ATTENTION K MART SHOPPERS. HERE IS THE REST OF THE NOVEL 'THE LAZARUS EFFECT'. The whole novel has now been posted. For those of you who were waiting for the whole kit and kaboodle, you've got it now. You can cut and paste it all into one file and read away to your heart's content. Here's what I need from those of you out there in novel reading land. I need your succinct suggestions about how this novel could be improved or made more compelling, believable, fun, the gamut-- any honest critique is most welcome. Thanks for reading--- BW3.
CHAPTER FORTY NINE: PRESSING THINGS TOO FAR
The press conference was to be at nine o’clock Wednesday morning in order to provide time for filing stories. Art decided to wear his best suit, a navy blue silk suit, and his yellow tie with the navy stripes. Grace would be introducing him on the platform , Harry was not able to attend because of legal work in preparation for the trial. When Art got to the University, Grayson was there anxious to speak with him. “Dr. Art, I would be happy to go take some pictures at the tomb of Lazarus in those extra niches, are you interested ?”
“Sure,” said Art, “go right ahead. We’ll talk about it later.”
“Awesome,” said Grayson with a big grin as he sat down on the front row.
“I’m eager to get to
Grace came up to him and gave him a big hug. “I just wanted to tell you, you are somebody special. My mother adores you and as you put it, the Turkish Delight helped produce a Lazarus effect in our relationship. It’s never been better. We must celebrate later”
Grace mounted the stage and got up behind the podium. The room was not quite filled but people were still coming in. The news media that had come from abroad were all on hand, and the banks of lights on both sides of the auditorium were blinding. Art saw many of his friends from the
Grace tapped the microphone and said, ”It gives me very great pleasure to present to you, Dr. Arthur West, who will explain the significance of the recent finds in Bethany. He will then take questions. Without further ado, I give you the discoverer of the Lazarus stone.”
There was good applause throughout the room. Art had not considered how the Lazarus effect might change his career, but it would. He had been too busy focusing on helping others. He was pleased with the phone call from the Discover Channel folks last night saying he had been renewed for another season starting in the fall. Guess what his first few shows would be about? Art took his clicker and began the lecture.
“Ossuaries, or bone boxes were a popular means of burial during the period 20 B.C. to 70 A.D. The practice involved reburial of bones after the flesh had been allowed to desiccate for a years time, which is about how long it took in Jerusalem for the flesh to disappear. Jews did not practice embalming like Egyptians, they would simply wrap a body in a winding sheet, having cleaned and anointed the body, and wrap spices in the winding sheet to retard the odor of the body during the period of mourning and visitation of the tomb. This is the practice we read about in the Gospels in regard to Jesus. He was destined for an ossuary, but the process got interrupted. You might say he experienced the Lazarus effect.” Art proceeded to show various slides of ossuaries, bones, tombs, and niches, including the ossuary of Caiaphas.
“In my judgment it is no accident that in fact the rise of the Pharisaic movement with their strong beliefs about the bodily resurrection coincides with the practice of osslegium or reburial in an ossuary. The ossuary is a burial ritual which reflects a strong belief in the afterlife, in particular that bodily resurrection would happen, and so the bones needed to be kept together. Many of you will remember that old spiritual based on Ezekiel 37 — “Dem bones dem bones, dem dry bones gonna rise up one day.”
Art sang these words in a deep baritone voice. You could tell he was loosening up and letting it rip.
“This brings us to these whole series of remarkable finds at the
“Here is the inscription in one of the other niches that flanks where Lazarus was buried, indicating that Martha was buried in this tomb as well.
“Obviously, in terms of inscriptional evidence the most striking is this inscription over the Lazarus niche reading, ‘Twice dead under Pilate, twice raised in Yeshua (i.e. Jesus), in sure hope of resurrection.’ This attests that Lazarus had already been raised from the dead once by Jesus and then had died again. It also attests that he had been reborn and raised by Jesus during his lifetime and still looked forward to a future bodily resurrection.”
“I must stress that resurrection, almost without exception, in early Judaism refers to something that happens to a human body, or at least involves a human body either raised or transformed. It is not a terminology applied to visions, dreams, hallucinations, dying and going to heaven or the like. It has a very specific meaning– the raising up of the body or into a body. Usually in Pharisaic Judaism the focus of this was on what would happen to the righteous. I need not remind you that just down this ridge a little further near the Seven Arches Hotel there are plenty of orthodox Jews buried on the top of the Mount of Olives so that at the resurrection they can be first up to greet Messiah when he comes. Orthodox Jews and orthodox Christians share this belief in future bodily resurrection. It is not merely a historic or ancient belief. Once Jesus died and rose again, the belief among his followers became that those who were in Christ would die and rise again and be conformed to his image.”
“I could talk for hours about the scroll that was discovered in the ossuary of Lazarus, but here I must just sum up my conclusions:
“First this scroll was written by the Beloved Disciple also known as Eliezar and we know him as Lazarus.”
“Second, it contains the better part of the Gospel of John in Aramaic, not in Greek in a beautiful Herodian period Aramaic script.”
“Third, the scroll does not call Lazarus the beloved disciple directly, rather where John’s Gospel has those words, this scroll has the name Eliezar, the ancient version of Lazarus.”
“Fourth, this scroll was found in the ossuary which had an inscription reading Eliezar son of Simon. Simon then is the father of Lazarus, which makes good sense in view of the fact that Mark’s Gospel says of the events that the anointing of Jesus took place in the house of Simon the leper.”
“Fifth, this may explain why Lazarus, Martha and Mary were apparently all single. A member of their family was a leper, and indeed Lazarus himself may have died of leprosy.”
“Sixth, this scroll pre-dates any written Greek Gospel, and makes evident that the belief that Jesus was both divine and human was held very early on after Jesus’ death. I would attribute the triggering of this belief to the fact that Jesus appeared to his disciples in the flesh after his death.”
“Seventh, this conclusion that a high Christological view of Jesus as both divine and human was a belief that arose soon after Easter is confirmed by the Aramaic prayer prayed by the earliest followers of Jesus– maran atha. Come O Lord which we find in 1 Corinthians 16. Early Jewish followers of Jesus prayed this prayer and they did not believe they were praying to a mere rabbi to come back from the dead. The fact that they prayed TO Jesus is critical.”
“Eighth, this means they considered him already a part of the Godhead. In other words, Jesus precipitated a rethinking of what monotheism meant. Monotheism was redefined to include Jesus. What we are dealing with in the Lazarus stone is an affirmation of miracle. What we are dealing with in the Aramaic document found in Lazarus’ ossuary is a Christological reformulation of early Jewish monotheism.”
“Ninth, it is important also to note that the earliest Christians were all Jews and they all believed they were already living in the end times and that therefore eschatological events were coming to pass back then, all involving Jesus and his community of followers. In short they did not focus on offering up prophecies about the late twentieth or early twenty-first century and would not have been encouraging us to look for correspondences between Biblical prophecies and our own day, but rather between OT prophecies and Jesus’ day and the NT era. This in my judgment...”
Art was interrupted in mid-sentence by two noises that sounded like thunder inside the auditorium. He paused, looked down at his blue suit and saw it turning red beneath his right shoulder. Dizzy, he began falling, he saw Grace rising and running to catch him and his mind for some reason turned to the verse in Judges 5.27 and he began mumbling the poetry in Hebrew: “At her feet he sank, he fell; there he lay. At her feet he sank, he fell; where he sank, there he fell----dead.” Then blackness and silence engulfed him.
CHAPTER FIFTY: PRE-TRIAL JITTERS
Late Wednesday morning, the phone rang in Benjamin Levi’s office. The Judge’s secretary was on the line.
“Judge Dershowitz has asked me to inform you that Simon Siegal has been retained as counsel for the defense. Apparently, he has worked in
“No,” said Benjamin, “I’ll ask Harry Scholer.”
Harry had been sitting in the outer room chit-chatting with the secretary.
She was asking him: “What are your plans for the rest of the day? Have you time for lunch with Mr. Levi?”
“In my country I would ask for a rain check – but if I did that here I could starve this summer!” They both laughed.
As Levi was hanging up, his secretary announced that Harry Scholer was in the outer room. Levi greeted him with a quick question.
“What do you know of an American lawyer named Simon Siegal? Seems he flew in here in a hurry Monday night and has agreed to represent Dr. Stone.”
Harry’s eyes went wide. “You’re kidding? Simon Siegal! High profile lawyer, very talkative, usually wins his cases. Last I knew he was working for the ACLU. I wonder how much experience he has with Jewish law? Can we check on that?”
“I’ll put a paralegal on that right away – we need to know as much about Siegel as we do about Stone. And then there’s Ray Simpson. Have you thought of how we can use Simpson to our advantage?”
Harry was more encouraging on that point. “Yes, we can use him to establish motive, as well as relate the facts of what happened at the tomb in the morning. Art is not planning to press charges concerning his brief ‘entombment’ with Lazarus! I guess he feels it was a learning experience! I’ve already talked to Simpson and his lawyer. As part of a plea bargain for a lesser sentence he will testify against Stone.”
“As legal counsel to the IAA, we recommend a suspended sentence, a major fine, and two years of parole where he does community service, here in
“Raymond’s no master mind, that’s for sure! At least in the
“Very true,” said Levi. “Besides the student is going to get the sympathy vote in a trial. It will be good to have your knowledge of the moral issues. Thank you for being willing to help. Apparently, with Simon Siegal on board, we have our hands full.”
“And now Harry, I was trying to figure out how to tell you this but instead of tiptoeing around it I will just say it. I must share some bad news— it looks like one of our star witnesses, Art West has just been shot, are you aware of this?”
Harry sat down stunned. “Where have they taken him, I must go at once.”
He flipped open his cell phone and called Grace Levine. The phone rang for what seemed like an eternity, but finally she picked up. “Hello yes,” she said curtly.
“Grace, this is Harry, what has happened with Art?”
“He’s been shot, the ambulance is taking him just now to Sinai hospital, it doesn’t look good. Its madness here at the auditorium with police scrambling everywhere trying to catch the shooter or shooters, it appears there were two shots, I must go. If you’ve got it in you, you better start praying now.”
“Oh no,” said Harry, and buried his face in his hands. He flashed back to when his brother had been brutally murdered in
“Who could have wanted to kill someone as harmless as Art?” Harry realized he had better get to the hospital fast.
CHAPTER FIFTY ONE: AUDITING THE AUDITORIUM
Pandemonium had broken out once the shots were fired. Officer Shimon had been on the stage once again, and from his vantage point the shots seemed to have come from behind one of the two banks of lights on either side of the auditorium, or in other words from behind the cameramen. He had called for an immediate lock down of the room on his walkie talkie, but some people had already fled the room upon first hearing the huge noise of the shots. The acoustics in this auditorium were so alive that the sound had been amplified several fold sounding more like a bazooka than a hand gun or rifle. Shimon had called for back up and the police station had all but emptied to respond to his urgent call.
There were people screaming, and lying down in the aisles, and covering their heads. Grace had acted fast, but had not quite reached Art before he hit his head on the microphone stand as he fell and then the floor. He was bleeding profusely from just below his right shoulder and he was totally unconscious, but breathing. Grace opened her cell phone and dialed 919* at once and summoned the ambulance to the back door of the Golda Meir auditorium. She took her scarf off and tried to staunch the wound that was bleeding profusely. The question rattling around in her head was “Who could have done this to Art?” It couldn’t be Stone or Simpson, they were both in custody. The ambulance had better get here fast. Fortunately there was a back route they could take to the back door of the auditorium. She looked up and saw Grayson Johnson kneeling on the floor in front of the stage praying and praying. “Thank goodness someone is intervening with the Almighty just now” she muttered.
