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Nicole Spector: That’s not my dad

When I heard that David Mamet would be making a movie about my father's court trials, I got dizzy – the good kind of dizzy. I mean, it wasn't the bad kind of dizzy I was used to. It wasn't the emotional vertigo, plane shake over black water, fumble for the Valium in your purse dizzy. This was more like a hot bath, antihistamine-haze, swig of champagne dizzy. Discombobulation with a bit of whimsy! A gust of hope fled through me.

It was 2011, and my father had been incarcerated for two years. Sitting in the sealed-off visiting center, with its crusty, spider-smeared floors and well-behaving, leering psychopaths (guards included), this was the first time that I was hearing good news. I mean, it wasn't the overwhelmingly — and frankly, unmanageable — bad news I was used to hearing.

It struck me that Mamet's interest in my dad's situation was compassionate, perhaps even philosophical, and that he would be focusing on matters of justice. In his retelling, Mamet could sift through the welter of misunderstandings and exaggerations that surrounded my dad's trials and ultimate conviction. He could use “the power of art” to suggest, if not a new conclusion, at least a new perspective. My father had been pursuing an appeal since his 19-years-to-life sentence began. Maybe this was an echo of that pursuit. Maybe Mamet was going to help bring my dad home.

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