if his boss went down. Vale had to be treated with care.
    “If you agree, your own attorneys will be available to meet with you this afternoon. In the meantime, the office can just say ‘no comment’ to any press inquiry. You’ll say Congressman Lionel regrets the young woman’s death, but he cannot comment further due to the ongoing investigation.”
    “The hell we will!” Potter said. “Congressman, if you plead the Fifth, tomorrow’s Post will read ‘Lionel Pleads the Fifth in Murder Case.’ That’s as good as a conviction for your campaign.”
    “We appreciate your advice, Mr. Davenport,” Betty added, “but you have to understand our position. The primary is in six weeks, and Youngblood is a real challenge. My husband didn’t know this woman. He’ll be cleared in the investigation. But if he no-comments his way through it, we’ll lose the seat he’s held for thirty years.”
    Davenport shook his head, frustrated. In times like this, he thought wistfully about his decision to turn down medical school in favor of the law. If he were a surgeon, his patients would be anesthetized while he operated on them. A patient never got up during surgery and disputed the doctor’s technique. Davenport often wished he could put his criminal-defense clients under sedation while he operated. “The risk to your husband is much greater than just losing his seat,” he began.
    Lionel stood up, interrupting him. “Daniel, I appreciate your counsel. I’m sure it’s the best defense strategy. But ‘no comment’ is not an option I can take. This office cannot be seen as obstructing a murder investigation.” He turned to his staffers, his deep voice slow and deliberate. “If one of you knows something about this woman’sdeath, I would appreciate receiving your resignation immediately.” No one responded. “Good. In that case, I will offer the police our full cooperation, within the bounds of my legislative prerogatives.”
    Davenport closed his eyes for a moment, disappointed, but he could tell the decision was final. “They’ll want to interview you right away. I’m not going to let you go into the grand jury.”
    Lionel nodded and sat down next to his wife. She took his hand again.
    “Congressman, I need to speak to you privately now,” Davenport said.
    Betty kissed her husband’s jowls, stood up, and led Potter, Vale, and Williams out of the room. Davenport could hear her herding the staffers to the back porch.
    The defense attorney carefully considered his next question. He preferred to spend as much time as possible investigating, figuring out what evidence the government had and what its witnesses might say, before asking a client for his side of the story. Rarely would a client be completely honest in the first conversation. If Davenport didn’t have the documents and the knowledge to keep his clients honest, whatever self-serving half-truths or outright lies the client told could hamper Davenport’s defense strategy. A client might tell a lie often enough that he came to believe it and was devastated on the stand when it was disproved.
    There was no time for that kind of research now. If the Congressman was going to be interviewed, Davenport needed to know what he would say.
    “All right, Emmett.” Davenport leaned toward his client. “That woman didn’t wander into your hideaway and fall off your balcony by herself. What really happened last night?”
    Vale cut through the Congressman’s backyard to avoid the waiting TV cameras, stepping carefully through the grass to avoid scuffing the shine on his shoes. His silver Smart Fortwo coupe was parked half a block away. He held Davenport’s handwritten note—the name and address of his assigned attorney. That arrogant son of a bitch.Vale doubted Davenport’s hand-picked lawyer would really have his best interests at heart. But he no longer had the savings to afford his own attorney, and he’d be damned if he was going to get a public defender,

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