Chapter 1 – Prisoner #17903-054
James Rosemond is not a Drug Kingpin
Six months ago as a filmmaker, producer, and investigative journalist, I decided to embark on an investigation into former music impresario James Rosemond aka Jimmy Henchmen’s life. Why? Because in my initial review of his case files and a few brief conversations with those involved with the proceedings, I realized several egregious tactics that were employed by former prosecutor and current New York Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky. There was a federal investigation that had spanned eleven years, and there were three trials that put Henchman behind bars serving six consecutive, life sentences. In writing this story, I will kill the nickname of Jimmy Henchman and refer to him only as James or Jimmy Rosemond, prisoner number 17903-054. Rosemond, Hip-Hop’s equivalent to the boogie man, is an individual, who is fighting to reduce his jail time by using legal means. His rebuttal to the federal government is a myriad of evidence that totally refutes their charges.
On June 21, 2011, James Rosemond was on the run from the DEA and a criminal indictment of being a drug kingpin. He was prepared to leave the country, but he wanted to see his family one last time, which has been the story of many criminals in the same situation.
He was staying at the W Hotel in New York City under an alias, and had various, fake passports so he could travel out of the United States. Rosemond was going to be charged with what is referred to in legal circles as THE KINGPIN STATUTE or a CCE charge, which stands for Continuing Criminal Enterprise. After a brief foot chase, Rosemond was arrested on Park Avenue South, and the DEA agents perp walked him in front of cameras.
My ongoing and exhaustive investigation has taken me inside the sordid, underbelly of Hip-Hop, and into the labyrinth of the Federal, Criminal Justice System. I believe that James Rosemond’s charges of being a drug kingpin do not meet the established guidelines. However, he is not completely innocent, which leaves us in a murky-grey area of parsing through the truth and understanding the intricacies of a drug trafficking operation. Additionally, how did the United States Attorney craft an ingenious narrative to convince the jury that Jimmy was the head on the snake of a nationwide, drug crew who made close to ten million dollars?
I have talked to people inside the drug crew and informants; they paint a vastly different picture than what the government presented at trial. I have cross-checked facts in recorded interviews in excess of fifty hours with some of the major players in this story.
In these serialized set of articles, I will present solid facts and evidence that Jimmy was not a drug kingpin under the definition of the law. I believe that government informants colluded with the United States Attorney, former prosecutor, Todd Kaminsky, and various media outlets, to convict Jimmy of these charges. My investigation is on-going; however, at its core there are five components that confirm that Rosemond had a periphery connection to a crew of street hustlers and narcotic traffickers that operated as freelancers. He was NOT a criminal boss of an organized, continuing criminal enterprise.
I am currently in production on a documentary series surrounding this case, and these articles will be a companion piece to the film. I have a sense of urgency in writing this expose as Rosemond is behind bars awaiting a disposition on various, legal appeals that are being filed.
The Continuing Criminal Enterprise Statute (commonly referred to as CCE Statute or The Kingpin Statute) is a United States federal law that targets large-scale drug traffickers who are responsible for long-term and elaborate drug conspiracies. Unlike the RICO Act, which covers a wide range of organized crime enterprises, the CCE statute covers only major narcotics organizations. CCE is codified as Chapter 13 of Title 21 of the United States Code, 21 U.S.C. § 848
The sentence for a first CCE conviction is a mandatory minimum 20 years’ imprisonment (with a maximum of life imprisonment), a fine of not more than $2 million, and forfeiture of profits and any interest in the enterprise. Under the so-called “super kingpin” provision added as subsection (b) to the CCE statute in 1984, a person convicted of being a “principal” administrator, organizer, or leader of a criminal enterprise that either involves a large amount of narcotics (at least 300 times the quantity that would trigger a 5-year mandatory-minimum sentence for possession), or generates a large amount of money (at least $10 million in gross receipts during a single year), must serve a mandatory life sentence without possibility of parole (sometimes referred to as a “living death” or “pine box” sentence, since the offender is strictly ineligible for release while alive).
