Arthur Hall, Senior Staff Reporter
Reputed crime boss Christopher 'Dudus' Coke is to have his day in a United States court on September 12.
Coke, who is facing charges of conspiracy to distribute drugs and conspiracy to traffic in firearms, was told of the trial date last Friday.
Mr Justice Robert Patterson Jr set the trial date when the parties appeared before him in US District Court in the Southern District of New York to discuss a motion filed by Coke's lawyers to throw out the wiretap evidence which prosecutors intend to use against him.
"I do expect the trial to start September 12 as scheduled, unless something extraordinary happens," Coke's lawyer Stephen H. Rosen told The Sunday Gleaner yesterday.
Rosen - who addressed Friday's court session via telephone from his home base in Florida - noted that before the trial gets under way, the parties are to appear before Patterson on July 8 to argue the case surrounding the wiretaps.
"The State now has 14 days to respond to our motion and two memoranda of law which we have filed to suppress the content of the wiretaps and then we get to file any additional data before the judge decides," said Rosen.
breach of constitution
Dudus' legal team is arguing that the wiretap information was acquired in breach of the Jamaican Constitution, and should not be admissible in the trial.
"The key aspect for us is that the Jamaican police sought the wiretap approval from the Supreme Court without telling the judge that the information would be shared with American prosecutors," Rosen said.
"Now the judge will decide if there was a breach of Jamaican law and that information shared with the United States."
Rosen has already filed with the US Court, the 2007 request by the local police to tap Coke's telephones, while local lawyers assisting him have applied to the Supreme Court for the wiretap data from 2005, 2006 and 2009.
"We are surprised at the lack of justification in the wiretap request that was granted by the Jamaican Supreme Court. That would not have been allowed in the US if the police did not show reasonable cause for the wiretap," added Rosen.
However, the document filed in the US Court shows the Jamaican police indicating that: "Our investigation indicates that there are reasonable grounds to believe that these persons have committed, and will continue to commit, the offences of conspiracy to import dangerous drugs ... ."
US prosecutors will be relying heavily on the intercepted information which involves Coke and his alleged co-conspirators.