News / Utah / 
Defense delivers closing arguments in TCG Rico case

Defense delivers closing arguments in TCG Rico case

By Pat Reavy | Posted - Oct. 4, 2011 at 8:55 p.m.


4 photos

This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

SALT LAKE CITY — Guilty by association versus guilty by investigation.

That's what defense attorney Scott Williams told jurors to look at when deliberating the case of seven men, all allegedly members of the Tongan Crip Gang, charged under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act, also known as RICO.

Defense attorneys for each of the defendants delivered closing arguments in U.S District Court on Tuesday. The case was expected to go to the jury first thing Wednesday.

Prosecutors, who delivered their closing arguments Monday, contend that between 2003 and 2008, the group participated in a series of at least 30 crimes, including a homicide, a second shooting, beer thefts and armed robberies at fast-food chains and a Walmart.

The government says the acts add up to a racketeering conspiracy.


Defense attorneys argued the government had failed to come up with any witnesses or evidence that proved organized crime was taking place.

But defense attorneys Tuesday portrayed the TCG's as really having "no rhyme or reason" to their organization.

In order for a group to be prosecuted under RICO or be considered an "enterprise," Williams said crimes had to be committed "for the purpose of maintaining or enhancing his position in the organized crime enterprise."

The problem, he said, was there were no positions to be held in the group.

"What is the proof of the position held?" he asked jurors. "There is none. There is no evidence."

Defense attorney David Finlayson noted that some of the defendants who allegedly committed crimes together barely knew each other.

"Where is the association? How did these guys get to know each other?" he questioned.

Defense attorneys argued the government had failed to come up with any witnesses or evidence that proved organized crime was taking place.

"The evidence in this case has been guilty by association, not investigation," said Williams, added that it was a matter of "investigation or inventigation."

After four weeks of trial, Williams said he still wasn't sure what the rules of the TCG gang were or who called any of the shots. There were as many people claiming to be TCG members as there were reasons for becoming a member, he said.

Williams, while saying he was not downplaying the seriousness of danger of street gangs, told jurors that they watched the government's case "dissolve before your eyes" as no evidence was presented supporting the group being an enterprise. He told the jurors to ask themselves "What would Sherlock Holmes do?" and to use common sense in making their decision.

"There is no justice in making TCG something it's not. There's no justice in making young men something they're not."


There is no justice in making TCG something it's not. There's no justice in making young men something they're not.

–Defense attorney Scott Williams


Williams, who represents David Kamoto aka "D- Down," called the 2007 shooting death of another gang member the "elephant in the room" as no one was ever charged with the crime, yet the government was trying to connect the seven men on trial with the crime.

The other men on trial include Eric Kamahele aka "Smooth," Daniel Maumau aka "D-Loc," Kepa Maumau aka "Kap-Loc," Sitamipa Toki aka "Tok-Loc," Mataika Tuai aka "Fish" and David Walsh aka "D-Nutt."

The men were among 17 suspected TCG members indicted last year. Five have reached plea agreements with prosecutors and four others are scheduled for trial next year.

At one point during closing arguments Tuesday, defense attorneys called for a mistrial after an alternate juror handed Judge Tena Campbell a note saying that several jurors were concerned about possible retribution if guilty verdicts were handed down.

Defense attorneys argued that meant some jurors may have been talking about the case, which they are not allowed to do.

Campbell denied the motion and said she was to instruct jurors at the end of closing arguments to read their jury instructions again, which included making a decision based on the evidence presented in court and nothing else.

Email:preavy@ksl.com

Photos

Related Stories

Pat Reavy

    SIGN UP FOR THE KSL.COM NEWSLETTER

    Catch up on the top news and features from KSL.com, sent weekly.
    By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to KSL.com's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

    KSL Weather Forecast