Prosecutors Accuse C-Murder Of Trying To Harm Witnesses In Murder Trial

By | May 2, 2002 at 12:00 AM

If C-Murder had any hope of ever posting bond in his second-degree murder trial, it’s gone now, as a Gretna, Louisiana, judge revoked his $2 million bond on Monday because of witness safety concerns.

Prosecutors accused the rapper, whose real name is Corey Miller, of having smuggled into the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center a cell phone, which may have been used to call friends and have them “harm or influence” witnesses. “We don’t really know what the purpose of [the phone] was,” said Conn Reagan, the Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, district attorney’s office’s chief of trials, “but the state’s position is that the phone was being used to influence witnesses, and since he had the wherewithal to get it smuggled into jail, he might pose a threat if he were released on bond.”

Two deputies linked to the smuggled phone were fired, according to the sheriff’s office public information officer. “Two officers were terminated on the charges of malfeasance in office and introducing contraband in a correctional facility,” Col. John Fortunato said. “The investigation is ongoing.”

C-Murder’s co-counsel Ronald Rakosky dismissed claims that the phone would have been used for anything sinister, saying that the defense’s real concern is that the district attorney’s office hadn’t complied with the discovery process by providing them with the identities of witnesses who might exonerate the rapper, who is accused of shooting and killing 16-year-old Steve Thomas at the Platinum Club on January 12. The district attorney’s office told Judge Martha Sassone at the 24th Judicial District Court on Monday that the identities of witnesses were withheld initially to protect their safety, but Rakosky countered that the defense is entitled to information that could clear his client’s name, and that concern over witness safety should not override C-Murder’s right to due process.

“The prosecution wants to talk about contraband in jails, but they’re unwilling to talk about and provide information that would be evidence of the offense for which [C-Murder] is charged,” Rakosky said. “It’s a silly notion that these witnesses would be in danger. How would they be in danger? He loves them and embraces them. But they’ve refused to provide their names. Doesn’t simple fairness demand that they do? There were dozens who were present and did not identify [C-Murder]. It was days [after the shooting] before his name came up. His name isn’t on the 911 calls. No one wants to provide us with the basics to prepare for a defense, to look for other witnesses.”

The district attorney’s office has since agreed to comply with the court’s extended deadline to provide witness information by the next scheduled hearing date on May 22.

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