The air was hot and heavy and Sadiq Hadassah was moving fast down the hill into the Kidron valley on foot. He had chosen deliberately to go the crowded route so he could be lost in the multitudes, walking down the road that goes by the chapel known as Dominus Flevit and then the
Pinned to the floor on the left side of the auditorium was a young man with a backpack and a gun on the floor next to him. Officer Hoffner had been standing at the back left hand corner of the auditorium and had seen the young man get out of his seat, walk forward toward the cameras, lean against the far wall, and then suddenly whip out a pistol and take dead aim at Art West and fire. Hoffner had gotten there only seconds after the shot knocking over one of the cameramen as he pinned the young man to the floor.
“What is your name?” Hoffner kept saying to the young man, whose arm was pinned behind his back.
The youth would only say “I want my lawyer, Jamison Parkes Law. I should be allowed to call him now.”
Law, thought Hoffner, wasn’t he that fundamentalist lawyer from
The boy used speed dial and soon he had Law on the line. “Guess what Mr. Law,” said the youth, “I think I scored one for the good guys, I just put a stop to Art West’s criticism of your views on prophecy. You said he was a loose cannon who needed to have a rag put in his mouth at our last meeting of the Millennial Dawn Society. I did it.”
Jamison was pacing the floor of his flat: “What have you done?” he screamed over the phone line.
“I shot the dude, and put an end to his big mouth” bragged the young man.
“You did what?” Law screamed.
“ I thought you would be pleased,” said the youth glumly.
At this juncture Hoffner interrupted and took the phone. “Mr. Law it sounds as though your follower has been more than a little over zealous. You will need to come down to the station and make a statement ASAP. We are carting the young man off to jail right now.”
“What did you say your name was young man?”
“James is the last name. My first name is Yeshua, son of messianic Jewish parents, but most people call me Jesse— Jesse James.”
“Well,” said Hoffner, “this is the last round up for you cowboy.”
Mohammed could hardly believe his luck—finally most of the officers were leaving the station. For days he had staked out the police station trying to figure a way into it, in a desperate ploy to see if he could kidnap a celebrity prisoner and then negotiate a hostage exchange for one of the Hamas leaders he particularly admired. He knew it was a desperate gambit, but Hosni the great Hamas leader was only two days away from execution. Lurking on the opposite street corner from the police station, he reviewed the plans he had made over a week before. He knew the station was old and did not even have air conditioning vents. Apparently no one had installed security systems on the back of the building, not expecting people to be brazen enough to try and break into the building!
Once the vast majority of police cars had peeled out of the station, Mohammed went around the back, put on his ski-mask, picked the lock, disabled the ancient bell alarm, turned out all the lights and went down the basement corridor where the cells were. Mohammed had read the papers closely enough to know there was an important American or two in custody. He wanted the one that would put up the least resistance. Looking into the cell on the left hand side of the corridor he saw a disheveled older man. He had found his mark. Shining his light right in his face he said in the bad English he had practiced for weeks
“You no speak, I shoot you now for sure”
Stone raised his hands and stood up quivering, while Mohammed rather easily jimmied the lock on the cell. Pushing the older man down the dark corridor and holding his pistol firmly in the small of the man’s back, Mohammed and his prisoner rapidly exited the building.
The next thing Stone knew, he was first in broad daylight then he was blindfolded, thrown into the back of a car, and then for good measure knocked over the head with the butt of a gun. The last thing he remembered hearing before all went blank was the screeching of tires as the small getaway car headed somewhere fast.
CHAPTER FIFTY TWO: MIRACLE AT SINAI ?
The ambulance had come with some dispatch and Art’s vital signs were holding steady when they were monitored by the EMT folks in the ambulance. “Coming in, get ready, we’ve got a bleeder and surgery is going to be needed immediately,” said one of them to the emergency room staff
“O.K.” was the only reply on the other end of the line.
“Oh yes, and you had better called Dr. Mordecai and get him prepped at once.”
The ambulance, with full sirens blaring, was racing up the hill towards the hospital, and the gurney in the back on which Art was laying was swaying back and forth with every curve. He was hooked up to a heart monitor, and one of the EMT staff was busy applying direct pressure to the wound hoping to slow down the flow of blood.
“We had better get there quick,” said the staffer, “his blood pressure is beginning to drop rapidly.”
The entrance to the emergency room at
Dr. Mordecai was standing just inside the door, and the minute he saw the blood pressure of Art and his pale demeanor he was yelling for units of blood “Stat” he said. This was a life and death matter, no ordinary surgery. The first task would be to stop the bleeding.
The lights in the operating theater were blazing hot and bright, and the nurses had already ripped West’s suit off of him and covered him in a thin blue blanket. Blood was pouring out of the wound, and almost before the gurney had come to a rest and West was transferred to the operating table, Dr. Mordecai was making an incision right next to the wound and immediately clamping off the hemorrhaging artery.
“O.K., we have stopped the bleeding,” said Mordecai, “Now get the miniature X ray machine over here quick, and let’s see if we can find the bullet.”
As they were wheeling the machine over, Mordecai told the nurse to raise up West and look for an exit wound, and sure enough there was one. “Well one good thing, we don’t have to fish any metal out of him, but do the X ray anyway.”
But the X ray showed that there was indeed a piece of metal in Art, a bullet.
“So he was shot more than once,” said the Doctor, “and from different angles. Job two is to get the other shell out of him. This was a delicate matter as the bullet had entered from the left side and had lodged itself next to the liver and gall bladder without actually entering either one. Delicately Dr. Mordecai used forceps to extract the bullet. “Spong,” he said to the nearest nurse, and she wiped the doctor’s forehead as he was beginning to sweat profusely. “Alright, get the units of blood ready to go. Go ahead and feed him a pint or two, as we’ve got to go in and sow up that ruptured artery.”
The surgery on the artery was indeed delicate and it took over two hours to finish the job without disrupting anything else. At one juncture Art’s pulse had gotten so low that they were contemplating sticking a needle in him with a stimulant, but it proved to be unnecessary. By late afternoon, the Doctor had done everything he could to save Art West, and he was prepared to tell those waiting outside the ICU that he was critical but stable.
As he walked into the waiting area he saw the familiar long faces of Kahlil and Hannah, and Grace Levine, as well as one other gentlemen the doctor didn’t know, Harry Scholer. They all looked grim, as though they had been weeping or praying or both. Dr. Mordecai said “The next 24 hours are critical, but Dr. West has his fitness and luck on his side. One bullet exited through his right back, the other lodged next to his liver coming from a very different angle. Were their two shooters shooting from two different angles?”
Grace did a double take and said: “Well there were two noises but we though they came from two shots from the one shooter. Are you telling me that two people were trying to terminate Art West?”
“Yes it certainly looks that way the bullets came from two very different angles,” said Dr. Mordecai. “In any event you are welcome to wait out the night here, I will have the nurses give you regular reports. We have done all we can for now. It is now in the hands of the Blessed One.”
Grace said thank you to the Doctor for everyone, and then added “I think it best if we say nothing to the media until we know what will transpire with Art, but Harry would you call Officer Hoffner and tell him there was another shooter who may have gotten away?”
“Right away,” said Harry, glad to have something constructive to do.
CHAPTER FIFTY THREE: THE WISDOM OF THE RABBI
Rabbi Menachem was some 79 years of age, and while he had always been radical as well as orthodox in his views, he had never sanctioned murder to silence an opponent who was not himself violently attacking Jews. So it was with considerable consternation that he sat and listened to Sadiq Hadassah, having already promised to keep this a confidential conversation.
“Rabbi I have, since I have joined the sons of
“Yes my child, but have you not noticed that I myself have never used more than non-violent protest and legal means to achieve such ends? Do you not remember the day in front of the McDonalds on
“No rabbi, I did not,” Sadiq said glumly.
“Very well then, what you have done, though I do not doubt your motives were good, was wrong, wrong in the way you went about this. We can not sanction violence against those who have not physically attacked us. Hamas, is a different story, as you know.”
“Yes, but rabbi, it is hard to tell the difference sometimes. Aren’t ideas as dangerous as weapons sometimes?”
“Yes, sometimes they are but the Torah is very clear— ‘only an eye for an eye’ and so on. That command was meant to limit violence to a proportional response not license it. The proper response to West was to refute his ideas of course, not shoot him!” and here the rabbi became animated.
“But what should I do now rabbi? If I turn myself in, it will not go well with me, and I will never be of service to the sons of
The rabbi pondered this. He did not want to betray a confidence, but he also did not want his own name associated with immoral acts of violence. “Let us wait a day or two and decide shall we? Let us wait and see what happens to Professor West who has so disturbed you. But you must promise me this my child.”
“Yes rabbi, what is it?”
“You must promise me you will contact me in two days, and then you must abide by what we decide on that occasion. In the mean time, go visit your relatives in
Sadiq nodded and said ‘Shalom’ as he left in sadness.
When he had closed the front door, the rabbi murmured to himself “man is made for trouble, as the sparks fly up.”
CHAPTER FIFTY-FOUR: THE PRICE OF FREEDOM
He awoke with a pounding headache and a huge lump on the back of his head. Just touching it made him more woosy. He had absolutely no idea where he was, other than he was in a dark room, handcuffed to a bedpost, and the room had no ventilation or air-conditioning. Sweat dripped down his forehead, and in the midst of all his chaotic thoughts another dismal one came to him “They will think I tried to escape! Just marvelous!” said Stone to no one in particular.
Mohammed was sitting in the next room mulling over exactly who he should call about his prisoner. He had had enough sense to buy a new Go phone that would be difficult to trace and
had lots of minutes on it. He had bought it in the name of a distant deceased relative at a now defunct address in
Almost immediately someone picked up the phone at the Herald Tribune office in
Mohammed, speaking through a cloth over the phone, said “Do you speak Arabic?”
“Yes,” said the girl.
“Good, then listen very carefully. We have kidnapped Dr. Patrick Stone and have him in a safe house. Unless Hosni the great Hamas leader is released by the police by nine o clock tomorrow morning, Dr. Stone will be executed. Am I clear? Do you understand the message?”
“I understand” said the shaky voice at the other end of the line.
“Then you must tell your editor this at once, and tell them to call the police. I will call back in two hours. The police must give you clear directions as to when and where the exchange can be made. No games, no tricks, or Stone is dead--- understand.”
“I get it, and now I must go,” and she rang off.
Officer Hoffner was the first man back to the station and when he walked in the front door, Office David was sitting at the desk. He had the disgruntled Jesse James in handcuffs with him.
“All been quiet here?” Hoffner asked David.
“Yes, but its time to do the afternoon check on the prisoners.”
Officer David got up, but suddenly the phone rang.
“I ‘ve got to get this, can you go downstairs and check on Simpson and Stone?”
“Certainly,” said Officer Hoffner. “I’ve got to install this young man in one of those cells anyway.” Hoffner had gotten about half way down the stairwell when Officer David began screaming.
“Someone on the phone says Stone has been kidnapped! Impossible! Check quick!’
Within two minutes Hoffner was standing in front of the open cell door and just shaking his head. “How in the world do we explain this to Officer Shimon? What do we have here--- a revolving door? What else can go wrong today?”
Hoffner led James to the next cell down and opened the door.
“In you go son. With any luck your lawyer friend will be by to see you soon.”
Jesse just hung his head and cried and shuffled into the cell offering now resistance. In his mind he had gone from hero to zero in nothing flat.
