BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Too bad to be believed?
That’s the doubt defense lawyers are trying to create with a federal jury.
It all revolves around the testimony of a criminal who says he controlled Baltimore’s jail from the inside.
Alex DeMetrick has the latest in the on-going testimony of Tavon White, the former Black Guerilla Family member turned prosecution witness.
White is the prosecution’s star witness as the feds seek more convictions in the jailhouse scandal that rocked the system.
Prosecutors didn’t need Tavon White to gain convictions against other corrections officers at Baltimore’s city jail, but they’re using him now against defendants in a federal racketeering case.
Five former guards, a jail kitchen worker and two inmates are on trial.
Charges include helping Tavon White smuggle in cell phones, drugs, knives and other contraband as well as opening up the jail to white’s enforcers like him and other members of the Black Guerilla Family.
White laid it all out last week as the prosecution’s star witness.
Defense lawyers hopes then to puncture it as self-serving lies.
“You’ll hear his testimony and I think you’ll draw the same conclusion,” a defense attorney said.
With snow swirling outside federal court in Baltimore, defense lawyers circled Tavon White in cross examination.
Challenging his credibility and trying to paint a criminal where lying is a part of the job.
They even hit on his oath to join the Black Guerilla Family, asking the oath meant nothing to you?
“Nothing,” White replied.
“It took you what, 15 or 20 minutes to break your pledge not to cooperate with law enforcement?, ” one defense attorney asked.
White said, it took me a minute to realize that.
White never appeared rattled on the stand and did not deny he is testifying for the prosecution in bid to reduce his own time in prison.
White is already serving 20 years in state prison from attempted murder.
By testifying, he’s hoping to avoid serving an additional 12 years in federal prison after his state release.
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