Chapter 13 - April 4, 2003 AM - Episode 5Listen to podcast
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?
Q: Did she say anything about sleeping with Larry at any later time?
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: 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: 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?
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.”