Thursday, October 25, 2018

Henry v MOA - Drug Day And What Is The Plaintiff Trying To Do?

[I've started a new tab on top - Henry v MOA - so you can find all the posts on this topic.]

I feel like I've walked into the tar pits and the case is sucking me under.  The still mild weather at least allows me exercise and some time with trees as I ride to and from court.  I'd show pictures, but the security at the court told me not to bring my camera any more because I'm not allowed to take it into the court section of the Federal Building and they aren't allowed to hold it for me - as they did last time I covered a trial and for the first few days.  I think it's because I got out late the other day and it was locked in overnight and others asked about it. The next day they wanted to give it back to me in the morning.  But I was going into court.  Should I hide it in the bushes in the atrium?  Sorry, can't take it to my car because I'm on my bike.  We need you to take it by noon.  I found someone in court who could take it out to his car at noon and I got it after court was over.  So now I have to leave it at home.  And no, I only have what someone called a 'smart enough' phone,  I don't think it takes pictures.  But yes, people can take their smart phones up.  I also learned they now have wifi in the court area.  I'm trying not use it.  One of the benefits of going to the trial is not having access to the internet.

I'm writing all this because it's much easier than trying to write about what happened in the courtroom.  First, I got there late, so I missed the finishing up of Ann Kirklund, the FBI agent. She was a great witness yesterday, very credible and I'm sorry I missed her testimony this morning.  I thought they were going to put on the economist to talk about how he calculated the backpay and pension award should Henry win his case.  I had gone to Karen Hunt's OLE class on the 2nd Amendment.  That was interesting.  OK, I need to get to the task at hand.

I got into court around 11am.  The new witness was taking the stand - Joseph Hazelaar.  (The name was hard for me to keep in my head so I looked it up.  It means hazel or hazel wood in Dutch.)

But before getting into details, let me try to outline what I'm starting to see as the strategy of Anthony Henry's attorneys  Since I didn't get to the first several days of the trial,  I missed the opening arguments which, presumably, would have spelled this out.  So I have to tease it out from the myriad details that my gut says we are hearing repeated way too much.  Today I heard Ray Brown ask the exact same questions about an hour apart.  But I'm sure there's a reason that I don't yet fathom.

Anyway, here's my overview based on what I've seen since last Friday.

Basically, Henry’s legal team is trying to disprove the allegations against Henry that came out in the Brown Report.  They are doing it by:

  1.  Disputing facts:
    1. That telling Gen Katkus about a National Guard member who was a drug suspect did NOT make the drug investigation ‘go sideways’
      1. Showing that the drug investigation continued very successfully after Katkus was informed 
      2. Informants continued cooperating
    2. That what Henry did (informing Katkus) was completely normal and followed procedures
  2. Trying to show that certain APD officers - particularly Jack Carson - ran a rogue investigation of the Guard and filed false allegations against Henry
  3. Showing that Investigator Rick Brown was NOT an independent investigator, but rather was a captive of people in the Muni who wanted to get evidence to terminate Henry, particularly Jack Carson and  Asst Municipal Attorney Blair Christiansen.  AND that Rick Brown wasn’t competent to do the study.
  4. Showing that Carson had personal reasons for wanting to go after the National Guard and harass Henry with complaints.   

These are things that seemed likely based on (mostly) today's testimony.

The Municipality of Anchorage is the defendant, but in a sense, Anthony Henry is on trial, or perhaps on appeal of the decision the Municipality made to terminate him.  So, he has to prove MOA made an incorrect  decision.

To do that, they have to drag  the jury through a mire of details.  And the jury has to see how each of the seemingly random bits of information come together to make the case.  The problem I'm having is figuring out which of the many details we're going through are directly relevant to proving their points, which are necessary to understand those directly relevant points, and which are just distracting.

For example, here are a few of the details I got to sit through today:

  1. Technical stuff about how FBI, APD, DEA, State Troopers coordinate through the Safe Street program and a program that seems to overlap with Safe Streets called OCDETF. (They pronounce it something like “Ocidet”).  It stands for Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force.   This seems to be in there to make the point there was only one investigation of drugs at the National Guard, and thus Jack Carson's claims that there was a separate one at SAU (Special Assignments Unit) at APD (Anchorage Police Department) would be false.  
  2. Understand more about how the task force with different jurisdictions work.  Again this seems aimed at delegitimizing Jack Carson.
  3. Technical details for processing suspects and requirements for recording interviews. Aimed at showing why Carson's claims were false.
  4. Jurisdictional issues like APD wouldn’t pick up $7000 in drug money in Glenallen, because it’s outside their jurisdiction, so troopers would do it, or why they would be collecting the money.  I’m not sure, but I understood it to be related to working with informants and supplying drugs for an outlying area that can’t afford to buy large amounts, so they wait to collect it after the person sells it.  Someone (Carson again?) claimed an APD officer did this.
  5. How much cocaine would stay an APD case, and how much would go to the FBI Task Force.  Little stuff stays in Anchorage, big stuff to FBI.  To delegitimize Carson's claims the SAU was also investigating.
  6. FBI would have to get permission from Headquarters to investigate a high level official like a General.  Why Henry, as part of the FBI run task force, couldn't do an undercover investigation of General Katkus on his own.  I think.
  7. Drug deals happening more in parking lots, because police get search warrants for houses. Random, not essential for the case, I think.
  8. Background on Jack Carson  To explain his motive.
  9. Undercover agents don’t see the confidential informants they manage in person very often, but frequently by phone. Random? And they don’t last long in that relationship. To dispute Carson's claims that telling Katkus ended the informant's cooperation.
  10. A jumpout is a drug bust with lots of unmarked cars. There was a big one at the Debarr Costco parking lot in 2010.  Show that the operation didn't die after Katkus was informed.
  11. You need a Glass Warrant if you are state or local law enforcement before you do an audio recording of someone who doesn’t know you’re law enforcement.  I think again to dispute Carson.

