Thursday, June 4, 2015

A 'Perfect Crime' Says Drug Dealer Witness Who Would Like To Hear From Jurors

By George Anastasia
For Bigtrial.net

Robert Kushner said he told the truth when he took the witness stand as the prosecution's leadoff witness in the trial of six Philadelphia narcotics cops indicted for allegedly going rogue.

A jury verdict last month finding all six not guilty doesn't change any of that, the bulky 32-year-old former marijuana dealer said as he sat in a deli off City Avenue earlier this week offering more questions than answers in the wake of the high profile trial and what he said was "the perfect crime" committed by men sworn to uphold the law.

"I know what happened to me," Kushner said as he calmly recounted the same details he had offered the federal court jury when he took the stand back in March. "Those charges were valid."

Kushner, who lost his job as a basketball coach at a private high school after he took the stand and went public with his drug dealing past, said he had nothing to gain by lying and in fact had lost more -- a job he loved -- by taking the stand.

"I'm not suing the city (as dozens of other drug dealers arrested by members of the tainted Narcotics Field Unit are)," he said. "My arrest had been expunged because I was a first time offender. I had nothing to gain."

Kushner said he was not speaking for any of the other witnesses and could not comment on the validity of what they had alleged. But he repeated again and again that his story was true. Why the jury didn't accept it, he said, is a question that he asks over and over.

Only those who served on the jury have the answer to that and thus far none of the six men and six women who heard testimony during the seven-week trial and spent another week in closed door deliberations have commented publicly. (Any juror who would like to do so, is invited to contact bigtrial.net.)

A George Washington University graduate from Lower Merion who drifted into the drug underworld after graduating, Kushner does not try to sugarcoat his past or the troubling back story that is also part of his life.

His father, Alan, a chiropractor, was convicted of attempting to hire a hitman in 2007 to kill his wife, Robert Kushner's mother. The case was never mentioned during the trial, but it underscores the troubled and dysfunctional family background of the prosecution's leadoff witness. Testimony at Alan Kushner's trial in 2009 indicated the family estate was worth about $5 million.

Robert Kushner said he grew up in an economically comfortable home environment. But, he said, the family dynamic was less than harmonious. His father, he said, provided for him materially, but was not there in other ways. His father and mother were estranged long before his father allegedly sought to end the marriage through a murder-for-hire contract. 

He used his father's case -- Alan Kushner was sentenced to 71/2-to-20 years and is now in jail -- in explaining his conflicted feelings over the jury verdict in the narco cops case.

"Do I think my dad did what he was accused of?" Kushner asks. "Yes. Do I know for sure? No."

But in the police corruption case, he said, "I know for sure what happened. I know what they did to me."

Kushner told the jury he had gone from a recreational marijuana user to being a big time seller by the time he was targeted by Thomas Liciardello, Brian Reynolds and Jeffrey Walker, three members of the Narcotics Field Unit, in October 2007.

Liciardello, Reynolds and four other member of the Narcotics Field Unit were indicted in 2013 in a racketeering conspiracy case that alleged they systematically targeted drug dealings, stealing more than $500,000 in cash, valuables and narcotics and then falsifying police reports to cover their tracks.

Walker was not charged in that case because he had been arrested in an earlier FBI sting and agree to cooperate. He testified for the prosecution in the corruption trial. Among other things, Walker corroborated Kushner's testimony. But the jury, it would appear, found the corrupt cop no more credible that the 14 drug dealers who took the stand.

"Garbage bags" was one of the terms the defense used to describe the government witnesses, drug dealers and a dirty cop who were less than credible and who should not be believed.

"I can't speak for anyone else," said Kushner, who followed the trial in the media after he had his day in court. He rolls his eyes over the testimony of a suspected heroin dealer who had a loaded AK-47 in the apartment where he lived with his wife and five young children. The target, who denied he was a drug dealer, said he was kidnapped and threatened by the rogue cops and was forced to cooperate. He said cash was stolen from him and drugs and the assault rifle were "planted" by the cops during a raid.

Kushner said he also understands the jury's possible skepticism over the plumber suspected of dealing meth who said police stole $11,000 in cash from a safe in his house. The money, he testified, was to pay for his daughter's college tuition. And he understands how the panel might have found it hard to believe that the ex-state trooper who lived in squalor claimed that $14,000 in cash that he had secreted in the pocket of a pair of pants hanging in his closet was taken during another raid.

