Judge Dennis sat down in his den that evening to watch the Pirates game and read over the binder full of instant messages that Melanie had given him, to determine if they would be included as evidence in the Anderson v Taylor trial.
He knew he was supposed to remain professional and impartial during the proceedings, but it wasn't easy. Charles Turner was a slimeball, never afraid to play dirty in order to get a win for his client. The judge had presided over several trials in the past with Turner being on both sides of the case, as counsel for plaintiffs as well as defendants. Despite having ruled in Turner's favor on more than one occasion, Judge Dennis still disliked him on a personal level and had very little professional respect for him as a fellow attorney.
Curtis Anderson was no better, cheating on his pregnant wife and causing all this heartache for Justin Taylor and his family. There was also his vicious condemnation of gays during his testimony earlier that day, which did not score him any points in his favor. The more the judge got to know the egotistical doctor, the less he liked him. If he ever needed orthopedic surgery in the future, he would request someone other than Dr. Anderson, no matter how great of a doctor he was supposed to be.
As he read through the pages of messages, it became abundantly clear to Judge Dennis that the chats were most certainly between Amanda Crawford and Curtis Anderson. They would be entered into evidence first thing in the morning.
He shook his head as he read what Curtis had said to Amanda about him, Brian, Justin, Al, and Melanie. Curtis wasn't happy to have a liberal judge on his case, complaining that the "fag loving judge" would be biased towards Justin. Turner had tried to get Judge "Regular Roy" Russo to hear the case; unfortunately for him, that homophobic asshole's schedule was filled with felony trials through the end of the summer. Both Curtis and Turner hated Justin's "fucking Jew attorneys" and loathed "that faggot Justin and his old sugar daddy." Curtis had even accused the wealthy couple of paying off the judge, after Judge Dennis had ruled that Justin could keep custody of Keegan while the case was pending.
Curtis Anderson and his smug attorney would have no choice but to sit there and listen to a few people sing the praises of Brian Kinney and Justin Taylor the following day in court. The judge knew that it would really chap their asses, and he was going to enjoy every minute of it. Brian and Justin seemed to be very genuine people, and although the judge did not know them personally, he had heard from many people that not only were they a very loving couple, but they were very generous men. They reportedly not only financially supported their friends when needed, but also gave a substantial amount of money to many charities. Brian had established the Vic Grassi House AIDS Hospice and Justin almost singlehandedly kept the Pittsburgh LGBTQ Center afloat.
One thing the judge found strange was that Curtis never told Amanda in their messages the real reason why he wanted Keegan, no matter how many times she asked. All he ever said was that it was between him and his lawyer, and that Curtis would explain it to the judge during the trial. He wondered if Turner looking surprised during Curtis's rant against gay people was an act, figuring he must have known how his client felt about Daphne's son potentially being raised by two gay men.
Judge Dennis was looking forward to tomorrow's testimony.
Due to the fact that Curtis had lied about cheating on Daphne, the Melanie had decided to call witnesses that would prove he lied. Curtis gave her no choice but to call Delia Johnson to the stand.
"Good morning, Mrs. Johnson," Melanie said to the woman who looked a lot like her dearly departed sister.
Delia smiled. "Good morning."
"Could you please tell the court what your relationship is to the petitioner in this case, Dr. Curtis Anderson?"
"Well, Dr. Daphne Anderson is my baby sister, so that would make Curtis my brother-in-law," Delia said, still unable to refer to Daphne in the past tense.
"And could you tell the court about the last time you spoke with Curtis Anderson?"
"It was the day after Daphne's funeral in January," Delia recalled. "Curtis didn't come to the funeral and I wanted to know why. I had tried calling and texting him, but he wouldn't pick up or reply. I went to his and Daphne's house, and I had to ring the doorbell at least three times before he came to the door. He didn't even invite me inside; I basically just walked in. He looked awful and reeked of alcohol."
"What was the reason that he gave for not coming to the funeral?" Melanie asked.
"He said that he didn't want to see Daphne in a casket or put in the ground. I told him, ‘Well, neither did I or anyone else in my family, but we were all there.' We argued back and forth for a few minutes, and he eventually broke down and told me that he felt guilty for causing Daphne's death. I asked him what he meant by that, and he said that he made Daphne upset, causing her to crash her car on the way to Justin's house."
"Did he tell you why Daphne had gotten upset?"
Delia looked over at Curtis with pure hatred in her eyes. "He said it was because Daphne caught him cheating with one of his interns from the hospital."
