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Secret Evidence

Secret Evidence(1941)

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Having just been promoted to assistant district attorney, David Harrison proposes to his secretary, Linda Wilson, who happily accepts. That evening, while Linda is sharing the good news with her family, her former fiancé, Tony Baxter, suddenly shows up. Baxter has just served four years in prison for burglary, and he now hopes to claim both Linda and the stolen jewelry he had given her brother Jerry to hold for him. Linda rejects Baxter, however, and informs him that Jerry handed the jewelry over to the police. Baxter is disgusted to learn that Linda is engaged to a lawyer, and persuades her to meet him in an hour to talk things over. On his way back to the auto court at which he is staying, Baxter is approached by Sniffy, his accomplice in the burglary, who demands his share of the loot. Baxter knocks him down, but Sniffy follows him to the auto court and hides in the bushes. Linda arrives at the motel, followed by Jerry, who has brought a gun from their father's second-hand jewelry store. From his hiding place, Sniffy watches as Linda and Jerry struggle over the gun, which accidentally fires. The noise brings Baxter out of his cottage, and Sniffy shoots him through the shoulder. Linda sends Jerry away, then runs to Baxter, who tells her to leave the auto court and call for medical help. Linda goes, leaving the gun behind. Later, at the district attorney's office, a police detective brings the gun to David and says it has been traced to Mr. Wilson. Jerry is arrested for Baxter's shooting, and the police uncover the pin that David gave Linda at the scene of the crime. David is assigned to prosecute the case, and he suggests that Linda retain Frank Billings, an attorney at the law firm at which she works, to represent Jerry. On Billings' advice, Linda visits Baxter in the hospital, but he refuses to say who really shot him, hoping that the weak case against Jerry will make David look bad. While investigating the shooting, David goes to the auto court, and the drunken manager says that he heard two shots the night Baxter was injured. Although the ballistics report confirms that the bullet that passed through Baxter's shoulder does not match Jerry's gun, the case goes to trial. David calls Linda as a witness and questions her relentlessly about her relationship with Baxter, forcing her to admit that she was at the auto court the night of the shooting. David's aggressive manner finally angers Baxter, who stands up and demands to testify. Baxter identifies Sniffy, who is in the courtroom, as his assailant, and Sniffy shoots at him. After the bailiffs remove Sniffy and the court is adjourned, David gives Baxter the bullet that was recovered at the crime scene, thus earning his grudging respect. David then takes out the pin he had given Linda and pins it on her.