as to his drug transactions and his loyalty to Jeff Fort, the founder and unquestioned leader of the El Rukns.
Much of the testimony concerning the gang's activities was duplicative, and when considered together, tended to abundantly demonstrate the Defendants' participation in a far-reaching and violent racketeering enterprise for the distribution of drugs in Chicago. The witnesses testified concerning their travels with the Defendants in the Chicago and Milwaukee area to obtain or deliver drugs and/or money in exchange for the drugs. There was also vast testimony about the violent and heinous crimes engaged in by the witnesses and the Defendants to maintain the integrity of their El Rukn enterprise. These involved murders, robberies, destruction of property, the taking of hostages, etc. Based on the testimony of the twelve cooperating witnesses, there was ample evidence for a jury to have found the Defendants guilty of the racketeering crimes charged.
In addition to the former El Rukn witnesses, there were several Chicago police officers who testified concerning the materials discovered in the raids on the El Rukn premises. Those materials involved documents pertaining to the gang's operations, large amounts of drugs and associated paraphernalia, assault weapons, and money. Also, agents of ATF and DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) testified as to searches for weapons and "wired buys" for drugs they conducted with the Defendants. It was on the basis of tips received from cooperating witnesses, the wired buys, and the searches of the gang's premises that the Defendants were all eventually apprehended. The documentary evidence and law enforcement testimony relating to the Defendants' association with the El Rukn gang merely served to reinforce the testimony of the cooperating witnesses as to the Defendants' participation in the operations of the El Rukn enterprise.
The Defendants argue that the suppressed impeachment evidence not revealed by the United States Attorney would have affected the outcome of the trial if it had been timely disclosed. However, there was already a tremendous amount of impeachment evidence that had been presented to the jury. The cooperating witnesses had testified to heavy use of drugs and the commission of scores of atrocities throughout their lifetimes. For instance, they had committed innumerable violent felonies, such as armed robbery, burglary, murder, and assaults with deadly weapons. Together, they had committed virtually every type of violent crime imaginable--in the extreme. The jury was presented with their history of drug dealing and violence. The witnesses also admitted to making numerous falsehoods to law enforcement officers in the past in order to conceal the truth about certain murders. The prosecution had disclosed that the cooperating witnesses and their families had received hundreds of dollars from the United States in exchange for the witnesses' cooperation. It was also revealed to the jury that the former El Rukn members were testifying in order to obtain significant reductions to their own sentences for the offenses to which they had pled guilty. The Court even admonished the jury in the instructions to consider the cooperating witnesses' testimony "with caution and great care."
In sum, then, the jury had been presented with so much damaging evidence concerning the credibility of the cooperating witnesses, that all of the undisclosed information as to telephone and visitation privileges for six of the witnesses, and drug use by Henry Harris and Harry Evans, would have merely added to the sum total--more of the same. While it is true that certain members of the U.S. Attorney's staff behaved in an outrageous and totally unprofessional manner in failing to properly supervise some of the cooperating witnesses and in failing to disclose the full extent of the cooperation benefits conferred, the Court is not convinced by a reasonable probability that had the additional evidence been disclosed, the jury's verdict would have been different. United States v. Bagley, 473 U.S. at 682.
The evidence in the record against the Defendants was simply overwhelming as to their association with the El Rukn criminal enterprise. Therefore, the disclosure of the drug use, contact visits, and telephone calls by some of the witnesses would not have affected the general proof given the jury that the Defendants were engaged in a racketeering enterprise. The jury knew of the criminal history and drug usage of the cooperating witnesses. They also were aware of the fact that through cooperation with the United States Attorney, the witnesses would receive reductions in their sentences. And the jury was well aware of the witnesses' long association with the El Rukn gang and its activities.
The jury heard each of the twelve El Rukn witnesses provide testimony concerning the Defendants' role in that criminal enterprise. The jury was also presented with documentary evidence and testimony of law enforcement officers which corroborated the testimony of the various cooperating witnesses. Hence, had the jury also known that two of the witnesses may have used drugs while in the MCC, or that some of the witnesses were allowed to make telephone calls and receive contact visits with outsiders and receive other sundry benefits, the jury would still have found, based on all of the evidence presented, that the Defendants were part of a criminal enterprise engaged in the distribution of drugs in the Chicago area.
Finally, as to the claim that the cooperating witnesses were impermissibly allowed to associate with each other while in the MCC, there is no issue of any undisclosed evidence. The Defendants were aware of the fact that the witnesses were able to communicate in the MCC. The Defendants requested to introduce this "open unit" evidence into the record, but the Court denied the request, finding that the record already clearly reflected the fact that the witnesses had been allowed contact with each other while in the MCC.
Ergo, there being no reason for the Court to believe that the jury's verdict would have been different, the Defendants' motion for a new trial must be DENIED.
ENTER: 16 February, 1994
FOR THE COURT:
United States District Judge
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