THE JAMES ROSEMOND TRIAL PART 4
EDITORS NOTE*** James Rosemond was found guilty on all accounts on November 28, 2017. A jury deliberated for two hours. The United States Attorney did a good job of convincing the jury, that Rosemond was the main player in the conspiracy to murder Lowell Fletcher.
VERSION OF THE TRUTH
The James Rosemond Trial continues as the government brought its two strongest witnesses to date: Jason Williams and Brian McLeod. Both of these witnesses were present when Lowell Fletcher was shot and killed. Williams testified that he worked on the instructions with Rosemond to select a location for the murder and also planned the various steps with Brian McLeod. For many years, Jason Williams worked for Jimmy in legitimate enterpries. He was also charged in the Drug Kingpin case because he was invloved in the Rosemond Organization.
Jason’s sentence was 24 years. For the last six years, the government has been hounding him to testify; however, he decided not to take the stand. It was not until a few months prior to the trial that Williams was transported to the federal jail in Queens. He began the process of preparing to testify against Jimmy. This was a big win for the government. In the prior two murder trials that Jimmy faced, there was not any testimony from Jason Williams, which left a gaping hole in the government’s case.
In his testimony, Williams tells the story of being one of the main architects of the suspected murder that required him to drive, select a location, and also bring the murder weapon that Derek Grant, the shooter, would ultimately use. The government had him methodically walk through the planning and the selection of the murder scene in the Bronx. He also also explained to the jury the use of a silencer and a twenty-two-caliber gun. After Derek Grant executed Lowell Fletcher, Williams then told the jury that he took the murder weapon on Jimmy’s instructions and tossed it into the East River. His tale is beginning to sound like a scene out of a New York City crime drama.
As I listened to the testimony, a few questions came up, which have haunted this trial from the start. Williams knew he was looking at twenty-four years. If he tesified and did a good job, he would be home for the holidays. What took him so long to make his mind up? He had worked for Jimmy for ten years, and believed in the code of the streets. He believed that he was strong enough to withstand the twenty-four years he would have to serve.
Did the United States Attorney wear him down by asking him to come in and come clean? All of these options are pretty simple: Twenty-four years of life in a federal prison or six years served, and he could be back on the street. Only a certain kind of man with principles would do that time. A man with the strongest bonds of loyalty. In today’s world, most would have chosen freedom.
As Touger began his cross examination, he made it clear that everyone else involved in Jimmy’s drug organization or the murder, such as Brian McLeod, were on the streets and not in jail. Derek Grant, the actual shooter, remains behind bars with a life sentence and refuses to testify. Touger pointed out and Williams answered that Jason did not have any conversations with Jimmy about the planning of the killing. When Jimmy met with Brian McLeod, Jason was either in the car, or too far away to hear the conversation.
What Touger pointed out was the night that Lowell Fletcher was killed, Rodney Johnson was present with another unnamed individual. This information means that, Jason, McLeod, Rodney Johnson, Derek Grant, and one other person were present. The government wants you to believei that Jimmy had Rodney Johnson there as a back-up hit team. Jason was not aware that Rodney Johnson was present until after the murder. All of this testimony leaves the jury in confusion.
Here is my understanding at this point. There were five people present in the Bronx the night that Fletcher was murdered. There were at least five people who knew they were there to do something or watch something happen to Fletcher. If this was an orchestrated hit or shooting that Jimmy planned, why would he have invited these five people, who would ultimately know information about a murder or shooting? This entire scenario is stupid and sloppy by the rules of the criminal underworld. Wiliams testifies that Jimmy told him to bring the twenty-two caliber gun the night of the murder, but he did not name the person who was suppose to get the gun.
David Touger continues to ask the same questions about this theory. Derek Grant and possibly Rodney Johnson were suppose to just shoot Lowell Fletcher—not kill him. In order for the jury to have a fundamental understanding, they would have to suspend their own moral guide as they think back to all of the prior, violent incidents, such as instances were houses and cars were shot. But, interesting enough, no one was ever hurt or killed. Touger continues to insinuate that maybe Lowell Fletcher was not to be killed that night, but unfortunately, he was. More importantly, what does this mean for the five people who were present and Jimmy?
