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Phoenix Wright, a rookie attorney of only three months working at the Fey & Co. Law Offices, agrees to defend his friend, Larry Butz, on the charge of murdering his ex-girlfriend, even though the odds seem insurmountable.
|"Hm...it's two o'clock, I think..."|
A mechanical voice was heard announcing the time as a man stood, panting heavily over the body of a dead woman, killed by a harsh blow to the head. Held in his hand was a miniature statue of "The Thinker", the blood of his victim dripping off the head. He frantically tried to devise a way out of his situation when he was struck with inspiration: he would blame the murder on the man he had passed in the hallway, who had been in the apartment shortly before his arrival.
Elsewhere in the city, inside a small and cluttered apartment full of freshly moved-in boxes, a man wearing a blue suit was ready to set out for the day. As he rode his bicycle through the city, he introduced himself through monologue as "Phoenix Wright", a novice attorney who had only passed the bar exam three months prior. He was on his way to the courthouse to participate in his first trial.
As he arrived to the courthouse, a woman in a black business suit stared out a window in Defendant Lobby No. 2, waiting patiently for Wright's arrival. The title card introduced her as "Mia Fey" and as the senior attorney of the law firm that bore her name. Wright burst through the doors and apologized for his tardiness as well as his need to have Fey join him as co-counsel. Fey responded she did not mind and the pair made their way to Courtroom No. 2. As they walked down the halls, Fey pondered why Wright would accept a murder trial as his first foray as an attorney, to which Wright replied that he had a personal connection to the defendant and owed his present career to him.
Fey and Wright took their place behind the defense bench and the prosecutor, Winston Payne, assumed his on the opposite side of the courtroom. A bailiff escorted the defendant into the courtroom and was introduced as "Larry Butz", who immediately tried to profess his innocence, although the news had been claiming otherwise. Despite his lackadaisical attitude, Wright claimed he would not be capable of such a heinous act and Fey assured him if that was true, he must never stop believing in his client.
The judge entered the courtroom and took his seat, ushering in the start of the trial. Payne opened by presenting the circumstances of the crime: the victim, Cindy Stone, had been bludgeoned to death in her apartment's living room at approximately 4PM by a statue of "The Thinker", which had been found lying at the victim's side. Butz interjected that he built the statue by hand, to which the prosecution added that the suspect's fingerprints were on the statue.
Payne summoned Butz to the stand and inquired into the relationship between him and the victim, which had fallen on hard times. Butz protested but ended up contradicting himself, particularly with his lack of knowledge about the victim's recent trip to New York. Payne presented the victim's passport, confirming her voyage, as well as a photo taken at the Statue of Liberty with the statue Butz had made in her hand. Through these, the prosecution rationalized the defendant's motive: upon learning of the trip, Butz had confronted the victim and murdered her out of anger. Payne asked Butz whether he had been to the victim's apartment on the day of the crime, to which Butz did not provide a straight answer. Payne took this opportunity to summon the witness who claimed to have seen Butz at the apartment.
A man in a purple suit took the stand and introduced himself as "Frank Sahwit", a newspaper subscription salesman who had been doing business in the victim's apartment building that day. He testified that when he approached the victim's door, he had seen Butz leave the apartment in a rush. Noting the man's strange behavior, he peered into the apartment and saw the victim lying dead in the living room. Not willing to enter the apartment, he ran to a nearby pay phone to alert the police, saying the time was 2:00 PM. The judge asked why he had not used the apartment's phone, and Payne explained that a blackout had prevented the use of the phone, presenting the blackout report to the judge.
The judge allowed Wright to begin his cross-examination of the witness. Wright asked Sahwit whether he was certain of the time when he came across the body. Sahwit confirmed he was, but Wright, using the victim's autopsy report, showed the coroner had estimated the time of death as "after 4:00 PM", creating a two-hour discrepancy. Sahwit attempted to explain the contradiction by saying he had heard the time while in the apartment, speculating it must have come from a TV program playing at the time, but Wright pointed out that a blackout had been in effect from 1:00 PM to 6:00 PM that day, which discredited the claim. Sahwit became flustered and said that the "table clock" had announced the time, pointing to the statue of "The Thinker".
