Smiling Faces Sometimes

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Week 1 Summary and Thoughts

There was an interesting new strategy revealed by prosecutors this past week. The government decided that having only agents and convicted criminals testify was not good enough so they dragged-up an 11 year-old case in which Paul represented a defendant in trial and the angry losers have now come back to haunt him as so-called witnesses in this case. It's not working, but John Gay will get that in short time, if he doesn't already.

We heard from Lachoy Walker, the now paid criminal informant that is a witness from the Kemo Deshawn McCray murder case. While Mr. Walker may have had valuable information in relation to Kemo's murder, he has no firsthand knowledge of Paul Bergrin at all. He says he knows that Hakeem Curry told him that he "got his connect" from Paul and while Curry may have stated that, it doesn't make it true. As a rule, a person at the top of a drug gang is not going to offer any real information about his connections to his underlings.

I was tough on Walker because I do not like informants. Perhaps I should cut him some slack - he got caught-up in an old game that agents play in order to save himself from life in prison and is as much a victim as anyone else in this Drug War story. It's the law of the jungle to save yourself first and that's what he did, but he did not create that jungle. Walker chose drug dealing instead of poverty and when that failed, chose to place himself first. I'm sorry that I was so hard on you Mr. Walker and I know you need that money the feds pay you these days. I hope you finish college and continue on to graduate school.

Marilu Carmona is the victim from the 11 year-old case that testified for the government. I was critical of Marilu, but the truth is that I feel sorry for her and just think that her harboring these angry feelings towards her husband's former attorney is on the ridiculous side. Be mad at the ex Marilu; don't blame the attorney that defended him. You have, with John Gay's help, opened-up an old wound, but your husband was entitled to a defense. Every defendant is entitled to representation by a competent attorney.

The fact is that no jury is going to base their decision on the testimony of a nine year-old alone Marilu; it just doesn't happen. If someone were to question those jurors today, I'd bet there were numerous reasons for acquitting the ex (Norberto Velez) and your daughter's testimony was only one of them. I feel that someone goaded Marilu into this current fiasco; perhaps someone at the Essex County prosecutor's office that lost the case and is still holding a grudge 11 years later. Paul Bergrin has enemies, no doubt.

There are questions that I would ask Marilu:

1. Did a psychiatrist diagnose your daughter as being "brainwashed" prior to her testimony in the original case or did the party that pushed you into this case first use that term to describe her condition?

2. Did you make a complaint with the NJ Bar Association after that trial? If not, why not? The issue could have been investigated when it was still possible to make such a determination.

3. Did you file a civil suit against Paul Bergrin following the original trial? If not, why not?

4. Have you said or done anything to convince your daughter to testify in this case?

5. Has a psychiatrist determined recently that your daughter was "brainwashed" 11 years ago? What specific type of therapy did your daughter have that resulted in her stating that she remembers all of these events from when she was nine years-old? (i.e. False memory syndrome)

6. Is your daughter now estranged from her father and if yes, is this something that happened recently?

Those are just some of the questions that I would expect Marilu to answer and I would dive deeply into past events. To me it is clear that someone pushed her into this and she really has no clue what she has opened-up. I will save the questions for her daughter Carolyn until she testifies.

There was a doctor that testified as to Marilu's condition when she was brought to the ER. Since that is about as relevant as the price of tea in China, I'll pass on discussing it. It is only relevant if the entire case is to be gutted in this current trial.

A detective testified and an agent did as well. Both are related to the Kemo murder case. The truth about all of that is that the feds refused Kemo when he came to them and begged to enter the witness protection program. No amount of twists in the storyline can change that fact. They used, abused, and failed their own informant and now he is dead and has been since 2004. It was not the first failure of the informant system and it will not be the last.

I do hope that Judge Cavanaugh exerts his authority over prosecutors here and shows us his no-nonsense and facts only side in this trial. The truth is that if this 11 year-old case in which Paul Bergrin defended and won an acquittal is open for discussion, then it is all relevant on cross-examination as well. Either the case is relevant or it's not, but it cannot be a one-sided presentation not open to questions - that is not how trials work. In my opinion, none of it is relevant, but it is up to the judge to inform prosecutors of that fact.


I will withhold points at this time and see what happens early in the coming week.

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