"Now, did Dr. Anderson actually admit to cheating?" Melanie asked, waiting as patiently as she could for Delia's response.
"Yes, he did. He said that it had been going on for a few months."
Melanie turned to look at Curtis, who had his eyes closed and was shaking his head. She saw that Turner was looking down at some paperwork in front of him.
"Did Dr. Anderson say the name of the woman he'd been cheating on Daphne with?" Melanie asked.
"I don't think so," Delia answered. "If he did, I don't remember."
"Did he say why he had been cheating on Daphne?"
Delia waved her hand dismissively. "Oh, he tried to say that it was because he was stressed out with work and with the new baby coming, but I didn't want to hear his excuses. As you could imagine, I was very angry with him, and I still am. I won't ever forgive him for hurting my sister like he did, because she was nothing but good and faithful to him. I don't think it's ever okay for someone to cheat, especially when you're married; worse if you're expecting a child. I told Curtis that he was a sorry excuse for a human being, among other choice words, then I went around the house and grabbed a few of my sister's personal items that I wanted to keep before I left."
"Thank you, Mrs. Johnson," Melanie said. "I have no other questions for my witness."
Turner didn't even look up as he said, "No questions."
Since they still had a lot to cover before the day was through, the judge told Melanie to call her next witness.
"Your honor, I'd like to call Brian Kinney," Melanie replied.
Brian walked back into the courtroom and sat at the witness stand, looking as handsome as ever. Melanie had him recall the conversation he had with Curtis a few days before Daphne's death, where Curtis had confessed to feeling stressed about becoming a father.
"I told him that he needed to suck it up and take care of his responsibilities," Brian said. "It's natural to have cold feet over big life changes, but it was way too late for him to back out then. I lost a little respect for him that day."
"Now, let's skip ahead to the day of Daphne's car accident," Melanie said. "Did you have a conversation with Dr. Anderson at the hospital while Daphne was in surgery?"
"Yes. Curtis told Justin and me that he had been cheating on Daphne with one of his interns. He said that Daphne had just found out about it earlier that day, and she left the house very upset."
"Could you tell the court about the conversation you had with Dr. Anderson immediately after you were informed that Daphne had died?" Melanie requested.
"My fiance and I followed Curtis outside the hospital entrance, where he was waiting for a cab to pick him up. He had been drinking and couldn't even drive himself there. I was devastated after hearing that Daphne was dead and was trying to keep Justin calm, but I specifically remember Justin asking Curtis if he had actually said that he'd been cheating on Daphne. I guess Justin didn't want to believe that it was true. Curtis admitted that yes, we heard him right.
"Curtis then said that it wasn't his fault that Daphne was pregnant or that she was so emotional over finding out that he'd been sleeping with another woman that she had wrapped her car around a tree. He also threw in Justin's face, the fact that he had once left me for another man, as if he was trying to absolve himself of blame for cheating. The man's wife had just died and her son was born five weeks premature, but you wouldn't have known it by the way he was acting. He was lucky that the cab picked him up when it did."
Melanie thanked Brian and informed the judge that she had no more questions for him. Turner had no questions, knowing that anything he asked Brian would only further hurt his client.
Since Brian was finished testifying, the judge allowed him to stay in the courtroom. Brian took a seat directly behind Justin, so he could provide his fiance with comfort and support.
For her next witness, Melanie called Amanda Crawford to the stand.
Amanda walked into the courtroom wearing a navy blue pantsuit and stilettos, her blonde hair pulled up in a French twist. Even the two gay men in the room couldn't help but notice how strikingly beautiful she was.
Once Amanda was seated at the witness stand, Melanie asked her to tell the court who she was and how she knew Curtis. When Melanie asked her if she saw Curtis in the courtroom that day, Amanda positively pointed him out.
Amanda proceeded to repeat much of what she had told Melanie during their first phone call, including the details of how she and Curtis begun dating. She talked about her reaction after finding out through the hospital grapevine that Curtis was married with a child on the way, breaking down in tears as she admitted that she had fallen in love with the adulterous doctor.
"Thinking back on it now, I can't believe that I was ever in so deep with a man that I would turn out to be his mistress," the young woman said as she dabbed her eyes with a tissue. "My dad cheated on my mom and I saw how much it had hurt her. I felt so awful for Curtis's wife, but I didn't want my relationship with him to end. He was kind, romantic, handsome, and he treated me like I was worth something... not just a pretty face like most of the other guys I've dated."
