'Kingpin trial' witness challenged Defense notes discrepancies, drug use

April 14, 1993|By Kris Antonelli | Kris Antonelli,Staff writer

Defense attorneys for two brothers accused of being drug kingpins attacked the testimony yesterday of key prosecution witness Lawrence C. Leiben, noting that he has given conflicting statements and has been smoking marijuana since the late 1970s.

"So, we are relying on your memory," said Timothy Murnane, attorney for Roger Emory, noting that Leiben -- who pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute marijuana and cocaine -- has admitted to selling over 448 grams of cocaine.

"Are you aware that that qualifies you as a cocaine kingpin?" Mr. Murnane asked.

Yesterday was the ninth day in the case against Roger Emory, 44, and his brother James, 47. Both men face up to 40 years in prison if they are convicted under the drug kingpin statue. The trial is expected to continue through the week.

Defense attorneys spent most of the day in Circuit Court trying to discredit statements that Leiben made in testimony Thursday.

While Leiben admitted his drug use, he said he was not an "addictive personality," and that he did not do marijuana and cocaine "over and over" again.

Both defense attorneys also criticized discrepancies between Leiben's grand jury testimony and his testimony during the trial.

While Leiben described James Emory as the head of the alleged ring and Roger as his "partner" during his testimony Thursday, he told the grand jury in January that: "Roger just did what [James] wanted him to do, reluctantly," according to testimony Mr. Murnane read from a transcript. "He [Roger] wanted to fish, hunt and go on his boat and just have a good time."

In his grand jury testimony, Leiben described Roger as a "clam."

"If you want something from Roger, you have to open him up," Mr. Murnane read from the transcript. "If you don't say anything to him, he won't say anything to you. He's just in his own realm."

But while testifying in Circuit Court Thursday, Leiben described Roger's role as tying up "loose ends" and taking care of things that Philip Dulany -- another co-defendant who pleaded guilty to lesser charges -- didn't have time to do. He described Roger as James' partner in the ring and said the pair split the profits.

But both attorneys stressed that Leiben never saw James or Roger leave the state to get the marijuana. Also, out of the 15 payments that Leiben said he made to the brothers, only one went to Roger, Mr. Murnane said.

"There is nothing to show that Roger was [James'] partner except your words," he told Leiben.

Defense attorney Peter S. O'Neill also complained that police told Leiben that in order to convict the brothers under Maryland's kingpin statue, he would have to say that Roger was a partner in the organization.

"Isn't it a fact that you were the kingpin in this and you have gone to prosecutors to make a deal and put the blame on [James] Emory?" he said.

Mr. O'Neill also chipped away at testimony concerning disagreements between Leiben and James Emory, and, at one point, accusing Leiben of "cheating" his client out of $8,000.

He also accused Leiben of collecting $18,000 in drug money after he got out of jail on bail and had told the grand jury he was out of the drug business.

During Leiben's testimony Thursday, he said there was a golden rule in the drug trade that prevented dealers from revealing the names of their sources.

"Despite this golden rule, James Emory introduced you to his Canadian source?" Mr. O'Neill asked incredulously, noting that Leiben also testified to knowing the name of James Emory's source in Texas.

According to testimony, Leiben told the grand jury that James Emory was funneling all the money he made dealing drugs into J JTC failing contracting business that went under in the late 1980s.

"He was paying everyone money and not making any," Leiben testified to the grand jury.

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