Early next week the prosecution will conclude its case. It will then be up to the defendant to do what? It’s now obvious that all that’s left is the Skippy Adamski defense and even that seems more and more unworkable.
The week kicked off with the medical examiner telling us again about the bodies. I labeled that a blunder by the defense team. I said it is just reminding the jury of the gruesome details of some of the deaths again. I noted the prosecutor offered to stipulate. If they stipulated counsel would merely tell the jury that the parties agreed that all of the deaths were homicides.
As a very young defense attorney a wily prosecutor told me he’d stipulate that a witness I was about to call was an expert saving me the time to put in her background and qualifications. I walked into the trap and agreed. She testified to her findings but other than being deemed an expert, the jury knew nothing about her background. In final argument the prosecutor belittled her testimony. He could not have done it if the jury knew her qualifications. Those are lessens you learn in the pit.
Sitting through another week I see that it was no blunder but rather a part of a strategy by the defense team which, of course, includes Whitey. They’ve decided that whether it hurts or not, there will be no short cuts. The government will have to prove every element of its case. Whitey is probably of no mind to speed up his ongoing progress to the day of his reckoning. The prosecutor feeling confident in its case would like to move forward expeditiously.
Aside from demanding every element of each crime be proven and putting the brakes on the bullet train rushing him to ADX, Florence, Colorado, it may also be that Whitey doesn’t care how many times the jurors hear of the bodies or anything else. I’ve been noting how the cross-examination has avoided attempting to minimize Whitey’s involvement in the murders. This has been a steady pattern, go for the FBI corruption, or emphasize the sordid background of the witnesses, or bring out the great deal the witness received from the government that induced him to testify but stay away from the one thing everyone cares about, the murders.
Each week has built upon the other. Early on it was difficult to pick up the underlying theme. But now it plays on and on so that the jurors are humming to themselves “guilty to everything.” The theme is that Whitey was a cruel vengeful criminal who had all types of people in fear and used violent means to fill his wallet with money from criminal enterprises. Not only is the prosecutor playing the tune excellently, but the defense chorus is singing right along with this. There are certain disagreements between the sides, but on this subject they are in total agreement.
We heard the testimony of retired FBI Agent Gerald Montinari. He told us what Brian Halloran was telling him about Whitey and his cohorts. It was more of what we heard before, one gangster telling a story to get the government to help himself out of a jam. It could be allowed to pass with a shrug as adding nothing to the case.
Next came the guy with the dagger hidden in his waist band behind his back.. Michael Solimando during his testimony slowly withdrew the dagger and planted it squarely in Whitey’s heart. Half way through his testimony it was clear Whitey was lying prostrate on the floor of the courtroom, a victim of his own evil ways. Solimando, a believable and likable witness, painted a picture of a cruel, sadistic, sick, greedy, vile man willing to terrorize a business man and his family who had nothing to do with his evil empire.
The story of the gun in the face. The machine gun put between his knees as he sat there. The terror of being one twitch of a finger away from eternity while the monster cracked jokes about other murders and his fiendish friends laughing took from the mind of each and every juror any doubt as to who was sitting in the court before them. Every defense possible — a corrupt FBI, an evil government, a government OK, you name it flew out the window of this windowless courtroom. The prosecutors should consider indicting Solimando for killing all of Whitey’s hopes. The case ended there for all practical purposes.
The case went on, though, with a customs officer adding very little; he was followed by Dirty Dave Lindholm a man who seemed to ooze squalor – after hearing him for five minutes I took an immediate dislike to him so maybe I’d not the best judge of his testimony; and then Benji Ditchman (aka Steve “Vilefulman’ Flemmi) started to tell us the story of his corrupt life. His reason for testifying is to keep himself in a comfortable federal setting unlike the normal federal prison where he belongs. He told us he was around a lot of murders but others did them and the ones he did others made him do it. He left us with the noxious tale of how Whitey made him bring the woman he loved to his mother’s house so he could murder her because she knew too much.
As I said, the dance for us is over. We’ll listen to the music play on but we know at the end what will happen. There is no mystery left. I offer a “well done” to the prosecutors.
(I have written a short post talking to Whitey directly which will follow this. I usually only write one on Saturday especially when company is coming but I felt compelled to write that at this time.)