Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Thanks To Larry And Rufus, 300 Drug Dealers About To Hit Lottery

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

A federal judge has cleared the way for 300 former convicted drug dealers who filed civil rights lawsuits against the city to get paid.

In a memorandum dated Feb. 7th, U.S. District Court Judge Paul S. Diamond denied a motion filed by the city for summary judgment that would have dismissed the first of the lawsuits, the so-called "bellwether" case of McIntyre v. Liciardello et al.

In his memorandum, the judge noted that in addition to the bellwether case, "innumerable related cases remain in suspense." The judge subsequently issued an order that required all the remaining defendants in the case to report to a Feb. 27th settlement conference before U.S. Magistrate Timothy Rice, the minutes of which, according to the court docket, are sealed.

By his actions, sources familiar with the lawsuits say, Judge Diamond was basically encouraging the city to not only settle the bellwether case, but all the remaining civil rights cases, which will no doubt cost taxpayers millions. If they're looking for somebody to blame they can start with former District Attorney Rufus Seth Williams, who rolled over for the drug dealers. Another guilty culprit is Larry Krasner, who was the lead attorney for the 300 drug dealers back when he was a defense lawyer. And who, when all these cases are settled, will be entitled to collect a share of the winnings.

Williams of course is now sitting in a federal prison after he admitted he was guilty of charges that included taking bribes and stealing from his own mother. When he was D.A., Williams joined forces with Krasner, then a cop-suing defense lawyer, to spring more than 1,100 convicted drug dealers out of jail. Keep in mind that the vast majority of these dealers had already pleaded guilty after being caught by the cops with large quantities of drugs, cash and even guns.

But thanks to the unholy alliance of Williams and Krasner, the drug dealers not only got out of jail free, they also got their money back and their convictions expunged. And then, records show, hundreds of them went out to commit even more crimes.

But hundreds more had higher aspirations -- they wanted to hit the lottery. Led by lead plaintiff's attorney Krasner, who is still listed that way today on the court docket, 300 of those newly emancipated drug dealers filed cvil rights cases against the city and the former narcotics cops who had arrested them. To defend itself, the city had to hire up to eleven lawyers from three law firms, who have been representing the cops and the city for the past five years.

That's another bill the taxpayers are stuck with thanks to Larry and Rufus.

In denying the city's motion for summary judgment in the bellwether case, the judge stated in his order that he was required at this stage of the legal process to accept the plaintiff's facts as stated as true. And that his remaining job was to decide if those allegations were true, did the plaintiff have a claim against the city.

"I have thus resolved factual disputes and construed the record in plaintiff's favor," the judge wrote. He also apparently decided that plaintiff James McIntyre did indeed have a claim against the city, even though the facts as alleged by the convicted drug dealer tell a ridiculous story.

In his memorandum, the judge wrote that on the afternoon of June 23, 2011, according to the drug dealer, James McIntyre was driving a "big dump truck" loaded with stucco and scrap from a job site in South Philadelphia over to visit his old friend Warren "Chip" Layre's garage in West Mount Airy.

According to the judge, McIntyre hit his buddy Chip Layre up for a loan of between $30,000 to $40,000 loan to supposedly pay off a lien on the home of McIntyre's mother. If you can believe that story, according to the judge, the big-hearted Layre, who had loaned McIntrye money in past, then took McIntyre to the back of his garage, and counted out $33,000 in cash. Next, the generous Layre rolled the cash up in a sock and handed it McIntyre, who put the sock in a cooler in the back of his dump truck.

But unbeknown to McIntrye, the narcs were watching him and his buddy Layre, because they had gotten a tip that from a reliable source that Layre was selling large amounts of meth out of his garage.

The narcs asked a patrol officer to pull McIntyre over. At the time, McIntyre had a suspended driver's license and was behind the wheel of a vehicle that was illegal to drive on state roads, but the cops didn't know any of that. Instead, they pulled McIntyre over, the judge wrote, by falsely alleging that he had just been in a hit and run accident.

The cops handcuffed McIntyre and questioned him about what was going on at Layre's garage. They also searched McIntyre's truck and found the cooler, as well as a plastic baggie inside filled with meth.

The cops also found the sock with the cash, only the amount of cash in the sock is in dispute. On property receipts, the cops reported the recovery of only $24,000. It was McIntyre's contention that the cops didn't have permission to search his vehicle, and that they planted the drugs in the cooler, and that they also stole $9,000.

When the cops got back to Layre's garage, they confiscated more than 500 grams of meth, firearms, as well as more cash. They proceeded to arrest McIntyre and charge him with conspiracy and drug charges. He spent four months in jail. The cops also arrested Layre.

In his memorandum, Judge Diamond noted that at the time they pulled McIntyre over, they didn't know about his suspended driver's license and that his truck was unauthorized for use on state roads. So, according to the judge, the cops had "no lawful reason" to pull over McIntyre. Just because the cops saw McIntyre tossing a cooler in his truck, that act "was not by itself suspicious and could not possibly justify stoping plaintiff to 'obtain additional evidence,'" the judge wrote.

The judge also noted that McIntyre disputed the cops' contention that he gave them permission to search his truck. But the judge, however, wasn't born yesterday.

In his memorandum, the judge noted that McIntyre's "explanation for possessing $33,000 in cash and hiding it in the cooler is dubious. The judge also noted that the police officers "vigorously dispute" McIntyre's other claims.

