In 70 BC Cicero, who had served as quaestor in Sicily five years previously, was commissioned by the Sicilians to prosecute the island's former governor, Gaius Verres, for corruption. First off, Cicero had to fight for the right to deliver the prosecution instead of Quintus Caecilius Niger—a client of Verres who would likely have neutered the case against him. Verres was defended by the eminent orator Quintus Hortensius who intended to use tact to delay the trial until an upcoming public holiday in the hope of securing a more sympathetic judge. Cicero prevented this by delivering a quick and damning summary of his evidence rather than making use of the lengthy speeches he had drafted. Hortensius was unable to make a defence, Verres went into exile rather than wait for the verdict, and Cicero later published the speeches he was to deliver in five books.
- Divination against Quintus Caecilius
- First pleading against Verres
- Second pleading against Verres (never delivered)