:        Are your parents wealthy?

A:         They have been blessed with good fortune.

Q:        Were they blessed when they left Israel?

A:         They lost much when they were driven from their home. However, part of our family business was located in Beirut and so they had assets to draw on there in their exile.

Q:        What was your family business?

A:         My father and his father were involved in trade.

Q:        What did they trade?

A:         Fine items. Sculpture. Fountains. Islamic art. Their business was quite well-known.

Q:        Are your parents still alive?

A:         Yes, thank God.

Q:        Are they still in Beirut?

A:         They are now here.

Q:        Here? The United States? New York? The precinct house?

A:         They presently reside in Park Slope in Brooklyn.

Q:        When did they leave Beirut? Why?

A:         They left in 1982. Beirut had become inhospitable and no longer was a good market for the fine art they represented. They did not believe there was a good future for Palestinians in Beirut.

Q:        Why is that?

A:         Lebanon has become a bone over which the Syrians and the Israelis fight. It has been destroyed. It is no longer a center of culture. It is no longer a place which is hospitable to Palestinian people.

Q:        Did your father lose his business when Beirut became “inhospitable”?

A:         He did not.

Q:        Is the business still in Beirut?

A:         It is not.

Q:        Please explain.

A:         The business is no longer in Beirut.

Q:        Where is the business? Do you not want to answer my simple question?

A:         I have given simple answers to your simple questions. The business is here, in the United States. While they were in trade in Beirut, my father and his brother, my uncle, established a part of their business in New York. So they had assets to draw on in New York when the time came.

Q:        That’s happened twice, then?

A:         I do not understand.

Q:        When things got bad in Tel Aviv, there were “fortunately” assets in Beirut. When things got bad in Beirut, there were “fortunately” assets in New York.

A:         Praise be to God.

Q:        Where are there assets in case things get bad in New York?

A:         You would have to ask my father.

Q:        After this school in Massachusetts, did you go to college?

A:         Yes, I did.

Q:        Where did you go to college?

A:         Here in New York City. I attended Columbia University.

Q:        Where did you live when you attended Columbia?

A:         Here in New York City.

Q:        Did you live in a dorm? In a fraternity house?

A:         Columbia does not have fraternity houses. I lived with my parents in Park Slope.

Q:        In the same place they live now?

A:         Yes.

Q:        Did you graduate from Columbia? If so, when? What did you major in?

A:         I did graduate in 1990. My degree was sociology with a minor in mathematics.

Q:        That’s an unusual combination. Did you attend graduate school?

A:         Yes, I did.

Q:        Where did you attend graduate school? What degree, if any, did you receive? When?

A:         I received a Masters Degree in Computer Science from the Courant Institute at New York University in 1992.

Q:        Where did you live while you were at NYU? Why did you go from sociology to computing?

A:         I continued to live with my parents. Did you ask another question?

Q:        Yes. I asked what made you switch from sociology to computing.

A:         I believed that computer science was a better career path than sociology. I found that much of sociology consisted of making excuses for how people act. I did not wish to do that as a profession.

Q:        Did computer science turn into a career path for you? Did you go to work after your Masters or did you continue in school?

A:         I went to work after graduation from the Courant Institute. However, I did not work in computer science initially. It has proven to be a career path, however.

Q:        Please tell me each place you have been employed since your graduation — with dates.

A:         From 1992 until 1999, I was employed by my father and my uncle in our family business.

Q:        That is located in Park Slope?

A:         The business is located in Queens on Rockaway Boulevard.

Q:        And you were employed at that address during this whole period?

A:         That is our office. My business for the firm took me all over the world.

Q:        What were the countries you visited most often? What’s the name of the firm, by the way?

A:         The firm is named Qali, Qali, and Qalid.

Q:        You are the second Qali in the name?

A:         No, that is my uncle — my father’s brother.

Q:        Who is Qalid?

A:         Qalid is the third partner.

Q:        I already figured that out. Who is he? Another uncle?

A:         He is not my uncle. He is another partner. His name is Muhammad Qalid.

Q:        Where does Muhammad Qalid live?

A:         He lives in Jenin.

Q:        Where is Jenin?

A:         Jenin is in the occupied territories of Palestine.

Q:        When did Mr. Qalid become a partner?

A:         He became a partner in 1998.

Q:        Why did they need a partner in Jenin?

A:         I assume because he could help the business. My father and my uncle are businessmen and they make decisions based on what can help their business.

Q:        You don’t know why he was added?

A:         I’ve already told you...

Q:        You told me what you assume. You did NOT tell me that you KNOW why he was added.

A:         That is correct.

Q:        Do you know why he was added?

A:         No.

Q:        Let me digress a moment. Before you came to see me for this informal interview, did you ask anyone for advice on how to conduct yourself?

A:         I did. I—

Q:        Before you answer, let me make sure you know that you have every right to have consulted with an attorney and, if you did so, you have every right to claim attorney-client privilege for that discussion and need not answer any questions about that discussion. Now you may answer.

A:         I consulted with my uncle.

Q:        Is your uncle an attorney?

A:         He is, as I have told you, a businessman.

Q:        Do you consider him to be your attorney representing you in this matter?

A:         I do not.

Q:        Fine. Did your uncle advise you how to answer questions?

A:         He did.

Q:        What did he advise you?

A:         He advised me to answer the questions that were asked and not to answer questions that were not asked.

Q:        You can tell your uncle you’re doing that quite well. Did he advise you to tell the truth when you answer questions?

A:         He did not.

Q:        Did he advise you NOT to tell the truth?

A:         He did not.

Q:        Why do you think he didn’t advise you to tell the truth or not to tell the truth?

A:         I think he thought that such advice was unnecessary.

Q:        Because you would know when to tell the truth and when not to tell the truth?

A:         I resent that implication.

Q:        You have not answered my question.

A:         My uncle KNOWS I would tell the truth. He would have no need to so instruct me.

Q:        What other advice did your uncle give you?

