After a Supreme Court Justice takes his own life, a woman is found murdered along the banks of the Potomac River. When Carl Anderson (Liam Neeson), a deaf, mute and homeless Vietnam vet, is accused of the crime, his case is assigned to overworked Washington D.C. public defender Kathleen Riley (Cher). Though circumstances implicate her client, Kathleen becomes convinced he is innocent. Also unconvinced of Carl's guilt is one of the jurors, lobbyist Eddie Sanger (Dennis Quaid), who conducts his own investigation and begins feeding clues to Kathleen. Her fears of accusations of jury tampering don't stop the two from falling in love. Meanwhile evidence surfaces that leads Kathleen on a dangerous trail from Washington's seamy underbelly up to the highest levels of government. And the closer she gets to the truth, the more her own life is in danger.