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All shine, and no substance!
The next day, the courtroom audience awaits the jury’s verdict. Hornbeck enters and mockingly bows before Brady. Cates and Drummond discuss whether Cates will go to jail. Drummond tells the story of Golden Dancer, a rocking horse he received as a birthday present at age seven. The horse looked beautiful in the store window but broke the first time Drummond tried to ride it.
A radio reporter sets up a microphone. The mayor tells the judge that state authorities are worried about the press coverage surrounding the case. The mayor cautions the judge to “go easy” on Cates should the jury hand down a guilty verdict. The radio reporter warns Drummond not to swear or say the word “God” during the broadcast. The jury returns, and the judge asks for the verdict. Sillers hands the verdict to the judge, who pronounces Cates guilty. The crowd’s reaction is loud but mixed.
The judge calls for order and starts to announce a sentence, but Drummond cuts him off, citing the defendant’s right to make a statement before sentencing. Cates admits to a lack of public speaking skills and says that he is only a teacher. He calls the law he broke unjust and vows to continue to oppose it. He trails off mid-sentence and sits down.
Glancing at the mayor, the judge declares Cates’s punishment to be a $100 fine. Brady angrily demands a harsher sentence. The judge grants Drummond the right to appeal the case to a higher court. Brady asks permission to read a statement, but Drummond objects. The judge instructs Brady to read his remarks to the crowd before declaring the court adjourned.
The courtroom becomes chaotic with screaming children and food vendors. The judge tries several times to get the crowd’s attention for Brady’s remarks. Finally, Brady begins his triumphant speech, but the radio reporter interrupts and asks him to speak more clearly. When Brady resumes his speech, people start to leave the courtroom. The radio reporter cuts Brady off, saying that a producer in Chicago has told him that their time is up. Brady picks up his speech again after the microphone is removed, but he suddenly freezes up and collapses. Onlookers come to his aid. While Brady is being carried out of the courtroom, he deliriously recites what sounds like an victory speech for a presidential election. Hornbeck makes a half-mocking, half-sympathetic speech about political losers like Brady.
Cates asks Drummond whether he won or lost. Drummond tells Cates he won a moral victory by bringing national attention to his case. Cates submits himself to Meeker to be returned to jail, but Meeker says that Hornbeck and the Baltimore Herald have put up $500 for Cates’s bail.
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