Updated news on the Gambino, Genovese, Bonanno, Lucchese and Colombo Organized Crime Families of New York City.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Judge: Wiretaps Stay As Evidence

J. Edgar Hoover FBI building - headquartersImage via WikipediaA federal judge today denied defense requests to suppress wiretap evidence in the public corruption case of a North Little Rock alderman and a former colleague. U.S. Magistrate David Young decided to allow federal prosecutors to submit into evidence electronic surveillance recordings against North Little Rock Alderman Sam Baggett, former alderman Cary Gaines and three others.
Baggett and Gaines are named with reputed mobster George Wylie Thompson in a wide-ranging indictment alleging public corruption, weapons violations and other charges.
The ruling covered separate indictments against Thompson’s son, George Allen Thompson of Jacksonville, and Ralph F. Deleo of Massachusetts.
Lawyers for Baggett and Gaines had argued that evidence against their clients was obtained illegally as federal agents targeted George Wylie Thompson’s dealings.
In his ruling today, Young said he found “persuasive” the government’s counter argument that agents got court approval to intercept the elder Thompson’s phone conversations and that Baggett and Gaines injected themselves into the investigation.
The probe began in 2007 when a cooperating witness, identified in court filings as former Blytheville police officer Thomas Charles Warren, informed the FBI’s Little Rock office of a gambling operation he said was run by George Thompson and involved public officials.
Gaines’ lawyer, Chuck Banks of Little Rock, argued that Warren was unreliable.
But in his ruling today, Young said some of the information provided by Warren was independently corroborated by FBI agents through video surveillance and other methods, and that corroboration was “sufficient to establish probable cause.”
Baggett and Gaines are charged with George Wylie Thompson in an indictment that includes allegations of a kickback scheme involving North Little Rock public works projects and illegal weapons dealing.
Gaines faces two counts. He is accused of involvement in a kickback scheme related to city public works projects and of lying to the FBI about his dealings with the elder Thompson.
Baggett faces six counts, including allegations that the former licensed weapons dealer knowingly sold guns and ammunition to a convicted felon, George Wylie Thompson.
George Wylie Thompson faces a wide range of charges — from gambling to drug trafficking to marriage fraud — in addition to the public corruption and weapons counts.
Baggett and Thompson are scheduled to be tried together Dec. 7. Thompson will be tried with Gaines in 2011.
The elder Thompson and Deleo are scheduled to appear before U.S. District Leon Holmes on Oct. 18.
Deleo is believed by authorities to be one of the bosses in the Colombo Mafia crime family. George Wylie Thompson is alleged to have worked under Deleo transporting large quantities of cocaine across state lines, along with running an illegal gambling operation in Central Arkansas.
George Allen Thompson was indicted following his arrest in March on drug and gun charges.

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