An admitted drug dealer and a convicted cop took the stand Tuesday as the retrial of former federal lawman Chad Scott delved into often contentious testimony about Scott’s efforts to secure the conviction of Houston-based drug trafficker Jorge Perralta.
Scott faces seven counts of perjury, obstruction of justice and falsification of government records in a retrial made necessary after a jury in February was unable to reach a verdict on any of the counts and U.S. District Judge Jane Triche Milazzo declared a mistrial.
Scott sat impassively in a gray suit Tuesday as former informant Frederick “Boobie” Brown and former Drug Enforcement Administration task force officer Karl Newman, who was known as Scott’s right-hand man, testified repeatedly that Scott was gung-ho to make busts and get convictions of drug traffickers in southeast Louisiana, even if it meant breaking the law to do so.
Both men are currently serving time for felonies and testified as part of agreements with federal prosecutors that they hope will result in reduced sentences for them.
Brown, who operated a major trafficking operation out of Houston, explained that soon after Scott first contacted him several years ago, he agreed to become an informant. Brown said he would clue Scott in when large drug deals were going on in southeast Louisiana, allowing Scott to make the busts and collect the accolades that went with them.
Brown said that by doing so, he hoped that Scott would help him “work off” the charges Scott told him he was facing.
Scott told Brown that he could also surrender assets to Scott as a way to earn good will from prosecutors. Specifically, Brown said, he bought Scott a truck and gave it to him in Houston. But when Scott filled out the DEA seizure forms, he said he collected it in Metairie. Lying on the forms is the basis for the two charges Scott faces of falsification of government records.
Brown testified that he never met a drug trafficker named Jorge Perralta. But, he said, Scott wanted him to testify during a 2016 trial in New Orleans that he knew Perralta.
When Scott asked him beforehand if he was “sure” he didn’t know Perralta, Brown said, he understood Scott’s meaning.
“He was asking me to lie,” Brown said. “He was bringing me to the pond to drink, and I was going to drink.”
Under cross-examination by Scott’s attorney, Stephen Garcia, Brown stuck to his story as Garcia peppered him with questions about discrepancies in his statements to federal investigators and prosecutors.
“You have a habitual history of lying to law enforcement officers, do you not?” was Garcia’s first question.
“I don’t know,” Brown said.
With Newman on the stand, prosecutors sought to portray Scott as the alpha dog of the north shore-based drug task force on which Newman served.
“You had to be able to work on the gray side and the white side of the line” to work with Scott, Newman said, including committing crimes and violations of DEA policy.
“Did you ever lie?” prosecutor Timothy Duree asked him.
“Absolutely,” Newman replied.
“Falsify documents?” Duree said.
“Yes,” Newman said.
Newman has been in jail since May 2016 and has pleaded guilty to committing a robbery while in possession of a gun. But, as he testified, he wasn’t always happy with his plea deal, and that led to comments he made on recorded jailhouse phone calls in 2016 and 2017, including when he told his wife that he would say whatever prosecutors wanted him to, “whether it’s true or not.”
He said he sees things differently now. “Absolutely I am guilty and I take responsibility,” he said.
Newman admitted using drugs and stealing money while working as a task force officer, including with Johnny Domingue, another former task force officer who has pleaded guilty and is expected to testify later this week.
Garcia pounced on these admissions. He repeatedly asked Newman about the call to his wife. Newman said, “I don’t recall it. But I don’t dispute it.”
Garcia also asked Newman if he told his wife that his attorney had warned that if he didn’t cooperate, prosecutors were going to ask for 150 years for his sentence.
“I don’t remember if I told her that,” Newman replied.
Through one full day of testimony, prosecutors are attempting to paint a picture of Scott as a habitual liar and corrupt officer who ran roughshod over DEA policy and federal law in an effort to further his own career. Scott’s attorneys, emboldened by the government’s failure to get a conviction in the first trial, are refusing to concede even an inch of territory in the hopes of getting a not guilty verdict this time.
The trial is expected to last through next week.
But what can you do to stop snitches? Here’s a list of snitches with pictures and locations. Also read: Control of Information so you can stop snitching on yourself. Also: How to find out who’s a snitch and 10 Ways to Spot an Informant and How the cops are tracking you and No Warrant No Problem and Criminal defenses (How to beat your court case) And to inspire you: 7 Fugitives who Became Folk Heroes, How I Lost my friends