Seriously, Black

The Trial of Severus Snape

Chapter 7

The Trials of Severus Snape

A/N: This one is for Excessivlyperky!

Office of Marvin Sheistre, Solicitor

Knockturn Alley

"Marvin, I have a request for you to drop in at the Ministry to see a new client," Lola Swaim, Marvin's gum chewing, red haired secretary said.

"New client? Did you ask the most important question?" Marvin was a no- nonsense man who could cut to the heart of a matter instinctually.

"Sure did, and yes, he can pay." This was the overriding concern here, after all, one did not support a law office and employees by being generous with their time. Time really was money to the legal profession.

"So, who is this new client?"

"Name is Severus Snape, he is on trial for Death Eater activities. He is being held in the Ministry holding area awaiting trial."

"Not at Azkaban?" the Solicitor asked in some surprise.

"Nope, he has a patron who is pulling for him. And get a load of this; his patron is Albus Dumbledore." Now this really surprised Sheistre, the number one guy on the side of light pulling for an accused Death Eater? If nothing else, it would make the case interesting. Granted, interesting doesn't pay the bills, but the publicity alone, should he clear the man, would be better than putting in a full page ad in the Daily Prophet.

"Alright, floo them back and tell them that I will be over there after lunch. Meanwhile, I am going to sniff out some background on the guy. What can you tell me about him?"

"Twenty-three years old, has been the potions professor at Hogwarts for the last two years. Head of Slytherin house, by all accounts he is a snarky, unforgiving fellow who does not suffer fools gladly. According to the bio that Dumbledore put forward, eyes only, he has been spying on the Dark Lord for Dumbledore's Order of the Phoenix."

"Dumbledore admitted that?" Sheistre was amazed. He never thought that Dumbledore would ever admit to even having that vigilante group, let alone admit to employing a schoolteacher as a spy. "Does he carry the Mark?"

"Yes, but Dumbledore claims that it was necessary. Dumbledore wants to keep the whole thing under wraps, get it swept under the rug with him as more or less a guardian of Snape."

"I'm sure he would, his hands are not exactly clean in this war, but just try to convince anyone else on the Light side to believe that. Those idiots would make shrines to that old bugger's turds if they could get away with it. Anyway, I will go talk to Mr. Snape, and try to get him the best deal possible. If that means burning Dumbledore's arse in the process, so much the better. Um… Dumbledore isn't the one guaranteeing payment, is he?"

"He wanted to, but for some reason Mr. Snape figured that it might not be in his best interest. Something about exchanging one master for another. Snape is putting up the deeds on some family properties as a guarantee of payment. One of the properties is his family's ancestral home."

"I've never heard of the Snape family, I'm sure that they are not in the Register. What kind of house could it be?"

"Snape wouldn't be in the Register, his father was a muggle. His mother however, was Eileen Prince, that is where he got the property."

"Oh, okay. I know the Prince manor house, used to go there as a kid. So, Eileen married a muggle…. No accounting for tastes, I suppose. I can take that as a retainer. I just hope that he can pay so that he doesn't lose the house. Of course, if he is convicted, he won't need it anyway, I hear that the trials have been brutal. Anyway, I am going to head over to Diagon Alley and see if I can get some sort of reading on this guy. If anyone comes in, tell them that I will be out for the remainder of the day. Oh, and get Phlatphoot on the whole Order of the Phoenix angle." Jerry Phlatphoot was an investigator who worked with Sheistre on an 'as needed' basis.

"Sure enough, boss." Lola finished making her notes and Sheistre grabbed his cloak and headed out the door.

Diagon Alley

Marvin Sheistre figured that the best way to get a feel for his client was to talk to people who knew him. As a potions professor at Hogwarts, that would mean the people at the Apothecary and students. The answers he got at the Apothecary were that Snape was a good customer, conscientious about getting only the finest supplies, and always paying his bills on time. It was when he dropped by Madam Maulkin's that he got a real feel for his client. There were several parents of Hogwarts students in the shop, and when Marvin asked for their opinions of their children's professor, it almost started a riot. Slytherin parents praised him to high heavens as the only teacher who would stand up against the bigotry from the other houses and protect their students, while Gryffindor parents, as one, despised him as an unfair cretin. The Ravenclaw parents were neutral, and parents of 'Puffs refused to get involved in the conversation. All of the ones who commented though did agree, if grudgingly, that Snape was a perfectionist when it came to his subject. Even one of the Gryffindor mothers, although she raged on about Snape's personality, admitted that her child was getting 'Outstanding' grades in his class because of his talent with the subject.