But how, Kushner asked, did any of that "undermine what I was saying?"

To recap his story: Kushner said he was stopped on the night of Oct. 16, 2007, as he was driving just off Ridge Avenue. He said Licardello, Walker and Reynolds emerged from an unmarked car and confronted him. At first, he said he thought, he was being robbed. He was taken to a secluded area where he was threatened and then driven to a nearby police precinct. Only then, he said, was he convinced that that three armed men were police officers.

He was placed in a holding cell where he spent the night while the three arresting officers headed for his apartment on City Avenue. They used his key to gain access and then ransacked the 18th floor unit, he alleged. They took clothes, jewelry and a safe hidden in his closet that he said contained $80,000 in cash, proceeds from his lucrative marijuana trade. 

At the time, Kushner said, he was making "a couple of thousand dollars a week" selling from 10 to 20 pounds of marijuana. He said the officers confiscated $30,000 during the car stop, but reported seizing only $13,000. They also never mentioned the safe or its contents in any police report.

Walker testified that, under Liciardello's orders, he carried the safe down 17 flights of stairs and out of the apartment building. He said he, Licardello and Reynolds later split "chunks" of cash before he disposed of the safe by dropping it into a river. Federal investigators used trained divers to search for the safe after Walker began cooperating, but were unable to locate it.

Did the safe exist? That's one of the questions lead defense attorney Jack McMahon asked during a pointed cross-examination of Kushner during the trial. Was it "bolted" to the closet floor, as he told a grand jury? If so, how did the police get it out of the closet?

McMahon and Kushner also sparred over Kushner's comment that he was "highly educated," with the defense attorney emphasizing what he perceived as the witness' hubris.

Walker had testified that Kushner was the proto-typical target for the field unit -- a white, khaki-wearing college preppy. He said Liciardello liked to instill fear into that kind of target, someone who had little contact with the real urban underworld and who had little past experience with the justice system.

Kushner said he was afraid and then resigned to his fate when he was picked up and that Liciardello's offer not to arrest him if he cooperated was literally an offer he couldn't refuse. Kushner was, in fact, charged but with a lesser offense than he could have faced had police reported the amount of cash and marijuana he was dealing.

It was a trade off, he said, and one that he still regrets. He gave up information about others in the drug trade in order to cut a deal for himself. He said he was targeted and beaten by two men who showed up at his new apartment in Penn Valley in January 2008, apparently in retaliation for his cooperation. And he frankly admits he went back into the marijuana business and was eventually arrested again in Montgomery County in 2011. He was sentenced to three years probation in that case.

Ironically, he said, one of his business associates gave him up, just as he had given up others.

"I paid my debt and have a clean slate and I'm trying to move on," he now says.

But he's not sure where. He would like to get back into coaching, but knows that may not be  possible. He's not working, but since he is living with his mother, he has no significant expenses. He is still receiving income from stock and bond investments his parents made for him when he was growing up. That is the residue of an economically beneficial upbringing.

"My family had financial resources," he said. "I had whatever I needed. I got a good education, but..."

His parents' troubled relationship, things were turbulent long before the alleged murder contract, left a void in his upbringing. That, he conceded, may have contributed to his lack of direction after graduating from college and his drift into the drug subculture. It is not, he said, an excuse, but merely an explanation. He admits that he was wrong and he contends that following his second arrest in Montgomery County in 2011, he put the drug dealing world behind him.

People wonder why the drug bust in 2007 and the horrific account of his dealings with the Narcotics Field Unit wasn't enough to scare him out of the drug business, he said. But he tells them he didn't see it that way.

"I didn't get a taste of reality at that point," he said. "I got a taste of crooked cops."

The entire experience -- from the time he was stopped in 2007 to the day last month when the jury issued its verdict -- has him questioning the criminal justice system.

"I'm sure they did a lot of good things," Kushner said of the three police officers involved in his part of the story. "Not everything they did was bad. They took dangerous people and drugs off the streets...But once they crossed that line, everything good gets erased."

Kushner paused, then shook his head.

"They crossed the line," he said. 

Two hours after the interview in the deli, Kushner sent a lengthy email that concluded this way:
"I am very remorseful this happened and upset with myself for making bad decisions to enable something like this to happen to me.

