Thursday, June 27, 2013

Snitching ain't easy

Paula McMahon from the Sun-Sentinel has been covering an interesting "pill-mill" prosecution before Judge Marra. There have been a series of articles (here, here, and here) covering one cooperating witness in particular -- a Christopher George. Apparently, Mr. George discussed some of the prior testimony with his father, which was recorded on a jail phone:
Christopher George is hoping to get his prison term reduced, provided that federal prosecutors think his anticipated testimony against two South Florida doctors is worth a reward. But a recorded call the 32-year-old inmate made to his father from the Palm Beach County Jail may have put a kink in his plans.
Despite a message that plays at the start of every jail inmate call warning all parties that they are being recorded, the two men had a phone conversation that went on for about 15 minutes last week — with dad John George giving a play-by-play of how another witness testified in court and coaching his son on what questions might come up and what might sound good on the witness stand.
On the recorded call, George, his father and a woman who accompanied the dad to court last week, were heard hashing out the details of the first trial witness's testimony and what appeared to be playing well to the jury and what wasn't working.
"We took a lot of notes …. we took pages of notes," John George, 62, told his son during the call, explaining that it didn't look good when a witness downplayed any benefit he might receive for his testimony. "The defense attorneys … jump on that. They will say, 'How much time to do you expect to get off.'"
After detailing the highlights of the defense's strategy and line of questioning, John George threw in a critique of attorney Michael D. Weinstein's cross-examination of the witness: "This guy … really can slice things up … He was pretty good."

Although the defense moved to exclude George's testimony entirely based on these recordings, he has been permitted to testify.  Sounds like the stuff of movies:

The businesses brought in so much cash that his staff quickly stopped using cash registers because they filled up too quickly, he said. They tried cash drawers for a while but George said that slowed down business too much and eventually they settled on dropping the cash into two-gallon trash bins by their desks.
Hassled by police and reporters, George said he moved from the first clinic to locations on Cypress Creek Road in Fort Lauderdale, then Boca Raton and Palm Beach County.
As the business evolved, he realized that a prior criminal conviction for illegally importing and selling steroids was bringing more unwanted attention and he put the clinics in a friend's name, though he still ran them.
George testified he saved some money, stashing $5 million in safes in his mom's attic and bedroom, but he also blew a lot of it. He bought three homes, some boats and so many luxury cars that he struggled to recall the details.
"I went through a lot, I don't remember all of them," George testified, listing off Range Rovers, BMWs, a Mercedes, a Lamborghini, a Bentley, and a freightliner truck that cost more than $200,000.

Some great in-depth coverage by Ms. McMahon. 

-- Meantime, another court is fed up with discovery/Brady violations.  This time the 6th Circuit.

-- Finally, a big congrats to Robert Luck, who was named Circuit Court Judge by Governor Scott.  Luck is a good guy, and smart.  A nice addition to the bench.


Anonymous said...

I've told you this many times . They are not "snitches." That implies they are honest and truthful but "disloyal". Thy they have real knowledge of facts and their testmony is truthful.

No, They are criminals partners withe the government . Unworthy of belief. Corrupted by a priceless currency . Freedom. Asking their families to help prepare hem to hone their lies.

Garbage in, garbage out.

Anonymous said...

I think your guy will be O.K. if you learn how to spell the word "role." "Roll" is a different word used for "roll over", for example.