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Dugué & attorney Claude Kelly

 

 

The Dugué Defense: Part 6

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by Firpo Carr

Online Sentinel International

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Innocence Held in Abeyance 

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August 14, 2011, Los Angeles, California--The Kaufman Conspiracy has sputtered to an end. Former Sgt. Arthur Kaufman was found guilty of numerous lies (politely called "false statements" in legalese) by a federal grand jury on August 5, 2011. But the ones this article will focus on are the ones having to do specifically with his two imaginary witnesses: James Youngman and Lakiesha Smith.

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Regarding these he was found guilty of Count 11: "Conspiracy to Obstruct Justice and Make False Statements"; Count 24: "Fabrication of Witnesses"; and Count 25: "False Statements to the FBI regarding Fabricated Witnesses."

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Kaufman Lied to Dugué & FBI: The same lies about witnesses he told to FBI investigators he had earlier told to fellow investigator Sgt. Gerard Dugué. But, unlike the FBI with an array of government resources at their fingertips, Dugué did not have the wherewithal to prove Kaufman wrong.

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If Kaufman lied to both Dugué and the FBI, a reasonable person would conclude that Dugué is no more a co-conspirator in the Kaufman-orchestrated cover-up than are the FBI; and yet Dugué is charged with cooperating with Kaufman in a cover-up.

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Why Dugué Couldn't Catch Kaufman: Dugué didn't have a ghost of a chance catching crafty Kaufman in his lies about the fabricated witnesses. Why not? Because Kaufman erased all possible leads and made it so that Dugué would have to take him at his word. Here's the direct proof from the 54-page report (J-05934-05):

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Imaginary Witness James Youngman: "Sergeant Kaufman related this [Youngman's witness statement] was a brief verbal statement, as Officers were unable to obtain any audio or video taped statements due to post storm conditions." (Page 18)

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Imaginary Witness Lakiesha Smith: "Mrs. Smith advised Sergeant Kaufman that she was in the process of relocating to Dallas, Texas, to live with her sister at an unknown address. Sergeant Kaufman mentioned Mrs. Smith could add nothing further. He stated this too was a brief verbal statement, because it was impossible to obtain an audio or video tape statement, due to post storm conditions." (Page 18)

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Okay, put yourself in Dugué's shoes for a moment here, and ask yourself how you'd prove Kaufman was lying.  You have a hunch that he's lying, but hunches don't count. You have to prove he's lying (and, as a matter of fact, prove the others are lying too!). Now you have an idea--a minuscule one--of what Dugué was up against.

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Oh, by the way, since you can't prove that Kaufman and the other officers found guilty are lying, federal prosecutors charge you with cooperating with the cover-up.

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What Kaufman apparently forgot is that the FBI has far more toys than does little "deputy" Dugué and his pop-gun by comparison.

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The feds, with all their fancy toys, actually found Lakiesha Smith.  

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Kaufman Entraps an Unsuspecting Dugué: By way of reminder, Kaufman conducted an initial investigation over five weeks before Dugué was ever assigned. Here's how the report reads:

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"On Friday, October 14, 2005 at about 10:00AM, the follow up investigation into the shooting incident on the Danzinger Bridge, which occurred on Sunday, September 4, 2005, was assigned to Detective Sergeant Gerard Dugué, who is assigned to the Major Case Homicide Section of the Investigative Support Division. This assignment was made by Lieutenant James H. Keen, commander of the Major Case Homicide Section. The initial investigation was being handled by Sergeant Arthur Kaufman of the Seventh Police District's Investigative Unit." [Emphasis supplied.] (Page 17)

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Having over five weeks to construct a sophisticated array of lies, Kaufman now told Dugué about what transpired on the Danzinger Bridge:

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"On Friday, October 14, 2005 at about 3:00PM, Sergeant Gerard Dugué had the occasion to meet Sergeant Arthur Kaufman at the temporary Seventh District Police Station at the location of Chef Menteur Highway and Read Boulevard. Sergeant Kaufman gave Sergeant Dugué a verbal account of what occurred on the Danzinger Bridge on Sunday, September 4, 2005 at about 9:00AM." [Emphasis supplied.] (Page 17)

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So, a lying Kaufman has now given "Sergeant Dugué a verbal account of what occurred on the Danzinger Bridge on Sunday, September 4, 2005 at about 9:00AM." Poor, innocent, unsuspecting Sgt. Dugué has no idea that he's moving from the aftermath of the trauma of Katrina into a legalistic hell peppered with 54 pages of sinister lies.

