Smiling Faces Sometimes

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Notes and the Wiretap Transcript

If you have read most or all of the transcripts and documents in this case, you're already aware of the significance and importance of the Curry wiretap transcript linked herein. I decided that it was best to turn it into a PDF instead of copy / pasting into this post.

According to the government, this wiretap tape (and thousand(s) of others) were not admissible because of an alleged chain of custody issue or a claim that they "were not timely sealed". Why do I doubt the veracity of such a statement? Well, of course because of the 'Oscar the Hitman' tapes and the complete lack of concern over chain of custody and even validity of these recordings by the government in this case.

Recall that the defense did call an expert to testify in relation to the Oscar tapes and he was extremely limited in his testimony by the government and the Court. The expert attempted to testify as to the issues and potential anomalies with the recordings, but was cut-off and told that he was only allowed to offer limited testimony.

It's unimaginable to me and others that the government did not take proper care with the Curry wiretap recordings and I'd be interested to know if they were all inadmissible in Hakeem Curry's trial as well. At the same time, the government claimed there was nothing exculpatory on these tapes - an outright lie. Additionally, this particular recording was never turned over to William Baskerville's defense attorney, though I have no idea about other recordings.


Significance of December 4, 2003

Throughout the discovery process the government refused to state a specific date in which this alleged meeting with Paul Bergrin and numerous gang members took place on a Newark street corner. Anthony Young testified that he could not recall exactly, but that it was after Thanksgiving in 2003. Obviously an exact date would have been extremely important to the defense. How else would Bergrin be able to pinpoint specifically where he was and others were that supposedly attended this non-existent street meeting that Anthony Young testified took place?

The defense knows where Hakeem Curry was "after Thanksgiving," but again, that was too vague to dispute in trial. Thanks to the government, we now know the specific date they claim this meeting took place. View this document and scroll to page 12 (numbered pages within the doc):


Do you see the footnote (#2) on page 12? It states:

Phone records showed a call from Bergrin to Curry at 7:13 p.m. on December 4,
2003, 27T7544, and (according to Young) Curry said that evening, “My man on his way. Mr. Bergrin is on his way.” 9T2252.


The Curry Wiretap Transcript

If the meeting according to Anthony Young occurred around 7PM. they are locked into actual
perjury and suborned perjury with deception to the Court. But in any event, as the verbatim
transcript linked below shows, there was no meeting on December 4, 2003. There are no further
calls between Hakeem Curry and Paul Bergrin that entire night.



More Discussion of the Transcript

I intend to discuss specific statements in the Curry wiretap transcript and several other transcripts of recordings during the coming week. We intend to prove to you, the people, that the government's version of events in this prosecution and the two trials is worse than simply false. So stay tuned...

Friday, June 28, 2013

Special Attention to the Notes

Recently someone mentioned to me that when reading motions, it's important to pay special attention to the footnotes. Often one will skip right past the footnotes, but that is usually where the explanations are found. In the recent post-trial motions filed by the Bergrin defense team and the government in this case, it is the notes that tell the story.

I refer to the latest defense brief filed on 26 June 2013, for this example of the importance of the notes:

Bergrin Defense Reply Brief 26 June 2013

I use as our example notes 1 and 2:

1. As noted in Mr. Bergrin’s opening brief, the Drug Enforcement Agency had recorded Hakeem Curry pursuant to a wiretap, but these recordings were not timely sealed, and therefore, inadmissible. See Tr (1/30/13) at 1384. Mr. Bergrin appropriately did not introduce that recording at trial, but it is nonetheless proper to consider it here, for purposes of determining whether the government’s contention is supported by any good faith basis.


Now carefully read note #2:

2. Moreover, in that December 4, 2003 conversation the evening after the bail hearing, Mr. Bergrin informs Curry that he believes he can obtain a 13- year plea deal for William Baskerville. This, of course, undermines the government’s reliance on Young’s testimony that the Curry organization only decided to kill Mr. McCray when Mr. Bergrin told them that Baskerville “was facing life in prison for that little bit of cocaine,” apparently shortly later that evening. GB 12 (citing 9T2252-52). The fact that Mr. Bergrin also tells Curry in this conversation that, “it’s an impossible case” because of the evidence against Baskerville, and Curry tells him to “fight Paul” likewise proves consistent with Mr. Bergrin’s defense that he would not have said “no Kemo, no case” in light of the strong surveillance and other evidence against Baskerville, and inconsistent with Young’s testimony that Mr. Bergrin hinged Baskerville’s freedom on preventing Kemo from testifying. 9T2253. It would be fundamentally unfair and completely inconsistent with the facts of record to permit the government to thus mischaracterize the contents of these tapes as evidence supporting Young’s account, particularly where the government knows it may do so without consequence. That is, as the government has vehemently argued, see, e.g., 12T3011, any challenge Mr. Bergrin makes regarding this evidence risks opening the door to the entire Curry wiretap.