The CCE charge or Kingpin statute is a very powerful weapon that the United States Attorney can use at will for large-scale, drug investigations. Historically, it has been used in cases against Mexican, drug cartels, such as The Tijuana Cartel, and Ross Ulbricht, the mastermind of the online, drug marketplace Silk Road. This CCE charge was also used recently in the Hip-Hop world against a crew called BMF or Black Mafia Family. I spent three years examining the DEA’s case of two brothers, Demetrius “ Meech” Flenory and Terry “Southwest” T Flenory. In the government’s case against the brothers, they were able to expose a vast, criminal conspiracy with BMF hubs in fifteen cities. Meech ran the operation from Atlanta, while Terry kept his crew in Los Angeles. It was evident in investigative files that Meech was a handshake away from a Mexican cartel connect. By the letter of the law, BMF and the brothers were kingpins. The DEA estimated that they moved close to $300 million dollars’ worth of drugs. Additionally, the DEA believed that BMF was running the largest, domestic drug crew ever assembled.
Stories like BMF and others charged under this statute pale in comparison to the case that the U.S. Attorney presented in regards to the Rosemond Organization and its purported money trail.
In the Rosemond trial, there were five key factors that contributed to Rosemond being labeled a drug kingpin. In a series of articles in the next few months, I will provide copious, investigative evidence concerning these key factors. The case that the government presented and its sentences are suspect at best. In order to understand the history of the Rosemond case, one must become familiar with the former United States Attorney, Todd Kaminsky.
Todd spent a decade as a federal prosecutor and assistant district attorney. As an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Kaminsky made a name for himself by going after politicians. He did, however, have a fixation on the Hip-Hop industry and specifically focused on James Rosemond. When Rosemond was in his twenties, he was a gangster, drug dealer, and a menace on the streets of New York City. Kaminsky was a young prosecutor in Queens, and at that time, Rosemond’s name came across his radar during many narcotics investigations.
As Rosemond entered the Hip-Hop music industry, Kaminsky followed his exploits. Early on, Kaminsky used a legal strategy to gain information on Rosemond. He contacted criminal associates of Rosemond, former running mates, who were in the federal prison system. Also, he would transfer prisoners to the Metropolitan Detention Center in downtown Brooklyn. Kaminsky would offer life-long gangsters relief in their sentences, or free get out of jail cards for them or their families. On the surface, this tactic seemed to work; however, many people refused the offer because they did not want to break the “code of the streets.” Sometimes, the information that Kaminsky wanted on Jimmy was not true, or he would approach criminals to get information; however, the individuals had never done any business with Jimmy.
Kaminsky was no longer interested in the big fish of yesterday---the mafia names were no longer available to prosecute because his predecessors had dismantled La Costa Nostra. What were going to be the next great cases that would catapult someone’s career? In order to gain national attention, it became expedient for Kaminsky to find Hip Hop cases that would result in major, sensational press. These street legends, who had infiltrated the Hip-Hop industry became stars and made legitimate money. Unfortunately, they also also became Kaminsky’s targets.
Rosemond was at the top of that heap and ripe for the picking. He had great deal-making skills and intervened on the streets by standing up to the powers that be. These actions made him invaluable to record company executives like Barry Hankerson and Lyor Cohen. Also, known gang leaders and other street guys, who had up and coming artists from every city respected Rosemond.
What was lost at the drug trial were the accomplishments and success that Jimmy had as a legitimate businessman. In 1991, he co-created the first Hip-Hop Mega conference called “How Can I Be Down.” It was a huge success and breeding ground for many Hip-Hop stars of today. He signed Groove Theory in 1993 to Sony Records, and their hit Tell Me ultimately went to number five on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. James also managed a team of up and coming music producers. Under his tutelage, Salt N Pepa’s hit record Shoop was birthed and the song rose to number four on the Billboard Hot 100. In 2000, he executive produced the platinum selling soundtrack for the film Romeo Must Die. Furthermore in 2002, he formed Czar Entertainment and managed or consulted for Akon, The Game, Gucci Mane, Sheek Louch, Sean Kingston, Rick Ross, Shyne, and Mario Winans. He became the manager for the actor, Michael K. Williams. He also represented athletes, including boxers Mike Tyson, Hector Camacho Jr., and Andre Berto. In a huge, lucrative move, Rosemond renegotiated Mike Tyson’s deal with Showtime.