When Sheistre finished speaking to people, he caught a taxi to the new Italian restaurant down the block from the Ministry, and had a nice lunch before going to meet his client. After finishing his lasagna, he walked down to the 'out of order' phone booth and dialed the code number.

"Ministry of Magic, please state your name and business."

"Marvin Sheistre, solicitor. I am here to interview a client at the DMLE."

There was a slight giggle at the other end, and a badge came out of the coin return. Marvin saw red when he read it. 'Marvin Shyster, Defender of the guilty.'

"Excuse me, would you like to fix this badge, or should I speak to my good friend, Cornelius Fudge about your disrespect?"

"I'm sorry sir," was the panicked response. The badge disappeared and a new one came out. 'Marvin Sheistre, Solicitor. Client interview' read the new one.

"Much better," he growled, hanging up the receiver. The floor of the booth dropped down, depositing him in the atrium. He checked in his wand and headed up to the office of the DMLE. Upon arriving, he spoke to Frank Longbottom, who took him down to the holding cells. Marvin dismissed the Auror and took a good look at his new client.

Severus Snape did not look good. There were bruises on his face and neck; it appeared that he had been stricken with a blunt object. From his conversation with Auror Longbottom, Snape had willingly surrendered in the presence of both Longbottom and Madam Bones. These bruises also looked too recent to be from his pre-arrest period. Sheistre was outraged. He would be willing to bet that the bruises extended underneath his client's robes. Marvin quickly put up a silencing ward.

"So, Mr. Snape, what made you decide to contact me rather than let Albus Dumbledore handle it?" Right to the point, he wanted to see how much trust Snape had for Dumbledore.

Snape gave a bitter, half-laugh. "I began to see that Albus did not really have my best interests in mind. He wanted to forego a trial and have me paroled to his keeping. That would mean that I would be little better than a house elf. Should I disagree with him, he could hand me over to the Aurors to put in Azkaban. I would be no different than a pet on a leash." Sheistre's opinion of his client jumped several notches with that statement.

"In that case, I need to ask you something. Have you ever killed or used the Unforgivables?"

"Yes I have killed in defense of others, and no, I have not used Unforgivables. There were several times that people might say I used Unforgivables, but as you know, ninety percent of any spell is intent. I would be in a group that was using the Cruciatus curse, and there would be a red light also coming from my wand. I was not casting that particular curse, I would cast a different spell which had a red beam, one that would get lost in the others. I am.." he smirked. "…very adept at silent spellcasting. I have been at the site of many crimes where the Unforgivables were cast."

"Would you be willing to testify under Veritaserum?"

"Yes, but don't look for Albus to allow Veritaserum. He has too much to lose if the entire truth came out about his 'sacred' Order."

"You let me worry about that. Now, the biggest part of any trial is that there should be no surprises, at least on my part. I don't want to ask any question to which I don't already know the answer. I also don't want them asking any questions to which I do not know the answer. Having that in mind, we need to go over any testimony. Now, the first item is this………."

0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0

Ministry of Magic

Courtroom 10

Two weeks later

"Oyez, oyez! This court of the Wizengamot will now come to Order. Grand Warlock Albus Dumbledore presiding! Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge present! DMLE is represented by Madam Amelia Bones! This is the trial of Severus Snape, the accused is charged with Death Eater activity, membership in a banned terrorist organization, and casting of the Unforgivable Curses!"

"Before my client enters a plea to these charges, I would like to make a motion to ask Albus Dumbledore to remove himself from this case."

"Is there a good reason for this Mr….. " Madam Bones asked.

"Sheistre, Ma'am. Marvin Sheistre, solicitor for Mr. Snape. And yes, the defense plans to call Grand Warlock Dumbledore as a defense witness." This had the effect of stopping the court in shock. Albus had been caught in the middle of popping a lemon drop in his mouth, the drop hit his beard, fell and rolled across the floor. He fixed an eye toward Marvin.