If you do not read any other documents in this case, the one linked above should be considered most revealing. The entire brief filed by Mr. Lustberg will eventually result in a new trial for Paul Bergrin.

I do look forward to posting the transcript of that particular recorded call in the future. In the meantime, I think someone should alert William Baskerville as to the situation here - I am under the belief that the government did not turn over this recorded call to his defense in his trial.


Next: More discussion of footnotes and call recordings from the Curry and Baskerville investigations

Friday, June 21, 2013

No Time for Justice

The jury selection process went quick for Paul Bergrin.

Paul Bergrin's court allowed less than three days for jury selection in an extremely complex case. George Zimmerman's court has allowed nine days and a jury was finally sworn in at the conclusion of the ninth day. The Zimmerman case is simple in comparison and with much less evidence admitted and many fewer testifying witnesses. There is also only one count charged.

Everything about the Bergrin trial was rushed and the defendant stifled in his questioning of witnesses to the point that he anticipated being told to hurry, hurry, hurry with each witness. If you have read the transcripts from this trial, then you're aware of how rushed Paul Bergrin was at every turn.

What you do not know is that after the slow trip from Newark back to Brooklyn every day, Bergrin was often left sitting in the vehicle for some time. By the time he made it back to his bed to sleep, he would have 4-5 hours at most before he had to do it all over again. Of course Bergrin was his own defense counsel to add to his limitations. How much time do you believe he had to prepare for the next day in court?

I have no clue how anyone else is, but if I do not have 8 hours sleep, I'm not all there. If I have 4 hours sleep, I'm almost non-functioning. You may recall the one juror that spoke to the news after the trial (Tad Hershorn). He described Bergrin in the last paragraph:


Now if you read the first 22 pages of the first day trial transcript, it's clear how USDJ Dennis Cavanaugh ran jury selection. Mr. Hershorn tried to get off of the jury and even brought a doctor's letter to the court, but the judge refused him:

BERGRIN 1 01_22_13 (link removed - contact me privately for a copy)

In Florida there are only six jurors unless it is a capital case, which the Zimmerman trial is not. There are twelve in a capital case. There are twelve jurors in a federal trial. The number of alternate jurors would be at the judge's discretion and is dependent on various factors. In the Zimmerman trial there will be four alternates and in Bergrin's trial there were six.

Before 3pm on day three of jury selection in Bergrin's trial there were 18 jurors sworn in. Read the trial minutes for 7, 8, and 9 January 2013, for an understanding of what took place in those three short days in preparation for this complex trial with so many witnesses testifying for the government:




Judge 'no time for justice' Cavanaugh was more concerned with rolling the docket. He is retiring this year. He could not care less. 

Friday, June 7, 2013

The Blind and Unbridled Ambition of a Narcissistic FBI Agent

KEMO’S CHOICE: If you don’t become a Government informant, I will arrest your mother.  
   
No exaggeration. That was how Kemo DeShawn McCray came to be a confidential informant.   
   
To say Special Agent Shawn Brokos was “ambitious” in recruiting Kemo to work as a CI doesn’t quite cut it. Just before Brokos recruited McCray, she was coming off the high of basking in the heavenly glory of formal commendations for her successful investigation into street gangs. 
   
Seemingly starved for more recognition, Brokos set her sight on new opportunities for advancement. Her unbridled and narcissistic ambition led her straight into the home Kemo shared with his mother. 
   
In her testimony in the U.S. v. William Baskerville case, Brokos shamelessly described how she schemed, manipulated, lied and forced Kemo into the dangerous life of being an informant. But don’t take my word for it. Here are her own words straight from her testimony in the Baskerville case:

…I had worked with a long-time informant by the name of …and…he suggested to me on several occasions that…Kemo McCray might be very useful to use because he has some very good inside knowledge as to this set of Crips we’re looking at…[we] spoke at length about Kemo helping us out in this investigation.  In the midst of these discussions, we weren’t sure how to approach it, …called me and said Kemo is hiding a gun in …apartment.  That very day I got some agents...went to the apartment…the gun was exactly where … said it would be. 
   
…Initially, Kemo denied that the gun was his and (his mother) tried to say that the gun was hers.  So we went through several different interviews trying to ascertain whose gun this was, knowing full well it was Kemo’s…Kemo actually ran out the back door and…we could not find him.…I spoke to (Kemo’s mother) … and told her that if Kemo does not come forward, we’re going to have to charge her because she was saying the gun was hers and we knew it wasn’t…

…we (actually) weren’t certain whether or not we could charge this as anything because it wasn’t a federal crime…it was a very weak case…
   
…So I explained (to Kemo’s mother to) tell Kemo we just want to talk to him about this gun and see if he’ll come in…convince Kemo to do the right thing. 
   
