"He was programmed to do his job. He didn't know it was wrong. He was only following orders."
The President shook his head. "If you're going to ask me to release him on that basis, forget it. No can do. If I were to release every Mafioso who said he was taking orders from higher-ups half the prison cells in America would be empty and their guards would be out of jobs, and this is a bad time for that."
"Look," I persisted. "There are lots of poor people, smokers that can't afford to buy cigarettes any longer, who, thanks to my client, could light up and relax. You know yourself how it is to want to smoke."
"It's a terrible addiction," he said, suddenly reaching for a Nicorette. I felt I was making progress.
"Who did my client hurt, really?" I persisted. "The smokers that bought his cigarettes had freedom of choice."
"Alphonse had to undertake the covert smuggling action to help the poor and the underprivileged---just the kinds of people you helped in Chicago---and he did. It's not as though he hurt anyone. He never slammed anybody's head into a wall."