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

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Judge limits murder suspect's access to evidence against him

Was the killing of Salvatore Montagna — still under investigation by the FBI — a cross-border hit to stop him from taking control of the Montreal Mafia?
Did BlackBerry maker Research in Motion collaborate with police by deciphering encrypted messages sent between the murder suspects?
Has the RCMP managed to infiltrate the Mafia at its highest levels and is now doing everything to protect its source?
These were just some of the scenarios envisaged when a judge made the decision Wednesday to deny one of five murder suspects access to some of the evidence against him.
Quebec Court Judge Maurice Parent gave no explanation for his decision.
But the level of secrecy accorded to the files led to speculation that the RCMP and Crown prosecutors are trying to protect a more important investigation still under way, a well-placed source, or even national security.
"I've never seen anything like it," said Claude Olivier, defence lawyer for two of the five men now accused of killing Montagna Nov. 24 in Charlemagne, east of Montreal.
"Something so big it justifies denying access in any way to everyone. They're protecting something that has nothing to do with this case," Olivier continued, suggesting terrorism or concerns for national security could be at play.
The sealed documents include an affidavit and wiretap warrants used to intercept communications between suspects as they allegedly plotted to kill Montagna, a former head of the Bonanno crime family in New York City.
On Wednesday, Colagero Milioto was added to the list of possible accomplices that includes Raynald Desjardins — said to be a right-hand man of alleged Montreal godfather Vito Rizzuto, who is currently in a Colorado jail — Vittorio Mirarchi, Felice Racaniello and Jack Simpson, who owned the property where Montagna was killed.
Last week, speculation centred on how the RCMP gained access to the encrypted BlackBerry messages — with or without RIM's help — before passing the evidence along to the provincial police force, the Surete du Quebec, which is in charge of the murder investigation.
RIM's role in the affair has become secondary, however.
Invited to make the documents public but black out any sensitive parts, federal prosecutor Yvan Poulin said it was in the public interest to not share the documents in any way.
"Read the authorization (for the warrants) in your office" Poulin told the judge. "It speaks for itself . . . I can't say anything more about it . . . This is an exceptional case."
The Crown did agree to unseal two other sets of documents, which will be censored before they are given to the defence next week. But Olivier will appeal the decision on the evidence that remains sealed, he said.
"We're accused of murder. We don't have the evidence. We don't know why they accused us or what made it necessary to listen in on us . . . How the evidence was obtained is as important as the contents."


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