CHAPTER FIFTY-FIVE: MARKING TIME
Harry enjoyed the warm, dry weather of
Kahlil was doing much better. His head sported a small bandage, his badge of courage. He was back to his jovial self in the shop. Only now he was humming Coltrane tunes. And business had returned as well, with the huge press of tourists in town buying all sorts of things. The publicity surrounding the Lazarus stone had made stone objects from the biblical period all that much more popular. Kahlil could hardly keep tablets in stock.
Harry enjoyed a pleasant two hours eating, talking and even haggling.
He realized he was spending more and more time with Hannah – and enjoying every minute. But there was business to consider. He slowly and gently began to prepare Kahlil and Hannah for the trial ahead, but his unspoken and greater concern was for Art. Would he survive this, and even if he did, would he ever be his effervescent self again?
Jamison Parkes Law now had a real situation on his hands. Jesse James, an American citizen was in jail for shooting Art West, and all because he misunderstood what Law had been urging his disciples to do. Never in his wildest imagination did he think his young followers would see his moral call to arms as a literal call to arms. He too was learning something on this day about dangerous ideas and dangerous forms of rhetoric. “Damage control,” he kept saying to himself “damage control.” As he road in his Volvo down to the police station he reflected on what he was going to say to the police. Of course he would disavow the violence, but what else should he say? Should he tell them he would be the legal representative for James? He knew he must resist the temptation to simply abandon James, or else he himself might be abandoned by the rest of his following. They had all liked James immensely, he was just too impetuous, too much of a “shoot first and ask questions later” kind of person, and now he had proved it quite literally. He was only 19 years of age. What was to be done? Law decided he would provide counsel for James, and he would advise him to say nothing, while waiting to see what would happen with West. More than one person was now marking time, as West struggled for survival.
CHAPTER FIFTY-SIX: OVER
The Prime Minister himself had called in his top hostage negotiator Avner Galal to deal with the Stone-Hosni mess. However much the Prime Minister had enjoyed using the rhetoric that he did not negotiate with terrorists, this time the consequences of not doing so were too severe. Naturally once the exchange was made they would track the terrorists down and run them to ground.
Galal was a no-nonsense kind of man. He had serve with Yadin in the ’67 war, and he knew all the ins and outs of negotiation and exchange, or at least he thought he did. But he had never heard of a hostage exchange being made on the Allenby bridge itself. This was a first. Galal had been given the full use of the para-military boys who worked with the Mosad, the secret police, but he had chosen just four of their finest to accompany him with Hosni to the bridge. Officer Shimon had come with him as well to identify Stone.
Did this location mean that the terrorist that had Stone was a Jordanian? It seemed unlikely since
Stone could hardly believe it when he had stepped out of the car in the middle of the night and while still blindfolded was ordered to start gradually walking through the shallow waters of the
Muhammed, like many older Palestinians to this day, carried a Jordanian passport, because of course until the war, all of the eastern part of
Thus when Muhammed with Stone in tow had gotten up the east bank of the Jordan and come up on the back side of the shops at the check point just beyond Allenby bridge, Muhammed walk directly with Stone to the guard’s booth where he told Ishmael to meet him and in the bright light of the booth he could see they were playing cards. Nothing could be easier.
“Salam alechum” he said in a quiet voice so as not to startle them. Ishmael flashed a big smile and returned the greeting, hoping up and giving Muhammed a big hug.
“It has been too many years…. Let me introduce you to my friend—this is one of
Hussein stood up and notice the disheveled old man and came to attention—“And who in the world is this?”
“Do not worry” said Mohammed, “He will not be with us long. But you must notify your superior’s as he will shortly be exchanged for the great Hosni”
“Hosni, the one known as the jackal? Hosni the one who killed a whole busload of people outside of
“Yes that one,” said Muhammed.
“Who then is this, that is worthy of such an exchange?” asked Ishmael.
“I present to you Dr. Patrick Stone--- the great antiquities thief!”
Stunned, both Jordanians looked hard at the short, balding older man in rumpled clothes and could hardly believe their eyes. This was the man they had seen on the Jordanian news?
Hussein was on the phone at once, calling and waking up his superior—General Atta.
He would want to be in on this matter. Atta had quickly phoned King Abdullah to alert him to what was happening, and the King had given Atta specific instructions on how to handle this matter. After the recent bombings at hotels in
CHAPTER FIFTY SEVEN: FOREIGN EXCHANGE
Dawn came quickly over the
The light began to creep over the Golan onto the bridge itself, which Muhammed could now see clearly for the first time from the checkpoint booth. Atta had already briefed Muhammed as to what he wanted to do.
“I expect to receive a phone call from Lt. Galal shortly, and after that we will work out the details.” His voice was authoritative and cold. Unlike his Jordanian friend at the guard booth, the General was not even cordial to Muhammed, much less treat him like a hero. This made Muhammed nervous. Had he made a mistake?
The cellphone of the General began to ring, playing a Arabic dance tune. Grabbing his jacket which held the phone, the General flipped it open and said “Salam aleichum”
“And shalom to you as well said Avner. We have an agreement then as to how this is to transpire—yes? No soldiers crossing the bridge, no funny business. Just Stone walking our way and “the Jackal” walking in your direction across the bridge?” The arrangements had already been made through channels, and the decisions simply conveyed to Avner and General Atta. There would be no delicate negotiations, no haggling, no backshish—just a one for one swap, done by the book. The exchange was to take place at precisely 8. a.m.
“Indeed,” said the General, “simple and clean. We are understood then” and he hung up his phone.
Meanwhile Stone was at the point of collapse. It had all been too much for him, the aging overweight, academic. It was like he was caught in the middle of the plot of a B movie. At the moment he was sitting in the toilet shaking, trying to go to the bathroom one more time, he was so nervous. No one had tortured him, but still the situation seemed ominous to him. Certainly no one was offering him food or water, nor did anyone speak to him. The guard stood right outside his stall waiting for him to emerge.
Suddenly a wave of nausea came over Stone and he stood up, turned around and started vomiting into the toilet. The guard could here this, and became concerned. The exchange was only five minutes away.
“General Atta! This man is sick. What should we do?”
It was clear that Stone was in no condition to travel, and might only barely be able to walk across the bridge. Atta immediately called Avner.
“We have a problem,” he said. “Stone is busying throwing up in the guard’s toilet and is extremely weak. Give me an extra thirty minutes to clean him up. There will be no tricks. We don’t want any part of this antiquities thief!”
Avner listened for a moment and thought—“is this some kind of ruse? Surely not since the General seems thorough disgusted with the ‘marked man’.”
“O.K. but lets get this over with quick, I hear the sirocco is coming, the dust storm.”
Looking out of the guard booth and up at the sky Atta notice that it had gone from blue to a sort of light tan color. This did not bode well.
“You are right” said the General, I will call you back as soon as we are ready.”
The guard had to help Stone out of the toilet he was so shaky. They gave him some cool water, and an aspirin for his headache.
“Here, take this—you will feel better.”
Stifling the desire to wretch again, Stone drank down the water and swallowed the pill without difficulty. He was quickly escorted to the bridge. The time was 8:15.
The General phoned Avner once more--- “we are as read as we can be. Stone may need help from you once he gets to your half of the bridge.”
“Right, we anticipated that, and Officer Shimon, whom you can now see standing at the other end of the bridge if you look through a rifle scope, will be waiting, in case he is needed. He is not armed. I repeat he is not armed. One more thing. Part of the deal was that ‘the jackal’ is in full body armor. Its bound to be stiflingly hot in this weather, but we are doing exactly what was asked.”
Stone was shoved out on the bridge at precisely 8:17 and Hosni was as well. The two men began walking, the latter with a better stride than the former. From the middle of the road Muhammed watched this. It seemed more like a death march than a flight to freedom. Yet he was excited thinking about the prospect of meeting his hero--- ‘the jackal’.
Shuffling his way along, then stumbling once, Stone was about half way across the bridge when the hamsin hit full force--- at first with only twenty mile an hour winds. The jackal had made it almost entirely to the Jordanian side before the strong biting, sand-filled wind hit, but not Stone. Stone fell flat on his face on the concrete with a thud.
Atta and one of his guards ran to Hosni and grabbed him and dragged him the rest of the way across the bridge. There was no danger of any gunfire from the Israelis since they could not see a thing at the far end of the bridge. At the same time, Shimon, running as fast as he could into the wind and shielding his eyes by putting on his shooting goggles started yelling—
“I am coming Dr. Stone, I am coming.”
There was no response, except a low moan, which might have been the wind or it might have been Stone. Reaching the spot where Stone fell, Shimon picked the man up in his arms and turned toward
Shimon could not see a thing as he tried to traverse the last 100 yards of the bridge. Avner was standing facing the wind shouting “Here, here, come in this direction. Over here”.
Meanwhile the ‘jackal’ was in the custody of Gen. Atta and his men.
Flashing a smile which revealed at least two teeth missing, Hosni said to the General
“Allah akbar” (God is great).
The General replied: “Allah is indeed great but you are nothing but trouble. We will be escorting you to a Jordanian prison. And as for your hero-worshipping friend Muhammed. We have plans for him as well. He will be confined to the Palestinian refugee camp outside
Muhammed could hardly believe what he was hearing. “How can this be? You also are Moslems!”
General Atta replied curtly--- “Most Moslems do not believe in terrorism and kidnapping as a solution to our problems. You shame the faith that you name!” And with that both Hosni, now stripped of the battle regalia and Muhammed were handcuffed and were thrust into the back of an armed car vehicle, never to be seen again in
Meanwhile, Shimon, his arms getting heavy had finally reached the end of the bridge and could just see Lt. Galal. “I have made it, praise be heaven” said Shimon as he gave out of gas, and set Stone gently down. Stone, breathing heavily, was nonetheless conscious.
“Where am I?” he asked feebly.
“Welcome back to the Promised Land Dr Stone. We will take you back to the comfort of your cell and some military food now.” Stone just grunted and gently set himself down in the back of the jeep. His resistance was so low, he had no fight left in him. They could do as they like with him--- he didn’t care any more.
CHAPTER FIFTY-EIGHT: BAIL DENIED
Simon Siegal could hardly believe his luck. His client, who had a shaky case at best, had now become an object of no little sympathy from the press, which had plastered pictures of him back on the front page of the Herald Tribune and the Jerusalem Post. The Tribune especially had run a full length article with their secretary and correspondent being interviewed about the phone call from Muhammed and what ensued there after. Their photographer had managed to get a shot of Stone when he was returned to the police station looking distraught and distressed and disheveled—in fact totally pathetic. Siegal was sure that the sympathy vote generated by this story would help the case.
Friday morning’s pre-trial hearing was gaveled into session and the line up for the trial was set. On the one side of the docket was Simon Siegal, and on the other was Benjamin Levi, Harry Scholer, and various legal aides. Stone had been allowed to rest in his cell, rather than appear before the judge at this juncture. Judge Dershowitz was noted for acting with dispatch as a no nonsense judge. The charges were officially read into the court records. “Counselor Siegal, how does your client plead .”
“Not guilty on all counts,” said Siegal emphatically. “And we request release of my client with an appropriate bail.”
Dershowitz looked at Siegal and said, “Nice try, counselor but since this man has already fled the country once and been dragged out of the country a second time, and has access to considerable funds once he is out of jail, I am denying bail. He will continue to be remanded into the congenial custody of the police in the
“Yes, your honor. We request that cameras and reporters be kept out of the courtroom since this is such a high profile case.”
“I am inclined to agree with you on that, counselor. Mr. Levi, have you any objections to a closed trial?”
“No, your honor,” said Benjamin Levi. “But we would like permission to speak to the press each day once the day’s proceedings are done.”
“You may do so, and I will also have the court reporter hand out a summary of the proceedings each day as well. Is that satisfactory to both parties?”
“Yes, your honor,” came the collective reply.