The government totally ignored these sources of revenue at the trial. Rosemond became a behind-the-scenes operator, with deft skills that are one part Brooklyn street hustler and two parts cunning entrepreneur. He is a tenacious man, who has always clawed his way to the top against every obstacle.
Kaminsky’s obsession and the resources of the United States Attorney’s office made him a rising star with political aspirations. With the help of former Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Chuck Philips, a campaign was set in motion to slander Jimmy. He wrote theoretical articles about who shot Tupac Shakur at Quad Studios in the LA Times, which falsely implicated him. He sent letters to associates of Rosemond in jail to illicit information on him as well. He also told these inmates that Rosemond was now a confidential informant for the federal government...
Chapter 2 -James Rosemond, Chuck Philips, and the LA Times slander.
Don’t believe the hype...
I called the answering machine of disgraced journalist and reporter, Chuck Philips, several times during the last two months. I left messages asking him to go on the record about his pursuit to defame James Rosemond by contacting associates of Rosemond and asking them to attest to any criminal activities he may have done.
At one time, Philips was a well-respected journalist, writing for the LA Times, Rolling Stone, Spin, and the Washington Post. At his peak, he won a Pulitzer Prize in 1999 for “beat reporting” with Michael Hiltzik of the LA Times. They collaborated on a year-long series that exposed corruption inside the music business.
In 2002, Philip’s foray into the belly of Hip-Hop came when he wrote an article for the LA Times about the investigation of the murder of Tupac Shakur in Las Vegas. The article started a firestorm of controversy when Philips alleged that Christopher Wallace, a.k.a The Notorious B.I.G., hired Southside Crip gang members who conveniently had just had an altercation with Tupac and Suge Knight at the MGM Grand. In the article, Philips imagined a scene that took place inside a hotel room, where Southside Crip members negotiated a one-million-dollar fee paid by Wallace, with one caveat. Philips wrote that Wallace placed his .40 caliber handgun on the table and asked that his bullet should be the one that will kill Shakur. Why didn’t the editors of the LA Times fire Philips right on the spot? Philips had never corroborated any of the information that was in the article. The same night of the Shakur’s murder, Wallace was at a studio in New York City, and he had receipts in his pocket to prove it. Additionally, no one recalled seeing Notorious B. I. G., one of the most popular, hip-hop heavyweights or his deep entourage in Vegas.
How did this article get published? How did the LA Times fact check it? Furthermore, what was the political agenda behind releasing such a sensationalized story? Those questions have never been answered. The LA Times printed false stories about the murder investigations of Wallace and Shakur. Many of the facts of the case pointed to the involvement of corrupt LAPD officers and officials. There are journalists who speculated that the Times was the mouthpiece of the LAPD and the misinformation they wanted to disseminate. Philips was in a fever to break any story concerning the murders; he traveled into the world of fantasy when he wrote about these investigations inside the Hip-Hop industry.
Philips managed to stay above the fray of controversy, as well as the fact checkers at various publications. The best writers and investigative journalists have failed to present the true story of who murdered Tupac. In 2008, Chuck Philips decided to set his sights on James Rosemond and the story behind the infamous shooting of Tupac Shakur at Quad Studios. He wanted to break new and explosive information so he traveled into an alternate reality where both Sean P.Diddy Combs and James Rosemond had conspired to set up the robbery and assault of Shakur. Philips’ main source and controversial proof are FBI documents called 302s. These are internal, FBI investigative documents that are typewritten by agents after conducting interviews with confidential informants or other sources of information. James Sabatino, a convicted con man and inmate at a federal jail, provided the documents and other information.
The editors at the LA Times once again ran the article, which caused others to write ancillary stories filled with wide-spread speculation and gossip. These FBI documents, the 302s, pointed the finger at Rosemond; however, no one knew that the documents had been forged inside a federal jail. Ten days after the article ran in the LA Times, The Smoking Gun, a criminal blog, discovered that the documents were phony.
Rosemond’s reputation as a first-rate music manager and power broker inside the Hip-Hop world was destroyed. He had successfully outrun his past, but the LA Times’ story had single handedly ruined Rosemond’s current connections in the insular world of global record companies.
