Today the courtroom will finally see the last of Steve Flemmi, aka, Benji Ditchman. Hopefully he will leave quickly. Brennan has to finish up his cross-examination but pretty much everything that can be wrung out of the man has been. There are other areas that I’d like to have had him inquire into but some of those would inure to his own client’s detriment so he’d not do it. One would be the throw-away gun FBI agent Rico allegedly wanted him to get. I’d like him to have spelled out the circumstances around that, especially Rico’s alleged statement that he would have murdered Georgie McLaughlin at the time he arrested him but only 4 out of 5 FBI agents would go along with it; and, the reason behind the murder, that Rico heard over a non-existent wiretap that Georgie accused him of being in a gay liaison with J. Edgar Hoover.
I happen to be of the school that Rico was a good agent. The only information against him comes from gangsters trying to help themselves and the information when examined critically does not hold up to the most basic believability test. Rico’s problem has been an inability to defend himself; he’s never had the opportunity to cross-examine these people who live lives of lies.
After Brennan is done, our 8th Amendment protection against cruel and unusual punishment will be violated. We will have to listen to the redirect of Prosecutor Wyshak who will do his alchemy act of trying to turn the dung into a diamond.
But before all that starts, we’ll finally get to hear the judge’s decisions on some issues that like the Duchess of Cambridge are long past their due date – what witnesses will she condescend to allow the defense counsel to bring to the trial. So far the judge has leaned a little bit to the side of the prosecution which does a lot of whining, a part of the squeaky wheel syndrome. But today the fat is on the fire and she has to stop her shilly-shallying over these issues and give us her answers.
There are Rules for everything in the law that have been put into Rule books that explain them and the more that is done the more incomprehensible they become. When Judge Denise Casper decides what defense witnesses to be called she will look at the federal rules of evidence. What she will decide is how the proposed evidence plays into the case.
In my book, Don’t Embarrass The Family, I pointed out how the Connolly trial could easily have gone off kilter if Judge Joseph Tauro hadn’t taken control. The prosecution offered as a witness an AUSA who told about the defendant, John Connolly, having a conversation with him about Billy Bulger. It was a benign conversation of little relevance to the case but it did suit the prosecutor’s goal of getting Billy’s name into the case and had the effect of producing big headlines in the next days newspapers.
The defense brought in a DEA agent to testify he was there and there was no such conversation. That took us even further away from the issues of the case whether Connolly obstructed justice and we were sliding over to the issue of whether the AUSA was being truthful. We were about to rapidly begin a different trial if Tauro didn’t shut the door on it. The prosecution would be bringing in witnesses who’d testify the AUSA was known for his truthfulness, and the defense would have witnesses in saying the prosecutions witnesses who are testifying the AUSA is known for his truthfulness are themselves known for lying, bringing in their spouses, special friends or old enemies to tell about all the lies they told.
You see how trials can spin out of control. You don’t need all those contradictory Rules to make decisions on these things. The judge must keep in mind the issues before her and not have a lot of mini-trials within the trial itself.
One of the persons to be called is Gene Kelley. He’s to testify that Solimando told him a different story than he told the court in the extortion. In the context of this case where one count relates to that extortion and there is no other evidence, that seems to me to be admissible to go to his Solimando’s credibility on whether the extortion took place.
On the other hand, defense wants to call Michael Albano who will testify that witness John Morris put pressure on him to keep Peter Limone in prison. Morris denied doing that. This is a side issue as to Morris’s credibility on a matter that does not relate directly to the charges against Whitey, but to the idea that the FBI is a corrupt organization. I would think that would not be allowed to come in.
The FBI witnesses who will testify that John Connolly was stealing information from their files and putting it into his file to support his premise that Whitey was an informant should also be excluded. Which brings me to the informant issue. That really is irrelevant to the case. Why Wyshak decided to bring it into the case escapes me. It indicates to me that he is obsessed with this issue over all else. It’s irrelevance is shown by noting that six jurors could believe he is an informant and the other six believe he is not an informant, yet they could come down with a unanimous verdict. If you murdered or extorted a person or committed some other vile crime, the fact of your relationship to an FBI agent when you are on trial for that crime is irrelevant.
Right off the bat we’ll get the judge’s decision on these things. We’ll know she’s right on the button if both Carney and Wyshak are standing up at the same time and pointing fingers at each other and grimacing.