A:         He advised me not to be intimidated. He also advised me that I should expect to find prejudice against Muslims.

Q:        Was he afraid you would be intimidated?

A:         No.

Q:        Then why did he advise you against being intimidated? You said he didn’t advise you to tell the truth because he knew you would tell the truth. If he knew you wouldn’t be intimidated, why did he advise you not to be?

A:         His English is not so good. I do not believe he meant intimidation in the sense that you are using that word even though that is the word he used.

Q:        What do you think he meant?

A:         I believe he meant to remind me that the authorities in this country do not have the same powers that the authorities in certain other countries have.

Q:        If we did have those “powers”, then we’d be more intimidating?

A:         Yes.

Q:        Did your uncle give you any advice on how you should discuss your relationship with Ms. Roth with me?

A:         No.

Q:        Did you and your uncle discuss Ms. Roth?

A:         No.

Q:        Does your family know about your relationship with Ms.  Roth?

A:         My parents have met her.

Q:        Do they approve of this relationship?

A:         In their culture, unmarried men and women do not share apartments.

Q:        So they disapprove? Why do they disapprove?

A:         This is not clear? They disapprove of my sharing an apartment with a woman.

Q:        Do they disapprove because she is Jewish?

A:         They disapprove because she is a woman to whom I am not married.

Q:        Would they disapprove of your marrying Ms. Roth?

A:         The issue has not come up.

Q:        Would they disapprove, in your opinion?

A:         They would disapprove because she has shared an apartment with a man.

Q:        But not because she’s Jewish?

A:         They would prefer that I marry in our faith. They would prefer that I marry a Palestinian. They are not anti‑Semitic, if that is what you mean to imply.

Q:        What other advice did your uncle give you?

A:         He did not give me any other advice.

Q:        Are you sure?

A:         Yes.

Q:        You can, if you wish, follow your uncle’s advice and give the shortest possible answer to every question. You don’t even have to answer questions you don’t want to answer. But if you continue to follow that advice, this will be a very long interview.


coming back later, set blookmark here | display next episode now »

Buy hackoff.comTell a friendWrite a Review

Chapter 13 - April 4, 2003 AM - Episode 3

Listen to podcast Listen to Episode

A:         I have an appointment I must leave for in ninety minutes.

Q:        You have the right to leave at any time. This interview can be resumed, under subpoena if necessary. Let’s go on. What countries did you travel to the most during your employment  by your father, your uncle and Mr. Qalid?

A:         My most frequent trips were to the occupied territories. Of course, that meant that I had to transit Israel as well. I also visited Russia, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Qatar frequently.

Q:        What were your duties at the firm?

A:         I bought and sold objects of art.

Q:        Were these countries you visited places where you bought art or sold art? Which are which?

A:         In Iraq I bought art. Sometimes I bought art in Russia as well. In Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Qatar I usually sold art but sometimes bought some.

Q:        When you bought art in Iraq, was this a violation of the UN embargo or the United States Trading with the Enemy Act?

A:         We were advised that it was not.

Q:        By whom?

A:         By our attorneys.

Q:        Okay. We won’t go into your attorneys’ advice. But we may come back to this whole subject later. You didn’t mention the “occupied territories”.

A:         I did. I said this was the place I went most frequently. Except for Israel, of course.

Q:        You didn’t say anything about buying or selling there.

A:         I did not buy or sell there.

Q:        Then why did you go there? I thought that’s what you did for the firm, buy and sell.

A:         I met with people in the occupied territories who had connections that enabled us to buy and sell in other places.

Q:        Did you visit Mr. Qalid there? If so, was this before or after he became a partner in the firm?

A:         I did meet with Mr. Qalid in the occupied territories. I did meet with him there both before and after he became a member of the firm.

Q:        Is Mr. Qalid a person with connections?

A:         He is.

Q:        Why did you leave the family firm in 1999?

A:         I had an opportunity to enter another business which uses my knowledge of computer science.

Q:        You didn’t use your computer science knowledge at Qali, Qali, and Qalid?

A:         I designed the company website. I was the contact when the firm needed to have computer work done. I ordered the personal computers and arranged for Internet access. These tasks, however, were incidental to my main responsibilities and did not require much knowledge of computer science.

Q:        Did you join a dotcom in 1999?

A:         I did not.

Q:        What company did you join?

A:         I became the United States representative for a group of programmers located in Jenin. They are known as the Jenin Cooperative Development Institute.

Q:        How did you become acquainted with this group?

A:         I was introduced to them by Muhammad Qalid.

Q:        Was that before or after he joined the firm?

A:         It was after.

Q:        Was he trying to get you out of the firm? Were you rivals for succession in the firm?

A:         Mr. Qalid and I are not rivals; he is my benefactor.

Q:        Why did he want you out of the firm? In what sense is he your benefactor?

A:         I do not believe he wanted me out of the firm. He is my benefactor because he introduced me to this position which uses my skills in computer sciences and enables me to help the Palestinian people.

Q:        Were your father and uncle okay with your leaving the firm?

A:         They agreed with what I was planning to do. My father, like many fathers, would like to have a son in the business; but he also believes in what I am doing now.

Q:        Is your brother in the business?

A:         He is not.

Q:        Why not?

A:         He lives in the occupied territories.

Q:        So does Mr. Qalid.

A:         Yes.

Q:        So why can Mr. Qalid live in the occupied territories and work for the firm and not your brother? Especially if your father wants a son in the business?

A:         My brother has other interests.

Q:        What are your brother’s other interests?

A:         They are not relevant to our discussion.

Q:        Why don’t you tell me what they are and I will decide whether or not they are relevant?

A:         I know they are not relevant. I do not wish to discuss them.

Q:        Why not?

A:         I do not wish to discuss that, either.

Q:        Okay. I’ll assume your brother is into something that you don’t want me to know about, possibly some violation of US law. We’ll come back to that later. What are your duties as representative of this cooperative?