The Los Angeles Times printed a retraction, and Jeffrey Lichtman, an attorney for Rosemond, threatened to file a civil law suit for libel and defamation of character. Rosemond ultimately settled and got a large cash payout. Philips was released from the La Times, but his obsession with Rosemond did not subside. In September of 2010, Alison Gendar, a journalist from the New York Daily News, in consort with Philips, wrote a story, which stated that Rosemond was a police informant.
In the course of researching the Rosemond case, I was able to uncover several, handwritten letters from Chuck Philips to various associates of Rosemond, who were in the federal prison system.
In one bizarre interaction, Chuck Philips had sent correspondence to a convicted, Miami drug kingpin, Ali “Zoe” Adams, whose true-life story was fodder for a Hollywood movie. While he was importing large shipments of cocaine, Adams dabbled in the music business. I contacted Adams in the federal system and he told me that Philips had reached out to him by phone and letters. He also had contacted his family on various occasions. Philips was desperate for any information about Rosemond’s alleged criminal exploits dealing with drug trafficking or murder. Philips shared with Adams that Rosemond had become an informant and had snitched on him. Ali thought this information was laughable at best, as he went on the record stating that he and Rosemond had never conducted any illegal business. In fact, Rosemond had helped him break into the record business. Philips tried to appeal to Ali’s wife to get her children to “talk some sense into him”; however, he was not successful.
After the false LA Times story, it was obvious that Philips had a vendetta against Rosemond. The only problem was that he had run out of press outlets to create anymore fabricated headlines. Philips was relegated to small, Hip-Hop blogs, or the Tupac conspiracy theory junkies’ sites, who still gave him credibility.
At one point shortly after the Daily News story, Philips initiated his own blog. He posted a few stories with big promises to break more news on the murders of Wallace and Shakur.
On the first day of James Rosemond’s kingpin trial, Philips came to court, but he was immediately removed because he could be called as a witness in these criminal proceedings. After that incident, Philips seemingly disappeared into the ether. I am going to hire a private investigator to track down an address and working number, but to date, Philips has not gone on the record about anything.
Rosemond faced an insurmountable obstacle. He had left his past behind in his mind, but a powerful institution had slandered his name on the front pages. To make matters worse, the Internet was now a breeding ground for amateur sleuths, gossipmongers, and people who were obsessed with Tupac in life and death. Googling “Rosemond” is a trip down a rabbit hole of Hip-Hop crime with eighty percent of it factually incorrect. How do you come back from such a public expose?
The events at Quad Studios, the LA Times” articles, and a public feud between the Game and 50 Cent overwhelmed Jimmy. He had reinvented himself and seemingly turned his life around; however, now the old images of him as a cunning, Brooklyn street hustler and gangster had won the spotlight. With the feud between 50 Cent and Game violently escalating, Rosemond was convinced that the DEA, U. S. Attorney, and the NYPD had him on their radar. In a story he has conveyed often, Rosemond talks about how he walked out of Hot 97 with Game after an on-air interview, and undercover NYPD detectives or DEA followed him from his office to meetings in New York City.
Was it possible that the press, the scourge of the LA Times story, and the rumor mill stories had caught the attention of Todd Kaminsky? Rosemond speculates that the United States Attorney began to look into his finances and investigate everyone who surrounded him. Rosemond’s kingpin trial jury had access to every Internet article, even though the judge had instructed them not to read anything about Rosemond’s past in the media. Additionally, the jury was not sequestered. Every day, celebrities like Michael K. Williams of HBO’s The Wire and other media outlets were present in the courtroom.
It is not improbable that some of the jury had read about Rosemond and the numerous false Internet theories on his past.
Taking everything into consideration, to declare a ruling of guilty or not guilty in the Rosemond’s kingpin trial is not an easy order. Some of the details of the story the government outlined to the jury were correct; however, other facts were massaged into a larger narrative that included a number of James Rosemond’s associates.