…She brought him to our office, we sat down with Kemo…He said he would like to help himself out…He admitted the gun was his and from that day forward we began our working relationship…and…he started his work with us…(and we told him) we would do everything we could to protect his safety.

 A “working relationship.” Really? I am not sure I would call it a working relationship. She threatens to file criminal charges against his mother, charges she knows there is no legal basis to file and then tells a jury that Kemo said he “would like to help himself out.” Does that make you want to vomit or what?  
   
I wonder if Kemo’s family knew the federal government never had any intention of charging Kemo and that Brokos was flat out lying to manipulate Kemo into being an informant.
   
In his first six months on the job, Kemo bought drugs from about 15 gang members. All of them were arrested. Like most confidential informants, Kemo never had to testify in the prosecution of these individuals. Hence the term “confidential informant” (as opposed to confidential witness) their identity is almost never revealed in drug cases. Usually cases are dismissed before a prosecutor will disclose who a CI is. This is such common knowledge that it makes the claim Paul Bergrin made the statement “no Kemo, no case” completely moronic. But hey, John Q. Jurors bought it, so who am I to say?
   
After Kemo scored big for Brokos in just six months, Brokos didn’t even let the poor kid rest. She was worse than Kathy Lee Gifford with her slave-driving child labor sweatshops.  
   
In January of 2003, Kemo began buying drugs from William Baskerville while wearing a body wire. All of these buys were surveilled by the FBI and recorded by video or audio. There were at least 35 tapes capturing Baskerville selling drugs to Kemo.
   
Forgetting the promise to protect Kemo and showing her gross incompetency and total disregard for Kemo’s’ safety, Brokos had Kemo buy drugs in smaller quantities than what Baskerville regularly sold. Big mistake and one that would cost Kemo his life.
   
Second big mistake. Brokos was impatient. Kemo didn’t have a phone one day, but a buy would have to be made. So instead of getting the kid a new phone, she gave Kemo her fellow agent and boyfriend’s cellphone number to leave for a dealer to call him back on. I am sure the dealer was just a little concerned when the phone he expects Kemo to answer goes into a voicemail greeting, “This is Agent so and so of the FBI…”
   
Can you imagine the conversation between Kemo and Brokos when that faux pas is discovered... Oops! OMG Kemo. Sorry about that. Oh well! No biggy. Don’t worry about it. You’re going to be toast soon anyway. In the meantime, do me a big one would ya? Let’s get out there and squeeze in a few more buys so I can get me some more of them good ol’ commendations. Thanks a mill’!

And that brings us to November 25, 2003, the day the FBI arrested William Baskerville. The arrest complaint might as well have had Kemo’s name in neon flashing lights. With one read, Baskerville immediately knew it was Kemo who had set him up. He knew it because the quantities Baskerville sold Kemo were so little. Big mistake Brokos. Big. 
   
Baskerville tells his attorney who the CI is as any reasonable drug dealer who was just arrested would do. And the attorney who happened to be Baskerville’s attorney, as we all now know, was Paul Bergrin.
   
After court, Bergrin called Baskerville’s cousin Hakeem Curry and told him, “Will said the guy’s name was K-Mo.” That’s the big recording??? That’s the act that set into motion the execution of a federal witness. Really? No wonder they didn’t charge Bergrin when they indicted Baskerville in 2005. They needed to throw in a whole bunch of other accusations they could find over a ten year period to throw them to the wall at once to see if they would stick like spaghetti. Tragically, it worked.
   
Getting back to Kemo, while Baskerville is being set up, Kemo began using the money Brokos was giving him to use and deal drugs on his own. At some point after Brokos found out, she fired Kemo as an informant. This convenient firing of Kemo for being a drug using drug dealer just happened to occur after Baskerville’s arrest and after word was out on the streets that Kemo was working for the feds. 
   
After being hunted on the streets for a few months, Kemo pleaded with Brokos for protection. Brokos must have given him a, “Yeah, I’ll get right on that as soon as I am done dusting off my medals.” At the Baskerville trial, she claimed some nonsense as having gotten tied up in red tape and unable to get Kemo into protective custody quickly enough. Why she did not just arrest Kemo for his drug dealing and keep him safe is beyond me. Wasn’t he such a necessary witness???
   
But maybe it wasn’t the red tape. Maybe it was that Brokos didn’t need Kemo anymore. They had 35 tapes. Why did they need a witness when they had 35 Tapes of Baskerville making drug deals? 
   