Payne confirmed to the court that the statue was in fact a clock and that to hear the time, one simply had to twist the neck. Because the clock required physical interaction in order to be heard, Wright claimed that Sahwit had lied in his testimony about never entering the apartment. Wright then accused Sahwit of being the murderer and having heard the clock announce the time while using it as a weapon. Sahwit became enraged and rebuffed Wright's claim, trying to return suspicion back to Butz. The judge asked the defense whether proving the witness had heard the clock was feasible, to which Fey said they simply needed to operate the clock right then.
Wright turned the head of the clock, which announced to the court that the time was 9:25 AM. The judge wasn't absolutely certain what purpose operating the clock had for the defense's case until Wright asked Payne for the time, which he said was 11:25 AM. This revealed the clock was running slow by two hours, the same amount of time Sahwit had been off by in his testimony. Sahwit pushed back and tried to claim that it was running slow only now, with no way to confirm whether it had been slow on the day of the murder. Despite the absurdity of the claim, the defense was at a loss to actually refute it. The judge began to end the cross-examination when Fey suddenly interjected and tried to refocus Wright on the evidence.
Wright contemplated on what he knew about the case and was struck with the solution. With a thunderous objection (which blew off Sahwit's toupee), Wright presented the image of the victim in New York, which existed in a time zone fourteen hours removed from their present location. The victim had set her clock for the time zone she had been in while on vacation and had not reset it upon returning. Thus, the clock had not been running slow but rather fast by fourteen hours, which, when not accounting for AM and PM, resulted in a two-hour discrepancy. Unable to refute this, Sahwit began foaming at the mouth and collapsed. The judge ordered the arrest of the witness, and several bailiffs swarmed on the witness stand.
Sahwit had actually been a burglar who had been casing the apartment complex, looking for another target, under the guise of a newspaper subscription salesman. When he had happened upon Cindy Stone's apartment, she had come home during his intrusion, forcing him to strike her down. All contradictions resolved, the judge handed down a verdict of "Not Guilty", and confetti rained on the courtroom. In the lobby, Butz offered Fey another statue of "The Thinker" as a sign of gratitude, saying he had built two of them. He then began moping about Stone's rejection but Fey pointed out that Stone wouldn't have brought along such an unwieldy clock for her trip if she had not held some kind of affection for Butz, a fact which cheered him up.
Fey and Wright left the courthouse on foot and discussed the day's events. As they talked, Fey asked Wright to tell her the story of how Butz had influenced him to become a defense attorney and Wright promised he would. However, their conversation was cut short, as Wright remembered he had biked to the courthouse and ran back to retrieve it.
- Cindy Stone (posthumous)
- Frank Sahwit
- Larry Butz
- Phoenix Wright
- Mia Fey
- Winston Payne
- Miles Edgeworth (flashback; voiced cameo)
Differences from the gameEdit
- Sahwit's toupee is blown off by Wright's objection. In the game, Sahwit throws his toupee at Wright's face when cornered.
- Flashbacks to Wright's fourth grade class trial are shown throughout the episode, alluding to how that impacted his decision to become a defense attorney. In the game, the class trial is not addressed until episode 4, Turnabout Goodbyes. Additionally, the flashbacks make it seem as though Wright had been saved in the trial by Larry Butz, which obscures the truth that Miles Edgeworth was the instrumental party, as he had yet to be introduced by this point. One flashback in particular has a young Butz standing up in defense of Wright, then the shot cuts to a pointing finger while a voice objects. The hand shown and the voice heard are actually Edgeworth's, but this is barely noticeable and can be mistaken for Butz's.
- The case date is March 26th, unlike the August 3rd date in the game.