The other looming piece of information and a tidbit that is difficult to report on is the point of view of Khalil Abdullah and Jason Williams. In the early stages of the drug and the murder cases, Jimmy went into “proffer sessions” nine times. Now to understand what is said or not said in a proffer, one has to understand the following facts. Proffer sessions where someone gets full immunity of prosecution are often called “Queen for a Day.” You can tell the government prior crimes, in hopes of securing a cooperation agreement. In these proffers, if you lie or the government finds out you lied, then they can use information from the proffers in open court. But, before you come to any assumptions, you have to also know the key thing about “proffer sessions.” These sessions are not videotaped or recorded; nor are they recorded by a stenographer like testimony inside a courtroom. The law enforcement agents, who have investigated the case, are present with the United States Attorney. The agent or agents take hand written notes that are then typed into a document. These notes, and these proffer documents are rarely released to the public. They are held confidential, and are rarely leaked because the consequences are severe.
In the release of these series of articles, Khalil Abdullah reached out via email, with his point of view on the narrative and the investigations. It is his contention that he testified because it was basically a race between Jimmy and Khalil to proffer with the government and get a good deal. Abdullah stated that Jimmy was going to put the murder on him. In a sidebar in court, it was also speculated that Jason Williams believed that Jimmy was going to testify or proffer on him, and thus he was going forward to do the same. In analyzing these proffers, I can’t speculate what happened because I don’t have any government records that can verify what was said.
I believe that there is another scenario to consider. It is obvious for ten years that Todd Kaminsky, a former United States Attorney, has had Jimmy in his cross-hairs. His obsession led to the early investigations. Additionally, the current United States Attorney is also relentlessly going after Jimmy because they consider him a trophy. The government’s narrative is that Jimmy is the HEAD OF THE SNAKE, THE KINGPIN, and the CEO of the James Rosemond Organization.. They believe he is no different than John Gotti, the head of the Gambino Crime Family. So in building a federal drug case or a federal murder conspiracy case, the only target that would satisfy the government operatives would be Jimmy in jail for life. The surrounding characters were mere pawns to be used at will, to make sure that story and narrative played out.
It is possible that Jimmy proffered? Who exactly would he be proffering against? There didn’t seem to be a large-scale drug connection or Mexican cartel figure that Jimmy could roll on. Another angle, would be that because Jimmy knew everyone was going to testify against him . . . why not go into the session. The proffer was a fishing expedition that at some point went wrong. Jimmy’s attorney at that time, probably made a mistake in entertaining a proffer, but it is the default mechanism of many defense attorneys because the majority of them have limited experience winning federal trials. Khalil communicated to me that I needed to report that Jimmy proffered. Here is my observation on the matter. The jury only cares about one truth: Did Jimmy order this hit crew to kill Lowell Fletcher, or did he instruct them to bring Lowell Fletcher to him? The testimony of Brian Mcleod is layered and very complex. McLeod testified that Jimmy paid him a kilo of cocaine that came from Rodney Johnson for the murder of Lowell Fletcher. He testified that he set up the logistics of the kill. He also testified that in years prior, Jimmy called him when he knew that a drug stash house was going to get raided. McLeod cleared the stash house out on Jimmy’s instructions, but was arrested with forty kilos of cocaine and close to $450,000 in cash. In that case, McLeod was sentenced to six to twelve years. He alluded to this crime when he was finally released from jail that Jimmy owed him a few favors for taking that hit. Once he was released from jail, he reached out to Jimmy and communicated to him that he had a line on Lowell Fletcher, who had served time in the same prison. McLeod was given five thousand dollars by Jimmy upon his release. He visited Jimmy’s studio, where they agreed to meet in Central Park. This was the first of a few meetings that McLeod talks about that happened in person and the cell phone records verify it. McLeod says that Jimmy communicated to him that every law enforcement agency, including DEA and possibly the NYPD, were after him in regards to the drug case.
Jimmy, at this time, was staying away from his office as it was under surveillance. It was during this conversation that he alleged Rosemond told him that he was unable to sleep since Fletcher and Tony Yayo assaulted his son,. He also said that he had been at war with them, shooting up cars, houses, and office buildings. He told McLeod that he has ten thousand dollars for anyone in jail that would cut Lowell Fletcher’s face. He did not want him dead. The slice on his face would be his retaliation for his son. Jimmy then walked to a bank and gave McLeod another five grand. McLeod stated that Jimmy was going to pay him fifty-grand for taking the hit on the stash house and not testifying against him. Then, McLeod describes a second meeting inside Whole Foods.