A:         I sell the services of the cooperative in the United States and I coordinate the work that the cooperative does for firms in the United States. I also assure that the cooperative is properly paid and that remittances are properly forwarded to them in Jenin.

Q:        What are these services?

A:         Software and website development.

Q:        Who are the customers?

A:         Firms that need software or websites developed.

Q:        I could have guessed that.

A:         Then why did you ask me?

Q:        I would like to know ... forget that. How did you find customers? This is very different from the business that you were in before. I don’t imagine that the same people buy software development who buy art.

A:         You are incorrect.

Q:        Enlighten me.

A:         I just did.

Q:        Right. I mean, please explain to me how you turned customers for Islamic art into customers for software development.

A:         Our customers in the United States are Palestinians and, to a lesser extent, other Arabic people. These people who buy art are wealthy; they are usually business people. Business people need software developed for their companies; they need websites. In 1999 companies without websites were suddenly at a disadvantage.

Q:        Why didn’t they just outsource to India like everybody else?

A:         It is difficult to outsource, particularly for a small company that does not have its own technical staff. Moreover, these people would naturally prefer to have their work done by Palestinians rather than by Indians.

Q:        Why would they “naturally” prefer that?

A:         They know how difficult things are for the Palestinian people in the occupied territories. They know that people can no longer travel freely or go to jobs in Israel. They know that there is little hope and much despair. And they want to help.

Q:        So you went to your old customers and said: “Guess what, instead of selling you art today, I’m here selling software development and website design. If you buy from me, you will also be helping the Palestinian people.” Is that what you did?

A:         That is very close to what I did. Not in those words, of course.

Q:        And why did they trust you to know what you were doing?  Why did they trust these Palestinian programmers?

A:         They trust me because they know me. They trust me for the same reason they trusted me when I was selling art to them. In many cases our families know each other from Beirut or from Palestine. And why shouldn’t they trust Palestinian programmers? Why should they trust Indian programmers?

Q:        Has this business been a success?

A:         It has provided employment for the programmers in Jenin.

Q:        Is it a success for you? Are you making more money than you made at your family firm? Do you want to be an agent for the cooperative for the rest of your life?

A:         I obtain satisfaction from this work. I am able to support myself by it. I am hoping that the cooperative will grow. I am hoping that peace, if it should ever come, will allow the cooperative to grow and allow my role with it to grow as well.

Q:        You didn’t answer whether you are making more money than you did with the family business.

A:         I am not.

Q:        Are you making less?

A:         Yes.

Q:        Is that why you need a roommate? To help with the rent?

A:         I had a roommate when I worked at the family firm.

Q:        That’s right; you did. Do you have any financial troubles as a consequence of making less money?

A:         I do not.

Q:        Has you making less money been a source of friction between you and Ms. Roth?

A:         It has not.

Q:        Have you ever been unable to pay your share of the rent?

A:         No.

Q:        You do understand that I will have an interview with Ms. Roth as well?

A:         I do.

Q:        Okay. It’ll be interesting to know if she sees things the same way. Did you have any customers for the cooperative’s services who were not part of the Arabic community in the United States?

A:         Yes.

Q:        Who are some of these non-Arabic customers? How did you meet them? Why did they buy from you?

A:         There is only one non-Arabic customer at this time. That customer is hackoff.com.

Q:        Okay. Who at hackoff made the decision to buy from you? How did you meet them? Why did they decide to buy from you?

A:         Mr. Larry Lazard was the person at hackoff.com who decided that they would outsource to the cooperative. I met him through my ... through Miss Roth. I believe he bought from us because we represented a good value to his company. He also was concerned about helping the Palestinian people.

Q:        Well, that saves some time. I was about to ask when you first met the deceased. When was that?

A:         I first met Mr. Lazard in the Spring of the year 2000.

Q:        Where did you meet him?

A:         At an airport. He and Miss Roth flew back from the roadshow for the secondary offering together on a private plane. I picked her up at an airport in New Jersey and it is there that I met Mr. Larry Lazard.

Q:        Were they having an affair then?

A:         I have no way to know that.

Q:        Would you have cared if they were?

A:         Mr. Lazard’s wife, Louise Lazard, was also at the airport.

Q:        I didn’t ask you that. Up until now you have been following your uncle’s advice and only answering the questions I ask.  Why did you suddenly volunteer that information?

A:         I thought you were about to ask me that.

Q:        I think you didn’t want to answer my question about how you would have felt if you knew then that the deceased and Ms. Roth were having an affair.

A:         It is a very hypothetical question. I cannot answer it.

Q:        Were you and Ms. Roth having sexual relations then?

A:         At the airport? Certainly not.

Q:        Sometimes you seem to understand what a sexual relationship is and sometimes you don’t. Did you and Ms. Roth still have a sexual relationship at the time you picked her up at the airport?

A:         I have not said that she and I ever had a sexual relationship.

Q:        Why did you pick Ms. Roth up at the airport? Surely she could have arranged for a car service.

A:         I wanted to meet Mr. Larry Lazard.

Q:        To see if he had a sexual relationship with Ms. Roth?

A:         No. I wanted to talk to him about using the services of the cooperative.

Q:        Why did you think he would be interested in those services? Why were you selling to him at all since you seem to have concentrated on Arabic customers?

A:         He had made inquiries.

Q:        Inquiries of whom? When? Of Ms. Roth?

A:         As I understand, he made inquiries when he was in Switzerland at some sort of conference.

Q:        Who told you that?

A:         Muhammad Qalid.

Q:        How would he know?

A:         Mohammed Qalid has many connections. Often he has given me before what you would call a “lead”.

Q:        What I call a “lead” is something that helps me solve a murder. Is that what you are giving me?

A:         I was told that Mr. Larry Lazard has committed suicide.

Q:        It is my job to determine who killed him. Do you have any idea who may have wanted to do that?

A:         I do not.

Q:        Would you have had any reason to kill the deceased?

A:         I would not.

Q:        What about the fact that he was screwing your girl friend?

