“When are you going to come over from the dark side?”Gerry Spence teased in his rich, confident baritone and I laughed. He was referring to my work as a Crown Prosecutor (district attorney) in British Columbia. It was a question I often heard, once people learned about my history with Rubin Carter and his unjust imprisonment at the hands of corrupt district attorneys.
We were standing in the green room of Larry King’s L. A. studio and for me, it felt more like a family reunion. I hadn’t seen Denzel Washington and Rubin Carter since our appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show three weeks earlier. They were chatting with Judge H. Lee Sarokin, the man who released Rubin Carter in 1985. John Ketcham, one of the movie’s producer, stood nearby, listening. It felt like old friends getting together. The atmosphere was relaxed and comfortable, a feeling that carried over into the live show.
I had followed Gerry Spence’s legal career for years and I have a great deal of respect for the famed defence attorney who is considered to be one of the best trial lawyers in America. His dedication and passion in the courtroom are legendary. He never seems to shy away from controversial cases, and has won some of America’s most famous trials, including the renowned Karen Silkwood case, which brought him national prominence. I was thrilled to find myself chatting law with him before the show. Just shaking his hand was inspiring.
On the air, Larry King was in his trademark suspenders and black rimmed glasses. After years of watching him on CNN, King’s mellow voice and calm mannerisms were comforting and familiar.
Appearing on Larry King was a great experience; it’s like a good debate that’s lively and intelligent. I knew King would ask probing questions that were frank, straightforward and challenging. It would be a test to stay cool in front of a global audience, but I looked forward to the experience.
Better yet, I knew that many of my family, friends, and colleagues were back home watching. It felt like they were right there with me, lending support.