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"A joint investigation then ensued with Sergeants Gerard Dugué and Arthur Kaufman. Sergeant Kaufman also related to Sergeant Dugué several interviews were done with police officers and civilians. He mentioned the following interviews and investigative accomplishments have already been pursued." (PAGE 17)

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With the simple words, "A joint investigation then ensued with Sergeants Gerard Dugué and Arthur Kaufman," the trap has snapped. Kaufman now has Dugué in his clutches. They're joined at the hip. Now Dugué's evil twin launches forth the lies.

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The Deadly Details of the Lies: Recall that Kaufman was found guilty of Count 25: "False Statements to the FBI regarding Fabricated Witnesses." Less we forget, this is the exact verbiage of the report, including the actual "False Statements" Kaufman made up "regarding Fabricated Witnesses":

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Prior to departing the scene, Sergeant Kaufman spoke with two (2) witnesses. The first witness, identified as James Youngman, noted in the witness section on page #10 of this report, stated he was on the Downman Road side of the Danzinger Bridge when he observed several black males shooting at police officers near Downman Road, and then fleeing over the bridge. Youngman advised that he also observed the police officers return fire and chase the males over the Danzinger Bridge. Sergeant Kaufman related this was a brief verbal statement, as Officers were unable to obtain any audio or video taped statements due to post storm conditions.

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The second witness was identified as Lakiesha Smith, noted in the witness section on page #10 of this report. Mrs. Smith stated she evacuated from her residence to the Friendly Inn at 4861 Chef Menteur Highway. Mrs. Smith stated she was on the second floor balcony of the Friendly Inn when she observed police officers pursuing two black male subjects. Mrs. Smith stated she immediately recognized the two males as those who had been looting and robbing people after the storm. Mrs. Smith stated she observed police officers chase one male, clad in a light colored shirt and blue jeans, into the motel driveway. Mrs. Smith stated she observed the male reach into his right waistband and turn towards the street. Mrs. Smith stated she heard loud gunshots and the male fell to the ground. Mrs. Smith observed the second male, later identified as Lance Madison, clad in all black, flee towards the rear of the motel complex. Mrs. Smith advised Sergeant Kaufman that she was in the process of relocating to Dallas, Texas, to live with her sister at an unknown address. Sergeant Kaufman mentioned Mrs. Smith could add nothing further. He stated this too was a brief verbal statement, because it was impossible to obtain an audio or video tape statement, due to post storm conditions. (Page 18)

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All lies.

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But wait. There's more.

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According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune newspaper (July 30, 2011), when questioned by the FBI, Kaufman did what our mothers warned us about when it came to lying: you'll have tell more lies to cover the ones you've already told. Here's what the paper said:

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Although Youngman's name was included on the potential witness list read to jurors before the trial started, he wasn't mentioned much during the trial by London. His private investigator testified he wasn't able to track down a Youngman who matched the description in the report. FBI Special Agent Kelly Bryson, who supervised the Danziger Bridge investigation, said that in a January 2009 interview, Kaufman described Youngman as possibly homeless. Bryson said during this interview she was surprised by Kaufman's description of Smith. Kaufman described her vividly, saying she was "very attractive" and "could have been a stripper," Bryson noted. He also said the woman waded through water in the courtyard of the Friendly Inn, where she was staying, to talk to him. Kaufman also raised the possibility the woman had given him a false name, Bryson said. While most police reports include Social Security numbers for witnesses, no such data is provided for Smith or Youngman. Bryson testified that Kaufman told her he didn't take notes during the interviews, but memorized the critical information.

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When Dugué voluntarily approached the FBI nearly two years ago, what did he tell them about Kaufman's handling of these "witnesses"? As noted in the previous installment (Dugué Defense: Part 5), here's what the FBI documented in their report:

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(1)   "Dugué found it ‘fishy' that two alleged civilian eyewitnesses to the incident were not transported back to the makeshift station to give statements";

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(2)   "Dugué wondered whether these two alleged eyewitnesses really existed, so he asked Kaufman about the female witness and Kaufman ‘swore to God' that she existed";

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(3)   "Dugué ‘could not explain' why one eyewitness was transported to the police station for a statement, but these other two alleged witnesses were not."

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As it turns out, Youngman--homeless or not--doesn't exist. And although Smith exists, she had evacuated to Mississippi prior to the storm and was therefore not in New Orleans at the time Kaufman said he interviewed her. Not surprisingly, she said she never even met Kaufman.

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Somehow, out of all of this, Sgt. Gerard Dugué got charged. And now as he awaits his trial in late September, his innocence is being held in abeyance.

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If federal prosecutors have their way, he'll become the latest victim in the post-Katrina shootings on the Danzinger Bridge.

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Stay tuned. There's plenty more to come.

Click here for Sgt. Gerard Dugué's background