A:         I had no reason to kill Mr. Larry Lazard. I did not kill him.

Q:        What kind of business relationship did you have with the deceased?

A:         He was our customer.

Q:        Was he a good customer? Did he buy a lot? Did he pay for what he bought?

A:         hackoff was buying more and more from us. Sometimes, as with many customers, there were disputes over payments.

Q:        You mean the deceased didn’t want to pay your bill?

A:         There were sometimes disagreements over how much was owed.

Q:        Why would that be in dispute?

A:         Our arrangement with hackoff requires them to pay us only on the completion of certain items. Sometimes Mr. Dom Montain would not agree that certain items were complete even though they were.

Q:        Then what would you do?

A:         I would discuss these items with Mr. Larry Lazard.

Q:        Then what happened?

A:         Usually Mr. Lazard would decide that the items were indeed complete and would authorize Mrs. Donna Langhorne to pay us.

Q:        And if he didn’t think they were complete?

A:         Sometimes there would be minor things we would do as a courtesy so that Mr. Lazard would agree that we had finished.

Q:        Why would Mr. Montain say that your work was not complete if it was?

A:         I do not believe that Mr. Montain wanted work to be given to us. It is common for the manager responsible for software development to want to keep it in-house even when it makes clear economic sense to outsource.

Q:        And the deceased did understand that “it makes clear economic sense” to outsource?

A:         Yes.

Q:        Do you think that Dom Montain might have killed the deceased in a dispute over outsourcing?

A:         I don’t know.

Q:        A few minutes go I asked you if you knew anyone who might have killed the deceased and you said “no”. Now you’re implying that Mr. Montain might have killed him. Why did you change your mind?

A:         Why do you say that? I have not changed my mind. I don’t know who might have had a reason to kill Larry Lazard. I simply did not think about it. It said in the New York Times that he committed suicide.

Q:        Now that you ARE thinking about it, can you think of anyone who might have wanted to kill the deceased?

A:         I cannot.

Q:        Mr. Montain?

A:         I don’t know.

Q:        Ms. Roth? Did she feel that the deceased had misused her in any way?

A:         I don’t know.

Q:        Ms. Langhorne?

A:         I don’t know.

Q:        The deceased’s wife, Mrs. Lazard — you’ve met her. Could she have killed him?

A:         I don’t know.

Q:        Did you have reason to kill him?

A:         I did not kill him.

Q:        That’s not what I asked you. I asked if you had reason to kill him. He was sleeping with your girl friend.

A:         I did not kill him.

Q:        I am noting that you did not answer my question. At the time of the deceased’s death, did hackoff owe you money?

A:         hackoff.com owes money to the cooperative. It is normal for there to be bills outstanding.



coming back later, set blookmark here | display next episode now »

Buy hackoff.comTell a friendWrite a Review

Chapter 13 - April 4, 2003 AM - Episode 4

Listen to podcast Listen to Episode

Q:        Is there currently a dispute with hackoff over whether work has been completed?

A:         Yes. A minor dispute.

Q:        How much money is involved in this dispute?

A:         One-hundred and fifty thousand dollars.

Q:        Had you discussed this dispute with the deceased?

A:         Yes.

Q:        When?

A:         On the night of March 31.

Q:        Where did you see him on the night of March 31?

A:         In his office.

Q:        At what time?

A:         Approximately 11:00 PM — the time of our appointment.

Q:        You are sure about this time?

A:         Yes.

Q:        When did you last see him alive?

A:         When I left his office.

Q:        When was that?

A:         Approximately 11:30 PM.

Q:        Did you see him dead?

A:         No. I last saw him alive when I left his office at 11:30 PM.

Q:        Mr. Qali, I have a very serious problem with what you’re telling me. I don’t think you’re telling me the truth.

A:         I am telling you the truth.

Q:        Mr. Qali, there is very sophisticated alarm and detection system in the offices of hackoff.com. It would have showed if anyone entered the deceased’s office during the time you claim to have been there. I’m giving you this information so you will have a chance to tell me the true story of when you last saw the deceased and where you were on the night he died.

A:         I have told you the true story.

Q:        Surveillance shows that you did not enter the deceased’s office when you said you did. Do you still insist that you did?

A:         I did. Surveillance simply does not show it.

Q:        What do you mean?

A:         Surveillance does not show me entering Mr. Larry Lazard’s office...

Q:        That’s what I just said.

A:         It is not.

Q:        We can play the tape back if you would like.

A:         It is not necessary. You said that surveillance SHOWS that I did not enter Mr. Larry Lazard’s office. That is incorrect. It is true that it does NOT show me entering the office, but that is not the same as showing that I did not enter.

Q:        Come again?

A:         The alarm system was programmed to ignore me when I came into his office just as it was programmed to ignore my entry into the building, my use of the elevator, and my entry into the hackoff.com offices.

Q:        How do you know that?

A:         I programmed it to do that.

Q:        Go on.

A:         That is why it did not show me entering the office; it was programmed to ignore me.

Q:        Why did you do that?

A:         Because Mr. Lazard instructed me to do it.

Q:        Why would the deceased tell you how to turn off his alarm system? When did he do that?

A:         Mr. Lazard gave me the access codes to make the alarm system insensitive to me — it wasn’t turned off,just insensitive to me — so that we could have private visits. He gave me the codes last year.

Q:        How does the system recognize you?

A:         By my RFID.

Q:        I understand that hackoff employees have RFIDs in their badges. Why do you have one? Does it belong to a hackoff employee?

A:         No. I am a hackoff contractor. I have a contractor badge. It has an RFID. This also gives me access to the building and the offices and activates the elevator to take me to their floor.

Q:        You’re not on the elevator surveillance tapes.

A:         I am told surveillance is deactivated by the code I was given.

Q:        The deceased gave you a code so that you could enter his office without being detected. Why was he trying to keep your visits secret?

A:         He told me that there was resentment over the outsourcing to the cooperative so that the less people who knew we were meeting, the better.