"I don't remember receiving a summons as a witness."

"I'm sure that it was just an oversight on your part, sir. It was included in your agenda that was delivered to you at Hogwarts. When you accepted the parchments from the owl, the proof of service was registered with the court. I have a copy here if you can't find yours." Dumbledore silently cursed. The agenda, still unopened, was sitting on his desk.

Madam Bones fingered through her parchment work, finding the summons. "It appears to be in order, Albus. You will have to step down, the Minister will take your place. Please step over to the witness gallery.

"Madam Bones, there is no need for a trial as such," Dumbledore started. "I would be willing to take on Severus' parole should he not contest the charges. He has done great, selfless things for the Light during this last war. He should be honored, not tried."

"What does your client say to that, Mr. Sheistre? Would he be willing to plead no contest?"

"Madam, as generous as Mr. Dumbledore's offer is, that would be the refuge of a guilty person. I have the great honor, one which does not come along very often, of representing an innocent man. My client enters a plea of 'not guilty' of all charges, and demands, as is his right, trial by Veritaserum."

"Now there should be no need for that!" Dumbledore was not quite at the panic mode yet, but he was close.

"Dumbledore," said Fudge silkily. "You are neither judge of this proceeding nor one of the attorneys. You are directed to take your seat in the witness galley and remain silent until called upon to testify. Any more outbursts will earn you a contempt citation. As for the defendant's demand for Veritaserum, I am granting it. It is the best way to make sure that justice is satisfied. If it was good enough for Sirius Black, who by the way, you slandered in order to make him out to be a traitor and murderer, it should be good enough for Mr. Snape, who you just so highly praised."

An Auror entered the courtroom with a sealed vial of Veritaserum, made note of the seal number, then opened it and administered the dosage to Snape.

"Madam Bones, you may begin your questioning," Fudge said.

"Mr. Snape. Are you loyal to He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named?"

"No."

"Have you ever killed?"

"Yes."

"What were the circumstances behind that killing?"

"The Dark Lord ordered the murder of several muggles, two of whom were the parents of Lily Evens Potter. In my position of spy, I notified Albus Dumbledore of the attack. He promised to send Aurors to protect them. I accompanied the two Death Eaters assigned to the murder to the site. The promised Auror protection was not there. I killed one of the Death Eaters with a type of cutting curse which I developed, however I was unable to save the Evens'. The other Death Eater killed them. I made up a story that we had been attacked by Aurors which I gave to the Dark Lord."

"Do you know if Albus Dumbledore ever notified Auror Command?"

"He told me later that he did not. He said something about how it was a shame, but that their deaths were necessary to a larger plan."

"Mr. Snape, we have testimony from several people, many of whom were in You-Know-Who's service, that you were among them casting Unforgivables. Is this correct?"

"No, intent is supreme when casting spells; although I may have said the words, I was, with intent, casting other, harmless spells, the beam of which mimic those of Unforgivables. I could do this because I am quite proficient with silent spellcasting. I didn't really trust Albus' promise of immunity should I have to cast an Unforgivable. I would tell him that I had used Unforgivables, it seemed to please him."

"You say that Albus Dumbledore promised you immunity?"

"Yes, he said as Grand Warlock of the Wizengamot, that he had the power and right to do so." It was at this point that Albus Dumbledore got up from his seat in the gallery and began making his way out of the courtroom.

"Aurors, please hold Albus Dumbledore! Please do not let him leave. I look forward to cross examining him." Sheistre smiled. Dumbledore had just played into his hands. Madam Bones continued, "Mr. Snape, did you join the ranks of the Death Eaters willingly?"

"No, I was pressured into it by Lucius Malfoy. I was sixteen and had been the target of attacks by a group at school called the Marauders. They operated with full knowledge and approval, it seemed, of the Headmaster, Albus Dumbledore, and their Head of House, Minerva McGonagall. Lucius Malfoy and his friends were my only protection from these hooligans."

"What made you rethink your decision?"

