Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Judge In Seth Williams Case Has A Conflict Of Interest

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

Richard A. Sprague and Lynne Abraham have gone to court seeking to have District Attorney Rufus Seth Williams removed from office.

The judge in the case is Abbe F. Fletman, but she has a conflict of interest.

In 2009, Fletman was a defense lawyer who represented Seth Williams in Philadelphia County Election Court. Eight years ago, Dan McCaffery, a candidate in the Democratic primary for D.A., went to Election Court seeking to get Seth Williams thrown off the ballot because he had not made a full disclosure of income in his financial disclosure forms.

Now, eight years later, Fletman's unsuccessful defense of Williams becomes a conflict of interest since she became a judge. And nobody will be surprised if lawyers for Sprague and Abraham ask the judge to recuse herself.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Msgr. Lynn Case Goes Behind Closed Doors

Sing it Charlie!
By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

It was billed as the last pre-trial hearing in the case of Msgr. William J. Lynn, before the lawyers were scheduled to pick a jury next month.

But today in court, Judge Gwendolyn Bright and the lawyers on both sides of the case spent as much time in the back room as they did in the courtroom.

When everyone emerged from the back room, there were hints that the retrial of Msgr. Lynn, scheduled to begin on May 15th, may be postponed indefinitely.

Instead of picking a jury on May 15th, Judge Bright said that she would hold a "status conference."

What could have delayed the retrial? With the judge imposing a nonsensical gag order on the proceedings, it's hard to figure. One side, or both sides might be appealing the judge's pretrial rulings. If so, instead of a retrial happening next month, it may be delayed for about a year. Or, that retrial may never happen at all.

State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, Accused of Bribery, Charges Philly D.A.'s Office With Conflict Of Interest; Seeks Dismissal Of Case

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

A lawyer for State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, accused of accepting $4,000 in bribes, is charging the Philadelphia District Attorney's office with a conflict of interest.

Patrick  A. Casey, a lawyer for Lowery Brown, filed a 21-page motion Tuesday in Dauphin County Court seeking to dismiss the case.

Casey's argument: the Philadelphia D.A.'s office has a conflict of interest in trying  Lowery Brown on bribery charges because the acting D.A., First Assistant District Attorney Kathleen E.  Martin, was a former member of a law firm that represented Brown's main accuser in the sting operation, Tyron Ali.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

A Final Look At The Legacy Of Little Nicky

By George Anastasia

Nicodemo "Little Nicky" Scarfo changed the way the game was played in the Philadelphia underworld. An infamous mob hit and a subsequently botched revenge murder attempt set the tone for the Scarfo era.

They were early strikes in what became a bloody legacy.

Little Nicky played by his own rules.

A final look at his legacy, published in JerseyMan Magazine, can be read here:

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

John-John Veasey Guest Lecturer At West Chester University

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

It was advertised on posters all over campus.

At West Chester University on Tuesday night, the Department of Criminal Justice was presenting the latest in their "Crime & Justice Lecture Series."

Previous lecturers included the former leader of the Pagans motorcycle gang. And a former member of the Mexican Mafia.

On Tuesday, the latest attraction was a former Mafia hit man:

"A poor kid from South Philly" who "survived three gunshots to the head, to become a federally protected witness who brought down the Philly mob," the posters said. "And then reinvented himself as a wildly successful car salesman."

Yep, "John-John" Veasey, the former high school dropout, was appearing live at West Chester University to talk about his life in the Mafia and the witness protection program. And his current reincarnation as a born again, right-wing Republican, and millionaire car dealer.

Ralph Natale Vs. Skinny Joey And The "Punks"

By George Anastasia

Some of the guys in South Philadelphia are calling it "fake news."

Others are using a more graphic description -- "bullshit."

They are speaking, of course, of the story that Ralph Natale is spinning in his book, Last Don Standing, which went on sale last month.

Natale discussed the book and his life in the Philadelphia underworld recently in an exclusive interview with Fox 29 crime reporter Dave Schratwieser.

The rest of the story can be read here.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Philly's Big Giveaway: 300 Drug Dealers About To Hit Lottery

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

A bunch of drug dealers who have already had their convictions overturned are about to hit the lottery.

In the courtroom of U.S. Magistrate Timothy R. Rice, a group of lawyers are quietly negotiating a "global settlement" for 75 civil rights suits filed against the city of Philadelphia.

The plaintiffs in these lawsuits are convicted drug dealers who have already had their convictions overturned because of alleged police misconduct. Now, the drug dealers are looking to cash in at the civil courts for their alleged pain and suffering at the hands of the cops who arrested them. The bad news for Philly taxpayers: once these 75 cases are settled, there are another 225 more cases right behind them that will also be settled, cases featuring 225 more newly emancipated drug dealers anxious to cash in.

The price of settling these 300 civil rights cases will no doubt cost the taxpayers millions of dollars. Taxpayers also spending millions more to hire 10 lawyers from two private law firms to defend these civil rights cases in court. But the city has given up, and is now in the process of negotiating a surrender to the drug dealers and their lawyers.

Federal Agent: No Sex Scandal At Penn State, Just A "Political Hit Job"

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

When he was investigating cold cases for NCIS, Special Agent John Snedden knew you always have to start from the beginning.

 "Let's take a deep breath," he said. "And let's go back to square one, to the source of the original allegation, to determine whether it's credible."

On the Penn State campus in 2012, with national security at stake, that's just what Special Agent Snedden did on behalf of the U.S. government. And instead of finding a sex scandal or a cover-up in the cold case he was investigating in Happy Valley, Snedden said he discovered ample evidence of a "political hit job."

 

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