"I take full responsibility for my actions and am not looking to place blame on other people. I just know this was the perfect crime scheme for the police as everything worked out in their favor. That's what makes this not guilty decision so difficult to accept and so unjustified."

"To answer the question you asked me before, this really does sour my belief in our federal justice system ... In this situation justice failed and did not prevail ... I wonder why the jurors came to the conclusion they did and I hope one will come forward and explain."

George Anastasia can be reached at George@bigtrial.net.

36 comments:

  1. With all due respect, what proof is there that there was ever any money and or safe? Why where you riding around with 30k? Or was it really 13k as reported. And for conversation sake think about this, you get locked up and your close friends or associates take the opportunity to make a quick 80k.

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  2. They are dirty cops.Im also a white Marijuana dealer they took advantage of by robbing me.Tommy L rubbed my mother in laws arm asking her How you doing Hun.Where there is smoke, there is fire.
    And there is alot smoke around these cops.

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  3. Glad he got FIRED....Don't want your dirty hands interacting with my children. If he was such a victim of someone doing something wrong to him, than he need to look in the mirror..When didn't he tell his current employer he was arrested for narcotics, because he knew he wouldn't have a job....Glad they got him away from the innocent children..

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  4. A not-guilty verdict does not mean those 6 cops were innocent. The Feds just needed more proof for the jury to convict beyond a reasonable doubt. I do however believe they crossed the line. I mean how would almost 20 people make up almost the same story years later and even further, some go and tell their lawyers. It's like Walker said on the stand "I know they are dirty cops because I was a dirty cop and we all worked together"

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  5. Well George gave you an interview and trust me he did you no favors you lost your Job coaching because you sold drugs. Not because of these cops.
    You were all drug dealers and got a break when the feds had a hard on for these guys and tried setting them up several times and got nothing. A seven year investigation and got nothing. Everybody knows everything about what these cops did other flunkie cops who come on here run these 6 guys down and drug dealers who swear they was violated yet Americas team who spent seven years investigating got no paper trail ' no money' no physical evidence nothing to incrimimate these guys. So they went to the 19 bottom feeding drug dealing criminal losers. 3 which perjured themselves so they couldn't testify. The other 16 illiterates were to stupid to remember what they rehearsed with the feds so you made your own stories up with so many holes in it you could float a air craft carrier through them. Then when questioned by the defense all of you contradicted everything you said. And then theres Walker the only cop in a seven year investigation who got caught and they needed a sting for that. These guys were tried and found Not guilty. It time you dealers and flunkie cops move on with what ever it is you do before somebody gets a hard on and runs it up your asses. These guys might have cracked your friggin heads but if they did everthing that was said on here believe me Americas team would have found it. With that said im happy there free and wish them well. Hope each of them get a seven figure payday for the wrong that was done to them and there familys and i don.t even know them. As for you drug dealers and flunkie cops i deal with ass holes like you everyday and wish you nothing but mysery the rest of your lives.

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    1. ^^ Misery excuse my spelling

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    2. Is that JB trying to prove to everyone that he is smart and doesn't have a biased opinion? How does Walker corroborate Kushners testimony if the basis of the story isn't correct. From what I hear your answer is the FEDS rehearsed all the witnesses. How do charges get past a grand jury indictment if they have no fundamental basis.

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    3. So the feds coached the dealers on what to say, walker and some lawyers??? That's ridiculous. I sure hope those men learned their lesson through all of this.

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    4. Feds can get almost any thing passed a grand jury because they are "the Feds" and they had one side of a story to present to the grand jury- of course they coached everyone- even the defense "coaches" you could say, the people they put on the stand, except the defense didn't get caught in lie after lie after lie up there, it's easy to get on the stand and have your lawyers "coach" you while your up there if your telling the truth . The Feds whitnesses all told similar stores of the same story fed to them and then when questioned by the defense they couldn't even get it straight from what they told the grand jury until the time they took the stand. Hellen Keller could see those men were lying- some of them were picking out the wrong officers from their names some of them were placing officer at the scene when they were in Other states on vacation- someone had even said they learned of someone's name in the paper so they said he was there but never actually saw him.. So YES the Feds coached walker ( whom they interviewed an insane amount of times that should have been the jury's first red flag, he's a slow learner) the Feds coached their "whitnesses" that's the easy part- the hard part is when the other team takes you for a spin up there and you don't know what their going to ask you so you don't know what your supposed to say, and that's where their stories fell apart like cheap toilet paper.

