Smiling Faces Sometimes

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Government Out of Control

When a case such as this one is allowed to proceed to begin with, one must question those in authority at every level of government. Paul Bergrin was a criminal defense attorney, a guardian of the gate, the one that stood between freedom and incarceration for the many that sought his assistance in War on Drugs cases more often than not. He defended soldiers fooled into joining the farcical War on Terror only to have it slammed in their faces when they followed orders from a much higher authority, and he did it pro bono. He defended your brothers and your sisters no matter what the accusations entailed.

For prosecutors to claim that there was no benefit paid or gain promised to the testifying criminal informants is an insult to anyone with a modicum of intelligence. It's a play on words at the least and certainly intended to deceive the unaware. While major time off of a long prison sentence was probably not promised, it was definitely alluded to. There are few absolutes in this world, but if the government prosecutors developed a reputation of not assisting the criminal informants in exchange for testimony, there would be none to testilie. Of course each had something to gain - freedom holds a much greater value than money, and then some were paid in $cash too.

Blame the faux War on Drugs

If not for the seriously long prison sentences in this War on Drugs in the US, there would not be criminal informants. It's a scam cooked-up by so-called academics, government actors, and government workers and representatives a long time ago. It keeps the lot of them in money and feeds the system of incarceration in the US. Why do so many Americans accept this today? I admit that I do not understand, but then I was not born and raised here. From the age of 16 onward, I was driving or taking the train to Amsterdam to party at the Melkweg with friends. Few nations dole out sentences as draconian as we do here over drugs and I would not want to live in any that do.

When a person involved in the sale of drugs is threatened with 20 or 30 years in a cage, that person is likely to say anything at all to get a reduction of time. Our drug laws are set-up to incarcerate for what remains of a person's life for such offenses, unless that party agrees to play, of course. As much as I am disgusted by the lies told on the stand by a lengthy list of criminal informants in this case, I also am hard-pressed to find fault with most because I am acutely aware of the decision each faced.

The criminal informants in this case did not create the system that oppresses each. While the participating government workers also did not create this system of injustice that incarcerates so many over drugs, each is complicit in its existence from the lowly participating agent or prison guard to the POTUS that refuses to enact real change by abolishing mandatory minimums and promoting real change of drug sentencing ranges, or even ending the War on Drugs in its entirety.

Kafkaesque origins

The system that creates these criminal informants and places each in a situation in which the only choice is decades in a failing prison system or turning over other Drug War victims is indeed Kafkaesque in its origins. For that matter, this case against Paul Bergrin certainly involves a disorienting complexity - ask any one of the jurors.

No matter which choice the Drug War defendant makes, he will suffer for it. Choose to be an informant when threatened with decades in a cage as Kemo Deshawn McCray did and someone(s) somewhere will want you dead. Choose to tell the story that the government demands and live in fear and suffer mentally for your participation for the rest of your life. Choose the cage and languish year after year in a planned system of enslavement wherein solitary confinement at some point is a given and torture is more than a mere possibility. There is no winning choice in this game.

Of course this is all on the backs of the US taxpayer and with his permission. It wouldn't be possible if everyone denounced it. While Oscar the criminal informant collects $4K for his testimony immediately after testifying, the slave wage workers and the poor will never see that amount of money altogether in a lifetime, unless the lottery or some other anomaly comes to fruition, of course. As I sit here with $200 to my name, I could testify to that. Participating in the entrepreneurial system we are supposed to live by is also out for me, the acquitted, yet forever tracked, defendant. What some of us wouldn't give for that $4K today, indeed.

And then there are the Vincent Esteves defendants of the system. Oscar offended him by dropping only $20K towards his defense costs. Do realize who paid that $20K for the Esteves commissary tab and defense costs: you, the American taxpayer. Do realize who foots the daily bills accrued in this War on Drugs with its many, many criminal informants that live on the edge.

I encourage you to read Paul Bergrin's summation. It begins on page 8586 in Volume 34 of the trial transcripts. I do intend to discuss various points that he made as soon as I am able.


Charles Pennington said...

i probably would have convicted him on drug trafficking had I been on the jury. I have a hard time believing a white attorney from Marlboro NJ would own a restaurant next to the Graften Ave Projects without some nefarious motive. That area of Newark is a cesspool. I have and continue to enjoy your blog.

Vicky Gallas said...


I have never been to Newark and admit to zero knowledge of specific areas of the city. However, we do have Google Maps Street View. ;)

A quick look at 710 Summer Avenue, Newark, NJ reveals that you are correct. It's boarded up now, at least in the Google images, but it's easy to see the surroundings in Street View.

