BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Ringleader or lone wolf. Two very different sides of the inmate who says he ran the Baltimore City jail emerged in closing arguments in federal court.
Alex DeMetrick reports the fate of two gang members and six jail employees depends upon which version of Tavon White the jury believes.
The scandal at Baltimore City’s jail revolves around Tavon White, the Black Guerilla Family gang member who pleaded guilty in a bid to do less prison time by becoming the prosecution’s star witness against five guards, a jail kitchen worker and two other gang members.
Much of what the eight defendants are accused of doing is spelled out in a warning sign inside the jail. Inside federal court in Baltimore, the prosecution spelled out the actual charges during closing arguments. Crimes included racketeering conspiracy, drug distribution conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy—all allegedly abetted by the six employees and two gang inmates through extortion, drug and contraband smuggling and sexual relationships with female jail staff.
Because so much of the prosecutor’s case rests on the testimony of Tavon White, from the beginning defense lawyers have worked to paint White as a self-serving liar.
“You’ll hear his testimony and I think you’ll draw the same conclusion,” said a defense lawyer.
The defense began its close arguments, staying “This case is all about Tavon White, because Tavon is in the middle of it. Tavon was running a sex, drug conspiracy on his own. That’s what he was doing.”
And while his testimony might possible lead to less time behind bars, prosecutors urged the jury to consider White’s position in the scandal, stating, “If you are going to try the devil, you have to go to hell to get your witnesses.”
Tavon White is currently serving a 20-year sentence for attempted murder. As part of his deal for testifying, White will serve 12 years for racketeering concurrently, meaning the 12 years won’t have to be served after the 20-year sentence is completed.