United States vs Rosemond – Murder-for-Hire 2nd Trial – Day 1
December 2, 2014 marked the first day of testimony in the United States vs James Rosemond (Jimmy Henchman), murder-for-hire trial. Both the government prosecutors and Rosemond’s defense attorney, J. Bruce Maffeo made their opening arguments before Judge Colleen McMahon in the United States Southern District Court of New York. The government reiterated their opening arguments from the first trial alleging that Rosemond hired a shooter to kill gang member and G-Unit associate, Lowell “Lodi Mack” Fletcher in retaliation for an assault against Rosemond’s 14 year-old son on March 20, 2007, as part of an alleged ongoing feud between Rosemond and G-Unit.
Rosemond’s first trial on these charges ended in a mistrial on March 7, 2014. At least one juror refused to deliberate after declaring that none of the government’s witness could be believed because they were all cooperating witnesses against Rosemond. The prosecution is relying on these same cooperating witnesses and has not produced any physical evidence or corroborating testimony.
The government’s first cooperating witness called to the stand was a repeat performer, Khalil Abdullah, a career criminal who testified against Rosemond in his drug trafficking trial and first murder trial. Abdullah repeated his testimony from the first trial alleging that he participated in or had knowledge of various criminal acts that Rosemond orchestrated against members of the G-Unit including shooting up Tony Yayo’s mother’s house, torching a bullet proof vehicle owned by G-Unit and slashing the face of Chris Lighty’s brother. Abdullah also admitted in court to having an extensive unrelated criminal record, possessing dozens of illegal firearms, making millions of dollars from trafficking narcotics and bribing a witness in an unrelated case. Abdullah got so comfortable “telling” things on the stand that he admitted to currently possess a knife while in federal prison (which is a violation of Bureau of Prison policy) although as part of his cooperation agreement with the government he agreed he would not commit any further crimes. When asked exactly where he was hiding the knife in prison, he coyly declined to answer, but made it clear the government knew he had it and he was facing no repercussions for it. Upon cross examination by defense attorney Bruce Maffeo, Abdullah also admitted that based on the crimes he had pleaded to and the federal sentencing guidelines he should be receiving a mandatory LIFE sentence, however, because he agreed to cooperate with the government and testified against Rosemond in two previous trials he received a reduced sentence of 8 years and after his testimony in this second murder trial- he could be home before this Christmas 2014.
Rosemond spoke briefly with Don Diva Magazine after Tuesday’s testimony. “It will again come down to whether or not the jury believes the government’s witnesses,” says Rosemond. When asked if 50 Cent would be testifying at this trial, Rosemond said, “I guess we will see.” You can read Don Diva Magazine’s exclusive interview with Jimmy Henchman in Don Diva Magazine Issue 55.
As it’s the second trial on these charges, the case is moving quickly and expected to conclude by next week. Two weeks before the start of the trial, Rosemond refused a plea deal to the murder charge that would have given him a 13-year prison sentence that would run concurrently with his current life sentence on drug trafficking charges. Rosemond now faces another life sentence.
I got the opportunity to sit through the opening arguments, hear a few of the government’s witnesses and observe the jury in the Rosemond trial. Sitting there it became obvious to me why so few defendants take the chance of going to trial and just take plea deals- often in spite of their innocence. Rosemond, who is now on his third trial, is up against the government’s 95% conviction rate, unlimited resources and ability to “create” or “paint” any picture they chose to. Regardless of whether you believe in Rosemond’s guilt or innocence… I want to walk you through some of the things that he or any other defendant who decides to fight for their freedom is subjected to… Just sitting in a courtroom during a trial will have you question the concept of a fair trial.
In my opinion, court trials are nothing more than theatrical performances and whichever side gives the best performance and is most persuasive wins.
Act 1 – A Jury of Your Peers
The first joke is the Jury and the concept of a “jury of your peers.” The sixth amendment of the United States Constitution is the part of the United States Bill of Rights that guarantees a citizen a speedy trial and an impartial jury of their peers. If they selected a jury of Rosemond’s peers, then you would have expected his jury to consist of a majority of African-Americans with business experience and an understanding of the hip hop culture or at least individuals in his tax bracket. Not the case. His jury consists of 10 Whites and 2 blacks. In my opinion, it doesn’t matter what year it is or the fact that we have a black president… NO WHITE PERSON CAN EVER UNDERSTAND THE PLIGHT OF THE BLACK MAN OR HIS CULTURE AND LIFESTYLE- especially the hip-hop lifestyle. PERIOD. The mere fact that they don’t have to walk down the street afraid to interact with law enforcement or worry about being killed by the police in cold blood, proves there is no understanding.
The jury selection process is a subject outside of the scope of what I observed, but I do question the process. I couldn’t help but notice that Rosemond has a juror whom admitted English is his second language and I personally witnessed the same juror not understand or ignore the judge’s basic instructions on where he was and wasn’t permitted to eat lunch. Despite a large sign that said NO JURORS ALLOWED, he….CLICK HERE TO READ THE REST OF THE WEEK RECAP AND ACTS I, II, and III