I'd note, I made the list of details, by going through my rough trial notes from today. But then I added the italics as I tried to see if I could connect the detail with one of their goals.  The exercise was illuminating to me.  It's mostly aimed at Jack Carson.  I did hear Herny's attorney say they will not call Carson as a witness.  Is he also on the defense's list.  He's someone I want to see for myself.  He's turning out to be the villain of the plaintiff's story.

Today, from a different perspective.  As I said somewhere up above, when I came in Joseph Hazelaar was being sworn in.

I think it's easiest to just give you my rough notes for his background.  They're abbreviated, but a much better option than the long tedious testimony that dragged out until 4:30 when the judge dismissed the jury.  I've combined the questions and the answers so I could keep up.

"Born?  grew up? in Virginia,  HS diploma
14 years in law enforcement
State Troopers, DEA, FBI
4 years in Fairbanks, patrol officer.
Transferred out to Bethel 2004, first drug ring
Training?  Canine handler, OJT, then started sending me to academies
Undercover or as detective?  Both
Dependent on case  - rural Alaska no real undercover, might bring people in temporarily as undercover
DEA 2006 transferred to major offenders, high level drug, the 2007 assigment with DEA to 2010.  Transferred to APD.  Coming out of DEA, not wanting to go back to troopers, Capt. Mallard thinking of assign with cooperation with APD.  To work under Lt. Henry at APD.  Into SAU Special Assignment Unit
Clearance, deputized for DEA, doesn’t cross over to FBI
How long in SAU til full fledged? - on paper around April, still had limited access, still reporting to Annie Kirklund, About April 2010.
Stil police officer?  No.  Self- employed, Fire arms industry.  [I think that's what he said]
Still have contact with law enforcement.  Yes
Terminated?  No
Terminated from Troopers?  April 13, 2011
Rehired?  April 2013
Investigation going on?  Rehired you following investigation?  Remained trooper a while?  Year and a half?
Terminated again?  Yes, I could not hold my Alaska Police Standards Certificate.
Finding against you of dishonesty?  Yes sir."
OK, so he lost his Alaska Police Standards Certificate for dishonesty.  When I looked up the meaning of his name I also got the decision about his certificate.

He also talked in detail about his undercover work, including a meeting with a representative of a Mexican drug cartel.

When he was questioned by Ray Brown for the plaintiff Henry, he was a very credible witness, answering quickly, articulately.  Seemed to know a lot of details.  But when he was questioned by the defense attorney Doug Parker, his yesses and nos got crisper and tighter.  And he couldn't remember as well. He looked like he was trying to calculate what Parker was tricking him into saying. And a couple of times he seemed to get riled a bit and pushed back with attitude.  Nothing remarkable, but enough to show that calm facade wasn't who this person always is.

And as he testified, I began thinking.  Here's a guy whose job (as undercover agent) depended on his ability to lie convincingly.  But also outside that job, he'd lied enough to get caught and to lose his police certificate.  Jury, be careful here.  (Of course, that's rhetorical since the jury aren't allowed to listen to any news about the trial.)

How much more detail do you want?  Because I'm running out of steam.  I hinted at a lot with my list of details.  Here's something that got me thinking.  Hazelaar told the story of having a confidential informant connect hm up the chain to a high level drug dealer. The names of the people who gave names and the people who were named were discussed in court.  I don't know what happened to the people involved (I asked and was told he couldn't reveal that.)  But I wondered what would happen if word got out to the guy who was informed on.  The names were originally redacted in the documents filed with the court before the trial, but in the trial they are all being discussed.  One attorney told me they had to because using initials was too confusing for the attorneys and the jury.  But I wonder.  I suspect no one is going to publish the names (I'm not) and they will never find out.

He also explained why the drug investigation had to be sped up around the time Henry told General Katkus there was a drug dealer in the National Guard.  It wasn't because  Katkus tipped people off to hide the drugs.  Rather, they had put a tracker and gps on the target's car.  But he found out right away.  How?  He took his tires in to be changed and the mechanic found it.  So lesson learned;  don't put trackers on cars when it's time to change to or from snow tires.  The mechanic thought it was a bomb.

This post sort of wanders from subject to subject, and from one style to another.  In that sense, it gives you an idea of what court feels like.  But I hope it was easier to follow.  It's certainly takes less of your time.

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