To understand how the government assembled this case, I had to become familiar with a list of names. Two key individuals were Henry Butler, a LA-based, Rolling 60’s gang member and husband to Leah Daniels, the sister of Lee Daniels, who is the famed, Hollywood director and creator of the hit show, Empire on Fox. Butler was an associate of Jimmy, but he was also a major, narcotics trafficker. Another associate and friend of Rosemond was Khalil Abdullah, a large-scale, narcotics trafficker, who moonlighted under the guise of a security company owner. These two individuals are pivotal in the telling of Rosemond’s case, and how the government was able to portray Jimmy as a drug kingpin. In a twist of fate, I will reveal evidence that shows Abdullah and Henry Butler were not working under or for Rosemond. In addition, I’ll show that what was presented as the “Rosemond Organization”, was at best a loose knit group of individuals, which the government skillfully weaved together for the purpose of obtaining an indictment on a CCE charge. The government knew that the bigger headline was convicting “Jimmy Henchman” as a kingpin; therefore, he became the major target.
Chapter 3 - The Chessboard
Henry Butler, Khalil Abdullah and the "Rosemond Organization"
Large-scale drug networks and organizations develop over time. They are intricate vessels that combine manpower, strategic thinking, and the ability to command and control cells of people in various sectors of the business. This business must secure good transportation and money collection. Additionally, skilled managers must be recruited to make sure the “bottom line” is met. Drug kingpins are like any CEOs, except they are more cunning than the average, especially if the product is coke, then lives are in danger everyday.
As the United States government assembles cases against drug crews, it uses a number of tools, similar to a game of chess. All the targets or the members of the drug crew are pawns on the board. In James Rosemond’s story, the calculated error he made after he became successful in the music business was he continued to surround himself with “street guys.” These individuals lived on the edge and some were major narcotics traffickers on the East and West coasts. The truth is although Jimmy did leave that life behind, he was ultimately tied to members of a “cocaine investment group,” which was a loose affiliation of traffickers, who pooled their money and resources.
The government began its investigation by examining Jimmy’s associates. Number one on the list was Mohammed Stewart or “Tef.” This low-level gangster was a loose cannon and not afraid of gunplay or intimidation. Tef tried to be successful in the music business; however, he was much more comfortable navigating the underworld as a low-level enforcer.
In various court transcripts, Tef saw himself as Jimmy’s muscle. Unbeknownst to Jimmy he committed several nefarious acts for the purpose of “scoring points”. He admitted to shooting up the offices of Chris Lighty’s Violator Records, and slashing Lighty’s brother’s face with a razor.
In targeting a low-level associate like Tef, the DEA and Todd Kaminsky knew that he could possibly be a small piece of the larger puzzle that they were trying to solve. In another act of senseless violence, Tef was caught in Staten Island with a firearm and a small amount of cocaine. It was at this time that Tef decided to become a government informant. This decision gave the federal government passageway into the so-called “Rosemond Organization.”
The problem was that Jimmy and Tef had a tenuous relationship. He talked to several affiliates about Tef being involved in narcotics distribution. Jimmy at a point concluded that Tef could not be trusted and was, therefore, a liability.
The government tried unsuccessfully to have Tef record substantive phone conversations with Jimmy. They also wired Tef using a hidden camera inside a baseball cap. He tried for two years to get Jimmy on the record, but he produced little results. There were some calls recorded when the pressure of a pending indictment was eminent in which Rosemond cautiously told Stewart to lay low. He also stressed not wanting to get caught up in criminal activity that he had not partaken in.
There were many people who betrayed Rosemond, but the most insidious was a childhood friend of Rosemond called Winston Harris or “Winnie.” He had grown up in Brooklyn and was a close confidant and street hustler, who worked closely with Rosemond during his early, criminal career. Harris was like a brother to Rosemond. During the late nineties, he was deported to Jamaica after being charged with a number of drug felonies. When he was in Jamaica, he longed to return to the United States. Ironically, Rosemond arranged via his many contacts to smuggle Harris back into the country. Upon returning, Harris was given a job at Czar Entertainment, and began to cultivate his street ties so he could go inside the drug business. Harris had many contacts that would distribute at the street level kilograms of cocaine.
Harris was brought in by the Feds, and he agreed to cooperate. In a concentrated effort to record Rosemond’s drug transactions in person or on the phone, Harris wore a wire and other recording devices, including hidden cameras. His investigative work product was laughable because he failed every opportunity.