"The first assignment that the Dark Lord sent me on, I was sickened at the pack mentality of the others. They were no different from the Marauders. They picked a helpless muggle and tortured him to death. I used faux curses, I believe the Jelly Leg curse was one, while they did the actual deed. When it was over, I made an excuse to join them later. I apparated to Hogsmeade, where I threw up. I then made my way to Hogwarts and asked Albus Dumbledore for protection and asylum."

"What was his response to your request?"

"He turned me down at first. When I pleaded with him, he said that I could be of much more use as a spy for his vigilante group, the Order of the Phoenix. He told me to do what I had to do to get close to the Dark Lord, and that he would smooth over any possible legal problems."

"Mr. Minister, I am satisfied that Mr. Snape has answered the charges. Mr. Sheistre, do you have any questions for your client?"

"Yes I do, Madam Bones. Mr. Snape, when I first saw you at the DMLE holding area, you had several bruises visible on your face and neck, were they there prior to your arrest?"

"No."

"How did you get them?"

"The guards, and one Auror, seemed to believe that I should have what they called a 'tune up' to make me more pliable.

"Did you ever give them cause to strike you?"

"That depends on what you call cause. The Auror, Sirius Black, demanded that I sign a parchment stating that I would not be allowed to visit my godson, Draco Malfoy, no matter what the results of my trial. I refused to sign, and that night I received my first beating."

"Was Auror Black present during the assault?"

"No, he came by the next day with the parchment, demanding once again that I sign it. I again refused. He left, and the beatings continued the next night. The guards implied that they would continue until I gave Auror Black what he wanted."

"Do you know if Auror Black ordered the beatings?"

"I could not say so, but I have my suspicions."

"No more questions for my client, Madam Bones, Mr. Minister. I would now like to call Albus Dumbledore to the stand."

The Auror administered the antidote to Snape and he once again began to focus. He glared at his Solicitor, he had not wanted the information about the beatings to come out. During this time, Dumbledore made his way down to the floor, conjured up an overstuffed wing back chair, and sat down.

"Mr. Dumbledore, do you plan to refute any of my client's testimony?"

"Yes, I do." Dumbledore was outraged at the way the trial was going. It was time for serious damage control.

"Are you willing to testify under Veritaserum?"

"No, my word as head of this body and of the Light should be good enough for this court."

"In that case, Madam Bones, we have no other questions for this witness. His refusal to testify under Veritaserum in order to refute testimony of my client, who did undergo Veritaserum, tells me that Mr. Dumbledore plans to perjure himself, lying under oath. I believe that I can pass on that happening, I would be remiss to suborn perjury."

"In that case, Albus, you are dismissed. I would have liked to cross examine you, but I happen to agree with Mr. Sheistre that at this point, your testimony would not only be worthless, but probably perjured."

Dumbledore was incensed. How dare they not just take his word for it. He did know that Black was not responsible for the beatings, that had been his idea to drive a bigger wedge between Black and Severus. The guard had told him that he could take care of it. It cast suspicion on Black, and would have been perfect had not Snape contested the charges.

"Madam Bones, Minister Fudge, and honored members of the Wizengamot. You have heard, from my client's own mouth under Veritaserum, the details refuting the Crown's case. The only person who would refute these facts refused to take Veritaserum, therefore anything he might have said is suspect. I ask of you to return with a 'not guilty' verdict for my client, a man who has been sorely used by both sides in this war, and could not even expect fair treatment under the 'care' of the DMLE. The defense for Severus Snape rests."

"Well spoken, Mr. Sheistre. I call this court into closed session to consider a verdict. All rise. Please wait outside the courtroom until the verdict is reached. Aurors, you may take charge of the defendant. Mr. Sheistre, I would ask you to accompany your client, seeing his past history with the Aurors in the DMLE" Sheistre could have kissed Cornelius. Instead he settled for a smile and nod toward his friend. Marvin followed Snape and the Aurors out of the room.

Dumbledore knew that Sheistre had out-maneuvered him at every point, he just did not know how. It turned out that Marvin had used Fudge's natural paranoia about Dumbledore when he spoke to the Minister about his client. He stressed that the Order of the Phoenix was a vigilante group, Dumbledore's private army out to put Dumbledore in power over the Ministry. Marvin didn't mind tweaking the truth just a bit to his friend, his first duty was to his client. With the way that the trial was going, he knew that Cornelius was going to be just as good as an extra defense attorney in the deliberations. Sure, he did not have a vote, but he was perfectly able to make his views known.