Melanie had Amanda tell the court how Curtis had promised her that he would leave Daphne after the baby was born, that he did not want to be involved in the baby's life, and that he would marry her once he was divorced.
"When did Dr. Anderson first tell you that he didn't want to be a father to Daphne's child?" Melanie asked.
"It was when I confronted him, right after I found out that he was married. This was probably early November. He said that he would let Daphne and that..." Amanda paused and bit her bottom lip. "Now, I don't use this word, but this is what he said: ‘Daphne and that faggot can raise that kid.'"
"Did Dr. Anderson ever talk about his wife, Daphne?"
"Not very often, but he did tell me that he wasn't in love with her anymore. He said that she had really changed after they decided to have a baby, that she was obsessed with the idea of being a mom. It only got worse after she was finally pregnant. Daphne wanted Justin and Brian to be a big part of her baby's life, she wanted them to be the baby's Godfathers, and Curtis didn't like that. I told him that I'd heard I wasn't his first, that he'd messed around on Daphne before, and he said it was true."
Melanie reiterated, "Dr. Anderson admitted to you that he had other girlfriends while he was with Daphne?"
"Several," Amanda confirmed. "He said that I was the only one that he loved, that the rest were just to get off. He said Daphne never gave him enough sex. I asked him why he wanted me over her, and he said it was because I was smarter, more beautiful, and... hornier than Daphne. He promised to be faithful to me, but I knew he had other girls. I really don't know why I continued seeing him... I was such an idiot."
Melanie informed Amanda that the Google Hangouts instant messages she had with Curtis, which Amanda had gladly provided to Melanie, were now in evidence.
"Ms. Crawford, were those Hangouts messages in fact messages you exchanged with Curtis Anderson, the petitioner in this case?"
"Yes, they were," Amanda answered.
"You are aware that the username for the person you were chatting with in these messages is ‘Robert,' not Curtis, correct?"
Amanda nodded. "Curtis used a fake name, because he didn't want to use his real email account. He didn't want to be associated with me online; I wasn't even allowed to be friends with him on Facebook, because he didn't want anyone to see it. He didn't let me take any pictures of him, because he didn't want evidence of our relationship out there. I guess he felt like he was being sneaky, with a fake email, even though his wife did eventually catch him."
Melanie was permitted to give Amanda the court's copy of the Hangouts messages and she looked them over. She skimmed through several pages and confirmed that those were the messages she had exchanged with Curtis.
"These messages cut off roughly two weeks ago," Melanie observed. "What happened to have caused them to stop?"
"I broke up with Curtis," Amanda said. "The day after I had told you I'd testify against him in this case, I asked him to come to my apartment after work. I told him that I couldn't be with him anymore."
When asked why she had decided to end their relationship, Amanda said that she did not want to help Curtis raise Keegan, if he was successful in his lawsuit. She said that Curtis tried to bargain with her, claiming that he'd find a real nanny so they could still be together, but the young woman had stuck to her guns. She discovered that Curtis had deleted his "Robert Chase" email account a few days later, which must have been right after he found out that Amanda would be a witness for Justin's case.
"Did you hear from Dr. Anderson again after your break up?" Melanie asked.
"Yes, he called me last week and begged me not to help you and Justin. I told him it was too late, that I had already given you the copy of our instant messages. He said he knew, because his lawyer had shown them to him. His lawyer told him that the messages probably couldn't be used in court if I didn't show up."
"Did he offer you anything in exchange for not coming to court to testify?"
"He said he'd pay for the rest of my tuition and pay off my student loans with the money he got from Daphne's life insurance policy," Amanda said. "I owe several thousand so far, as you could imagine, and I'll probably be paying it off for many years after I get my medical degree."
"Since you're here today, I'm guessing that you turned him down?" Melanie surmised.
Amanda scoffed and looked over at Curtis, who hadn't dared to look at her from the moment she had walked in. "I told him never to call me again and hung up on him. I'm not for sale."
Melanie smiled at Amanda. "Thank you, Ms. Crawford. I have no further questions for my witness."
"Mr. Turner?" the judge said after the man had failed to speak up.
Turner sat silently for a few more seconds before he stood. "Ms. Crawford... is Dr. Anderson the first teacher you had a sexual relationship with?"
"Objection!" Melanie yelled. "Your honor, his question is highly inflammatory and irrelevant."
"Sustained," Judge Dennis said, agreeing with Melanie.
Turner sat back down. "No other questions."
Judge Dennis called a recess for lunch.