Then Mr. Siegal interjected, “I have one more matter to bring up, your honor.”
“Proceed,” ordered the judge.
“I have a motion to dismiss the gun as evidence since my client’s fingerprints were never found on it.”
The judge looked at the affidavit, and then asked, “What does the prosecution say to this motion?”
At this juncture Harry lept into action. “Your honor, this is a typical tactic of Mr. Siegal who likes to exclude one piece of evidence after another until he makes them all disappear. The prosecution is prepared to present clear evidence that the gun found on the scene belonged to Patrick Stone’s father, Leroy, who lived in
“That’s enough for me for now,” said the judge. “Motion to suppress the weapon is denied. Anything else?”
“Yes your honor,” said Harry, “As you no doubt know one of our main witnesses, Art West is clinging to life at Sinai hospital, and we are having some trouble getting one of our witnesses here in time Dr. William Arnold. There may be a need for a motion for a long recess and continuance at some point.”
“I understand, and must allow it if it comes to that. We want this to be a fair trial for both sides” said the judge. “That’s all for today gentleman.” The gavel sounded the end of the proceedings.
As they were leaving the courtroom Benjamin said to Harry, “Nice work, I am glad you know Siegal’s tactics. I am quite certain he has more rabbits up his sleeve.”
‘Indeed,” said Harry. “ But last I checked June is rabbit hunting season.” Both men smiled as they walked down the courthouse steps. Harry was trying to portray a positive demeanor but he was inwardly more than a little troubled. Stone would now have the sympathy vote on his side--- he could be called a victim of Hamas terrorism, something an Israeli jury would have feelings about. And how was Art? How could they win the trial without Art? Suddenly Harry was jolted out of his revere by the insistent ringing of his cell phone.
“Grace here,” said the voice at the other end. “Art’s vital signs are stable and his blood pressure is back to normal, but he is not conscious yet, by the design of the doctor who wants his body to repair for a while before waking him. Nonetheless, the news we have is good.”
“I am so relieved to hear this, be sure to call Kahlil and let him know as well.”
“I will,” said Grace, and rang off. Surely, thought Harry, things must begin to get better soon.
CHAPTER FIFTY NINE: GRAYSON GOES GRAVE DIGGIN’
Grayson Johnson was enjoying his Thursday off as much as he could, considered that he had not been allowed to see Dr. West at the hospital and had been told by Dr. Levine that perhaps he had best go do some of the tasks Dr. West would want him to be doing just now. He thought this was a good way to keep himself occupied and so he resolved to go back to the tomb in
Grayson rather missed Avi Hoffner’s company. After recording last Thursday’s phone call, Avi was busy with other detective work. But as a reward for his co-operation in these matters he had been given an IAA pass to crawl around in the Lazarus tomb. When Hoffner informed him of this on Tuesday, Grayson nearly leapt out of his Nike sneakers. “Awesome! I am for sure honored and you can count on me to comb every square inch of that tomb. I’ll take my digital camera. I’ve got Thursday off!” Art had already given him a few basic guidelines of what he could and could not do at a dig site, but he felt confident that Grayson would do just fine.
Grayson set out with his backpack and a determined look in his eye. When he arrived at the tomb, he notice it was cordoned off. On instructions from Art, he went in the church and showed Mustafa his badge and a note from Art West and another from Officer Hoffner. Mustafa, a man used to interesting characters, said, “That is fine. Please be careful. Do not break anything or take anything.”
Taking out his heavy duty flashlight, Grayson shimmied through the hole in the back of the tomb, turned on the flashlight and began combing the walls first. There was really nothing but carved out rock to see.
But his next object for attention was the niche on the right which had thus far not been examined closely. Crawling into the empty space and lighting the roof of the enclosure, Grayson found an inscription similar to the one Art had found in the other niche. This inscription, however, was not in Aramaic, it was in Greek. Grayson, budding scholar that he was, took two years of Greek at Fruitland Bible Institute. Slowly, he made out the poetic words one by one:
Here lay Mary, the one who anointed Jesus
Now Mary resides where the departed martyrs dwell
Carefully taking three pictures, Grayson crawled out of the niche and pondered the allusion in the inscription. Grayson knew his Bible well, especially his New Testament. As a fan of the “Left Behind” series he had studied the book of Revelation many times. He recognized the reference to Revelation 6 which speaks of the departed saints being under the altar in heaven.
“OK,” said Grayson, “But are we being told that Mary and her ossuary were like, raptured to heaven? Even Mr. LaHaye said nothing about caskets being beamed up. So probably that’s a bogus idea.” He decided to look over the rest of the tomb once more and think about the inscription while he did. There turned out to be nothing more that was new in the tomb.
Crawling out of the tomb, he checked his pictures and found that the inscription showed up clearly. He went back to talk to Mustafa.
“Sir, is there any record of Mary and Martha’s bones being moved under the altar of this church a long time ago.”
“The church you see is a rather modern church with a modern altar. But it is built on the foundations of the ancient
Grayson smiled and said, “OK, gotta run, but would you call me if anything comes to light. Here is my phone number at the house. Later Dude.”
At least one good thing had turned up today. Grayson made a mental note to spend an hour or so once he was home, just praying for Dr. West’s health. He decided to pray as though he were the voice of Dr. West beseeching God, using Psalm 18– “I call to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies. The cords of death entangled me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me. The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me. In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears....He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes who were too strong for me...He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.”
Dr. West was in the hands of God, reasoned Grayson, the best place he could be. On that thought he was able to lie down and get his first good night’s rest in three days.
CHAPTER SIXTY: LIFE LINES AND DEATH WATCHES
The Doctor had come into Art’s room and told the nurse not to give Art any more magic sleeping potion. It was time for him to be allowed to wake up. Grace had been sitting patiently in the room they had wheeled Art into waiting to hear from the doctor again. Dr Mordecai smiled and said “ Your Dr. West is a fighter, I think he is out of danger now.”
“That’s both a relief and a laugh,” said Grace, “Art West the fighting pacifist. I always knew he was a bundle of outrageous extremes. But seriously, how long realistically before he might be allowed to go home so we can stop this death watch?”
“If when he awakes, all is well, I would say another 3-4 days, but we will have to wait and see. He should be awake in an hour or so.” The Doctor smiled again and left.
Grace bided her time by reading the latest issue of Harry Scholer’s magazine, Biblical Artifacts. She had been particularly intrigued by the article arguing for a reassessment of the Jehoash Tablet and its authenticity. At about ten in the morning Art began to stir in his bed, and calling for water.
Grace slipped some ice chips in his mouth, and he said “thanks nurse,” having not yet opened his eyes. Grace turned on her best
Art opened his eyes with a start and said “Grace, its you”, and began to weep. “What am I doing here?” Grace began to tear up as well and said “Well there was this little matter of two different assassins trying to gun you down while you were lecturing on resurrection. I guess they wanted to see if you could embody your theology literally.”
Art smiled and said
“It hurts too much to laugh, but that was a good one. Hey did you hear the one about President Bush and Moses?”
“No,” said Grace “but I can hardly wait to do so.” This was good, Art was trying to be his old self.
“Well it seems the President was walking down the corridor in an airport with his secret service guys when he saw this man who looked remarkably like Moses, and he went up to him and asked “Are you Moses?” But the man never stopped and just kept walking. The President was miffed and so he sent one of his secret service men after the guy and told him to ask the man if he was Moses. The secret service quickly caught up with the man and said “Excuse me sir, are you Moses, you sure look like Moses. Why didn’t you respond to the President when he spoke to you” Moses replied “Yes I am Moses, but the last time I spoke with a bush, I got in big trouble.”
Grace just burst out laughing. Art said “Please don’t make me laugh, the stitches you know, the stitches on both sides!” Grace got out her cell phone and dialed up Harry. “Harry,” she said “We’ve got a live one here, the death watch is over. Art just cracked a joke.” She handed the phone to Art: “Hi friend,” said Art, “How are you and trial getting along.”
“Just fine Art, only we are going to need your testimony, so I am thinking maybe we will send a videographer over your way tomorrow morning if you are feeling up to it.”
“Sure” said Art, “I’ve got nothing better to do.”
“Except get well from two bullet wounds,” hollered Grace from the other side of Art’s bed.
“Harry, please call Kahlil and tell him I am back in the land of the living will you?”
“Sure thing.” said Harry “Things are beginning to look up. Back to trial preparation.”
“Once a lawyer, always a lawyer,’ said Art turning to Grace and adding “Did I tell you the one about the man who was on his death bed and had his wife call his two lawyers, telling her to get them over to his house quick, as he wanted to die like Jesus, between two thieves.”
Grace said, “Enough, enough, I am beginning to think the anesthesia has so altered your brain waves that you’ve been turned into a candidate for Christian Comedy Central. Give it and yourself a rest, and I’ll be back after a visit to the IAA office.”
“Right,” said Art and as she was leaving he said, “But did I tell you the one about King David being the first to ride a motorcycle because the Bible says “His triumph was heard throughout the land...”
“Oiveh, “ said Grace and smiled, “Someone put him back to sleep... please!”
CHAPTER SIXTY ONE: CLASH OF THE TITANS
The courtroom was gleaming with sunlight pouring in through the windows on this hot June day. The lights hardly needed to be on. But the searching white hot spotlight of truth would be bringing the real heat and light in this room. The courtroom had filled up an hour before time for the trial, and the press in great hordes were camping outside the building waiting for any and every bit of news possible. The headline in the Jerusalem Post this morning was CLASH OF THE TITANS. Two famous Jewish lawyers were about to have a go at it in public over the most famous theft in the
When the combatants entered the room Benjamin Levi was wearing a dark blue, pin-stripe suit, as was Harry Scholer, the difference being that Levi went for the reserved dark tie whereas Harry wore his natty red bow tie. Various legal aides trundled into court behind them like participants in a Roman triumph.
Simon Siegal made a striking entrance wearing a hunter green suit.
Patrick Stone looked better than he had in many days, wearing a brown tweed jacket and looking every inch the Yale professor he was, but with enough of a limp to remind those in the courtroom of his recent travails. Apparently someone really had looked after him and coached him on how to behave.
Certain documents had already been made available to all the parties concerned, and entered into the court records. This included Stone’s passports, hotel receipts, a copy of the agreement made between Stone and the
Jury selection had begun the Monday after the pre-trial hearing. The jury pool had already been skimmed by the two principle attorneys with each rejecting four jurors for cause. A lot of pre-trial publicity had made jury selection difficult.
Judge Dershowitz then addressed Siegal and Levi. “Gentlemen, you may make your opening statements to the jury, Mr. Levi first.”
“Ladies and gentleman of the jury, this is no ordinary trial. Because the nature of this crime strikes at the heart of both the Jewish and Christian heritage here in Eretz
“The Lazarus stone is no ordinary artifact. The
“Unlike the ordinary thief who cannot read ancient languages, this thief [pointing to Patrick Stone], this thief knew precisely what he had found and precisely what its value was likely to be. So desperate was he to have this object that he was prepared to attempt murder with his own gun to silence the one man, an antiquities dealer here in
“Here is a driven, self-centered, greedy man who wanted to cash in on someone else’s inheritance. Unlike the case of Jacob and Esau, this man [again pointing at Stone] didn’t bargain for another man’s inheritance, he stole it outright. Outrageous! It is our contention that Patrick Stone should feel the full brunt of Israeli justice, not least so that it will be a deterrent for all that might seek to follow in his footsteps. By early Jewish law, he himself should be stoned! We need to make an example out of Dr. Patrick Stone, and we intend to leave no evidentiary stone unturned until justice is done!”
There was a round of applause in the courtroom, which Dershowitz gaveled into submission. Simon Siegal arose looking confident.