Q:        Was there any particular person he wanted to keep your visits secret from?

A:         He didn’t say.

Q:        What do you think?

A:         I don’t know.

Q:        Could he have wanted to keep Mr. Montain from knowing about your visits? You have already identified Mr. Montain as someone who resented the outsourcing.

A:         I don’t know.

Q:        What do you think?

A:         It is possible. I don’t know.

Q:        Did anyone see you enter or leave the deceased’s office?

A:         Mr. Larry Lazard saw me.

Q:        He’s unlikely to corroborate your story. Did anyone besides the deceased see you enter or leave the office?

A:         Not that I am aware of.

Q:        Did anyone who is still living see you enter or leave the hackoff premises? The building itself?

A:         Not that I am aware of. Sometimes there are homeless people near the entrance but I do not remember them being there.

Q:        How did you get to and from hackoff? Where were you immediately before and where did you go immediately after?

A:         I went to hackoff.com from my apartment and returned there. I took a taxi in each case.

Q:        Did you keep the taxi receipts?

A:         I believe I did.

Q:        Do you have them with you, by any chance?

A:         I do not.

Q:        Are you willing to fax them to me today?

A:         I will not be able to do that until later tonight.

Q:        That’s okay. Did anyone see you leave your apartment and return?

A:         Miss Roth saw me leave.

Q:        Did she see you return?

A:         No.

Q:        Why not?

A:         I did not see her. I believe she was asleep.

Q:        You don’t sleep in the same room?

A:         No.

Q:        Do you know she was there when you returned?

A:         I am not certain.

Q:        A moment ago you said you believed she was asleep. Now you are saying that you don’t even know if she was there.

A:         That is correct.

Q:        What made you think she might be there asleep?

A:         Her door was closed.

Q:        Couldn’t she have closed her door and gone out?

A:         Yes.

Q:        What made you think she was there behind the closed door?  Did you hear her snoring?

A:         If I had heard her snoring, I would have known she was there. I do not know if she was there.

Q:        But you believed she was there?

A:         Yes.

Q:        Why?

A:         Her coat was in the closet. She was there at 7:00 AM when I came into the kitchen.

Q:        What was she wearing when you came into the kitchen?

A:         A bathrobe.

Q:        Had she put makeup on? Did she look like she had just gotten up or just come in?

A:         I don’t know.

Q:        Did anyone else see you leave or return?

A:         Not that I know of. Except the taxi drivers.

Q:        You didn’t see anyone at hackoff besides the deceased?

A:         I saw Mrs. Langhorne.

Q:        You just told me no one saw you enter or leave hackoff.

A:         I don’t believe she saw me enter or leave.

Q:        But you saw her?

A:         That is correct.

Q:        Where did you see her?

A:         I saw her in the corridor that goes to Mr. Larry Lazard’s office.

Q:        But she didn’t see you?

A:         I don’t believe so. She had her back to me and was walking in the same direction I was.

Q:        You know her?

A:         I do.

Q:        But you didn’t say hello?

A:         I did not.

Q:        Why not?

A:         Mr. Lazard wished to keep our visits private.

Q:        What if she had seen you? Certainly she might have turned around or been walking the other way.

A:         Then she would have seen me.

Q:        What about keeping visits private?

A:         Then this visit would not have been private. It was not a secret that the cooperative did work for hackoff. Mrs. Langhorne herself was involved ... is involved in paying the bills.

Q:        What was Ms. Langhorne wearing?

A:         I don’t remember.

Q:        Was she wearing slacks or a skirt or a dress?

A:         I believe she was wearing slacks.

Q:        What kind of shoes was she wearing?

A:         I don’t remember.

Q:        How was her hair arranged?

A:         I don’t remember.

Q:        Was it down and around her shoulders?

A:         I don’t think so.

Q:        Was it braided?

A:         I don’t think so. Perhaps it was fastened in back.

Q:        How could you be sure it was Ms. Langhorne? You only saw her from the back.

A:         I am sure.

Q:        Do you expect the work for hackoff to continue following the death of the deceased?

A:         I do not know. I hope so.

Q:        Why would it not continue?

A:         Mr. Montain does not wish to work with the cooperative.  I do not know how much influence he will have on Mrs. Langhorne.

Q:        How does Ms. Langhorne feel about outsourcing to the cooperative?

A:         I don’t know.

Q:        She pays your bills, though?

A:         She pays bills that Mr. Larry Lazard tells her to pay.

Q:        Tell me about your discussion with the deceased.

A:         What discussion?

Q:        The discussion you had on the night of March 31 in his office between 11:00 PM and 11:30 PM.

A:         I discussed with him the matter of the work we have completed and not been paid for.

Q:        Did he agree that you had completed the work and should be paid for it?

A:         He did agree.

Q:        Had he been aware of the dispute prior to your visit?

A:         He had.

Q:        Was it the only subject of your meeting?

A:         It was.

Q:        Did he know it would be the subject of your meeting?

A:         He did.

Q:        How was the meeting set up?

A:         I called Mr. Larry Lazard.

Q:        When did you do that?

A:         Earlier that day.

Q:        At what time did you call him?

A:         At approximately 11:00 AM.

Q:        And what did you tell him on this phone call?

A:         I told him that there was a dispute.

Q:        Was he surprised?

A:         He was not.

Q:        He already knew about the dispute?

A:         Apparently.

Q:        How did he know about the dispute?

A:         I do not know. Perhaps Mr. Montain told him.

Q:        Could Ms. Langhorne have told him?

A:         She could have.

Q:        Did you later learn who told him about the dispute?

A:         I did not.

Q:        Did you discuss the dispute on the phone call setting up the meeting?

A:         I already told you that.

Q:        You told me that you set up a meeting to discuss the dispute. You did not tell me whether you discussed the substance of the dispute on the call. Did you?

A:         We discussed the dispute briefly.

Q:        Did you attempt to settle the dispute on the telephone?

A:         We did not.

