On Sundays I’m writing my little story about Trooper John Naimovich. In that you will see the tactics used by the U.S. attorneys office and the FBI. These are repeated time after time. They jam someone in who is not the target, scare the hell out of the person, and tell her if she gives them something on the target they’ll give her a break.
The incentive to get oneself off the hook by hook or by crook is so great that the likelihood of a crooked tale is almost a certainty. A civilized society would outlaw such tactics. Evidence obtained by threat of having one’s family impoverished and telling the person she will do an outlandish amount of prison time for non-violent acts should really be barred as we do with torture evidence. But it remains the tried and true tactic used by the US attorneys in Boston, and elsewhere in the country.
Their reply will be how else are we to get the evidence? That’s what people who torture proclaim. If that’s how you have to get it then do without.
The federals first decide what is true. They demand witnesses to confirm their belief or suffer unimaginable consequences. Welcome to federal prosecutions. We’ve seen it play out in the Whitey case over and over and we’ve seen the consequences of their deal making.
Writing about Naimovich required me to go back over some old transcripts. (Sounds too much like work doing something like that on a nice summer weekend.) I found one little interchange between the court and counsel that I thought I’d mention. You’ve heard how AUSA Wyshak frequently uses speaking objections which means rather than just saying “objection” he’ll speak out the reason for it such as “asked and answered” which is improper. It worked well for him in this case because the judge often would sustain it, tell the defense counsel to ask another question, he’d ask the next question in an almost indiscernibly different manner than the first, and we’d get the answer. Even after the judge ruled, Wyshak would sometimes go on complaining.
Here’s what happened when something like that happened before Judge Joseph Tauro in the Naimovich case:
Defense counsel: “Do you recall that sir?”
Witness: “I told – – – “
Judge Tauro: “Overruled.”
Defense counsel: “Do you recall that, sir?”
AUSA: “Your honor, he never gave them a five-page statement.”
Judge Tauro: “Don’t ever, ever argue after I’ve made a ruling. Don’t ever do that again. Do you understand.”
AUSA: “Yes, Your honor.”
That’s what Judge Casper should have done in this trial. I’ve said she tried to be fair but she was bullied by Wyshak a bit. The Globe has a good article about her today. I couldn’t help smiling reading: “She avoids sidebars between the lawyers, if she can.” Far be it for the Globe to do other than be a toady to a federal judge, never know when you want a hand up over the others.
Having watched Judge Tauro try cases, I’m sure Wyshak acts differently in front of him. Tauro has gravitas – I’ve compared him before to the captain of a British man-o-war who had the power of summary execution for those who disobeyed. Judge Casper will soon develop that.
Enough of that, now on to what lies ahead of us today. As best I can tell we will hear from some FBI agents who are to tell us they complained about John Connolly going through their files and stealing some of their reports. It amounts to going back over the non-issue of whether Whitey was an informant, an issue only important to Whitey and Wyshak, certainly not to any of the matters that will concern the jury.
I’ll let you know what happens but nothing important will be brought out by the defense. As I noted in response to Jim one of the persons who adds a lot to this blog earlier today that Carney and Brennan were handed a: “bag of chicken feet and asked to make a swan out of it.” They never had a defense but put on a good show of it by holding the government’s feet to the fire requiring it to prove its case and giving Whitey highly effective assistance of counsel.
This case is not about the guilt or innocence of Whitey. There’s no doubt of his guilt. The final argument should be 30 seconds rather than 3 hours. Here’s all that has to be said: “Look at who the man had as associates and partners and decide if he did the things he is charged with.”
If things were on the level Whitey would have been allowed to plead guilty to the charges like Ariel Castro and Catherine Greig have received a year in prison for going off with him. Or a simple gun case in California would have come about which would put him away for the rest of his life.
But this case is about legacy. Wyshak’s and Whitey’s. Wyshak seizing his final moment in the glare of the adoring media; Whitey telling his tale of evil to set the record straight.
In truth, though, this case and all the cases relating to this issue have merely been the facade behind which the prosecutors hope we will not peek. It is the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Potemkin village. It is put in front of the folks to hide the story of great corruption in the DOJ.
The verdict is a foregone conclusion, but it will not be the conclusion of this story.