“It is a sad day when anyone loses something precious, all the more so if it has great historical significance. But this artifact is not lost. Indeed it is being held for eventual display to the public at one of the world’s leading museums – the
“Furthermore, this Lazarus stone is of much greater importance to the Christian world, than it is to us. For us, it is an interesting curiosity that raises a few questions. For devout Christians the inscription confirms the Gospel accounts that Jesus actually was a faith healer! That Jesus raised the dead! For Christians, the words on the stone provides a witness that Jesus and resurrection go together, that Jesus and messiahship go together!”
“Ask any of the IAA members here who have seen this stone whether it has that significance for them as Jews. I think not. So let us not exaggerate the nature of this theft. There is a reason why Dr. Stone went to a Christian nation to sell this object.”
“But wait, what if Dr. Stone did not steal this object at all? Suppose he obtained it from his over-zealous teaching assistant, Raymond Simpson, whose fingerprints were all over the forged copy of the stone and its mail wrapper? The testimony will show that Simpson was in the tomb and made the copy of the inscription. Can any one of you here say that if this object was brought to you, you would not be tempted to keep it? Can any of you say that once you had the valuable object and had sought to have it brokered to the proper people right here in
“Though you see here a well- known, international scholar, it was not always so. In fact, Patrick Stone comes from humble origins – from
“Do you know ladies and gentleman what that does to a person’s psyche when a parent abuses, neglects and belittles? I think you do know the lasting effects of such abuse. Now picture in your mind Patrick Stone. Though he was a grown man who had accomplished much in academia, it was never enough, never validated him to the one person he most wanted approval from – his father. There is often a great gap between who a person is, and how they see themselves. This was clearly the case with Patrick Stone. Good enough was never good enough.”
“On that fateful day when the Lazarus stone came into Patrick’s possession, he was like a child in a toy store, only now the child within him saw a way to finally prove to at least the scholars at one of the world’s greatest museums that he was somebody, somebody important. He managed to turn the stone over to the world’s most famous museum which promised to keep his identity a secret – imagine the humility in that act! In his heart, he knew he had broken away from the need to please – he had done the right thing!”
“It is a sad and tragic story, the tale of Patrick Stone who in a moment of weakness made a tragic error in judgment despite a previously spotless record of integrity. Which one of us has not had such a moment of weakness? Who are we to cast the first stone, as Mr. Levi has suggested we should? I submit to you, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, that Patrick Stone, deserves a better fate. I trust that when you judge the evidence in light of the man, you will judge with mercy and fairness.”
By the time Siegal had finished his amazing opening salvo, some members of the jury were in tears. Harry whispered to Benjamin, “Like I said, we really have our work cut out for us in this case.”
The gavel brought everyone back to reality. “We will recess until after lunch,” said Dershowitz firmly.
CHAPTER SIXTY TWO: THE CASE FOR THE PROSECUTION
The lunch recess had been uneventful, and Harry had not eaten much, so revved up was he after Levi had told him he would be first up to bat to do the inquisition on Ray Simpson.
Scholer had tirelessly prepared himself, and so he stood up before the court, cleared his throat and said:
“ The prosecution calls Raymond Simpson.”
Dressed simply but neatly in khaki slacks and a plaid sport shirt, not a suit, as the prosecution did not wish to portray him as a professional of any kind, Ray took the stand. After he was sworn in, Scholer began to grill him.
“Mr. Simpson what, is your relationship with Patrick Stone?’
“I am his teaching assistant at Yale, and his doctoral student.”
“And what was it that brought you to
“Dr. Stone asked me to come and help him with his research, and I was excited to do so. It will look good on my resume.”
“Very good, and how would you describe the work Dr. Stone asked you to do this past month while in
“Nothing at all like what he asked me to do when I was at Yale.”
“What do you mean? Describe what he asked you to do.”
“Well, for one thing, instead of doing research or digging, he had me trailing Dr. Arthur West. He even had me trail him to a bank and get his checking account number by devious means. He was obsessed with finding out what Dr. West was doing in
“Objection.” said Siegal. “Some of this calls for speculation about the state of mind of Dr. Stone.”
“Sustained,” said Dershowitz “the last sentence will be stricken from the record.”
Scholer continued, “Tell us more about what he had you do besides follow Dr. West.”
“Well, here’s a short list. First, he asked me to help trap West in the tomb behind the
“Did you know where the inscription came from?”
“I read the text – I knew it was from the Bethany Church. I’m sorry about all that.”
“And the figurines – did you know what was in them. Didn’t you find the request rather strange?”
“I swear I didn’t know what was in the figurines. And I couldn’t figure out why he would want them hidden in my locker of all places. If they weren’t valuable, why not leave them at his apartment?”
“Thank you, Mr. Simpson. We enter into the records exhibits A, B and C-- the copy of the stone inscription including the paper wrapping, the four figurines, and the key to the locker. However, for security sake, the manuscripts have been removed.”
Dershowitz once again took control.
“Do you wish to cross-examine this witness, Mr. Siegal?”
“Certainly your honor, I have but a few questions for him.”
“Mr. Simpson, how old are you?”
“And would you consider yourself a responsible adult?”
“More like an educated fool!”
“And did Professor Stone actually order you to do anything?”
“No, it would be more correct to say he strongly urged me to help.”
‘Very good, and so he did not threaten you in any way, right?”
“Well, indirectly, I suppose, in the sense that he told me if I helped him that he would write me a glowing recommendation for a job at John’s
“Yes, of course, he is your superior. Would it be true to say, Mr. Simpson, that you have been offered a more lenient sentence for your cooperation with the prosecution.”
“Yes, that’s so. I’ll be doing community service for some time.”
“One more thing, were you present with Dr. Stone either when he was alleged to be in the antiquities shop or later when he is alleged to have assaulted Mr. el Said?”
“No sir, I was home with my room mate, Grayson Johnson, drinking Maccabee beer and eating Cheetos.” Laughter broke out in the courtroom.
“Exactly so, and so you have no personal knowledge at all of Dr. Stone committing any act of violence on those occasions – correct?”
“I wasn’t in either place.”
“Lastly, did Dr. Stone tell you where he was going and what he was doing when he fled the country?”
“ No sir, his note simply said he was going home, and that he would see me back at school. He even left me money and the use of his flat.”
“Very generous of him, wouldn’t you say?”
Before Raymond could answer the question, Siegal turned and said, “No further questions.”
“Redirect, your honor!” cried Levi.
“Mr. Simpson, if Dr. Stone was such a great mentor, why then did you feel compelled to attempt to flee the country?”
“Because I knew that Dr. Stone and I had done something wrong, and I was afraid he would leave me holding the bag.” This led to some murmuring in the court room, but Simpson was allowed to step down.
As Raymond was dismissed, Levi called his next witness, Kahlil el Said.
“Mr. el Said, what is your profession?”
“I am an antiquities dealer in the old city.”
“And is it not correct to say you are one of the leading experts amongst the dealers in ancient stone objects?”
“Yes. I am proud of my reputation as an honest antiquities dealer.”
“So then it is in no way surprising that Dr. Stone came and showed you what we now call the Lazarus stone, seeking to sell it to you or have you broker it to another.”
“No, it is not surprising.”
“What was the demeanor of Dr. Stone when he came into the shop?”
“He was pacing the floor. When I turned him down, he called me an imbecile! Then he rudely referred to my shop as a ‘small business in a God-forsaken part of town!’ He was most insulting. I was shocked that one claiming to be an academic would say such demeaning things.”
“Not surprising by American standards. Sorry, your honor for the sarcasm. Now, Mr. el Said, are you quite certain that it was Dr. Stone, the man sitting over there, who came to your shop.”
“Mr. el Said, I see that you have a bandage on your head. Can you tell the court how you came to injure yourself?”
“I was shot. When I fell I hit my head on an iron bench in the park behind the Shrine of the Book. I spent a week in the hospital.”
“Do you have any idea who shot you, could you see his face in the dark?
“Yes, that man!” Kahlil pointed to Patrick Stone.
“Did you have a conversation with Patrick Stone before he shot you?”
“He said, ‘How could you deny me like that? Surely I can convince you to broker the inscription for me!’”
“You took that to refer to the conversation earlier in the day?”
“Yes, I did.”
“Then what happened?”
“He pulled out a small gun and began to wave it at me. I grabbed his hand. Apparently, the gun went off. That is all I remember!”
“But you are sure it was Dr. Patrick Stone that shot you.”
“Without a doubt.”
“Thank you, Mr. el Said, nothing further. I hope your full health returns.”
Again Dershowitz pronounced, “Mr. Siegal, do you have any questions at this point.”
Siegal arose and approached el Said.
“At any time before he pulled the gun, did you feel threatened?”
“Not really, he had already shown his true colors in my shop.”
“Why did you grab the gun?”
“It was foolish, perhaps, but I just wanted that gun to go away!”
“Do you feel that your actions caused the gun to go off – that my client never intended to hurt you, merely to scare you?”
“I agree, that is possible.”
“Is it not the case that you were in a coma for a long time after the shooting.”
“Yes, for several days, and then I had amnesia, but my memory is clear now.”
“Is it not possible that some other angry client assailed you and you thought it was Stone because his anger was fresh in your mind? Isn’t it possible in light of your concussion that you have muddled things up in your mind?”
“I don’t believe so, and besides the man spoke English with an American not an Israeli or Palestinian accent. I have not had other Americans angry with me of late.”
“No more questions, your honor.”
Judge Dershowitz was impressed by Siegal’s probing questions. He definitely steered the onus of the crime away from his client. “Call your next witness, Mr. Levi.”
Levi’s voice rang out, “The court calls Detective Hoffner to the stand.
“Detective, can you tell us in what capacity you have been involved in these matters.”
“In various ways. I examined both the weapon and the coat. I was also involved in the recovery of the manuscripts in the figurine, and monitoring the whereabouts of Dr. Stone.”
“Let me enter into record, exhibits D, E and F – the gun, the coat, and the tape recoding. Very good . Tell us first what you found when you examined the gun. Where was this found?”
“It was found on the park bench beside the body of Mr. el Said when we arrived at the crime scene.”
“I see, tell us about this weapon.” Levi held up Exhibit D, the gun.
“It is a nineteenth century derringer, one shot only. I tracked it to a gun shop in
“Yes, we have those reports. And were there any finger prints found on the weapon?”
“Yes, but not those of the defendant. Rather they were the prints of Dr. Arthur West who arrived at the scene apparently after the shooting.”
“I see. But if there are no prints of the gun, how do we know Dr. Stone is the perpetrator and not Dr. West?”
“It involves two bits of evidence. First, Dr. Stone’s DNA was found in hairs on el Said’s coat that he wore that night. This can hardly be explained if he was not there, and the gun was right next to the body. Secondly, as I said before, we have a sworn deposition from
“And not Dr. West?”
“No sir, he was immediately tested for gun powder residue and blood splatters. He was clean.”
“Nothing further your honor,” said Benjamin Levi.
The Judge’s gaze shifted. “Mr. Siegal?”
Siegal strode forward and looked Hoffner in the eye.
“Detective Hoffner, how long have you been on the force? And what is your area of expertise?”
“Eight years now specializing in forensic science including guns and ballistics.”
“Very good. Have you ever dealt with a handgun quite like this before?”
“And you do not know that Leroy gave his son such a weapon, do you?”
“No sir, but it is a logical inference.”
“Yes, well many things are logical if you are arguing in a circle. Would you consider yourself an expert in the forensic matter of examining DNA evidence based on hair fibers?”
“Well . . . not technically , but our lab boys do know about these things..”
