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TAPE RECORDED “STING” OPERATION

In the typical federal “sting” operation, a “converted” crook is wired and sent out to try to entice his family, friends and former associates to say something incriminating on his rolling recording device. The scenario usually involves a hustler-type, who knows he is recording an unwitting “victim.” Often, the government “snitch” will promptly interrupt when his prey attempt to make some self-serving, exculpatory statement and will invariably recycle their sales pitch repeatedly until the target grunts an unsuspecting “Uh, huh,” which appears on the printed text of the transcript as an affirmative assent or agreement, rather than the mere punctuation intended to politely get this offensive salesman off their back. Similarly, those working the “pro-active investigative team” often have their own discussions, outside the presence and hearing of their targeted citizens. In “Brilab” we argued that there were in fact two movies playing on the government’s tape recordings. One involving the “insiders,” the cop-shop and “cooperating individuals” who would describe their activities in the clear language of “crime speak.” Whereas whenever our clients, the “outsiders” were present or entered the room, the language would quickly be cleaned up, so as not to give notice of any criminal intent. Words like “bribery” were the vocabulary of the “insiders.” When the “outsiders” were privy to their discussions, the government operatives were careful to describe the payments as “political contributions,” which were legal under Texas law.

“There is something else that flows throughout this. That is what we talked about at the outset of this case, the insiders and outsiders. Throughout the tapes there is constant banter back and forth between L.G. Moore and Hauser. Is it all right to talk on this phone? Can we talk here? Is it cool to talk around all these people? If you will notice, there is never once not one instance where some of that kind of inside or outsider talk is mentioned in front of Buck Wood and Don Ray. You don’t hear any, “is it all right to talk on this phone? Is it all right to say something in front of these folks?” As a matter of fact, Buck Wood and Don Ray are never present at any of the meetings on the 19th of October or the 8th of November with the speaker.

After the second meeting with the speaker on November 8, Joseph Hauser comes back to the motel room to meet with other insiders, the folks that are always talking about is it cool to talk on these phones? Can we talk in front of these people? And what you got here, you got an acknowledgment, Joseph Hauser saying, “Wood and Ray have no idea what the speaker is about, with all due respect for Wood and Ray. Didn’t I tell you about that yesterday?” Absolutely. By the way, this is October 19. Do you remember when yesterday was? October 18, the day the tape ran out.

I don’t remember hearing this conversation. That was another time when Mr. Hauser told us from the witness stand nothing happened after that tape ran out. I will suggest to you something happened. They talked about Buck and Don not knowing about what was going on, like they did again on October 19. “Absolutely. Absolutely. I’ve got news for you Woods and Ray are sharp, but they don’t have a handle on this.” That’s correct. They don’t have a handle on it, and they never did have a handle on it.

The statement that was made on November 8 by Joseph Hauser when the individuals met, the insiders, Wacks, Montague, Hauser, and L.G., Hauser gives a little warning. “Okay. Wood and Ray are coming. If there is anything you want to talk about or discuss before they come, let’s do it now.” A little insider talk. We can talk among ourselves. L.G., Hauser, Wacks, Montague, the insiders. What are they talking about? They are talking about the meeting on November 8 with the speaker. They embellish a little bit. They don’t talk about a $5,000 political contribution. They talk about it in cash. They talk about something else other than a $5,000 political contribution. They talk about $600,000 per year that they are going to be giving to somebody. Not in one lump sum, but per year. And they talk about fee splitting. That’s what the insiders talk about, when they meet with Wacks and Montague who hadn’t been at the meeting.

Well, what do they talk to Don and Buck about when they get there? Remember Hauser, in hushed tones, “Wood and Ray are coming. Anything else we need to talk about?” What do they talk about when Buck and Don get there? I can tell you what they don’t talk about. I’ll tell you what they don’t talk about. They don’t talk about cash. They don’t talk about $600,000, and they don’t talk about fee splitting. What you hear is exactly what Ed Windler told you should have heard. What you hear is a discussion about Joe Hauser and L.G. Moore.

L.G. says. “Joe, tell them what we did for the retirees, what the bottom line was, a hell of a deal for the retirees and a million dollars cheaper.” He compares it to a metropolitan and gives them a little synopsis. That’s all about the insurance program. That’s what Mr. Windler says you were supposed to talk to them about first.

Then what happened? Well, then – – as a matter of fact, they used the word. First they talked about what a hell of a deal the insurance contract is. A million dollars cheaper. Then a commitment. The speaker says, “all I want to do is save the State of Texas a million dollars. That’s all I want to do. I’ll get to work on it.” A commitment like Ed Windler says there should have been.

Then the transcript gets interesting. Then we wanted to talk to him about a political contribution. What did they do? L.G. says, “we gave him a nice political contribution.” Exactly the terms of 3601. That makes it lawful. That’s what makes it so confusing.  That’s what makes it so deceptive.

What does Hauser say? “He’ll never report it.” Buck Wood chimes in, interrupts, “Ohio, he’ll report it. Maybe not in our name, L.G.” Well, we made a political contribution and whose name would it be reported in? But he will report it. That makes it lawful, a political contribution made and reported in accordance with the law.”

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