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Topics relate to adult business, the War on Drugs, political prosecutions, censorship, and police, prosecutorial, and judicial misconduct

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Paul Bergrin Trial: Twisting Words and Meaning

At the root of the case against Paul Bergrin is a statement that he allegedly made to associates of client William Baskerville. That statement has been used in the prosecution's opening statement and thrown-in during testimony by government witnesses. Each time the statement is used it is in quotation marks, so I am going to assume that the reporter writing the article is quoting from actual trial testimony.

The varied quotes of the statement

In the prosecutor's opening statement it reads, “No Kemo, no case.”

Source: Jason Grant – The Star Ledger

When Ramon Jimenez testified for the prosecution, his quote of the statement alters the meaning in favor of Paul Bergrin:

“During two hours of testifying for the prosecution, Jimenez also said he overheard Bergrin tell Curry if “there had been no witness, there would have been no case.’’

Source: MaryAnn Spoto – The Star Ledger

During cross-examination of Ramon Jimenez, Paul Bergrin quotes the statement as:

“”On all these meetings (you had) with the government, with your attorney present, isn’t it a fact that you never mentioned that statement you say you heard from me, ‘If there is no witness, there is no case? ' “” Bergrin also establishes that Jimenez never mentioned this statement to the feds until much later, when he found out he was going to be charged with a serious drug crime.

Source: Jason Grant – The Star Ledger

According to the summary of the racketeering count in the actual indictment, the statement is much more involved:

1. Racketeering Act One: In 2003 and 2004, Bergrin, as a partner in PB&V, represented a client with the initials ―W.B.,‖ who was being held on federal drug trafficking charges. W.B. informed Bergrin during a private attorney-client visit that ―K.D.M.‖ was the government's key witness against him. Bergrin relayed that information to W.B.'s drug associates along with his own message that if they killed K.D.M., he could assure that W.B. escaped prison, but if they did not, W.B. would spend the rest of his life in jail. Those associates subsequently murdered K.D.M.

Source: Who is Paul Bergrin? The Feds 39 Count Indictment

11. Thereafter, in a telephone conversation and a face to face meeting, BERGRIN
passed the identity of the informant on to William Baskerville’s drug associates and told them that if they didn't kill “Kemo,” William Baskerville would spend the rest of his life in jail. After BERGRIN discussed how Baskerville’s drug associates were going to pay BERGRIN’s legal fee for his representation of William Baskerville, BERGRIN said that if there was no “Kemo” to testify against William Baskerville, there would be no case against William Baskerville. BERGRIN said that if “Kemo” was dead, that William Baskerville would definitely get out of jail. When BERGRIN left the meeting, he said “remember what I said, no Kemo, no case.”

This simple statement has seriously evolved, depending on who is repeating it

Federal prosecutors took that simple statement related by a convicted drug dealer (Ramon Jimenez) long after it was allegedly stated and twisted it into a murder plot to obtain the indictment, and it worked. DEA Agent Michael Smith made a sworn certification about a murder plot derived from a statement that didn't exist, at least not according to the witness that overheard it, Ramon Jimenez. Prosecutors then repeatedly stated to news reporters and in the opening argument at trial a shortened version: “No Kemo, no case.”

Do you see the serious differences and twists of this statement? This has really bothered me – anyone can take any statement out of context, but this is far more than an out of context statement; it is a complete rewrite of the screenplay.

When Paul Bergrin supposedly had this conversation that Ramon Jimenez overheard, the statement, at least according to Jimenez's testimony was, “if “there had been no witness, there would have been no case.’’

It could easily be interpreted as Paul Bergrin stating a pure fact: This is a case that wouldn't exist, but it does because there is a witness to the act and there isn't anything you can do for your associate. It sure as hell doesn't translate to an order or even an idea to kill, if it was ever stated to begin with.

No motive, no case.

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