Smiling Faces Sometimes

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Obstructing the Defense

Paul Bergrin had a list of witnesses to call, but the US Marshal Service couldn't get any to the courtroom fast enough for Judge Cavanaugh. Take note the the Marshal's service had a complete list by the middle of February. To the judge's credit, he probably realizes that there is no need for more witnesses on Bergrin's part.

The government's case was like a walk through the Land of Oz. The long list of witnesses that testified is probably less important than the list of the missing witnesses. When the prosecutors fail to call those referred to as main witnesses in past, well, there's a real problem with each one of them. Yolanda Jauregui, Alejandro Barraza-Castro, Ramon Jiminez, and Albert Castro were all conspicuously absent from this trial. Jason Itzler was the owner of NY Confidential and prosecutors called Natalie McLennan instead, though she witnessed little and nothing at all that was relevant to the charges.

We heard from major drug traffickers that received no prison time at all in exchange for false testimony about Bergrin, a list of garden variety informants that would say anything for time off a long sentence, an alleged shooter that never was one to begin with, jailhouse snitches that plotted against former clients of Bergrin's, a high-priced hooker that spent years on drugs and shopping, and Oscar. Who knows what to say about Oscar? Good grief. Send him back to the psychiatric facility, please.

The government spent 8 weeks presenting its case. Paul Bergrin was given a week and was weighed-down by US Marshals that could not accomplish the mission. Thanks to technical issues at the Four Seasons in Kingston, Jamaica, live video conferencing of a defense witness was not possible and the jury was given some sort of stipulation as a substitute.

Paul was able to call Lemont Love to the stand today, though his testimony was shadowed by some debatable recording that the government came-up with. I did not hear the recorded telephone call and the jury did, so they can judge that one by themselves. At any rate, Mr. Love had nothing whatsoever to gain, unlike the government's witnesses. Worst case scenario is that Lemont Love lied, which is what all of the government witnesses did and with the government's blessing. He was correct in stating that Thomas Moran was threatened with the death penalty and given 10 minutes to make-up his mind, and that is not public information.

I have heard numerous negative comments about Ritchie Roberts, the attorney that Love refers to in his affidavit, and from several directions. How many government witnesses has he visited and discussed this planned movie with? Perhaps we will find out in the summation. Rest assured that Lemont Love was not alone in recounting that topic of their conversations. Love also made other allegations against Roberts that prosecutors and federal agents have no interest in investigating. Funny how that works, isn't it? If you're Paul Bergrin they find jailhouse snitches willing to lie, but if you're Ritchie Roberts they look the other direction.

The next two witnesses that Bergrin intended to call were permanently delayed by the US Marshal Service. Both are currently federal prisoners and their testimony would have undermined the testimony of government witness Abdul Williams. Syed Rehman is currently in FCI Gilmer, in West Virginia, and Rahoo Drew is at USP McCreary in Kentucky. Neither location is that far from Newark, New Jersey, so I'm not clear on the problem with transporting these witnesses. A brief proffer of their statements is on page 2:

Perhaps Judge Cavanaugh viewed any further defense as unnecessary. The government did not make its case at all from my viewpoint, but then I am reading all of the documents. Oscar Cordova (or whatever his name really is) was the government's prime witness - the self-proclaimed hitman that was obviously an informant to Paul Bergrin and anyone with a brain - was a serious fiasco for prosecutors. Can you imagine having no choice except to bring your witness back two days later to admit to serious perjury and confess to a criminal act of calling in a death threat against himself?

I think that following the Oscar mess, prosecutors were simply trying to save face. I would feel sorry for them, except that we all know they are trying to put Bergrin in a prison cell forever based on false testimony.

And so we shall wait for the government's summation that will, undoubtedly, include a list of what they will claim to have proved via witness testimony. Finally we will hear Paul Bergrin's summation and then the jury will deliberate. Do I need to tell you my thoughts on what the outcome will be? Well, I never second guess jurors, so you're only going to hear the commentary.

No matter what the outcome is, I do hope that no one from either side disrespects the jurors with unwarranted comments. They were there and they heard every word that the rest of us missed, they could look into the eyes of witnesses as each testified, and it is their decision. You won't hear shit from me no matter which direction it all goes except for a final post, of course.

If you want copies of any documents or of the transcripts from the first trial, please do take a copy now. All will be removed soon. 


Anonymous said...

Why remove docs?

Vicky Gallas said...

It's an old habit of mine... I don't have to remove them, but it's unlikely that anyone will want the memories online forever. This blog gets hundreds of views daily and anyone that wants copies can grab 'em. ;)

All docs are uploaded to my website and just linked here and they take-up space. I think law school professors should save copies and use as a teaching tool.

barry crimm said...

Vicky, that was another great post which highlights one of the fundamental problems in how the U.S. attorneys operate. Defense lawyers are duty-bound to zealously represent their clients by all available lawful means. Prosecutors, representing the sovereign, are supposed to prosecute, but not do so in the face of overwhelming exculpatory evidence. In fact, the situation has degenerated to such a point that prosecutors now feel obligated to prosecute by ANY means available, whether it be legal or not. These result-oriented prosecutions are nothing less than state sponsored terrorism.