It was less than thirty minutes before an Auror opened the courtroom doors and announced that there had been a verdict. The witnesses and spectators filed in to find the Wizengamot members seated and Snape sitting in the chair without chains.

"Mr. Snape," said Fudge. "Please stand and face the court. In this matter, we find that Albus Dumbledore did have the authority to offer you immunity, but this court would like to thank you for your restraint by never committing acts which would have been necessary to invoke that immunity. That being said, this court finds you Not Guilty of all charges, and, in appreciation for your self-sacrificial service to the Light, awards you the Order of Merlin, third class, and the thanks of a grateful nation. You are further awarded 10,000 galleons in restitution for the disgraceful abuse you suffered at the hands of the guards at the DMLE and Madam Bones assures me that she will open an inquiry to get to the bottom of that situation. Now, if I may," Fudge made his way down to Snape. "I hereby award this Order of Merlin for your bravery in the face of certain death, and your service to Wizarding Britain." Fudge pinned the medal on Snape's robes and shook his hand. "This court is now adjourned."

As the spectators and witnesses left, Dumbledore took Mad-eye Moody aside. "Alastor, should that investigation of Bones' dig too deeply, it could throw all of our efforts into question. Please see that it doesn't happen."

Moody got a feral look on his face. "Don't worry, Albus. It will be nipped in the bud. You owe me one though."

"I owe you more than one. I will speak with you later."

0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0

Ministry of Magic

DMLE Holding area

Moody slipped into the holding area during lunchtime under his invisibility cloak. He made his way to Antonin Dolohov's cell and, without any preamble, cast the Imperius curse on the Death Eater. He gave him his instructions, then handed him a garrote, a piece of piano wire with a small wooden handle on each end. He then made his way out of the holding area and out of the Ministry building.

Later that evening, following shift change, the guard responsible for the beatings of Snape, at Dumbledore's suggestion, made his way down the rows of cells, grumbling to himself. He was going to be suspended pending an investigation into the beatings. Well, he was not going to take it laying down, he would let the investigators know just who put him up to it. If he was going to go down, so was Dumbledore. Unless, of course, he could use the information to secure a job from Dumbledore in the event that he was fired.

When he got to Antonin Dolohov's cell, he saw Dolohov laying on the floor of the cell with a puddle of blood coming out from under his robe. "Aww, crap. They will probably blame me for this mutt's injuries. C'mon, Dolohov, get your arse up…. Dolohov?" He unlocked the cell, went inside, and nudged Antonin with his toe. Bending down, he attempted to turn him over. In a movement almost too quick to recognize, Dolohov whipped around, blood coming off his arm, took the garrote, and snapped it around the guard's neck, twisting it tight. Unable to get off a curse, the guard flopped around until his brain shut down from lack of oxygen. With a final pull on the garrote, Dolohov cut through the guard's neck, dropping him. He grabbed the guard's wand, bowed to the other whistling and cheering prisoners, and made his way to the door to escape. He did not get far. The Dementors that Barty Crouch had insisted upon grabbed Antonin as he was escaping out the door, one of them administering the Kiss on the Imperiused prisoner. They picked him up and deposited him back in his cell, and the one who did not feed went to Auror Command to get their attention, to let them know that there was an unusual occurrence in the cell block.

0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0

A/N: I look at Moody as a prototype for the character, Vic, on the TV show, the Shield. Vic is a cop who does not let the law get in the way of his ambition, or what he considers justice. In the first show, he set up a superior who planned on investigating him, shooting him and blaming it on a druggie. If you have never seen the show, I recommend it, I believe some of the early seasons are out on DVD.

I also made a real error in this one by having Lucuis Malfoy be the one to kill the guard; it was pointed out to me so I redid the last part to make it Antonin Dolohov. The only excuse I have is that Malfoy is such a punk that the first Dementor to suck out his soul must have upchucked… and Malfoy is the kind of guy you don't mind killing more than once…

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