At 1:30 p.m., precisely, I was back in the reception office. Ms.
Congeniality informed me that Mr. Raskin was ready to meet with me and buzzed me into the inner sanctum. I was both impressed and pleasantly surprised. The famous attorney had a very nice office. Parquet floor. Massive mahogany desk. Oriental rug. Numerous degrees and professional honors on the walls. But, it was not huge and not festooned with images of the lawyer and his many celebrity clients. The only photos in evidence were of him with his family. Overall, it was not much larger or richer than the office where I’d eventually ended my own career.
Raskin himself, however, was as I might have expected. Not a big man. Maybe 5’9” and 170 pounds. He had a rich head of silver hair and a face that could have been carved onto Mt. Rushmore. Clothes? Nothing but the best. Saville Row, most likely. Only two rings on his fingers but one about three carats of diamond and the other a thick, gold wedding band. Even his necktie was a vintage Countess Mara. Robert Raskin clearly put a lot of stock in first impressions, but was equally aware that he didn’t want to overplay his hand.
“Mr. McRae,” he greeted me. “I know that you were a friend and colleague of my late client Mr. Kendall. I’m pleased to meet you and I hope that I might be able to be of assistance in providing some closure to this unfortunate incident.”
The guy was slick. No big surprise.
“I wasn’t aware that you were a journalist.”
I answered honestly. I told him that I had worked on and off as a stringer for the wire services, had established LAPD press credentials, and was affiliated with a Southeastern U.S. regional news organization. I had mentioned my journalism to give his receptionist a reason to bring me to his attention, but my real mission was, as stated, just to find out what I could about why, and how, Jerry Kendall died at my home.
Robert Raskin rubbed his nose. “I’m as much at a loss as you are. I have no tremendous insights. All I know is what the Charleston County Sheriff’s office recorded, that Jerome Anthony Kendall expired of natural causes, most likely proximal cause, respiratory distress.”
“Mr. Raskin,” I asked, hesitatingly, “Why did you request a discreet LAPD crime scene investigation sweep of Jerry Kendall’s home?”
Raskin paused momentarily. “I assume that you have spoken with Captain Terry Bates.”
Raskin responded, “I have the luxury of being able to request certain favors from the LAPD. As I’m sure you are aware, we are on opposite sides of many issues. That doesn’t make us enemies. Just parties to the same conundrums.
“When a client acts irrationally, disappears from his home and job without notice, and turns up dead in, you should pardon the expression, Nowhere, South Carolina, a conscientious attorney has a responsibility to follow up and try to find out what happened.”
I gave him my best dead-pan stare. “So, what did you find out?”
A good poker player, Raskin said not much. “Not much.”
“Not anything, or not much?”
Raskin ostentatiously looked at his Omega watch. “Not anything.”
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