Instead of taking Kemo into safety as Brokos promised Kemo --- as she looked into the eyes of Kemo’s mother and promised -- she let him be hunted on the streets like an animal. After three months, that hunt came to an end. On March 2, 2004, Kemo was executed on the street by a black male with shoulder length dreadlocks. 
   
Here’s the horrific truth folks: This ruthless agent threw Kemo to the wolves because he was no use to her anymore. He lost his credibility. There would be no more commendations that Kemo could help Brokos earn. He was dispensable. He had served her purpose and she could not be bothered.     

Brokos’ dispensability of Kemo reminds of that famous quote from Arthur Miller in Death of a Salesman. “A man is not an orange. You can't eat the fruit and throw the peel away.”
   
Someone needs to tell Brokos that CIs are not orange peels that can be thrown away when they are of no use to her anymore.

One wonders how she sleeps at night. Probably doesn’t lose a wink. Cops like Brokos don’t care if they get people killed in their quest to wear a few more medals on their chest. When they get caught, they blame someone else. They use people like Paul Bergrin as a scapegoat to hide their despicable conduct. Thank God, the majority of law enforcement agents and prosecutors really do work to protect society from the bad guys out there. 

Regardless of whatever is written about Paul Bergrin, history will be a much harsher judge of Shawn Brokos. It’s the Shawn Brokos’ of the world people in every part of the globe worry about. These people will stop at nothing to win at any cost and abuse their power. And they make the good guys who deserve to wear the white hats look really, really bad.


NOTE: It should be obvious to anyone that's read much of anything I have written and/or knows me that I did not write this post. The party that did is anonymous to anyone except me. Why should it be obvious? I sure do not believe that any of the government people involved in any of these cases wears a white hat or are the good guys in any way, shape or form. Furthermore, I have exactly zero trust for anyone in law enforcement in this country. The US system is a sham. Additionally, I do not believe that William Baskerville was ever a danger to Kemo or anyone else. There is solid evidence that he was wrongfully convicted on everything related to the Kemo Deshawn McCray murder.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

The Stephens Certification

The Stephens certification is also referred to as an affidavit and a declaration in various documents in this case. Louis F. Stephens was Paul Bergrin's private investigator in this case and the certification included defense witness statements and referred to each witness as DW-1, DW-2, DW-3 etc... and not by actual names. Of course the reason for listing the defense witnesses this way was a real fear of government retaliation against the witnesses.

In my last post, I stated that the Stephens certification was not filed in camera by the defense. I must correct that statement as it was indeed filed in camera. The certification was filed by Mr. Lustberg, the defense stand-by counsel; however, Paul Bergrin did not intend for it to be filed in camera.

Think about it for a minute. Why would the defense want this certification with witness statements concerning outrageous government misconduct filed under seal?

It will eventually be unsealed in the appeals. By that time, the leverage with it is lost. I honestly don't know what legal basis exists for it to have been sealed in the first place. I could see if it was filed ex parte for the court's eyes only for purposes of ruling on the motion so as not to give away the defense work product to the government, but the affidavit was given to the government the day it was filed.

The sealing didn't protect the defense; it hurt the defense. The result was disclosure of the defense's work product while keeping the government from being exposed for conduct that was not just outrageous and unethical but illegal and which mirrored much of the conduct the government accused Paul Bergrin of. The allegations in the affidavit offered the court a preview of what the defense's witnesses would have offered in a hearing.

I am surprised that none of the journalists following the case and trial raised hell about why the affidavit was allowed to be kept under seal. Isn't the public entitled to know the truth? Isn't the public entitled to have an opinion as to whether Judge Cavanaugh did the right thing when he ruled the way he did, denying the defense an opportunity to bring witnesses in front of the court about whether the prosecution was tainted? Where is the transparency?

Scroll to page 11 of the opinion and see the heading entitled, B. Bergrin's Motion to Convene a Hearing on Prosecutorial Misconduct:


For a better understanding of the specific content of the Stephens certification, scroll to page 31 and read through page 37 under the heading, III. The court should hold a hearing on the government's misconduct in this matter to determine whether the charges should be dismissed or other sanctions imposed:


In so far as Mr. Lustberg filing this certification in camera is concerned, I must imagine that there was prior discussion with prosecutors and this was their request or demand. At any rate, there is no reason for the certification to be sealed today.

The court should have granted a hearing to see if the government engages in its own acts of witness tampering, encouraging - not just suborning - perjury, and obstructing justice. Instead, when it was presented with very serious allegations rising to the level of criminal acts, the court closed its eyes. In doing so, the court shirked its duty to ensure that a fraud was not perpetuated on the court and on the jury. I guess justice really is blind. Willfully blind in this case.