Q:        Why not?

A:         Mr. Lazard said that he had to get more information.

Q:        Did he say who he would get this information from?

A:         He did not.

Q:        Would that have been Ms. Langhorne or Mr. Montain?

A:         I don’t know.

Q:        What do you think?

A:         I don’t know.

Q:        But it is possible he talked to one or both of them about the dispute after your phone call and before your meeting in his office?

A:         It is possible.

Q:        Why was a meeting set up? Why not another phone call or an email after the deceased got the information he wanted?

A:         We felt it would be better to meet.

Q:        Whose idea was it to meet in person?

A:         I don’t remember.

Q:        Did you think it was a good idea to meet in person?

A:         It was what we agreed to do.

Q:        Was it your idea to meet in person?

A:         I have already told you that I don’t remember.

Q:        You said there had been such disputes in the past?

A:         That’s correct.

Q:        Did you meet in person to resolve those disputes?

A:         Sometimes we did and sometimes we did not.

Q:        Was this dispute different than the other disputes?

A:         The amount of money was larger.

Q:        So that made you want to meet in person?

A:         I have already told you that I do not remember whose idea it was to meet in person.

Q:        Did you have any communication with the deceased between the time that you made the appointment and when you saw him in his office?

A:         I did not.

Q:        Did you tell anyone else about the meeting you planned to have with the deceased?

A:         I did not.

Q:        You didn’t tell Ms. Roth?

A:         No.

Q:        Did you resolve your dispute with the deceased?

A:         My dispute was not with the deceased... Oh, sorry, I misunderstood your question. The dispute concerning our work was ... resolved, yes.

Q:        You don’t sound certain. Was it completely resolved?

A:         It was.

Q:        What was the resolution?

A:         We did the work. We would be paid.

Q:        In full?

A:         In full.

Q:        Immediately?

A:         We did not discuss timing.

Q:        Why not? Doesn’t it matter when you get paid?

A:         It was not a matter of concern. Our experience has been that hackoff pays its bills promptly once they are approved by Mr. Lazard.

Q:        How did you convince the deceased that the work had been done and that the payment should be made? Surely he would have had questions.

A:         Mr. Lazard had already determined what work had been done. He had looked into it before I got there. He was satisfied.

Q:        Then why was it necessary for you to meet?

A:         I ... I don’t understand the question. The meeting had been scheduled.






coming back later, set blookmark here | display next episode now »

Buy hackoff.comTell a friendWrite a Review

Chapter 13 - April 4, 2003 AM - Episode 5

Listen to podcast Listen to Episode

Q:        How did you convince the deceased that the work had been done and that the payment should be made? Surely he would have had questions.

A:        Mr. Lazard had already determined what work had been done. He had looked into it before I got there. He was satisfied.

Q:        Then why was it necessary for you to meet?

A:        I ... I don’t understand the question. The meeting had been scheduled.

Q:        You scheduled a meeting in order to resolve a disagreement. I understand that. However, you told me that the disagreement was resolved between the time the meeting was scheduled and the time the meeting actually took place. If that’s the case, what need was there for you to go all the way downtown to meet with the deceased in the middle of the night?

A:        I did not know that Mr. Lazard had resolved the matter to his satisfaction until we met.

Q:        But the deceased knew. Why didn’t he call you or email and tell you that he agreed that you should be paid, so there was no need to meet?

A:        I have no way of knowing that.

Q:        Were you and the deceased friends? Would he have left the meeting on his schedule just to have the pleasure of talking with you?

A:        We were business acquaintances.

Q:        Did you stop being friends when you found out about his affair with Ms. Roth?

A:        Our relationship has always been that of business acquaintances.

Q:        Did your relationship change in any way when you found about his affair with Ms. Roth? Did that make it awkward to do business?

A:        I have not said that I knew that he had an affair with Ms. Roth.

Q:        But you did, didn’t you?

A:        You have told me of it.

Q:        Has anyone else told you of it? Is this a surprise to you?

A:        I have not said that.

Q:        You have not said what — that this is a surprise? Who, besides me, told you that they were having an affair?

A:        Dom Montain told me that.

Q:        Why didn’t you tell me that before? When did he tell you that?

A:        You didn’t ask me.

Q:        When did he tell you?

A:        I don’t remember exactly. It was several months ago.

Q:        How did he tell you?

A:        I do not remember his exact words.

Q:        Did he email you? Phone you? Tell you in person?

A:        He told me in person.

Q:        What was the occasion? Where were you? What was your reaction?

A:        I was here for a meeting with Mr. Montain.

Q:        What was the meeting about?

A:        The meeting was about the schedule for the work that we are doing for hackoff.

Q:        Was the meeting friendly?

A:        It was a business meeting.

Q:        I mean, was the tone friendly?

A:        It was not.

Q:        Why? In what way was it unfriendly?

A:        I have already told you that Mr. Montain did not like hackoff to outsource work. He said we were not done when we were. He delayed our payments. His tone was not friendly.

Q:        Were you unfriendly?

A:        I was businesslike. It is not dignified to be unfriendly.

Q:        Was Mr. Montain businesslike?

A:        He was not.

Q:        You were discussing a schedule. How did the subject of the deceased and Ms. Roth come up?

A:        He brought it up. He said that they were ... sleeping together.

Q:        Why would he bring that up?

A:        Perhaps because he was angry. I do not know. Perhaps he wished to make it difficult for hackoff and the cooperative to work together.

Q:        How did you react when he told you they were sleeping together?

A:        I did not react.

Q:        Meaning you did not react in a way Mr. Montain could see? Or had no reaction whatsoever?

A:        I did not react.

Q:        Emotionally, how did you feel?

A:        This was not a place for emotions, this was a business meeting.

Q:        How did you react when you got home? Did you accuse Ms. Roth of sleeping with Lazard?

A:        I did not accuse her.

Q:        Did you discuss it with her?

A:        I simply told her what Dom Montain had said.

Q:        What did she say?

