So I'm finally going to be re-kickstarting my campaign "Broken Empire":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaign/melekar/wikis/current-campaign and I'm going to be starting with the pcs being framed as a group for treason, attempted murder, and conspiracy to commit murder, punishable by death. We're starting when they get arrested at a local tavern, and I'm planning on allowing them to escape from prison and attempt to gather enough evidence to clear their names.
The situation will be as follows: the leader of the council of elders has been slowly going mad for power, and over the past decade has orchestrated the deaths of several of the other members. The most recent one was botched (the assassin failed) so now he needs someone to pin the crime on. The party is a group of misfits with no real ties in the city. Perfect scapegoats. The leader will fabricate some evidence that not only was the party involved, but also that they were working for their tyrant neighbor country. Nothing gets a jury fired up like treason.
My question is: what sorts of evidence would be compelling for the PCs to find that they could use to prove their innocence. I'm planning on using overheard conversation to get them pointed in the right direction, and of course there's the infamous "note" with cryptic details and the plotter's initial on the bottom, but have any of you tried anything else, maybe a little more original? Also, if anyone has any suggestions to make sure that they try and clear their names, rather than just fleeing the country (cause that would really throw a wrench into my plans :). Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.