“I HAVE THIRTY-THOUSAND DOLLARS FOR ANYBODY WHO BRINGS HIM TO ME, CAUSE I GONNA HIT HIM SO HARD AND SO FAST HE’S NOT GOING TO SEE IT COMING.”
Brian McLeod testified that Jimmy said these words to him at a meeting at Whole Foods. Are these the words that the jury or the case should hinge on? What did Jimmy mean? Did he want to hit Fletcher or beat him up? Or does hit mean kill? What is Jimmy’s state of mind? Only Jimmy knows what these words actually mean. This exhchange of words is what created the story in motion.
If you think that Jimmy meant to just beat up Lowell Fletcher and not kill him, then those sequences of words above would find Jimmy not guilty of conspiracy to commit murder. If you think HIT, means to kill, then as a jury member you have to make that decision to convict. Another question to ask is why would Jimmy be so brazen, to embark on a concentrated effort to kill someone with the DEA, NYPD, and federal prosecutors zoning in on parts of his narcotics operation?
In a sidebar in court, Sam Enzer and David Touger spent time arguing what the interpreation of this statement meant for McLeod and Jimmy. The government maintains that McLeod thought Jimmy wanted him to bring Fletcher to him, so he could kill him. This argument cuts to the heart of this case, and could on appeal be analyzed at length. McLeod testifies that he spoke to Rosemond in code in a public place and suggested that Derek Grant, the soon-to-be shooter, was home. Jimmy had to interprete that comment. Did it mean the Grant would be the hired killer, or that Grant would bring Fletcher to Jimmy? In the exchange at sidebar, the judge and David Touger had an interesting dialogue. Touger stated that McLeod could not testify to what he meant the word “hit” meant when Jimmy said it. Judge Kaplan replied with an analogy of what the word “hit” meant inside the Gotti family when it was ordered. Now the word “hit” is coded language inside the Mafia for murder. But, you could argue that inside the Rosemond’s drug organization, “hit” could mean roughing someone up: Jimmy wasn’t in the Italian Mafia. Touger continued to cite case law in regards to drug codes and dialogue. Jimmy and McLeod were supposively “talking in code,” but it seemed to the lay person that McLeod was talking in code: however, Jimmy was pretty clear. What is not clear is what did Jimmy mean when he said HIT.
It is after this meeting that McLeod brings Derek Grant on board as the shooter with an agreement that they would get money for the job. The conversation that McLeod testifies to is that Grant and himself agreed that the fee would be doubled without talking to Jimmy; however, there is no record that Jimmy agreed to the plan. The big legal question here is did Grant and McLeod create their own scheme? Is it possible that two hustlers saw a way to hold sixty-grand over Jimmy’s head? This poses a theory that no one has really discussed or investigated. As the testimony progressed, McLeod explained to the jury the actual murder, and his involvement of luring Lowell Fletcher to the actual spot, where Derek Grant could execute him. Additionally, he described the events that transpired after the murder: Rodney Johnson gave him a kilo of cocaine that allegedly came from Jimmy. He also shared the conversations between Derek Grant and himself on how much money they actually deserved versus what they agreed to.The government called their final witness, John Heintz, from the United States Marshall Service, Technical Operations Group, and Electronic Surveillance Unit. He had analyzed all the cell phone records of the members of the so-called conspiracy. The key point to take away from his testimony was at that time, they could not trap text messages because by the time the investigation started the telephone carriers had erased the messages from their storage. They only kept text messages for a period of time, not forever. So, he could pinpoint where a cell phone was at a particular time and date due to the cell phone tower. He could not verify what was said on the phone, or even at times whether a conversation was going on. His information did verify that Jimmy’s cell phone and the cell phone of Brian McLeod were in the vicinity of Whole Foods on more than one occasion. One would suspect if the text messages were available, we all would have a more complete picture of this very confusing story. The government will begin closing arguments on Tuesday, November 28, 2017, and it is speculated the case will go to the jury this week.
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Date: November 29, 2017