But blaming Paul Bergrin is a mistake. That restaurant was Yolanda Jauregui's little project and Paul had little to do with it - except providing the money and doing the paperwork. From what I know of Yolanda, she was not beyond hitting Paul and was viciously possessive of her money tree.

So why is it so hard to imagine that she chose that location for the nefarious motive (i.e. her agenda)? Perhaps her and Castro decided together that the location was perfect for their other business.

Remember - she was having that affair with drug trafficker Alejandro Barraza-Castro for years prior to the indictment.

I could give you a straight-up assessment of this entire case and by the time I finished, you'd definitely have reasonable doubt as to Paul's guilt on any of the counts, but at the same time, Paul would not appreciate my analysis.

At the moment I am between a rock and a hard place on *that*, which is a main reason I have not posted on it, yet. lol

Anyway, you made an excellent point - you're just missing the rest of the info Charles.

Craig in Florida said...

If you are role-playing with a suspected informant, as Paul claims, what was your objective? Oscar had an objective when he was role-playing. Help me Vicki

Charles Pennington said...

Thanks for posting my comment, I had doubts that you would do so because you such a staunch defender of Paul Bergrin.

A lot of my Environmental Contracting Business is transacted in Essex and Monmouth County NJ in the very neighborhoods where Paul lived and worked.

I drive past Vicente Esteves’s home every day. I often wondered who lived there.

I am sure that most of the witnesses against Paul were perjuring themselves. Esteves is eligible for Parole after 12 years and was only fined 1.5 million dollars which is a sweet heart deal concerning the magnitude of his crimes. I’ve seen people given much more severe sentence’s for a whole lot less.

Vicky Gallas said...

@Craig in Florida

Check back late tonight or early tomorrow and you will find a thorough response to your question - I have personal obligations at this time of day.

I will tell you that I read Paul's lengthy response to that question in his summation - I will find the page(s) for you later. The rest of my response will be based on personal experience - from the way past and the very recent past.

Vicky Gallas said...


Really I am more objective than most seem to believe.

Yes, and all of that perjury is a serious issue. Can't brush it away and forget it as this jury so easily did.

I always post a comment that is a valid statement or an actual real question, even when the party is anonymous. I also always post any comment with a real name attached.

What I won't post is a statement that is a denigrating attack of me or Bergrin and it is from an anonymous person and I even posted one like that recently under the "Unconstitutional Actions" post. He claimed that my stupidity was astounding blah blah blah... What he didn't know is that the Sixth Amendment connection was actually a private statement from an attorney to me. I believe the connection has (or had as the problem was quickly cured) validity. I did not respond to the dolt's denigrating statements, which probably irked him more than anything I could have said. ;)

Aziz Bashir said...

Im just wondering with my (God given sense) how do u convict mr bergrin on the murder charges on any charges for that matter (perjury) when in fact his father identified another shooter. Vicky if you can please explain i just want your view thanks.

Vicky Gallas said...


I can answer your question right now because it's easy and requires no search of the documents.

The government AUSAs minimized the importance of Johnnie Davis's identity of the shooter. Considering that Davis was the only witness to the shooting, this is absurd that the jury allowed the AUSA to get away with it, but they did. If you read AUSA Gay's closing, also in Volume 34 linked in the post herein, you'll see his statements about Davis. He starts out with, "With all due respect to Mr. Davis..." As if he has any respect at all for Davis's description!

The fact is that Davis and the rest of Kemo's family has a very valid civil suit against the agents that allowed this to happen to begin with, namely Brokos. So the government absolutely needed to direct the blame elsewhere - enter Paul Bergrin.

Also remember that Rashidah Tarver contradicted Anthony Young's claims about melting the weapon right after the shooting as did Ben Hohn (man that owned the auto body shop) and another person that worked at the shop (can't recall the name at the moment).

So really there was plenty of corroboration from witnesses that had nothing whatsoever to gain and everything to lose that Anthony Young's version of events was false.

The jury simply ignored everything Bergrin said - that is my viewpoint on it. However, there is no conviction yet - just jury verdicts - and the judge could still acquit Bergrin on any count or order a retrial on any count.

I have some trust in the jury system because of my own case, but am beginning to believe, as one attorney stated to me privately following the verdicts in this case, that I was just plain lucky to have a smart jury.

Aziz Bashir said...

Thanks like always and i don't take any information for granted and do appreciate your work and respect that you have use your pacer account. And as far as the documents go i was on the government direct on mr davis that's how far i got. THANKS !

Vicky Gallas said...


I admit that I have skipped around in the transcripts and didn't read Mr. Davis's testimony yet, though I had read it from the last trial.

One thing I noticed in Bergrin's summation, starting on page 8645 line 13 through page 8649 line 6, is that there were other witnesses that described the shooter (of Kemo) as having braids / dreadlocks and the person that corroborated Ben Hohn and Rashidah Tarver's testimony about the gun was Devon Jones.

