tv News Channel 3 News at 530 CBS February 10, 2016 5:30pm-6:00pm EST
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we obtained admissions implicating both defendants from robbie howell. (goldberg) what were their motives, missorgia? they held the victim responsible for nick howell's death in iraq. he was fighting over there? not exactly. he was killed during an ambush while he worked for a private militia called the diamond river group. they're the real criminals! they got my son killed. who is that? (melnick) that's my client's father, your honor. another outburst like that and he'll be on this side of the bar. he's upset that his son died due to this company's incompetence. save it for trial, ms. melnick. i'm remanding mr. boatman. bail for robbie howell will be set at $1 million cash or bond. [bangs gavel] melnick must have an agenda. she seemed all worked up about the diamond river group. one of the defendants and the victim both worked for the same company. what's her angle? she'll say nick howell's a victim, too. and pope's death is collateral damage from private armies fighting in an undermanned, unpopular war. a run at jury nullification
melnick's got a press conference scheduled today at 3:00. the beginning of her campaign to work the media and the jury pool. blue city, blue state. could have some traction. well, let's don't go paws up because some self-serving defense lawyer wants to hop on a soapbox. (mccoy) you just couldn't lay off this one, could you, danielle? how could i,
jack? they've outsourced an ill-advised, mismanaged war. and now it's spilled over into new york city. we are looking at a much smaller picture. e howell family has been through a lot. we're prepared to offer mr. howell some consideration. really? becoming a softy in your old age, jack? i could be convinced that he wasn't fully aware of mr. boatman's intentions. you want his testimony. that's right. does he want a deal or not? no can do. (borgia) don't you think there's a problem representing both defendts? no. they waived the conflict. that wasn't a problem for you?
that mr. howell wanted any plea bargain, i would withdraw as his counsel. we're offering you a plea to manslaughter, ten years. because i tried to help my parents? you were looking for revenge, mr. howell. when they hear about my brother at the trial, they're gonna let me go. i trust ms. melnick has told you that
what happened in iraq has no bearing on this murder case. it may not even come into evidence. and there's where we part company, jack. my motion to enter video evidence. video of what? of nick howell's ambush and beheading in ramadi, iraq. (mccoy) first problem with this video, your honor, is that it lacks proper authentication. we have no reason to believe that it is what it purports to be. where'd you get it, ms. melnick? it was first posted on a jihadist website, your honor. exactly. for all we know, it was staged.
the al jazeera television network, which confirmed e details through eyewitness accounts. and found it trustworthy enough to broadcast. al jazeera. in any case, what happened to nick howell in iraq is irrelevant to mr. pope's murder. irrelevant? it provides the context for this case. so ms. melnick is conceding her client's culpability? no. in which case, the only rationale for this brutal piece of footage is to manipulatehe jury into an acquittal. judge fischer, this ambush demonstrates that jeffrey pope was an incompetent cowboy. he cultivated a long list of enemies who may have committed this crime. you can esblish that through the testimony of your clients without the video. that's fifth amendment blackmail, counselor. this video is the fullest, most objective rendition of what occurred, your honor. hard to argue with that, mr. mccoy. i cannot believe you would even contemplate screening a beheading for a jury. it's off the charts inflammatory. yes, it is. so here's what we're gonna do.
subject to a proper foundation up to the point of the beheading. in fact, ms. melnick, i want the video clip pre-edited. so there'll be no slip-ups in the courtroom. (melnick) mr. howell, you testified that your older son nick returned to iraq to work for a private military company? right. the diamond river group. and does he still work for this company? nick was killed over there. this past september. do you know how he was killed, sir? on a job for diamond river. they hit a bomb that was buried in the road. i know this may be difficult, mr. howell, but i'm going to show you a video and ask you to indicate if and when you see your son nick.
sir? let him go. look, i know the video was disturbing, but we've gotta make sure that this case doesn't turn into a colloquy on iraq. easier said than done, arthur. danielle put up a very effective smokescreen. the jury saw young americans dying in combat. private contractors who knowingly took on a dangerous job. trust me. the jurors weren't making those kind of distinctions. these are images of american soldiers the public isn't used to seeing.
to do with the crime you're prosecuting. it was a cheap shot. agreed, but we knew it was gonna bring the war home to that courtroom like a ton of bricks. and after being rocked by that, the jury'd be hard-pressed not to feel something for boatman and robbie howell. if you can't fight the message, go against the messenger. you can expose danielle melnick for the opportunist that she is. or do you have a problem with that? of course not. we're getting a little ahead of ourselves. defense still has another witness, kevin boatman. why put on one of the defendants? to dish more dirt on the diamond river group. or danielle's got something else up her sleeve. pope's escort job was bad enough. and then he told us what was in the truck. and what was that, mr. boatman? files from the republican guard. they were sending them to the tribuna in baghdad to be used in the war crimes trial. why did diamond river get this assignment instead of the military? well, the private providers are superior to the reserve troops we have stationed over there.