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    5. Was Walker coached your kidding right? 40 some times he was interviewed trying to get the story straight. There was never a safe at the house. No one could carry a safe down all those stairs. No way in hell. Funny that someone would think that it actually happened.

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    6. Anonymous 3.28 Walker knows what he did and admitted it. As for kush he got caught lying to the defense and changed his story several times. And yes the defense and feds rehearse testimony all the time. As for being bias im no cop and no family memeber kust someone who believes that if your gonna ruin someones life get the facts and evidence please. I would expect a little more from the federal government with the resources and man power to get something in seven yrs before sending it to trial and the crew who worked and tryed this case dropped the ball Anonymous 3.28 pm. Just my opinion thank you.

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    7. How did he change his story? I remember him saying the safe was bought at staples. If it was bolted to the floor all that you would need to remove it would be a crow bar, what damage to the property would that result in, it was a concrete floor covered with carpet? If the safe wasn't bolted to the floor it would be easy for Walker to carry down the steps because it only weighs about 30-40 pounds. Go to Staples and see for yourself because you can talk about it. Proof the cops stole money according to 2 of the 4 involved in this situation.

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  6. Ps as for hearing from the Jurors i think they made it Pretty clear to all haters ' drug dealers and flunkie cops. NOT GUILTY ON ALL 47 COUNTS IT DOES.NT GET MUCH CLEARER THAN THAT! !!!

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    1. they should be very grateful, they got lucky

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  7. You heard from the jurors, you heard from them 47 times already, you think 48 times will make it more clear for you Kushner ? You're an educated man, you know why they got found not guilty. You had your "15 min of fame"( which I'm sure you did not think would lose you your job but shit happens my friend. Clearly your not a big fan of thinking that far ahead before you do things) if you gave up drug dealing ( hard to believe) then good for you, move on with your life. If you want to continue to cry about these 6 officers go home and cry to your mommy.

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  8. Kushner led off for the prosecution and it couldn't have been a better start for the defense. He a cocky, arrogant and entitled little punk. He totally changed his story from the "safe" being bolted down( making it impossible to remove without damage) to "loosely" bolted and easily removeabe. His girlfriend who was there a lot NEVER saw a safe. Walker said 30K and he said 80k. He lied up his second stop at TGI Fridays and was ratting out his buddies to try and help himself- a real character guy! The best thing of this trial, other than verdict, was this creep losing his job working with kids. The only real question is why the government ever thought he would be the witness to make their first impression to the jury. Stop whining Kushner and go back to mommy's house.


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    1. Kushner was cocky and arrogant on the stand??? Were you there when Otto, Mcclosky, O'malley etc testified? They were rude, and arrogant and changed their tone when being questioned by the government. When Jack was questioning them they recalled almost every detail. They were polite, civil and answered quick. (But they were coached at all) The second it was the government's turn. Ohhh they couldn't recall certain incidents. They only briefly looked at the paperwork. They covered their asses so bad. They knew if these guys were gound guilty, they were next. Wonder if they sre upset their kickbacks are over?

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  9. I was pulling for the 6 cops. They have a tough job dealing with the scum they did. I dont care they smack around some drug dealers n took some money. THE 6 COPS did do that but were convicted. On the stand McCloskey told the account of the safe incident. How Walker was alone in the apt n mccl. Lic n reynolds went to hqs n met betts n spicer there. He said Walker was alone in the apt for over an hr by himself. Plenty the seed of doubt in walker story. BS. They took $ n get lucky the feds couldnt find the safe. It might have wash to shore or float away. I believe this epsiode happened with the safe n $ stolen but the feds scrape the bottom of barrell with there witnesses.

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  10. Yes, the six cops were found not guilty, but their judgment in handling seized drugs and keeping some of the cash for themselves will come back to bite them. The city would be justified in not giving them back their jobs - pay their back pay to the day they were found not guilty and their legal fees, but do not give them their job back due to their lack of ethical behavior while on the job.

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    1. So what cash did they keep? There is no proof of that at all. It's easy to make accusations.

