Brianna talks some more about her personal relationship with God (at which point we get this odd aside: "Many reporters had microphones," which, yes, makes sense if they're recording her speaking in any way).
She talks about how she sent Sonya on a quest, though she's already talked about the results of that quest, so this seems redundant. She sees a teenager "in the front row with the reporters," because I guess teenagers just wander into press conferences sometimes and scoot their way to the front, and she's filled with guilt and gives this speech:
“Although I tried to be a good role model, I had dark secrets from my past. I have not been the example I should have been because I have not been totally honest.”Which seriously bugs me, because I don't think a celebrity has a responsibility to dredge up the secrets of their past and share and comment on them with their public. That's just not the public's business, frankly. If it came to light, then, sure, she should comment on it but nobody except for sleazy gossip sites (certainly not the news media at large, who seem to be weirdly interested in Brianna's life) will pressure her to start listing all the wrong things she's done in the past. Her decision to not share all her bad decisions with the entire world doesn't make her a bad role model or a bad example -- it just makes her a normal person who would like some privacy, thank you very much.
Now, I get that she wants to atone. I get that. But that's her choice. It's not because if she dealt with it quietly she'd be a bad role model. I have a horrible feeling that value for privacy was something that disappeared once she became a Christian, because once you're a Christian, apparently you need to confess all your sins to everyone.
Then Lawyer Carol apologizes:
“I did everything in my power to destroy Ethan Anderson. I went out of my way to convict him and send him to jail. When his case came up for review, I did everything in my power to have him sent to state prison. My actions were appalling, and I deeply regret them. I owe Mr. Anderson an apology. I also apologize to you, the public. I am sorry.”She is apologizing for the wrong thing. She did exactly what she should have done, especially considering she was convinced Ethan was guilty. She fought to send him to jail because she thought he had abused a child. This is going back to what made me crazy in the courtroom chapter, where apparently just the act of wanting a child abuser to go to jail is seen as "malicious," when, really, there was no compelling evidence to the contrary. She made a mistake, yes, but that wasn't her fault. It was Brianna's and Ethan's.
Her apology should be one of not digging deeply enough, or the sorrow she feels at mistakenly sentencing an innocent man to jail. But it shouldn't be "I'm sorry I tried to convict a child abuser." Trying to convict child abusers is a good thing. She made the best, most moral decision she could have based on the information she had. Not that she should be defending that choice either -- saying "I was just doing my job" is obviously the wrong move here -- but she really should be focusing the apology on what she actually did wrong.
They explain that Brianna's not going to be prosecuted, but that Ethan could sue her (even though, as we have established, that is not actually a possibility). The crowd seems to be very annoyed that Brianna won't be punished for this, so maybe they'll sue her.
Then the crowd gets super hostile and starts asking questions like, "Do you think he could ever forgive you?" and freaking out when Brianna is too busy crying in Conrad's arms to answer, when Ethan shows up and is all, "I believe I can answer that."
Dun dun dun!
Ethan comes up and says horrible things like this:
“I don’t blame all of what happened on my daughter. Society and the justice system let me down. The assistant prosecuting attorney did all she could to put me away, not because I was guilty, but because I was a man. The system was stacked against me from the beginning.”Hooooooooooly cow.
First of all, Ethan, are you forgetting the fact that you completely shot yourself in the foot with this too by refusing to comment? He let all the evidence pile up against him and never once offered any kind of rebuttal, and then complains that the system was stacked against him? He refused to use the system! That's like someone complaining that a fast food place wouldn't serve him a drink because he wouldn't use the soda fountain.
Secondly, how the heck does he know that Lawyer Carol was against him because he was a man and not because he was guilty? He (and, I think, Rothdiener) apparently has no idea how incredibly guilty he looked. Man or woman, all the evidence was a giant neon arrow pointing right at his head, and he's out here being all, "It's because I'm a maaaaaaaaaaaan."
(Lawyer Carol nods along with this, but, honestly, how did he know this? The only theory I have right now is that he's psychic and assumes everyone else is psychic too and that's why he knows Lawyer Carol was malicious, because she read his mind and knew he was guilty but tried to convict him anyway!)
Ethan then gives a sermon about forgiving because God forgives, and they all leave the press conference happy, even Lawyer Carol, who says this bit of nonsense:
“I made a case against you with no real evidence. You’re right... I was biased because you’re a man. Let me assure you, it will never happen again. I have learned a good lesson. In the future, all evidence will be weighed and evaluated fairly.”NO REAL EVIDENCE?
What does she think counts as real evidence in this kind of case, if not testimony from the witness and expert opinions that concur with that testimony? What was she expecting?
And, worse... she's been practicing law for like 10-12 more years now. Does this mean that right up until this moment, she has been perpetually weighing and evaluating evidence unfairly and she'll only stop doing it "in the future"? And nobody's been like, "Hey, stop doing that"?
*headdesk times a trillion*
And then Ethan and Brianna go to the beach. There's a happy ending for this insane chapter.
87% of the way through, 45 pages to go. I honestly can't remember what happens in these last 45 pages. She's done about everything I remember. I guess the romance can get wrapped up. We'll just have to see!