NEWARK, N.J., Nov 18 (Reuters) - Jury deliberations
continued for a third day Friday in the trial of a former New
Jersey federal prosecutor and defense lawyer who is accused of
orchestrating the murder of a witness in a federal drug case
against one of his clients.
The seven men and five women are weighing the evidence
against Paul Bergrin, who is accused of telling members of a
drug gang to kill the witness, Kemo Deshawn McCray, who was
gunned down on a Newark street in the middle of the day in
The government has charged Bergrin, who is representing
himself, with murder and conspiracy to commit murder. If
convicted, he faces life in prison.
During the trial, which is before U.S. District Judge
William Martini in Newark federal court, Assistant U.S.
Attorneys John Gay and Joseph Minish argued that McCray was a
confidential informant in a case against Bergrin's client,
William Baskerville, who was a manager in a massive drug
operation spearheaded by his cousin, Hakeem Curry, the
The government insisted Bergrin was not only the house
counsel for Curry's drug network, but that he had a stake in
the game because he connected Curry with a major cocaine
In a meeting that the government said ultimately sealed
Kemo's fate, Bergrin told the drug gang that the only way to
bring Baskerville home was to eliminate McCray. "No Kemo, no
case," a witness claimed Bergrin said.
'A HOLE IN HIS MELON'
Bergrin railed against the government for parading before
the jury a series of cooperating witnesses who he said had
buckled under pressure from prosecutors and the promise of
reduced sentences. Chief among them, Bergrin said, was the
government's key witness, Anthony Young, a career felon.
Bergrin said Young was on a mission "to avoid jail at all
cost," to the extent that he claimed to be McCray's shooter.
But Bergrin argued that Young didn't fit the description of the
attacker provided by McCray's stepfather, who was with McCray
when he was shot and who said he was confronted by the shooter
the next day.
During their deliberations, jurors have asked the judge for
the transcripts of testimony from several witnesses, including
jailhouse informant Eric Dock, who testified that Baskerville
had tried to figure out the identity of the informant who
turned out to be McCray.
"He said they were looking for him to put a hole in his
melon," Dock said, according to the transcript. "In street
terms, it means shoot you in the head."
The jurors also requested the testimony of Albert Castro, a
drug dealer who made up to $25,000 a week selling cocaine,
according to the trial transcript.
"I was offered ten grand to put a hit on somebody," Castro
told the jury regarding a conversation he had with Bergrin,
according to the transcript. "I asked him who. He told me the
guy's name, Kemo."
The case is the United States v. Paul Bergrin, U.S.
District Court, District of New Jersey, No. 09-0036.
For Bergrin: Pro se, Lawrence Lustberg and Amanda Protess
For the government: Assistant U.S. Attorneys John Gay,
Joseph Minish and Steven Sanders
(Reporting by Jennifer Golson)
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