Bad Publicity
Rating: CSI-1
Summary: A deception two years ago has serious repercussions in the present
Disclaimer: CSI’s characters do not belong to me. Marc Weston does.
Sequel: Set approximately two years after my fic "Publicity", really you do need to have read that.
A/N: Thank you to Angie for reading this through.
"Police investigating the death of actor James Howard today arrested fellow actor Marc Weston on suspicion of his murder. Mr Weston, star of the recent romantic comedy `Just Because', was arrested in the early hours of this morning at his home in Las Vegas. Three months ago Mr Weston admitted to being in a relationship with co- star Teri Lyonne, ex-wife of James Howard. Ms Lyonne has so far not released any comment, and no press release has been made by Mr Weston's attorneys ­"

Catherine shut off the radio. "So, it's made international news," she stated, dryly, to Gil and Nick as she returned to her seat at the break room table.

"It's a high profile case," Gil commented.

"Did you speak to Marc?" Nick asked Catherine.

She nodded once. "He didn't do it."

Gil raised an eyebrow. "The evidence suggests otherwise."

She fixed him with a determined stare. "He told me he didn't do it, and that's enough for me… Coupled with the fact that I have known him for over two years now, and he is not capable of murder… I can't believe you would even think otherwise."

Nick's eyes were wide and he glanced from Catherine to Gil to see how his boss would respond.

"I didn't say I think he did it… I just said that the evidence is against him," Gil explained, pointedly.

"I already know that, don't I?" She swept out of the chair, her rising frustration not conducive to sitting still. "God, I feel so useless," she exclaimed, rubbing a hand across her forehead.

Gil stood up and stepped towards her, placing a gentle hand on her shoulder. "I know," he said understandingly. "And that's exactly why you've been removed from the case… You know that."

Her hair flicked back as she raised her head to look at him. "Yes, I know that," she hissed. "But I don't have to like it!… I was on the case long enough to collect Marc's hair and fingerprints from the crime scene. I was on the case just long enough to incriminate him, but pulled swiftly from it so I don't compromise the evidence ­"

"Catherine, as far as the public is concerned, you and Marc were in a relationship. In a case this high profile we cannot be seen to have you working the evidence."

"If I was going to tamper with it, wouldn't I have stopped it from pointing in his direction in the first place?"

Coincidently, at that moment, Warrick ran into the room and flicked on the radio as he said, "You'd better hear this."

"… Weston's lawyers are to ask for a full investigation into Ms Willows involvement in her ex-boyfriend's case. In other news…"

Warrick switched it off again as Catherine stared at him eyes wide and questioning. "Seems the main part was over… They're alleging that your bitterness at Marc having split up with you caused you to tamper with evidence ­ "

"To frame him?" she asked, disbelieving.

Warrick nodded. "I don't know how it got to the press before it reached the department, but I think we can expect Ecklie to arrive any minute."

"This is ridiculous!" she exclaimed. "I'm his friend."

"We don't know that it's substantiated. It could just be conjecture within the press," Gil tried to reassure her. "Anything for a story."

"Yeah," Nick added. "Marc wouldn't tell his lawyers that you must have framed him."

Catherine pinched the bridge of her nose. "They really must have nothing to prove his innocence if claiming corruption within the crime lab is their only defence."

"Unfortunately…" The new voice drew everyone's attention to the door where Ecklie was standing, looking unimpressed, yet surprisingly sympathetic. "… once the allegation is made, we have to devote sufficient time and resources to proving it false… We're gonna have to do this, Catherine. I've looked at your reports, and seeing as you were the only one who handled that evidence, we can't instantly dismiss this."

Catherine closed her eyes, trying her best to calm down. "This is ridiculous ­ "

"I know that," Ecklie said, "And I'm appalled that they've stooped to this level and there's nothing we can do but go along with it."

"It's not your fault," Catherine said, walking towards the door, detaching her gun and her ID as she did so. "I guess pulling me from the case is gonna make me look even more guilty though… Shows that we were aware that I had a `personal relationship' with Marc, and that we suspected I could not be trusted with the evidence. Proves their point really." She handed her gun and ID to Ecklie and walked past him and out of the room.

TBC…