The government manipulated Mohammed Stewart and Winston Harris like pawns. The investigation moved up the ladder, and either by default or sheer luck, they targeted two individuals who were moving large quantities of narcotics. They were also the two key components of the case. Kaminsky knew he would have to manipulate a part of his narrative to get to the real question of whether Rosemond should be prosecuted under the Kingpin Act.
In any working drug crew and kingpin case, ultimately, there is a “source of supply.” The “source of supply” for the DEA and the United States Attorney is the Holy Grail of any investigation. In any drug case in the eighties and early nineties, “the source of the supply” was Colombian drug traffickers, who resided in Colombia, or they had established drug labs and transportation routes.
In today’s drug world, “sources of supply” are from the Mexican cartels, who now control most if not all of the drugs shipped into the United States. In my previous investigations into the brothers who ran the BMF crew, the government wanted to prosecute the direct connect. They knew, however, that it would take years and many man-hours, so they did not pursue the case. Most DEA agents want their cases to lead to a major cartel figure or moneyman who they can arrest. The domestic gangsters in the United States are really small time; however, they become the scapegoats, who are arrested moving a couple thousand kilos of cocaine. Conversely, the “source of supply” is moving tons under the radar and escapes federal indictments.
Khalil Abdullah and James Rosemond were close friends, and according to Abdullah, they were business partners and confidants. Both converts to Islam, Khalil grew up in Brooklyn, but began his relationship with James Rosemond in 2007. At that time, Khalil had a thriving, drug business and crew that facilitated the distribution in and around New York City.
The government was aware that Khalil was a key target within Jimmy’s orbit of players. Although he had the intelligence to run a number of legitimate business enterprises and was much smarter than Winston Harris and Mohammed Stewart, he was embroiled in the narcotics trade and moving large shipments. He understood how to ship cocaine, run the stash houses, secure fake identification, and establish the infrastructure of a functioning, drug business. It is up for debate how much Rosemond was involved in directing Khalil. Perhaps, that connection will unfold during the course of further investigation. As far as the government was concerned, Khalil was Rosemond’s right-hand man, and his chief earner. According to Jimmy, he would periodically give cash to the larger investment vehicle, and Khalil was responsible for “flipping,” the cash for a profit. Khalil, on the other hand, stated that he was working for and under the direct orders of Rosemond. He stated that it was Rosemond that distributed the money and made key decisions on cash infusion. According to Khalil, two individuals, Lamont Bennett and Henry “Black” Butler were the actual sources of the large orders of cocaine.
Early on in the proceedings, the government made one of the smartest, key moves that elevated Rosemond from a small-level trafficker to a “drug kingpin”, by the manipulation of Henry Butler’s narrative within the loose drug scheme. Black was a LA based, self-described, Rollin 60’s Crip and in the hierarchy of the loose relationship, was in deed the source of large quantities of cocaine. In the court proceedings it was discovered that Black and Lamont Bennett had a Mexican source that could provide hundreds of kilograms of cocaine. At times, this connection and relationship was fostered by Khalil Abdullah, Winston Harris, Tef, and Rosemond. Black was the defacto “kingpin” in this arrangement.
Kaminsky, the United States government, and the investigators knew that if they could get enough evidence and arrest Henry Butler, they could then build a case against James Rosemond. Todd Kaminsky knew that the arrest of Henry Butler would not procure him a headline in the New York Times or Daily News. Henry Butler was an official gangbanger, so best case scenario would be a small arrest for Kaminsky that probably could not be prosecuted because the case was not under his jurisdiction.
In a twist of fate, Henry Butler’s wife is Leah Daniels, a talented and successful casting director, and the sister of famed Hollywood producer, Lee Daniels, who created the smash hit TV show Empire. In an instance of “life imitating art,” it is rumored that Black was the story source for the show. Interestingly, some storylines were directly ripped from Black’s life, and possibly James Rosemond’s, as his story could be fodder for thirty episodes of scripted television. On the street, Black was known as a talker, mover and shaker, who liked to embellish stories about his criminal exploits. On many occasions, Jimmy and Black liked to dine at LA hotspots, like the Beverly Hills Hotel and the W.