“Detective Hoffner, can you please tell us about the phone call you monitored in the house of Raymond Simpson here in
“Yes sir. Simpson was already in custody, but Stone did not know that, and so he spoke with Simpson’s room mate Grayson Johnson.”
“What was said?”
“It is all on tape. Exhibit F I believe. Stone was wanting to ask Johnson to tell Simpson to return the figurines!”
“And these figurines, Exhibit B, contain priceless manuscripts, is that correct?!
“The very same sir.”
“Let me be clear about this, he turned to the jury, Mr. Stone wished for Raymond Simpson to return the figurines! To the Three Arches shop?”
“He specifically said not to return them to the shop. He wanted to give Raymond specific directions on how to return those figurines. He didn’t mention they contained manuscripts.”
“So Dr. Stone planned to return the manuscripts to their rightful owner.”
Benjamin Levi jumped up, “Objection your owner, calls for speculation.”
“Sustained. Be careful, Mr. Siegal,” said the Judge firmly.
“Detective, was this a legal wire tap?”
“Yes sir, by the book.”
“Very good, nothing further.”
Harry and Benjamin looked at each other – the testimony about the figurines certainly painted Stone in a more pleasing light. Levi arose, and said,
“I have one last witness, and I will be brief your honor.”
“When is a loquacious man like you ever brief? Carry on,” smiled the judge.
“I call Mustafa el Din, caretaker of the
Mustafa came to the dock wearing his clerical robe.
“Mustafa, I have but one question for you. Have you ever seen the defendant wandering around the inside or outside of the
“Yes, on Tuesday, June 1, I saw two men roaming around the church in the morning. One was the man sitting there, Dr. Stone. The other man was younger, and I did not see his face clearly. I was busy in the church the rest of the day and saw no one else.”
“Did you see them wandering around the back of the church?’
“I saw them wandering in that direction in the morning, yes.”
“That’s all I have for this witness.”
The judge looked at Siegal. “Your turn!”
“Mr. el Din, is it your testimony that on June first my client was wandering around your church? Did you actually see him behind your church?”
“No, I saw two men heading in that direction, and then I went back in the church. One of the men was Dr. Stone for sure.”
“But at the time you didn’t know who they were, nor did it seem important to you to see what they were up to since you went back in the church? Is that not right?”
“I was very busy on that day. There was no reason to be alarmed.”
“Ah, they posed no threat?” said Siegal who turned, held up his hands, and went to his seat before objections could even be raised.
Dershowitz gaveled the first day’s proceedings to an end. It had been a draining experience for all. Harry turned to Levi and said, “So far so good. All evidence points to his guilt.”
But as Siegal turned to leave he whispered to Stone, “So far so good. You never came across as a true criminal. You are a good man who never meant to hurt anyone, and with your latest escapade you are a victim of terrorism as well.” Things were looking up for Patrick Stone.
CHAPTER SIXTY THREE: TURNING POINTS
The videographer had come right on time, with both Simon Siegal and Harry Scholer in tow, to film Art West’s testimony and responses, and at that moment he was sitting up in his bed drinking
“O.K. said Art, “I am as ready as I can be. Roll the tape....”
Jamison Parkes Law had called the guard to let him out of Jesse James’ cell. The word was out that West was out of danger, and so the most James could be charged with was assault with a deadly weapon. But Art West had told Harry the night before by phone that he did not plan to press charges against his assailants. The office of the prosecuting attorney was mulling over whether to charge James anyway. Law turned and said to James: “Remember, the less said the better. We will wait to see what the prosecuting attorney intends to do.”
“Right,” said Jesse, “ but you know I don’t feel bad about what went down. The man was a menace.”
“I told you to zip it!” said Law, “the authorities are monitoring this place.” And he walked out in disgust. “I think I know how Jesus must have felt about Judas, on some occasions,” he muttered to himself.
Rabbi Menachem’s phone in his study was ringing off the hook. Finally he managed to get to his chair and pick it up. He moved slowly these days. The last few weeks had really taxed his patience and wisdom. It turned out to be a police officer in Migdal. “Is this Rabbi Menachem?”
“Yes,” said the Rabbi, “What may I do for you?”
“I have here a note from someone named Sadiq Hadassah, do you recognize that name?”
“Yes,” said the Rabbi, “he was supposed to have called me yesterday, but he failed to do so.”
“Well rabbi, that would have been impossible as Sadiq yesterday morning, after charging a group of Palestinians who were throwing stones at the Jewish settlement he lived in in Hebron, was shot dead by one of the members of Hamas who had been goading the children into throwing stones.”
A tear began to form in the rabbi’s right eye.
“Rabbi, this note is to you from Hadassah, and so I thought I should read it: ‘Rabbi, I am sorry to have failed you in various ways, but perhaps in the end I can redeem the honor of my name, which means ‘Righteous’ as you know very well, and show myself worth of being a son of Zion by standing up against those who seek to destroy our Jewish settlements here in Hebron. Tomorrow morning I plan to go out and stand against the rock throwers and the guns and tell them to leave us alone. If you receive this note, you will know I have died in a noble cause, as I have left it in my pocket to be found by the police. May God be with you and your righteous teachings.”
“Thank you officer,” said the Rabbi, and hung up with tears now streaming down his face. Quoting Sirach he said to himself “‘Blessed are those who die in the Lord...’ There is now no reason to tell anyone about Sadiq’s mistakes. He has paid the ultimate penalty already, and is past the point of no return. I shall arrange for an honorable funeral for him now.”
For some reason a line from a poem the rabbi had learned as a child came to mind “Life and death upon one tether... and running beautiful together”
CHAPTER SIXTY FOUR: THE CASE FOR THE DEFENSE
The second morning of the trial began with Simon Siegal striding into the courtroom in a bright blue jacket. Someone had failed to turn on the air conditioner early enough, and everyone was sweating at ten o’clock in the morning.
The first witness that Siegal called was Dr. Shelby Hande of
Dr. Hande looked rather like Colonel Sanders given his gray hair, goatee and mustache. He was dressed in a tweed jacket and dark pants held up by red suspenders. He cut quite a figure, and the word colorful was more than appropriate.
“Dr. Hande, thank you for coming all the way to
“Least I could do considering you were paying. I plan to enjoy a little sight seeing afterwards. I didn’t realize you were Civil War buffs.”
There was a little ironic laughter in the room, since what the term ‘Civil War’ meant to most Israelis was the struggle between Palestinians and Jews and to others it was an oxymoron– there had never been a war that was civil.
“Mr. Hande, here we have exhibit C, the derringer alleged to have been used in the shooting of Kahlil el Said.” He handed the weapon to
“Do you recognize this type of gun?”
“Yes, indeed I do. It’s a nineteenth century, single bore, one shot derringer, carried on one’s person as a last line of defense.”
“Defense, you say?”
“You hard a hearin? Yes sir, defense, both during and after the American Civil War. A derringer like this one is hardly an offensive weapon. It produced no velocity to the bullet and if you were more than five feet from the intended target little damage would be done. As I said, it’s a last line of defense weapon, to be used only at close range. They’re more of a souvenir or a curiosity item, kept as a family heirloom.”
“Now, Dr. Hande, in your judgment would an intelligent person, a knowledgeable person from
“Objection. Calls for speculation about what Dr. Stone knows,” called out Harry Scholer.
“Rephrase the question,” ordered the Judge.
“OK. Dr. Hande, in your judgment if someone knew anything about this antique derringer, would they set out with this weapon to assault someone?”
“No sir, that’s ludicrous on the face of things. If I wanted to kill s someone, I’d use a Colt 45!” The jury now had visions of the Wild West.
“But perhaps someone might bring it for protection or as a threat perhaps?”
“Yes, that’s far more plausible.”
“Thank you very much, Dr. Hande.”
“Cross-examine?” asked Dershowitz.
Harry rose up. “Dr. Hande, I have long been an admirer of your volumes on the Civil War, and I have no dispute with what you say about this gun, but let me ask you, Was this weapon ever known to be used to kill anyone, any record of anyone killed by being shot by this gun?”
“Yes, but only in very close quarters. More often it might be used to finish someone off.”
“But as you yourself have said, this weapon carried only one bullet. You might well feel malicious and angry enough to shoot someone with this weapon without worrying too much that you were likely to kill them, isn’t that true?”
“Derringers like this were used in duels if it was to be real close quarters. This was a regular thing. Sometimes there would be sword fights – with some wounds. Then derringers would finish the duel, again to redeem one’s honor.”
“Very good, is honor a major consideration for people raised in
“Nowadays, no,” said
“One more thing. If you had a precious antiquity from the Civil War that you wanted to sell, say Robert E. Lee’s sword, or the saddle worn by Traveler his horse, if you went to a Civil war memorabilia dealer and he refused to even talk price with you, would that make you angry, would you feel shamed by that exchange?”
“Yes I would, and so would many other Southern gentlemen.”
“So speaking again only for yourself, might this lead you to try and do something to redeem your honor in regard to the one who shamed you?”
“Yes sir, that is entirely possible.”
“Thank you, nothing further.”
The Judge’s voice rang out in the heat of the morning. “Mr. Siegal, call your next witness.
“I would like to call Dr. Arthur West to the stand but since that is clearly impossible since he is in the hospital I have gone to him and asked my questions, as has Mr. Scholer. I am happy to report he is on the mend.”
Siegal popped the video tape into the large TV VCR unit which was hooked up in tandem with a second unit so all of the principles including the judge and the jury could watch this crucial testimony. Siegal began the questioning
“Dr. West, I must be direct with you, though I am mindful of not over taxing you today.”
“Go right ahead.”
“Were you scheduled to have a meeting with Kahlil el Said at nine o’ clock in the park behind the Shrine of the Book on the night he was shot?”
“Yes, I was.”
“And did you make that meeting?’
“Well in a manner of speaking. When I got there Kahlil was already shot and on the ground. I heard the shot as I was walking up the hill near the Shrine.”
“Would it be correct to say that your fingerprints were the only one’s found on that derringer?”
“Yes, that is correct.”
Harry Scholer got carried away at that point. Sticking his face in the camera he said: “Your honor, testimony has already been heard clearing Dr. West of the shooting.”
“And would it be correct to say that you were the person who discovered the Lazarus stone, and also had a close relationship with Kahlil el Said.”
‘Yes, I have known Kahlil el Said for many years.”
“And lastly would it also be correct to say that you were short on money for this season’s dig, and so selling a precious piece of antiquity might have funded you quite well?”
“As to the first part of the question, you are right. I was short on funds.
As for the second part, my integrity has been upheld in this matter, and I am not on trial here. I would never sell something found more recently than 1978 in this land. Never. This ought to be clear from the fact that I turned over to the police all the money that mysteriously appeared in my bank account a few days ago, It’s against the law to sell such antiquities.”
“But it is strange that you are the only one who has a self-admitted link to the crime scenes and to Kahlil, whom Dr. Stone had not met before, and it is only you who have prints on the gun. And last but not least, you were found in possession of the forged copy of the stone. Is that not so?” By now Simon was becoming more insistent and strident in his tone.
“All of these things are true, and yet I have committed no crime. All of the evidence so far presented accurately explains all of these situations.”
“Thank you, Professor West, enlightening but not convincing since you are the only one who has admitted to all the right connections in this case.”
Harry Scholer then appeared in front of the camera:
“ Dr West,” he began, “Can you tell the court where you went the very morning you discovered the Lazarus stone in the tomb?”
“After a quick shower and change of clothes at home, I went straight to the IAA with my digital pictures, which are even dated as to time. They show that I reached the IAA office within an hour of taking that picture.”