A:        She did not say anything.

Q:        She just sat there and listened?

A:        She went out.

Q:        Was she angry? Afraid? Why did she go out?

A:        I don’t know.

Q:        What do you think?

A:        Possibly she had an appointment.

Q:        Did you discuss this with her at any later time?

A:        No.

Q:        Did she say anything about sleeping with Larry at any later time?

A:        No.

Q:        So you just dropped the subject. Never said anything again about the fact that your lover of several years was screwing another man. Is that correct?

A:        I did not say that she was my lover.

Q:        Is it correct that you never discussed it again?

A:        I don’t remember.

Q:        A minute ago you said definitely “no”, you didn’t discuss it. Now you say you don’t remember. If you think harder, will you remember more?

A:        I don’t remember whether we discussed it.

Q:        Do you think Ms. Roth will remember?

A:        She may. I don’t remember a discussion. If there was no discussion, she will not remember it, either. If there was a discussion which I have forgotten, then she may remember it although I do not.

Q:        Is she more likely to remember such a discussion than you are?

A:        Yes.

Q:        Why?

A:        Because she is a woman. You have said that I would be able to leave this interview in time for my appointment. The time has come and I must leave.

Q:        I only have a few other questions at this time. I will ask them quickly. If you answer quickly and completely, we can save a lot of time. If I have to ask you six questions to get each answer, then it will take longer. Back to your meeting with the deceased: When did he tell you he had decided that your work was complete?

A:        I told you that. During our meeting.

Q:        You’re wasting time. You’re right — I did ask you that and I believe you know what I’m asking.

A:        Detective Cohen, you have many times repeated questions to me that you had already asked in an effort to obtain a different answer.

Q:        I... Fine. Did he tell you just as you walked in the door? Did he make you beg? Did you discuss something else — golf, the weather, Middle Eastern politics — before he got around to telling you?

A:        He told me almost as soon as I arrived.

Q:        What did he say?

A:        I do not remember exact words, but I think he said: “You are right. The work is complete.” Something like that.

Q:        Did he apologize for the dispute?

A:        He did not.

Q:        Why did the meeting last longer than five minutes then? Why were you there for approximately half an hour? What did you discuss next?

A:        I was interested in more work for the cooperative. I made some suggestions.

Q:        How did the deceased respond?

A:        He said there would probably be more work. He said that he would think about it and that he would get back to me.

Q:        Did you discuss anything else?

A:        We did not.

Q:        Did you see a gun in the deceased’s office?

A:        I did.

Q:        Had you seen the gun before?

A:        Yes.

Q:        Where?

A:        In his office.

Q:        Are you sure it was the same gun? Are you an expert in guns?

A:        No, I am no expert. But I believe it was the same gun. It was a revolver, an antique.

Q:        Is there any reason why your fingerprints would be on the gun?

A:        It is possible.

Q:        Did you shoot Larry Lazard with that gun?

A:        I did not.

Q:        Did you shoot Larry Lazard with any gun?

A:        I did not.

Q:        Why would your fingerprints be on the gun?

A:        I picked it up.

Q:        What did the deceased say when you picked up his gun?

A:        He did not say anything. He was not there.

Q:        Where was he?

A:        He said he felt ill. He left the office and I believe went to the men’s room.

Q:        How long was he gone?

A:        Approximately five minutes.

Q:        What did you do while he was gone?

A:        I picked up the gun and I looked at it.

Q:        Why did you do that?

A:        It was not in its usual place. It was on his desk. Usually it was on his table. That made me curious. I wanted to see if it was loaded.

Q:        Did you think he was threatening you with the gun?

A:        Perhaps. When I first came in. I was surprised to see it on his desk. But our meeting was not adversarial so I did not think that later.

Q:        Was it loaded?

A:        I saw no bullets in the cylinders. There may have been a bullet in the chamber.

Q:        Why didn’t you look in the chamber?

A:        I was not sure how to do so. I did not wish to fire the gun if it were loaded. And Mr. Lazard was returning.

Q:        So you put the gun down. A gun that might have been loaded and that you were afraid the deceased might use to shoot you. Is that really what you did?

A:        I did. I did not believe Mr. Lazard would shoot me. I think if a man intends to kill someone he does not do so in his office. And he would have more than one bullet in his gun.

Q:        How did you know there was one bullet in the gun?

A:        I didn’t know that. I only knew there was no more than one bullet in the gun.

Q:        Did you think there was one bullet in the gun?

A:        I had no reason to think that.

Q:        Can you think of any reason why the deceased would want to kill himself?

A:        I did not know him well enough to say.

Q:        Did he seem despondent to you?

A:        No.

Q:        How did he seem?

A:        He was businesslike.

Q:        Did he tell you of any particular problem?

A:        He did not.

Q:        Can you think of anyone who would want to kill the deceased?

A:        Again, I did not know him well enough to say.

Q:        Would Mr. Montain have been pleased to learn that the deceased agreed to pay you for your work? That he was considering outsourcing more work to the cooperative?

A:        I doubt he would.

Q:        Could he have killed the deceased?

A:        I suppose he could have, but I have no way to know this.

Q:        Is Ms. Roth angry with the deceased?

A:        I don’t know.

Q:        Could she have killed him?

A:        Again, I don’t know.

Q:        You said she was in the apartment when you came home. How could she have killed him if she was in the apartment?

A:        I did not say she was in the apartment; I said I BELIEVED she was in the apartment, but that I didn’t see her. I must go to my appointment.

Q:        Did you tell your uncle that your fingerprints are on the murder weapon?

A:        I don’t know that there is a murder weapon. I believe Mr. Larry Lazard killed himself.

Q:        Did you tell your uncle that your fingerprints are on a gun in the deceased’s office?

A:        I told him that was a possibility.

Q:        What did he say?

A:        I already told you what he said. He advised me to cooperate with your investigation.

Q:        Are you?

A:        I don’t understand.

Q:        Are you cooperating with my investigation?

