Again, Joel realized just how little he truly knew about her. In moments he'd be pressing play on this tape, and then what? How would she react? Would she be angry? Would she feel threatened? Laslow clearly felt confident in his case and she'd hear all about that. Yet it occurred to him that Nicholas wasn't the only one she'd hear. She'd hear his side of it too, chock full of that determination he'd tried to hide from her if only so she didn't get hopes up. Joel preferred to be dishonest if he thought it would benefit both parties and this was no exception, yet he found his finger hovering over the play button anyway, a part of him wanting to take this risk of honesty with her.
The only way it was admissible evidence to court was if she approved of it. Period. It was senseless to debate this any longer and he knew it. The only reason he was debating it at all was because he was too attached to this case to start with. Any other case and he wouldn't have even initiated a conversation before he was playing the tape; hell, he might have just emailed it to someone and called it a day. Yet somehow he was invested in how she felt, worried that she would have her hopes dashed in a devastating way.
Part of him wished he'd never asked for her story when they were back in the diner. This would all be so much easier.
"It's perfectly legal," he reassured her. "Conversations between two other people-- that's illegal. But as long as one party consents, it's fine. It's not the best business practice for me to go... underhanded like this against a colleague, but--" But what? But he was invested now? He wanted to see the kid go to the right home? This was more than a case, this was a matter of doing the right thing? Instead of putting any of those thoughts into noncommittal words, he just pressed play and leaned back, letting his and Nich's words echo through the room.
This was the first time he'd listened to it again. For some reason hearing himself, especially challenging Laslow like he'd done, was strange. The conversation wasn't even that important aside from the man's admission that he didn't intend to care for the child himself, or the implication that bribery was in the rulebook. He'd need proof of the second to make a good case in court, something he intended to thoroughly research once he returned home. For now he fell silent, however, allowing her to take in this conversation and react as she wanted. Perhaps she deserved to know what was said.