After what I have already seen in this trial, I couldn't trust prosecutors to be honest in the interpretation or transcription of these tapes. Jurors were provided headsets so that they might attempt to hear sentences on their own. We the people are not going to hear any actual tapes and while many accept quotes from prosecutors and newspaper reporters, I can't because of everything else I have viewed, experienced, and heard in this case.
The entire case comes down to a former Latin Kings gang member's testimony and some tapes that are simply not audible. I believe that prosecutors managed to quote one potentially damaging sentence that references this informant being instructed by Paul Bergrin to wear a ski mask. That statement was made on Paul's birthday while he was celebrating and I believe it to be a joke. Face it - no one instructs a Latin Kings gang member on what to wear or how to accomplish a murder if being serious in any way.
So let's look at Oscar Cordova the person for a minute. Why did Oscar claim to contact the DEA? According to NorthJersey. com, Oscar uses this reasoning in his testimony:
"I told them I sell drugs and I am a gang member, but I don't kill people," he said.
Oscar the informant, drug trafficker, and gang member actually claims to have such an attack of conscience that he called the DEA because someone wanted to kill someone. Think about that for a minute. Now read that NorthJersey.com article again. It's clear to me that Oscar is lying on the stand. He was wearing a wire (had already contacted DEA) when he asks Paul:
"What do you suggest I do? Kill him?"
Well according to Oscar's conscience attack, killing had already been discussed and that was his entire reasoning for calling the DEA. Supposedly the only response from Paul was "yeah". But I thought that the idea of killing the witness had already been discussed, so Oscar's two questions would be seriously out of order.
I'd place a bet that Oscar the drug trafficker was jammed by the DEA and set-up this entire fiasco to save himself. He did not contact the DEA because he's a nice teddy-bear guy that just trafficks in nice drugs and joined the gang to go bowling!
So is the response "yeah" incriminating? Consider that what we are not hearing probably went something like this: Yeah, you stupid f***ing a**hole piece of sh**!
Relevant and similar issues from my own RICO case
When an informant has pursued a person on a repeated basis for 6 entire months, it's really easy to snap and start playing with the person, without actually incriminating yourself. The word "yeah" is not in any way incriminating. I have this experience from my decade in the escort business in Orlando. I used to play with those agents like they'd never admit and it was all word games.
Eventually I really snapped after listening to agents threaten an escort that I accidentally sent to a hotel call that turned out to be agents. Her cellphone dialed my line from her purse and I heard it all for 20 minutes as they screamed and threatened her. I admit to cursing and carrying on like a maniac the next time I received a call from her and I knew she was in their offices and the call was being recorded. I was not cursing at her - she knew this clearly and stated as much to the jury - I was cursing at the agents that harassed and pursued me for years at that point.
That recording was the agents' prize at my trial and actually what they used to arrest me. Really it said nothing that could be considered incriminating to me at all, but it was obnoxious, so they used it for all it was worth. That recording was the only thing I had to fear in my trial. It was also the one item that jurors requested while deliberating. I think they wanted to hear it again to be sure that I really knew the escort was with agents and my angry words were directed at them and not her. Trust me - I knew, she knew, and then the jury knew.
It's hard to explain, but when a person is pursued by abusive agents and informants for a prolonged period of time, it's easy to snap and start rattling off nonsense. I compared it to kicking a dog frequently for years. Eventually that dog will turn around and viciously attack you. I was the same way, but responded with various games and reactions when agents would refuse to stop calling and trying to book an escort and I knew positively that they were agents. At first I'd play a game, then I'd get mad, then I'd start making crap up, then I'd revert back to the game and on and on... Once I played with them for 24 hours straight. It's human nature to react.
The real issue with Oscar
Did Paul in any way further any sort of idea or directive to kill any witness? Was there ever any act that followed any sort of conversation that would show Paul Bergrin was actually serious about killing anyone? Was there ever money exchanged to pay Oscar the informant / hitman for this absurd project? Did anything that Paul said to Oscar ever go beyond a BS conversation? The answer is NO!
Paul Bergrin was toying with the idiot and knew all along that he was not what he claimed to be. Oscar had actually claimed to have smuggled cellphones into ADX Florence, a US supermax prison in Colorado. There is absolutely no way on this earth that Paul Bergrin believed this informant nut actually visited anyone, let alone smuggled cellphones, into a supermax prison. To believe differently, you would have to believe that Bergrin was a truly stupid individual. But no, he was an attorney that was all too aware of what a supermax is and how things work at one, especially that supermax.
So ask yourself: Was there ever any act to further a killing of anyone on Paul Bergrin's part? Any money paid to any killer?
The entire tale of the global drug trafficking scheme is as weird as weird could be. Drugs are not sold globally and Latin Kings gang members do not call the DEA because someone might be killed. That is not how life works and this story, as with all other tales in this prosecution, does not fly anymore than pigs do.