A:        Yes. Yes, I am. I have answered your questions. But I must go now.

Q:        Does anyone know that the deceased agreed to pay your bill?

A:        I don’t know.

Q:        Did he send any sort of email or leave a message for anyone saying to pay the bill?

A:        I don’t know.

Q:        Has the bill been paid?

A:        I don’t believe so.

Q:        Have you checked with Ms. Langhorne to see if it will be paid? To see if she knows that Larry okayed it?

A:        I have heard from Ms. Langhorne that our relationship will continue and that invoices will be paid on a timely basis. She sent an email to that effect.

Q:        Why did she send you that email?

A:        I would assume that she sent similar emails to other vendors and to customers.  But I do not know.

Q:        Two things: Don’t forget the cab receipts and don’t try to leave the country.

A:        Am I under arrest?

Q:        Not at the present. You will be if you attempt to leave.



Mark goes immediately back to his cubicle from the interview room to check his email. One message contains the results of a trace he ordered run on Donna Langhorne’s cell phone calls the night of March 31. The trace shows that her phone was connecting via towers in lower Manhattan from 9:30 PM on. At one point, her phone connected to a tower in Brooklyn.

“So we know she was lying,” Mark explains to his boss, Captain Joseph DeNapoli. “She wasn’t in her apartment. She was at least near the scene.”

“Do you want to get a warrant?” DeNapoli asks. “Arrest her? Search her place? Her office? You said her husband’s a lawyer. Anyone we know?”

“No,” says Mark. “I don’t want to arrest her yet. I can’t pin her to the building yet, just the neighborhood. She lied and that hurts, but we don’t have her in the building.”

“Where the fuck else’d she’ve been?” asks DeNapoli.

“That’s where she was,” says Mark. “I know; you know. Can’t prove it yet. Can’t prove murder yet. Her husband’s a lawyer, like I said. We don’t know him.  At least I don’t know him; he does securities class action bullshit. Probably never seen the inside of criminal court. But he works for Grant & Gilding and they’re well-connected and they’ve actually got a good litigator now that all their white collar clients are getting charged. Really want to pin her down and see if we can crack her all at once.”

“You’ve got a witness, this Ahmed guy…”

“Ahmed, yeah. He saw her from the back; never saw her face. Would be terrible as a prosecution witness. He’s like an Arab Mr. Spock. And he could be the killer. Only reason to think it’s her, not him, is she lied. And he’s lying, too. About something.”

“How d’you know he’s lying? I mean there’s all that bullshit you told me about whether he’s fucking the broad or not and whether he knows the deceased was boffing her too. But he sounds like he didn’t want to lie.”

“Sure as hell didn’t want to tell the truth,” says Mark. “His uncle should’ve been a fucking lawyer.”

“Why did he fight you to prove he had access to the deceased? You told him he was lying and he told you about turning off the security. He’s gotta know that you know he has motive. And now he goes out of his way to prove he had opportunity. Why’d he do that?”

“That surprised me. But it makes sense if he thought I was gonna find out anyway. I think he just had good advice. Look, the only reason we think Donna’s a more likely suspect is that she lied to me about being there. Ahmed could’ve been the killer too. We’ll see if he comes up with the cab receipts, but there’re plenty of Arab cabbies who could’ve done him the favor. Even if the receipts are real, he could’ve come back down again to kill the deceased. Got back into the office the same way. Turned off the alarm the same way.”

“You sure you just don’t like him? Because he’s an Arab and all?”

“I don’t like him. But I don’t think that’s why. He wanted to set up this Jew-Arab thing. Kept asking me if I’m Jewish. Shit, my name isn’t Smith or O’Hara, it’s Cohen.”

“So he knows your father is Jewish but that doesn’t make you Jewish. You told me that stuff. Your mother’s not Jewish so you’re not Jewish. Maybe that’s what he was asking. I mean his girlfriend’s Jewish. Maybe he knows all that shit. Maybe he’s just trying to bond with you.”

“You think? Well, whatever. We still don’t have Ms. SI Swimsuit pinned down in the building. When we do, that’s when I think we bring her in again. Maybe arrest her; maybe not. But we bring her in when we can put her at the scene. Maybe after we eliminate some other suspects, too. We got a lot a people without alibis. Ahmed doesn’t really have one; Donna doesn’t; Louise, the deceased’s wife, she’s got no alibi. We’ll find out more from Rachel Roth tomorrow, but Ahmed sure wasn’t going out of his way to give her an alibi.

 “Didn’t matter so much when this looked like suicide, because the deceased’s all alone in his office and the security system says no one else has been through the door. But now, if we believe Ahmed, you can turn the thing off. Larry knew how to do it. Ahmed knew how to it. Maybe everybody in the company did. So we don’t know who else went through that door. We don’t even know who else was in the building. We can’t believe the elevator surveillance camera. Defense attorney would have a lot of fun with that. There’s a whole shitload of people with motives and no alibis. A couple, at least, with their fingerprints on the gun. Only one even close to having an alibi is Dom Montain. And I gotta talk to him.”

“What about the mushrooms?” asks DeNapoli.

“Shit, I don’t know,” says Mark. “That complicates the whole fucking thing even more. Defense attorney’s gonna say he ate the mushrooms, made him crazy so he shot himself. And it looks like someone put bad mushrooms in with the good mushrooms ‘cause there’s no bad mushrooms in the batch we got from the deceased’s wife. But there’s no good chain of custody of that batch. Maybe it didn’t come from the same mushroom hunt. Maybe, some reason all the bad mushrooms got into the half the deceased brought to work. That’s not solid either.”

“What do YOU think?”

“Don’t know. Want to keep my mind open. But too much coincidence. Usually a guy only gets one way to die at a time. But maybe not.”

“Okay, Hamlet,” says DeNapoli. “You keep your mind open. Let me know when it’s closed on a suspect.”



coming back later, set blookmark here | display next episode now »

Buy hackoff.comTell a friendWrite a Review