You know, there is just so much information in this case that it's hard to keep track of everything. It's mind-boggling because that is how the government set it up with the purpose of confusing anyone looking at it.

Vicky Gallas said...

@Craig in Florida

You asked: "If you are role-playing with a suspected informant, as Paul claims, what was your objective? Oscar had an objective when he was role-playing."

Paul best describes his objective, but first read the background - beginning on page 8666 line 15 through line 19 in reference to a cooperating witness (Maria Correia) contacting Agent Brokos via email to say that Bergrin knows Oscar is an informant. Now look at page 8668 starting on line 5 and read on through page 8675 line 3 - this is where Bergrin discusses his only objective - continue reading through page 8682 line 7. You will read the prosecutor's objection in the early part of this, but ignore it because he is full of crap.

Prove he (the AUSA) is full of crap? Okay - after you read his objection, look at this part in Volume 22, page 6127 line through page 6133 line 8:

To summarize, Vinnie needs money for bail, for investigative costs, to have attorneys for him and the wife etc... and here comes Oscar, supposedly sent by the $billionaires at the cartel to provide that money. Paul kept trying to get it, though he knew Oscar was full of crap, and convince Vinnie that Oscar was full of crap at the same time, when all Oscar ever came across with was the $20K after both of them asked for money every time Oscar contacted either one of them.

It may be believable (a stretch for sure) that a common person like me could believe that Oscar brought his fake father Lord Gino cellphones into ADX Florence (the Supermax), but do you really believe that Paul Bergrin ever considered that to be true? This is the same Paul Bergrin that dealt with the Abu Ghraib and Operation Iron Triangle cases in Iraq prior to his arrest. Do you really think he is that stupid?

On objectives:

Not all onjectives are intelligent. Sure, in retrospect Bergrin should have just never spoke to Oscar the informant because he clearly knew that Oscar was full of crap, but sometimes pushing a BSer is an option. I have done it on too many occasion - one rather recently (1 month ago).

If you read the few posts about Oscar on this blog and the few posts about informants on my other blog (linked on the right sidebar here), I have described some of the many times I played back with agents and informants. My Memoirs books describes more. Was it an intelligent objective? I don't know, but I was sick and f'ing tired of hearing from them by the time I chose to play back in every situation.

And who in the world could imagine an indictment for murder conspiracy when:

1. No money was paid to this alleged hitman.
2. No photo or address or any further information was ever given to this alleged hitman.
3. This alleged hitman claims that daddy is the crown of the Latin Kings and he smuggles cellphones into a Supermax for said daddy.
4. Vincent Esteves had already confessed and given-up everyone he was ever connected to and killing witnesses couldn't help him anyway because they had 1000s of hours of wiretaps and a confession with names.

Hope I covered this for you Craig in Florida. Sometimes you have to play back, but never imagine that anyone could string together this far-fetched indictment.

Aziz Bashir said...

Mr Davis was not at all pleased with the agents or prosecutors in this case i've read his testimony. And he was a government witness, he expressed the facts how those agents was at home inside while he wasn't their talking to his daughter and they treated him criminally and last for once he stated to mr bergrin ANTHONY YOUNG did not shoot my son. He was very good witness for the defense

Vicky Gallas said...


Ah - now I am sorry that I read the transcripts out of order. I had already read the transcripts from the last trial so I jumped over anyone that testified back then.

Why would these jurors ignore him? He was the one person with Kemo when he was killed! These idiot jurors had already made-up their minds from reading that stupid NY Magazine article long ago.

Well, Mr. Davis needs to file a civil suit against Brokos and anyone else that refused to protect Kemo and used him by telling him lies. These agents in Newark have lost other informants too - Kemo was not alone. I bet I can suggest an attorney too.

Craig from Florida said...

On cross-examination, Oscar admitted being told on November 18, 2008 to hold off on any killings. This evidence cuts both ways. Oscar should have been told early on that no witnesses will be killed because Vinny confessed the day of his arrest. Apparently, on December 8, 2008, Oscar got the go ahead. Oscar also got an earlier okay from Vinny by cell-phone. This undercuts the role-playing explanation. Vinny was not playing a role. Neither was Moran.

Vicky Gallas said...

@Craig from Florida

1. I do not believe you're name is Craig or you're in Florida.

2. I thoroughly answered your question even though I knew you were a time-waster. You avoid responding to any single one of my points in my response. What you are is clear, at least to me.

3. I do not pretend to have a clue what game Vincent Esteves or Thomas Moran were playing; however, I do know that both knew Oscar was not a hitman whose father was Lord Gino in a Supermax sent by the cartels to save Vincent Esteves from himself. lol

4. What Oscar should have been told is easy to say in retrospect, but who knew anyone would string this BS together and call it a murder conspiracy? No one.