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    2. The Cops knew what they were doing. They robbed drug dealers, BECAUSE there is no proof of the money. THAT IS WHY THEY DID WHAT THEY DID. If you rob someone who is doing something legit there is a paper trail and they would have been exposed. THEY PICKED VICTIMS THAT COULDNT EASILY EXPOSE THEM. Hence the perfect crime. Licenses to rob and steal in Philadelphia behind the defense of the BADGE. These guys are wolves in sheeps clothing. They lied to cover there tracks and are the worst kind of the thieves. The kind that smiles to your face and robs you behind your back.

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  11. So where is all the money that they took? It don't exist because they didn't take any. That's where the paper trail would be and there is none.Don't give me that shit about a Rolex. There is nothing no where. Get real in in 2015 with all of the technology at the fingertips of the feds nothing not one dam piece of evidence.

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    1. $400,000 divided 7 ways doesn't go as long as you think it does. It should be relatively easy to hide about a $60,000 influx over a 7 year period. No one is accusing these guys of being idiots. Hell, maybe the stolen money even covered McMahons fee.

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    2. Oh yea let's get rich on 60 grand! They didn't take any money. First of all the idea that this was seven year investigation is a joke. This investigation only started when walker said he was involved with these guys.

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    3. So your saying the prosecution and feds lied about a 7 yr investigation anonymous. 8.42

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    4. Who said they stole the money to get rich? Everyday you seize money and drugs and become more greedy and jealous. They were probably like I'd rather keep this then turn it into the city. Maybe that's a thought easy to sympathize with, but as cops you are not allowed to do that. That's a criminal mentality hence why they are worse then the criminals they arrested.

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    5. Did the feds tell the truth at all? The answer is no.So why is it easy to sympathize to the drug dealers? Again in the age of technology there would have been some hard evidence and it does not exist.No money! No spending ,no vacations, no cars, not one thing . Not one dam thing. They are innocent and have been proven so.

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  12. They.ll get there Jobs back back pay and lawsuit money. And you drug dealers got it stuck right in your ass by the Government agents promising you everything and got nothing while there in there white little neighborhoods at nite kids all tucked in looking for 16 more idiots just like use. You slap dicks on the other hand look over your shoulder every nite waiting for street justice to bust a cap in your ass. You put your wifes and girlfriends and baby momma.s in danger because you can.t take responsibility for your actions. Man up and quit being a coward and take care of your kids by getting a fucking Job and stop waiting for handouts you friggin losers. You got nobody to blame but the little bitch stirring back at you in the mirror. All 12 Jurors agreed NOT GUITY ON ALL 47 COUNTS what part of the VERDICT did.nt you fucking haters and drug dealers and Flunkie cops understand its in black and white and its BEAUTIFULL! !!! MOVE ON! !!!
    YOU WANNA HATE SOMEBODY START WITH THAT BLACK BASTARD COMMISSIONER CHARLES RAMSEY AND MAYOR NUTTER AND THE FEDS FOR TRYING A CASE AND SPENDING TAX PAYER MONEYS THAT HAD NO BUSINESS GOING TO TRIAL START HATING THERE YOU FRIGGIN IDIOTS! !!!

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  13. Jb going postal but not a cop or related to one

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    1. ^^ All . another anonymous who does not want to here the truth. But its ok to run down the 6 officers and there wifes.

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  14. They ran down on people who make street money.People they no who could not prove where the money came from.It is the perfect crime . these cops didn't invent the wheel here.Narcotic cops been keeping drug money for decades.Proven over and over again Threw out the US.So why is it so far fetched to believe it happened here in this case.I agree with the people who say who cares about the money, they were taking scum off the street and helping the communities.But at the same time bending the law is illegal.All of the citizens are held accountable when they break the law and so should the police. .

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    1. Well these fine 6 narcotic officers were found must we say again yes!!!
      NOT GUILTY BY 12 FINE JURORS and no matter how you spin it twist it shake it drop it it still says NOT GUILTY OF ALLLLL 47 COUNTS and tje best is yet to come when there pockets get really full from back pay and Lawsuit Money! !!!!!

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    2. Inquiring minds want to knowJune 6, 2015 at 11:06 PM

      Who.s Your Daddy Now Haters Lol! !!!

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  15. george why did frank narducci get arrested on Tuesday

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