“Very good, and tell me would it have been logistically possible, since no one before you even knew there was a Lazarus stone, to have taken that picture, then chiseled the stone out of its place and hidden it, then showered, gone straight to the IAA and shown them the picture, then returned to the tomb and acted surprised it was gone? Would such a course of actions made any sense at all?”
“In my judgment no,” said Art, “and anyway the date and time on the picture shows I did not have time to chisel out the stone and hide it before going to the IAA. That’s a delicate operation which takes at least an hour in itself, as limestone is fragile and the stone would have broken if it had not been chiseled out with care.”
“So you are saying, just to be completely clear, that there is no way you stole the Lazarus stone and sold it to someone?”
“Correct,” said Art, “as should have been apparent since we now know that Patrick Stone had it in his possession and sold it to the
“How would you characterize your relationship with Patrick Stone? Have you been friends or close colleagues?”
“No we have not, indeed for whatever reason Dr. Stone has avoided me, and there seems to be some antipathy. We have never hit it off, and he has never been in my house either in the States or here.”
“So anyone who knows you, would know that a scheme that would involve both you and Patrick Stone in some antiquities crime is highly unlikely?”
“Indeed” said Art, “ and the British museum also attested that it was Stone who gave them my account number to wire the money to.”
“How in the world did Stone get your account number, if you were not close friends and he had never visited you?”
“ I have no idea, but it had to be by some nefarious means.”
Harry interjected: “Let the record show that Simpson has already testified he got the number for his mentor when he followed West to the bank one day.”
This was the end of the video tape testimony and it was clear that the wounded warrior West had cut a sympathetic figure on tape.
The Judge called out: “Mr. Siegal, have you a further witness?”
“Well no your honor but I’d like to recall, Kahlil el Said.”
“I object, your honor,” said Levi. “The man has already testified.”
“He is here in the court, I believe, so I will allow it,” said the Judge.
“Mr. el Said, I am sorry to trouble you further, but I must ask one more time. Had you ever personally met Dr. Stone before that day you claim he was in your shop?”
“And even on that occasion, did you know that he was Dr. Stone?”
“No, it was a brief exchange, but memorable after all.”
“So you had never seen Stone before that day in your shop, didn’t know he was Stone then, and after that you got a blow on the head and your memory came back slowly – right?”
“If you say so,” said Kahlil fuming a bit.
“No more questions.”
Harry rose and asked Kahlil, “Hasn’t the doctor cleared you to go back to work in the shop on the assumption that you are now of sound mind?”
“Yes, that is correct,” said Kahlil feeling a bit better.
Harry nodded his head toward the judge who said, “You may step down ,
Mr. el Said.”
At that point, Levi asked if he could approach the bench. A courier had quietly entered the court room during Kahlil’s testimony. The judge summoned both Siegal and Levi to the bar. Harry said, “We have a witness in the hall who couldn’t get here yesterday.”
“Mr. Siegal, I am trusting that since you didn’t challenge this name before you will not challenge the name now – William Arnold.”
Siegal was not pleased, but tried to maintain a poker-face. He said. “Alright, he can come in but I have the right to cross-examine him.”
“Indeed you do.”
“The prosecution calls William Arnold.”
William Arnold came into the court wearing a seersucker blazer and white gauze shirt. His dark features and goatee made him stand out from the crowd.
“Mr. Arnold, can you state your profession?”
“Yes, and it’s Dr. Arnold.. I am a professor of Aramaic and Biblical Studies at a leading seminary in
“Very good, and to get right to the point, were you in Kahlil’s shop the day Patrick Stone came in? If so, please describe what happened.”
“Yes I was. It was late afternoon, Tuesday, June 1. I had just finished purchasing some coins. I have here the receipt to prove that I was there on that day. I carefully save receipts from such purchases. It even has a time stamp on it.” He handed the receipt to Harry who passed it to the Judge.
Harry smiled, “I’m glad you are very careful with your money, Dr. Arnold. And do you give equal attention to the details about people’s names and faces.”
“ I do indeed.”
“Do you know Dr. Patrick Stone?”
“I have met him at ASOR meetings several times. That’s the American Society of Oriental Religion.”
“And did you see him in Kahlil’s shop on the day in question, fuming and trying to sell something?”
“Yes, I saw him on that precise day with the package in his hand. I couldn’t see the contents from where I was sitting in the back of the shop. He started shouting. Hannah el Said, I believe, was hiding behind a desk.”
Siegal leapt up. “Dr Arnold, you say you know Patrick Stone, and yet how can you be sure? Are you a personal friend of his?”
“No, I am not, but I have certainly met him before and spoken briefly with him. Here is an ASOR program from three years ago. There was a listing of the panelists for a discussion – Patrick Stone and William Arnold were listed side by side.
‘This proves nothing. For all we know Dr. Stone did not show up for this panel discussion.”
“Ah, but he did,” smiled Dr. Arnold. “In the very next issue of ASOR we have the dialogue that he and I and the other scholar had on that occasion.“ He handed the journal to Siegel who was obliged to enter it into evidence.
“You have no idea, however, what was in the package?”
“No, I never saw it. When Mr. el Said returned, embarrassed, he dismissed the incident.”
“You are a much younger man that Patrick Stone, still making your reputation — yes?”
“And so it would be to your advantage to claim you had a relationship with the famous Patrick Stone of Yale – yes?”
“Not any more,” said
Siegal made a face and said: “Nothing further your honor.”
“Mr. Siegal, have you any more witnesses?”
“Since we believe we have shown reasonable doubt about Dr. Stone’s guilt in these matters, the defense rests, now your honor,” said Siegal.
“Very good, we will hear closing statements on Monday at 10 AM.
Court is dismissed.”
On the steps of the courthouse the press stuck microphones first in the face of Siegal and then in the faces of Levi and Scholer asking for comments. On this day both parties said, “The transcripts which will be available in about a half hour, speak for themselves, we are confident of victory in this matter.”
CHAPTER SIXTY FIVE: CLOSING ARGUMENTS
Harry spent most of the weekend working on and practicing his closing speech to the jury. Art had finally come home and was lying on the couch listening periodically but had a habit of dozing off. He was physically and emotionally drained. He had told the truth in the videotape, but why did he feel so sorry for Stone? He prayed a prayer that mercy tempered with justice, rather than the reverse would prevail.
On the other end of town, Simon Siegal spent the weekend having long talks with Patrick Stone. Saturday afternoon was no exception.
“I think a guilty verdict will possibly come your way. The prosecution is probably so smug at this point, that I doubt they would be open to a plea bargain. Sentencing will be important. I think I’ve built a good sympathy case for you.”
“Sympathy, you say. How much damage did
“Probably a good deal. I was doing damage control to stop the ‘ugly American’ characterization.”
“What would jail time look like?” said Stone .
“Well, on the theft charge, they could sentence you to twenty years. But I think we’ve shown that you had no intention of hurting Kahlil – even though you left the scene of the crime. What we will have to do is plead for the minimum time and early parole.”
Stone thought for a while and said, “I’m sixty-eight years old. I’ve kept all of this from my mother. She’s senile, you know. She’ll probably never miss me.”
Siegal was not used to losing, but on this occasion he had a sick feeling in his stomach. He decided that he had better come up with a tour-de-force closing statement to evoke maximum mercy from the court.
Judge Dershowitz spent his weekend mulling over his options for sentencing. He was not a man lacking in sympathy for the weaknesses of human beings, especially the desire to secure oneself in old age. He knew the jury would likely go for a guilty verdict – but they may opt for lesser charges. There were mitigating circumstances to consider. He had felt a nudge in the direction of justice tempered with mercy. The inscription would be returned. He believed that Stone had not planned to hurt el Said. He was surprised to learn that Stone planned to give back the small manuscripts. Stone was not the usual criminal – but a man suddenly out of control after a fairly controlled life.
Monday morning came too early for all the participants in the trial. Most of them loaded up on caffeine. The new Starbucks coffee shop near the courthouse had been doing a big business since the trial began. Siegal went to the jail to escort Patrick into court. Art arose earlier than usual for morning devotions but decided he needed to not go through the emotional trauma of the end of the trial and so he would stay at home. His spirit was troubled. Sammy Cohen and Grace Levine decided to come together. They had not missed one minute of the proceedings. The matter with Ray Simpson had been resolved. He was ready to begin community service, but today he was allowed to attend the final session.
It was difficult even to climb the steps to get into the Maccabee Courthouse on this morning. Harry and Benjamin barged their way through the crowd. Siegal and Stone, of course, were escorted by the police.
Judge Dershowitz gaveled the session into order, and invited Siegal to deliver his closing arguments. On this day Siegel wore a dark business suit, and his mood
was serious. No flippant remarks today. He wanted to look penitent and invoke the sympathies of the jury today.
“In Ecclesiastes we read: ‘There is no righteous man on earth who solely does what is right and never sins.’ Paul in Romans says the same thing: ‘All have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory.’ I have not put my client on the stand because he is not a young man, and burdened with the weight of his current problems. Patrick Stone would be the first to admit he has his failings. He made some mistakes in regard to the Lazarus stone. The evidence seems to suggest he stole it, but remember that he did not keep the stone, he delivered it safely into the hands of the
“Dr. Stone’s life has not been an easy one. His upbringing was hard, his lack of recognition even by family galling, and it appears he was envious of Dr. Arthur West and his accomplishments. I asked you before jury, as I do again now, have you never been tempted to cheat when someone or fate offered you the chance of a lifetime? I think you know very well we have all had such temptations.”
“The difference is, Dr. Stone followed through. Nothing premeditated. Hasty plans. A lot of luck. He found himself with money and a way to take care of his dear mother and make his retirement years comfortable.”
“Remember, Dr. Stone has not one crime to his record in sixty-eight years. He has been a well-respected academic. Should all of that go for naught because of one colossal blunder? Is there no such thing as a second chance for a man who has only crossed the boundaries of the law once?”
“It is my hope that you feel some pity, some mercy in your heart for this man. Garnish his ill-gotten gains, return the stone to the Israeli museum, but if you impose a harsh sentence now, he will never see the light of day again. He is sixty-eight years old and hardly in the peak of health. If he goes to jail for any length of time at all, he will never have a chance to bounce back, to redeem himself, to try again to be a good man. Furthermore, he has been a recent victim of a terrorist’s kidnapping—a harrowing experience to be sure.”
“Ladies and gentleman of the jury. Let that stone [he pointed to the picture of the Lazarus stone set on an easel] be returned. But let that Stone [he pointed to Patrick] be returned to his home, not the jailer.”
There was a hush in the court room. The speech had been eloquent and moving, and there were plenty of tears, especially amongst the older persons in the room. To watch the ruination of a once proud and noteworthy human being was hard even for the most hard-hearted.
Harry Scholer arose, sipped a little water out of a glass, and walked around to face the jury. He looked each one in the eye before he said a word. “Friends, he said, this is a sad day. No one should be gloating over the ruination of a man’s life. But the saddest part of it all is that Dr. Patrick Stone has no one but himself to blame. He cannot blame his parents, he cannot blame his culture. He had coped well and not violated the law his whole life. He earned a Ph.D. and though not the most notable of scholars, he was a professor at a prestigious university.”
Stone made a tragic series of decisions recently. Who knows why it happened now? Perhaps he ceased to fear or even believe in God? Perhaps he became tired of being an academic with no real prospects of further achievement. Perhaps he was just tired of living a mundane, lonely life. But consider for a moment a contrast.”
“When Arthur West was at the scene of Kahlil el Said’s shooting, and had actually touched the gun that shot Kahlil, he called both the ambulance and the police. He did not think of himself first; he did not run and hide. In fact, he went to the hospital and gave blood for Kahlil.”