5. On Dec. 8, 2008, Oscar got the go ahead to do what? Find some dude named Junior somewhere and knock him off? And why would Oscar, cartel hitman extraordinaire whose daddy is Lord Gino of the Latin Kings and who smuggles cellphones into a Supermax, need the "go ahead" from anyone? ROFLMAO!!!

Enough of your time-wasting tactics here. I have other stuff to do, my time is limited, and I already have 3 half-finished posts that need to be completed and posted here. I wasted all the time I intend to on your original question herein.

If you truly believed Oscar was anything like a hitman from the cartels, I'd love to sell you some property out in the Everglades so you could really reside in Florida.

Craig from Florida said...

I am a trial lawyer with 21 years of experience. I do live in Florida.

I read your response to my post Vicky but it does not explain why an accomplished trial attorney whose annual income exceeded $500,000 would need to associate with Oscar and have so many meetings.

Oscar was either DEA-appointed from the start or he lied to the DEA about possible murder to get some money for his family and a gig.

No one in the defense ever recruited him or hired him. The DEA sent Oscar to infiltrate the defense and to record Paul Bergrin and Vinny. Because Oscar promised money, he was given attention (and women lol).

Towards the end, Oscar wanted to receive a gun from Moran or Bergrin to prove an overt act in furtherance of the murder conspiracy. Moran tried to get him one from a friend. Vinny said he could probably get one. I would have asked Oscar how he planned to take a gun from NJ (or Chicago) to Panama.

In the end, Oscar set everyone up to take the fall for a murder conspiracy that he originated. Oscar is now in the witness protection program for life.

Vicky Gallas said...

@Craig from Florida

Ah now you have spelled my name correctly and developed a voice. As you hide behind anonymity, I'll go along and envision that you do have 21 years of experience working for the state or federal government.

Explain why? As I said, objectives are not always intelligent. Paul explained his well and I will also add that when an obvious informant like Oscar harasses a person continuously, the person is bound to play back at some point. That is a very valid explanation - I know because I have dealt with such situations more often than I'd care to remember, as I'm sure Bergrin did at that point.

Yeah - Oscar promised money in every other conversation. He was obviously full of crap on that as well.

You forget Maria Correia's email to Brokos stating that Bergrin knew Oscar was an informant. You forget that the government managed to hide Correia long enough - the judge was in such a hurry throughout this trial, that it didn't take long.

You respond to no point that I made and ask for this mythical explanation again. This is not one size fits all and everyone thinks like you - I have provided two explanations and you have read Paul Bergrin's, if you bothered. We are f'ing sorry that you do not like the truth.

So did Bergrin get Oscar this gun in the end? Answer: NO.

In the end, Oscar's murder conspiracy is still Oscar's and not anyone else's. No address. No money. No gun. No photo for ID purposes. No anything whatsoever to make this a murder conspiracy as defined by law.

Oscar the liar informant won't last forever in WITSEC. He will get tossed out on his arse before too long. You are talking about one of the worst informants ever to testify.

Aziz Bashir said...

Craig from were ever need to explain why at bail hearing that Moran admits before trial that they knew Oscar was no hit man, also Vincent tells on everyone cartels and all no paul bergrin

Vicky Gallas said...

Thank you Aziz. In the beginning, Esteves confessed and turned every single one of his drug trafficking contacts, including relatives, over to agents and prosecutors.

What part of confessed and named names does this guy not comprehend? What part of 1000s of hours of wiretaps of intercepted calls does he not get? Killing any witness would not have helped Esteves.

Esteves was busy trying to get Oscar to pay his mortages, turn on his electricity, fork-up the $$$$s for his attorneys, and pay his wife's and his bail to even care where Oscar came from or who he was.

This guy claims to be a trial lawyer with 21 years of experience. Is he going to claim that another trial lawyer with similar years experience (Paul Bergrin) actually believed that Oscar's father was Lord Gino and he smuggled cellphones into a Supermax (ADX Florence) for daddy???

This is how absurd this entire prosecution is. They talk in circles all the time and never actually address any point.

Craig in Florida said...

Post Oscar's tapes so we can listen and determine if Paul was merely acting.

Vicky Gallas said...

Yeah Craig, well obviously the actual physical tapes are not available to me, to you, or in PACER. They are inaudible anyway, which is my entire point.

I do not live to convince you of anything and you have not addressed any point I've made.

So as an attorney with 21 years of trial experience, do you think that people (anyone) smuggles cellphones into ADX Florience? If yes, then please do explain how this could even be possible. If no, then I have already made that point.