The Conspirator (2010)
Edwin Stanton: Young man... always indebted to you for your courage in the field, but you must learn to tread lightly.
Frederick Aiken: Tread lightly? I will not tread lightly. You have predetermined her fate.
Edwin Stanton: Mary Surratt's fate rests entirely with the Commission. My concern is preserving our Union.
Frederick Aiken: Why did I fight for the Union if my rights aren't assured? You tell me.
Edwin Stanton: Fine words for rallying the troops, not for running a nation. They assassinated our president, and someone must be held accountable. The people want that.
Frederick Aiken: It's John Surratt you want. You don't even want Mary.
Edwin Stanton: I'll settle for either one.
Frederick Aiken: If John Surratt was part of this conspiracy, I pray that he receives every punishment known to man. But if his mother can be convicted on such insufficient evidence, I tell you, none of you are safe.
Frederick Aiken: Members of the commission, do not permit this injustice to Mary Surratt by sacrificing our sacred rights out of revenge. Too many of us have laid down our lives to preserve them.
Joseph Holt: One bullet killed our beloved president. One bullet but not one man!
Mary Surratt: So, have you handled cases like this before?
Frederick Aiken: There's never been a case like this before.
Frederick Aiken: Anna, your brother does not need too be saved now. Your mother does!
John Surratt: [to his mother] If this cause isn't worth fighting for, what is?
Mary Surratt: Have you ever believed in something far greater than yourself?
Frederick Aiken: You're my witness! Should I not expect you to tell me the truth?
Frederick Aiken: She built the nest that hatched this plot. President Johnson said it himself.
Reverdy Johnson: Well, I know this goes hard with you, Freddie, but... but what they're plannin', which is a military trial of civilians, is an atrocity.
Frederick Aiken: No, no. What she did is an atrocity.
Reverdy Johnson: There is no presumption of innocence, no burden of proof, no jury of your peers and no appeal.
Frederick Aiken: Alright, you were one of Lincoln's pallbearers too. How can you represent her?
Reverdy Johnson: She's entitled to a defense, Freddie, so I shall defend her.
Mary Surratt: My husband died a drunk, Mr. Aiken, and left me loads of debt. I had to support my family, so I rented rooms to boarders. Those men were customers, nothing more.
Frederick Aiken: And you never considered their allegiances?
Mary Surratt: I didn't ask about their allegiances.
Frederick Aiken: What about yours, ma'am?
Mary Surratt: I'm a Southerner. I'm a Catholic and a devoted mother above all else. But I am no assassin.
Frederick Aiken: Your freedom is gonna require greater assurances than that.
Mary Surratt: Then you tell me what I should say to those generals.
Frederick Aiken: Oh, you can't say a thing. You're prohibited from testifying in your own defense. Perhaps your son could speak for you. Any idea where he's hiding?
Mary Surratt: No, I don't.
Frederick Aiken: All right. Is there anyone who will give your version of events?
Mary Surratt: You mean the truth?
Frederick Aiken: Well, obviously the government believes your version is not the truth.
Mary Surratt: Based on what?
Frederick Aiken: Their not releasing their list of witnesses or the evidence they'll use against you.
Mary Surratt: And can they do that?
Frederick Aiken: This kind of proceeding, they can do to you whatever they want.
Mary Surratt: Well, then what difference does that make? Those generals have made up their minds. I can tell by the way they look at me.
Frederick Aiken: The way they look at you?
Mary Surratt: Just the same way you're looking at me.
Mary Surratt: So, what is it you wish to know?
Frederick Aiken: Why Booth and his associates were constants in your home.
Mary Surratt: I ran a boarding house, Mr Aiken. Forgive me if I chose to fill it with boarders.
Frederick Aiken: Ma'am, all I know about you is what I read in the papers. It's not flattering.
Frederick Aiken: I think she's as guilty as Booth. How can I possibly defend her?
Reverdy Johnson: You assume that she's guilty, like the Commission. You don't have any proof.
Frederick Aiken: Proof or no, don't give a damn what happens to her.
Reverdy Johnson: I tell you what. If you can prove that she's guilty, you can take yourself off the case.
Frederick Aiken: Thank you, sir.
Reverdy Johnson: You think it'll be that easy?
Frederick Aiken: I know it.
Frederick Aiken: [to courtroom] It seems that the only thing... that Mary Surratt might be guilty of is having given birth to her son John.
Frederick Aiken: [in closing summary, to courtroom] For the lawyer as well as the soldier, there is an equally imperative command. That duty is to shelter from injustice the innocent, to protect the weak from oppression, and when necessity demands, to rally to the defense of those being wronged.
Judge Wylie: You believe she's innocent?
Frederick Aiken: I don't know. But if we don't get a proper trial, we never will.
Edwin Stanton: I, too, hold sacred our rights, counselor. But they count not at all, if our nation ceases to exist.
Joseph Holt: Inter arma, silent leges. "In times of war, the law falls silent."
Frederick Aiken: It shouldn't.
Reverdy Johnson: Freddie, she's not your mother. If John Surratt won't give himself up for her, then why should you?
Frederick Aiken: Two men standing at the Pearly Gates. The first man says, "How'd you die?" Second says, "I froze to death. How 'bout you?" And the, uh, second man says, "Well, I thought my... my wife was being unfaithful to me, so I ran all the way home. And burst into the bedroom. She just..."