A source familiar with the allegations in the lawsuit described McIntyre's allegations as B.S. If McIntyre's story is to be believed, the cops not only planted $250,000 worth of meth in Layre's garage, they also planted another $250,000 worth of meth when they conducted a second search of the garage, a search led by a captain and an inspector, and executed by at least a dozen officers.

The feds subsequently seized Layre's assets and bank accounts totaling more than $1.5 million.

Layre's record in the criminal case against the narcotics officers also doesn't inspire any confidence that he ever told the truth.

On June 23, 2011, according to the original federal indictment against the narcs, Officers Thomas Liciardello, Brian Reynolds and Linwood Norman allegedly forced their way into a machine shop on Sedgwick Street owned by Layre.

During a police search, Liciardello allegedly "kicked [Layre] in the teeth, breaking off a portion of his teeth in the upper half of his mouth." According to the original indictment, the cops also "kicked [Layre] in the groin and hit him with a steel bar in the back of the head."

In addition to beating Layer, the original indictment charged, the three cops also seized approximately $41,158 in cash from inside Layre's shop. The next day, on June 24, 2011, the indictments states, Liciardello, in order to "conceal the theft and physical abuse" of Layre, wrote a police report that  left out the physical abuse of Layre. The phony police report also falsely stated that only $6,650 in cash had been found in the search, according to the original  indictment. The feds subsequently charged Liciardello with failing "to report the additional $34,400 in cash that they had stolen" from Layre.

But two weeks before the trial began, the feds had to file a motion to withdraw Layre as a victim in the case, along with the alleged criminal acts of misconduct that were supposedly committed by the narcs against Layre. Why did the feds withdraw the charges and drop Layre from the case? He got busted along with 31 others as part of a heroin and meth trafficking ring in Montgomery County. At the time, Layre had also filed a civil rights case against the city.

In its amended 26-count RICO indictment, the U.S. Attorney's office charged six former members of the city's Narcotics Field Unit with routinely robbing and beating the drug dealers they had arrested, stealing at least $500,000 in cash and drugs, as well as falsifying police reports to cover their tracks.

But on May 14, 2015, after a trial that lasted nearly six weeks, a federal jury unanimously acquitted all six officers on all 47 charges. It was a complete repudiation of the government's racketeering case. The jury foreman said the case was so easy to decide, because of a complete lack of corroborating evidence to back up any of the drug dealers' ludicrous charges, that the jury could have been done with deliberations in ten minutes.

The officers, all of whom had been fired, subsequently got their jobs back plus a year's worth of back pay.

In his memorandum on McIntyre v. Liciardello, the judge not only noted that the narcs were acquitted on all the criminal charges against them, but he also said that two top city officials who had publicly trashed the narcs' reputations were deposed during the bellwether case, and were found to have gone off half-cocked.

Williams, deposed in jail, had to admit that the D.A.'s office did no formal investigation before the former D.A. wrote a letter to the police commissioner, saying he would no longer prosecute any cases that the narcs were involved in. And then to finish the job, the D.A.'s office leaked the letter to Fox 29.

During his jailhouse deposition, a lawyer defending the city asked Williams if he had any "firsthand knowledge or recollection" of the narcotics officers "engaging in inappropriate or illegal activities?"

"No, I would say no," he said.

"Remarkably," the judge wrote, the district attorney's office under Williams "did not conduct its own investigation before sending" the letter to the police commissioner that publicly trashed the narcs, and ended their careers.

Also deposed was former First Assistant Ed McCann, who like Williams, had to admit he had no knowledge or evidence of any alleged misconduct by the narcs. Or that he had ever investigated any of the allegations against the narcs before he decided that they were guilty as charged.

But despite doubts about the conduct of the district attorney's office under Williams and McCann, Judge Diamond has now cleared the way for all those drug dealers to get paid. It makes you wonder what Larry's share of the take will be.

9 comments

  1. Can you write an article about inky (Philly Inquier) abusing its non profit status by continuing to endorse political people running for office?

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  2. You bring up an interesting point. The Inky is a for-profit enterprise owned by a non-profit. Wonder which rules take precedent?

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  3. Now that it has come out that Williams and McCann had no logical reason to forward those names to Ramsey and Fox29 where did these names magically appear from??? It's obvious that the cops identities were provided by someone!

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  4. Maybe the city attorney should have pried more and inquired where the names came from???????

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  5. During the depositions of Rufus Seth Williams, Ed McCann and several others in the District Attorney's Office, no one could or would give a clear answer as to who picked the names in the letter or why those names were picked. No answer. There were (14) officers in that squad and their immediate supervisor. The other officers were not named and neither was their immediate supervisor. Sounds like a personal attack upon these officers from the District Attorney's Office without Rufus Seth Williams or Ed McCann being held accountable for the continued damage they have done to the officers and the citizens of this city. Ed McCann should be sitting in a prison cell right next to Rufus Seth Williams. Hey Ed, did you ever tell Steele about all your past crimes against these officers and the citizens of Philadelphia?

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  6. Here you go. Williams apparently couldn't keep who gave him the officers named to be stopped from testifying. A current Police supervisor and fired DA Supervisor supplied the names. Two current people in the office have direct knowledge and are seeking counsel. This could be a biggie.

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    Replies
    1. Law Enforcement Supervisor in the DA Office?

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  7. Wow, that is news. Would love to know more.

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  8. Where is M. Francis these days? Asking for a friend. Lol

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