The Conspirator (2010)
Tom Wilkinson: Reverdy Johnson
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 : 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.
Reverdy Johnson : Could somebody bring me the transcript of today's trial?
Edwin Stanton : Shall I read it aloud to you?
[brings transcript over]
Reverdy Johnson : Oh, Ed.
Edwin Stanton : Your young associate is putting up a spirited defense. Reminds me of a certain lawyer I had to face 25 years ago.
Reverdy Johnson : Ah, he learned to fight in your army. Can I get you a drink?
Edwin Stanton : No, no. No. I won't be staying long. Reverdy... You've done so much for this nation as any man I know.
Reverdy Johnson : Oh. Feeling's mutual, Ed.
Edwin Stanton : Don't you think it's time for us two old war horses to call a truce?
Reverdy Johnson : Not if you insist on staging this travesty.
Edwin Stanton : This trial will do more to keep the peace than any paper treaty could.
Reverdy Johnson : Heh. How'd you convince yourself of that?
Edwin Stanton : Because justice, swift and firm will help deter the South from ever conspiring again, as well as discouraging the North from seeking revenge.
Reverdy Johnson : What about the rule of law?
Edwin Stanton : My first responsibility is to ensure that this war stays won.
Reverdy Johnson : Oh, and this is how you do it, by keeping fear alive as long as you see fit?
[shows headlines and stories in a newspaper]
Reverdy Johnson : Look. "Stanton warns of future rebel plots", water supplies poisoned, firebombing cities, yellow fever spreading all over the place. This is a frightening country, Ed. And you don't need to scare us anymore.
Edwin Stanton : And who is to say that none of these things could happen? The unspeakable already has- Our president assassinated, 600,000 dead. The world has changed, Reverdy.
Reverdy Johnson : Abandoning the Constitution is not the answer.
Edwin Stanton : You may prefer dining alone. I just hope your young associate does as well. If he pushes too hard, he will make enemies who will not soon forget. On this, you know I'm right.
Reverdy Johnson : Why, Ed, what a delightful surprise.
Edwin Stanton : Life's full of them, Reverdy.
Reverdy Johnson : This is our War Secretary, Mr. Edwin Stanton.
Frederick Aiken : Yeah it's a-it's a very great pleasure, sir.
Reverdy Johnson : Mr. Aiken had two horses shot from under him and never quit the field.
Edwin Stanton : [he and Frederick shake hands] Could use a loyal man like you over at the War Department, Captain.
Frederick Aiken : Sir.
Reverdy Johnson : Captain's back to bein' a lawyer. Time to heal the nation, Ed, not wage more war.
Edwin Stanton : Pleasure as always,senator. Captain.
Frederick Aiken : Sir.
Edwin Stanton : I'm sorry you won't be able to meet the president this evening.
Frederick Aiken : Will he not be attending?
Edwin Stanton : It seems Mrs. Lincoln prefers an evening in theater to a room full of soldiers.
Reverdy Johnson : Freddie, she's not your mother. If John Surratt won't give himself up for her, then why should you?