Even though Jimmy was carving out a hugely successful career in the music business, his tragic mistake was he still felt the need to hang out with the likes of Black, Khalil Abdullah, and other criminals. He couldn’t resist the conversation and the adrenaline rush of deals that could double or triple his money. The business was not a formal organization; instead, it consisted of a core group, who created a system to move drugs and money between New York and Los Angeles.
It was every man for himself . . . no family, no honor, no allegiance other than to the almighty dollar. The most decisive factor that split this group in half was in the power struggle of the West Coast verses the East Coast players. As the indictment came down, these men did not feel as if they owed anyone anything.
Once upon a time, hustlers and criminals kept their mouths shut and did the long sentences that were handed down. That practice is gone forever: Survival is the order of the day. The most astonishing part of the early days of the pending indictment was setting up Jimmy “Henchmen” as the fall guy instead of Henry Butler.
Todd Kaminsky met with Mohammed Stewart, Winston Harris, Henry Butler, Ali Adam (see Chapter 2), and anyone else who had come in contact with Jimmy. Kaminsky offered the simplest proposal to all who would listen. All they had to do was verify that Jimmy was the boss, gave the orders, handled all the logistics, and told everyone what to do. If they testified to that narrative, they could go home, and maybe they would do a few years at best. When I spoke to Ali Adam, he told me that Todd Kaminsky flew him to New York in order to ask him to testify against Jimmy. Adam’s stated that he could not provide any information because he did not work for Jimmy in the drug business, nor did he want to become an informant. Either way, Kaminsky was a jailhouse savior. Now, he had Jimmy in his cross hairs, and he was eagerly awaiting the headlines and the promotion.
The DEA and United States Attorney had fully ingratiated themselves into every relationship that Jimmy had. Now, it was time to really do the work of preparing indictments and ultimately putting Rosemond at the head of the pyramid. The only problem was that there was not any hard evidence of Jimmy dealing drugs, talking about drugs, or being caught with drugs and money. So, instead of the case being grounded in reputable evidence, it was based on tales told by everyone around him. The question remains, who was telling the truth and who was lying? Who shaped the testimony that finally ended up in court?
(At the press time of this article G2G News had recently acquired an audio recording believed to be of Henry Butler. Butler speaks candidly about this predicament. Once G2G has confirmed that it’s Henry Butler on the recording we will release in a subsequent chapter.)
The story of the drug case and the criminal trials came down to the point of views of the three main players: Khalil Abdullah, Henry “Black” Butler, and James Rosemond. There was a huge cast of characters within the larger group; however, each of these three operators had an individual, distinct story he wanted to share.
In the famed, tale, Roshomon, various characters provided alternative, self-serving, and contradictory versions of the same incident. In the Rosemond case, however, the only one currently going on the record to tell his personal version was Jimmy. We are currently in conversation to see if other associates are willing to go on record. The theme of the next phase of the story is how each individual wanted to deal with the heavy hand of the American government. Jimmy was the target, so it was an easy decision by Khalil and Henry Butler to testify against him because the government had cut them a deal. If they cooperated by following the scripted narrative, they would be able to return to their families and continue their careers with relatively short sentences.
In the federal criminal justice system, there is an interesting construct that allows the investigators to source information. This device is called a proffer session or “Queen for the Day.”
“Queen for a Day,” is an exchange of information between the suspect and law enforcement. The defendant can generally admit to criminal activity, and any admissions cannot be directly used at trial against him. Proffer sessions are frequently used by law enforcement on the federal level, such as the U. S. Attorney’s office, although some state law enforcement agencies use proffer sessions as well. Furthermore, these sessions are usually used for “white-collar crime” investigations and rarely used for “street crimes.”
The people at the proffer session are the defendant, his attorney, one or more Assistant U. S. Attorneys, as well as members of law enforcement agencies involved in the case, such as FBI, ATF, IRS Criminal Division, etc. This informal meeting is held in a conference room, not a court room. More importantly, the information given is not recorded by a court reporter or clerk, and none of the proceedings are audio or video recorded. The only individual a defendant can use as a witness to corroborate the veracity of events expressed during these sessions is his attorney.
CHAPTER 4: THE PROFFER, INFORMANT AND THE SNITCH