to protect key installations and individuals. and what, if anything, did you say to mr. pope about this escort that we saw today on the video? uh, me and nick went into his trailer and told him he was crazy to send us out. we needed to scout and swp the route first. send a decoy through with five times the personnel supporting the job. (melnick) and how did he respond to that? he started screaming. don't tell him how to do his job. which, in effect, you were. he wasn't the one going out there with us. when your boss tries to send you on a suicide mission, you gotta speak up. and was this the first time that mr. pope did anything like this? no, he was always cutting corners. he put every man who worked for him at risk at one point or another. everybody hated his guts. so what happened when you complained about this particular assignment? pope said that we de more money than bush and cheney. told us to shut up and do our f-ing jobs. and did you? i was in the trailing suv in the video. mr. boatman, can you describe to us
jamie cortez died in the explosion. nick, um-- well, you saw him get captured. we went back there the same day and all we found was nick's head. and were there any consequences to mr. pope for sending you into this ambush? from who? he's not in the military, so he can't be court-martialled. he can't be tried in a court of law anywhere. the private companies can do anything. to anyone. there's no accountability. thank you. so you decided to be judge and jury and execute him. wasn't me. so you deny that you followed mr. pope here from iraq? i came here to see robbie, my dead friend's brother. and you deny borrowing nick howell's car and gun? that's right. didn't you just testify to a litany of reasons
reasons he screwed up. motives for murder, mr. boatman? for revenge? those are your words. so you're asking this jury to believe that all these events you so meticulously recounted, all this evidence that lines up against you, is just pure happenstance? objection, argumentative. sustained. if you didn't trust your supervisor, why didn't you just quit? because i wanted to serve my country. i wanted to finish what we started over there. but you left the military for a hefty salary, and a benefits package. i still put my ass on the line every day. for you. for all of you. so was killing jeffrey pope part of the mission? how dare you stand there in your safe little job and judge me. you'll be judged because you tracked down pope and murdered him. objection! you want to know why i followed pope here? you wanted to avenge your friend's death?
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boatman claims drg's hostage is a man named abu zayeed. he's a jordanian terrorist who's been working with the insurgey for the last two years. any chance he's telling the truth? well, he's mentioned in various news reports as a high value coalition target. why did melnick wait so long to spring this on you? for maximum impact in the courtroom. maybe boatman never told her. call the fbi. i want them to check this out. because we believe boatman? because if this information turns out to be accurate, we can't afford not to. zayeed's a palestinian who grew up in the beqa'a refugee camps north of amman. he wrangled a handful of suicide operations on the west bank during the second intifada. the israelis say he's responsible for at least two dozen fatalities before he turned his attention to iraq. how do we know boatman's talking about the same man? or that pope's colleagues even have him? that's why i asked ms. melnick to join us. i take it your client mentioned this when he retained you?
well, your r\sum\ speaks for itself. meaning? this wouldn't be the first time you've crossed paths with an individual who's of interest to the bureau. that's my job, agent guardino. now, i came here in good faith. you want to hear more or not? good. boatman says this drg team was sent to escort an iraqi politician to a routine meeting. they were given the wrong address. and that's when they stumbled on zayeed. they recognized him. took him into custody. where is he now? boatman claims drg has a secret detentionacility in a remote location. is that possible? (guardino) they wouldn't be the first p.m.f. to have a private jail over there. how'd they plan to ransom zayeed? they put out feelers to a mossad contact in new york. was the home office of diamond river involved? no. just these renegades in ramadi. they thought they could make this one deal and cash out. pope was sent here to get a down payment. my client thought this was an outrage. so he came here to stop it.
i'm not vouching for his methodology, jack. you want zayeed or not? we'll check this out. if they have him, we want him. what's on your mind that couldn't wait 'til tomorrow, jack? i thought we could at least exchange some pleasantries first. scotch on the rocks, please. i'm okay. let's start with whether you engineer this zayeed revelation. after everything we've been through together, you think i'd do this to you, jack? well, i didn't. even if you're telling me the truth, i still think you're playing with fire. what's my alternative? sit around and bitch about things? we all need to take a stand, jack. by putting your political agenda before your clients?