“When Arthur West first discovered the Lazarus stone, he took pictures and reported his findings to the IAA. Even when the forged copy of the stone was found in his house he did not run away. He faced the police inquiry with dignity. When Art West had a huge amount of money unexpectedly turn up in his bank account he turned it over to the police!”
“What a contrast with the man who stole the stone, ran from a crime scene, left his teaching assistant in the lurch, swindled the
“We have presented clear and compelling evidence of the guilt of Dr. Stone, both in regard to the theft and forgery, and in regard to the shooting. In regard to the theft, Dr. Stone was seen in the area of the tomb at the church; he was seen in Kahlil’s shop with the stone and positively identified by William Arnold, and we have the affidavits of Dr. Oliver St. James of the
“In regard to the forgery, it is clear that Patrick Stone ordered Raymond Simpson to make the copy and have it delivered to Arthur West.”
“In regard to the shooting, Stone’s it was his family heirloom, a derringer, that shot Kahlil el Said, and his hair fiber was found on the jacket Kahlil wore that day.” His memory may be fuzzy about the details, but Mr. el Said has stated that Patrick Stone did indeed shoot him.
“The testimonial evidence against Dr. Stone is both clear and compelling. And I would remind you again of this fact – the IAA has been working very hard in recent years to stop looting and forging. The Lazarus stone is a major archaeological find. Don’t send the wrong signals to looters that they can get off with a slap on the wrist when they try and steal our history for the sake of money and personal gain. Don’t let it happen. As the Bible says, ‘Whatsoever a man soweth, that he shall also reap.’ Thank you.”
Harry sat down feeling he had risen to the occasion and at least had left the right message ringing in the juror’s ears. The judge dismissed the jury with the charge. “Come back with a unanimous verdict on these various counts as soon as you reasonably can.”
The jury left the court room, as did everyone else. As usual, all the counselors spoke to the media saying they were confident justice would be done. Everybody put their cell phones on ring, and went out to eat.
CHAPTER SIXTY SIX: AND THE WINNER IS . . .
The jury was out only five hours. At four o’clock, the foreman of the jury called the judge and said, “We are ready to deliver the verdicts.” Legal aides stationed at the court house started calling all the principles. The verdict was in.
The courtroom was packed and the jury came in all looking somber. The judge sat down in his seat, used his gavel, and said: “Members of the jury, have you reached a verdict in this case?”
The foreman stood up and handed the judge a folded piece of paper. Slowly Judge Dershowitz surveyed the verdicts. He turned to the foreman. “On the count of stealing the Lazarus inscription, how do you find?
“We find the defendant guilty, your honor.”
On the count of forgery, how do you find?
We find the defendant guilty, your honor.
Then the judge took a deep breath. “In regard to the attempted murder of Kahlil el Said, how do you find?”
“We find the defendant NOT guilty of attempted murder, but guilty of aggravated assault.”
Stone buried his head in his hands and wept, his shoulders and torso shaking.
‘Thank you jury, you are dismissed from further duties.”
Then, surprisingly, Judge Dershowitz said, “Since it is within my powers to pass sentence NOW, I intend to do so now. This was obviously a serious set of crimes committed by Dr. Stone, and he should not receive preferential treatment because of his academic contributions to society. I have determined that the following sentence meets the requirements of justice tempered with mercy.”
“First, Dr. Stone must serve ten years in prison; however, he will be eligible for parole after five years.”
“Secondly, all ill-gotten gains must be returned to the
“Thirdly, in consultation with the IAA we have worked out an agreement with the
“Fourthly, the el Said family is free to sue Dr. Stone at any point if they so choose.”
“Finally, Mr. Simon, I am afraid you will have to accept that your work was pro bono.” At this the gavel smashed down for the last time.
Harry stood up and yelled “Hallelujah!” He hugged Benjamin Levi and his son, and Grace, and anyone else he could hug. Simon Siegal shook Dr. Patrick Stone’s hand and watched as he was led away. They would discuss appeals but he could not see any reason to argue for a lesser sentence.
Art for his part was glad to hear by phone from Harry that Stone had not gotten life in prison. Of course, now he would lose his academic post as well, but there was nothing to be done about that. Now he could go back to concentrating on his work again. Suddenly the phone rang. It was Hannah.
“Are you feeling well enough to go out tonight for a while? Want to catch the 9 o’clock show at the Le Jazz Hot – you won’t believe it but Diana Krall is in town.”
“Wow,” said Art. “You bet. I’ve been wanting to hear her. I’m going to call Grace and see if she will come.”
Hannah replied shyly. “You could also invite that nice Harry Scholer. And I should tell you, my father and I will not be suing poor Dr. Stone. It is time to forgive and forget.”
Art figured the fastest way to find Grace was to phone her. He invited her to the show. She hesitated, “I would love to go but I have a favor to ask. Can we bring my mother? She and I have been enjoying each other’s company of late. And she was fascinated by my description of the jazz club. Let’s bring her!”
“Sure, the more the merrier,” agreed Art. The Lazarus effect, thought Art, things brought back from the dead, even troublesome relationships, even me from two gunshot wounds.
The line to get into Le Jazz Hot was reasonable, and soon the whole crew had arrived and were sharing a meal. An interesting group it was: Hannah and her father, Kahlil; Grace and her mother, Camelia; Art and his friend Harry Scholer. When they were finishing their baklava and coffee, they wandered down to the little tables in the front of the small club. Not ten minutes later a beautiful blond in a black jump suit appeared. Her guitar player, bassist and drummer started out without her. She then joined them with a rousing rendition of Coltrane’s version of the Broadway tune, ‘My Favorite Things.’ Before Art knew what was happening Hannah and Harry were up on the dance floor! Art smiled a huge smile, and simply said – “the Lazarus Effect”.
CHAPTER SIXTY SEVEN: THE LAZARUS EFFECT
Tuesday morning about ten o’clock, Art’s phone rang. This time it was Mustafa. “Brother Art, you must come soon. I have been working with Grayson Johnson for some days. And now, we have a surprise for you here at the church.”
“How about I come this afternoon, say about one o’clock. Shall I bring anyone?”
“Yes, you may bring everybody! I hope it will be a joyful time! You must all come!” With that rather unusual barrage, Mustafa, a man normally of few words, hung up. Now Art was eager just to do what he had prayed about and then get himself to
The headlines in the Jerusalem Post this morning said it all:
STONE GUILTY OF STEALING STONE
They’d be talking about that trial and its sentencing for a long time. The general sentiment on the street was that Patrick Stone got off lightly, but no one was complaining too loudly since the inscription would be coming back to Israel soon enough, and without cost to the country. There was much to say, and much to share, and the impact of the Lazarus findings would reverberate for a long time to come.
Art spoke to Grace, and said, “You gotta come with me and Grayson. I hear there is another surprise at the
“Another one? This I have to see.”
“I’ve got to go over to the police station and retrieve my passport and do one other errand. They are finally giving me the passport back. I guess that means I’m truly in the clear.”
“Of course you,” are said Grace, “shall we meet for lunch at Solomon’s Porch and then go to the church?.”
“Sure,” said Art, “My appetite is coming back and I could really use some shwarma and rice.”
“The shwarma the better,” quipped Grace.
“My bad puns are rubbing off on you, see ya soon.”
The police station was remarkably quiet on this day, and Officer Shimon was surprised to see the tall figure walk slowly into the station. “I’m here to retrieve my passport and to see Yeshua James.”
“Not a problem,” said Hoffner, “I will accompany you.”
The walk down stairs to the cells was taken slowly by Art as he didn’t want to push himself too hard just yet. He came to the cell where Stone had once been, but now Yeshua was sitting there biding his time.
“Officer will you give me a private minute with this man, he’s not armed now. Would you just wait down at the end of the hall, and I will call for you when I’m done. Open the cell and lock me in there for a minute.”
Art could see the stunned look on James’ face and how uncomfortable he was with this surprising development, but he shrugged his shoulder’s and said nothing.
Art sat down next to the young man and said: “Jesse, I wanted to come and say personally to you that I forgive you, as does Jesus. You misjudged me, misjudged me badly. I am not the betrayer of the Bible or of Bible prophecy. Genuinely orthodox Christians like myself and Jamison Law can disagree on some things and still be genuine Christians. So I want to say again, I forgive you, but you need to get right with the Lord. You need to seek his face. You need to receive the forgiveness he has to offer not merely acknowledge that it exists. What you did was wrong, very wrong, but I have no intent to prosecute or persecute or lecture you about it.”
Jesse finally looked up and looked deeply into Art’s eyes.
“Really,” said Jesse, his voice quavering.
“Yes,” said Art, “really, the heart of the Gospel is forgiveness.”
“Dr West would you pray with me, I feel so lost and alone and scared.”
“Sure, lets just pray the prayer Jesus taught us all to pray”
They began the Lord’s prayer, but when they got to the line about forgive us as we forgive others, Jesse broke down and wept unashamedly holding on to Art’s hand, and said “thank you, thank you, now I can face tomorrow.” After a few more minutes Art gave Jesse a hug, and called for Officer Hoffner. He turned as he was leaving and smiled at Jesse one last time.
Lunch was rather subdued, and Grace could see Art was pondering things so she was quiet. They had truly enjoyed the shwarma and rice at lunch, it was time to meet Mustafa and Grayson at the church. Art thanked Sarah and Grace insisted on getting the tab. They decided to go to the church in Grace’s snazzy red Mazda. It took only twenty minutes driving along the top of the
“Come and see down in the crypt, come and see!”
“Slow down, Grayson.” West’s eyes shifted to the young man coming towards him – Raymond Simpson! West’s surprised look said it all. The two men shook hands while Grayson explained.
“Yeah, Dr. Art. You know Raymond, my roomie. I told you I saw him everyday in jail – I didn’t bail on him like ‘you know who’ if you get my drift. Anyway, the Gospel is powerful, man. Raymond’s really on board now.”
“Well, welcome, Raymond. Praise the Lord! With your expertise in antiquities, we could use you around here.”
“Well, the authorities are a bit nervous about me being around digs!“ Raymond laughed. “But I’ve been helping Grayson and Mustafa. And with your recommendation, anything is possible.”
Mustafa came and handed them all flashlights. Bending over, Mustafa led everyone down into the crypt that lay directly under the high altar in the church. After many steps they reached the bottom.
Mustafa said, “Shine your lights straight ahead.” They did so, and could see what looked like a primitive stone altar, but a very unusual one as it was an altar standing on high legs. Underneath the altar could be seen something protruding out each end.
“Come and see,” said Mustafa, his voice almost breaking into tears.
Art, Grace, Grayson and Raymond went over to the altar, and Mustafa said, “Shine your lights underneath.”
They did so, and there were two small ossuaries, one with the Aramaic name Miriam, which was Mary, the other with the name for Martha.
“They are here,” said Mustafa. “All along they are here beneath the altar of our church. The inscription that Grayson found in tomb said, ‘Mary buried like saints in Revelation 6 under altar.’” His English was falling apart because of the excitement, but they caught his meaning.
Art sat down on the damp stone, overcome. He shone his light on the front ledge of the altar and he saw a faint inscription in Greek. It too was from the book of Revelation.
Allow me, said Raymond. “Blessed are those who die in the Lord, henceforth.” Tears welled up in his eyes.
Art was also overcome. “It’s all here, all these years, waiting to be discovered, and now this crypt will mean the revival of this church. People will come from everywhere to see all of this.”
To Grace he said, “L’Chaim [“to life”].”
To Mustafa, “To the One who came to give life and give it abundantly.”
To Raymond and Grayson, “To life everlasting.”
And to each one of them, “To the Lazarus Effect.”
They all responded in unison, “To the Lazarus Effect!”
THE END :)