i can make my point and possibly get an acquittal in the bargain. you've got your priorities reversed. robbie howell doesn't strike me as a political activist. well, burying your brother's head can change your perspective. and for all we know, boatman was after his part of $15 million. if he were, which i highly doubt, maybe it's because he's as big a cynic as you are. w so? the war, jack. who wins, who loses. it's all about a payday for somebody. diamond river group. halliburton. at the end of the day, zayeed, he's just a commodity. he's a means to an end for whomever's got him. so this is your mission statement? you're the one who makes this all about the money. and if you're questioning boatman's motivation, why aren't you questioning this country's? do you think melnick set us up from the beginning? she's being coy. we'll never know.
it plays rht into her hands. out of control private soldiers undermining our troops. if the jury gets lost in politics instead of listening to facts. boatmas denials were about as transparent as they come. maybe th's why he panicked and threw a hail mary. i hope that's all it was. mr. mccoy. mr. branch wants to see you in his office. jack, this is general clark ronson. jack mccoy. pleasure. i'm the d.o.d.'spoint man on this abu zayeed situation. defense thinks boatman's story's credible, jack. our eyes and ears in iraq have confirmed most of his allegations. can i ask about the specifics? well, we've corroborated a firefight at one of zayeed's reputed safe houses in ramadi. witnesses then saw drg personnel leaving town with a prisoner. and the israelis? we've got a bigger problem than the israelis. we have three marines in the sunni triangle who haven't returned from a work detail.
that indicates zayeed's group has them. we need boatman's full cooperation to help us find zayeed. who presumably has no idea where these three marines are. or any reason to tell us if he did. well, that's what interrogations are f. which means you need to make a deal with boatman. today. not all of this is under my control. (ronson) well, do what you have to do. there are american lives at stake. we need this guy to spill his guts. you dismiss the indictment, my client cooperates with the pentagon. he doesn't get a walk on a murder. i'll offer man one. you have no leverage, jack. my leverage is saying no. and you'd compromise what we've been doing in iraq for the past three years? don't wave the flag in my face, mr. boatman. if you were the patriot you claimed to be,
and jeffrey pope would still be alive. so let's put our cards on the table. i think you went after pope because you wanted a piece for yourself. you're dead wrong. then prove it. how am i going to do that? give the department of defense whatever they need to get zayeed. that way i'll know that your real concerns are for the safety and welfare of your country. and for the people of iraq. then we make a deal. no, no, no, no, no. what's the problem? you're in checkmate, jack. we're not going back three moves for a do-over. this is the only way this is ing to fly. really? is that your position? then this meeting is over. come on, mr. boatman. why don't we have a deal? i tried, arthur. they wanted a dismissal. i'm not sure we have any other options. you know, there's another way of looking at this, arthur. we represent the people of new york. not the pentagon. this would mean that a murderer lks out our front door.
in three marines who might be saved as anyer american. maybe. boatman's vae is premised on a handful of rosy suppositions. we know he committed a cold-blooded murder. and this office will, on occasion, deal with a murderer if he has critical information. yeah, but we always get the milk before we hand over the cow. i know that. your call. i don't think i have any choice. (mccoy) your honor, at this time the people move to dismiss the murder indictment against kevin boatman. mr. boatman is discharged.
and as to robbie howell, mr. mccoy? we're prepared to proceed to verdict. (fischer) summation and charge tomorrow. 10 a.m. [gavel strikes] (mr. howell) hey. let me get this straight. boatman gets a pass and robbie still goes up for murder? i'm not happy about it either, mr. howell, but some things are beyond my control. what? like justice? please. you're an important n. you've got to help me understand this. ey offered boatman a deal because he could help our war effort. but my son nick, he fought over there too. what do i have to show for it? one dead son. one in jail.
was to be hardworking americans. it doesn't make any sense. i don't even know what countryliviym ie. let me see what i can do, mr. howell. well, why can't you just dismiss the case against me too? you don't deserve a walk, mr. howell. but boatman gets one. that was due to extraordinary circumstances. yeah, he had a terrorist to trade. and what do i got? we want to help you. we can make you a good deal. (mccoy) atted malaughter. jail time? five years. oh, please. boatman shot him. not me. with your invaluable assistance and your blessing. my mom isn't going to make it five years. (mccoy) i'm sorry. that's as low as we can go. (melnick) well, it's five years too high. your cas has fallen apart, jack. he'd be foolish to assume that.
(borgia) robbie, juries are unpredictable. it's a huge risk. they're just trying to save face here, robbie. salvage one guilty plea out of this travesty. enough grandstanding, danielle. it's time to stop using your clients to play provocateur. this man should have had his own lawyer from day one. don't tell me how to do my job, jack. then gamble on your own dime! who gives a damn what you think anyway? robbie. listen to me. robbie. look at me. this jury in this political climate is not going to convict you after what pope did to your brother. that is the most irresponsible statement you have ever made. who's gonna do the 15 to life if she's wrong, mr. howell? and how could you ever look