Part 6: Right Past the Sun
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The walls were covered with art painting of a beach at sunset print of dark haired woman in a slinky red dress. And then on the other side is declining node, which is when Pablo Picasso was about thirty years old and some third floor of the Metropolitan Museum nominee for St. I fell in love with that one a mom would take me to the mat? And we go and always go to all the museums. And she would make me read all the. The little plates saying what item wasn't what we'll go. Dan, was what Monet was what console was. And what a Renoir was. And it's an differences. I've been a museum members since I was ten years old in the hallway off men's bathrooms. There was one piece in particular. That caught my eye was a copy of a nineteenth century painting of a scene from Greek mythology dead man is lying on some rocks. The sea giant feathered wings strapped to his arms and a bunch of nymphs or standing over him caressing his lifeless body. This is picture of echoes. The reason why I between my bedroom and the bathroom he said, I continuously remember the importance of it. And that's picture is a guy who was obsessed with ability of flying. So he created wings, and he jumped off a mountain he glided for awhile and actually did fly in any fell. So your thin crashed. But the angels come up and pick. His body because of his love and commitment to what he wanted to do. Right. And so this teaches me one of most support lessons, which is it is better to die for something than to live for nothing. Most people exist very few people dare to live. That's an interesting interpretation onto the tail. The other interpretation is that you shouldn't fly too close to the sun. It's a lesson about hubris. Exactly, correct. But you know, what I saying how that shit go pass this on. I wish I pushed the envelope. In the month since then I've often thought back to this moment, Manny sees himself as Chris. And at times I've seen him as Chris to a which version of it Chris is he the one in his imagination plying past the son bound for glory. Or the Chris you, and I and everyone knows a flawed man with fake wings who flies too high and falls back to her. From Jimmy media. I'm sake can ofo. This is conviction. Good morning. Good morning. How you doing soccer really one morning in late July? Megan I meet up with Manny outside his building at this point patriots been in jail for more than a year and in that time, and he's had some big breakthroughs. He's attracted tons of media attention to the case, can you manage to track down William Stevens, the young man who many believe to be the prosecution's key witness. William Stevens told Manny he hadn't actually seen. Oh, commit a crime. He said Terrell had coerced him into lying by beating him up for months. Many had been saying that if you just found Stevens he'd win the whole case now that he's found him isn't satisfied. Many spoke with Stevens mom again. And she told him something new. She said the cops dragged her son out of the apartment for questioning not just once or twice but many times. During this many assume the cops pressured Stevens to lie on many people, not just Pedro guests that as many as twenty five kids could be in jail because if the cops forcing Stevens to lie on them, and that's why we're here today in manny's car parked outside is apartment building. Man is about to drive back to the prison to talk to William Stevens. Again, he wants to ask Stevens. If he lied about other people who he lied about. Pedro this time we're going with him and someone else's joining us someone who is supposed to be here an hour ago. Full Ben, I get him to be on time that. No. Not what the hell are you? Going to stab you. I'm over here. Waiting for you over here with a frigging, bagel and shit and coffee. It's going to be an ice coffee. You thanks. Scrapes. He's my brother from another mother. The attorney the attorney the one who man he called his brother from another mother is John Scola John's civil lawyer whose work with Manny on a number of cases, he's been representing a bunch of the kids who can suing Terrell for abuse. And now he's hoping to sign up Williams Stevens as a client to. After another half hour. You finally shows up. Right. Does don't work is that what it was? Smuggle. John flicks. His cigarette into the streets and settles into the car is young in his early thirties this morning, he's got dark circles under his eyes. But he's wearing a jazzy summer suit light grey with the pink shirt and his hair, shiny and stiffly jail. Hit the road and the guys keep bickering swearing taking digs at each other. Arguing over directions like an old married. Fucker up shot straight bunny. See that. No, it's right. Then. And then what voters that point? Thank you. John and Manny don't just disagree about directions have fundamentally different attitudes. If Manny sees himself as a hero a good guy. John seems suspicious of the whole idea of good guys you thinks everyone has an agenda, and he doesn't share Manu's on wavering sense of conviction on the car is whenever Manny claims that he knows something to be one hundred percent troop John's like how can you be? So sure on your your like your consistently a little skeptical of Manny. Yeah. Keep them honest. This one track mind, and he knows that his right? So then I always try to get him to Seattle decides yet but come on site. So you can't even arguing about it. And I'm talking about it. Let's he's arguing about with free trade area just gray area with me you wrote his Greg. I was not a fucking v. World is good. I was black and white. You're not black or what you have this manic half. What? So for you. How could it be biking? What the fuck it. It's right bullshit. Is right writing all. Right. And. I know. So it was Greg. Thanks as we try facility gives way to suburbs and eventually to mountains and farmland we're headed to green correctional facility to ours. Upstate from the problems. Now about survive at the prison where you see all field of looks like either cabbie. Let us. Finally, this grim old building in front of us. Looks like a castle with tall, arching windows, and forbidding watchtowers we pull into a parking lot. John too many get out and Megan I wait for them as they go into the prison to talk to William Stevens. We're not allowed in with them. But they've gotten permission to record the conversation. So they take recorded with them. The prison. John switches on recorder this recording right now. In the visiting room. They're scheduled to meet William Stevens. And as weight from to be brought in they head to the vending machines to get him some snacks. And it's not. All right. Very dive. Wait for a long time. Last William Stevens comes in. You sit down with him and begin asking him the questions. They drove up here. Ask. Invested in charge that tell you when your problems. You're my what might lying. And I want you to know is that being that, right? I went to see a mom told me. And he told me something sterban verify. Told me that you would take him down to that crease. More than twice. Twenty five times that you there. During. Guess what? Taking how many times? All right this recording William Stevens quietly. Corroborates mother story says it was taken down to the precinct multiple times. You sounds inserted reluctant. And so John says something to put him at ease something that catches my attention. When I listened to the tape. He said I was trying to get you here. This. Tried to get you to lie for here to make some money. There's no rule against saying something like this at least in New York. You're allowed to discuss the possibility of a settlement with a potential client when I talked to several legal experts who had different views of whether this was advised -able one of them said it's risky because if you dangle the possibility of payday in front of someone it might be tempted to say, whatever they think, we'll get them paid, even if it isn't the truth to me it would follow that. Once you've brought up the possibility of a settlement was someone whatever they say next should be viewed with an extra layer of skepticism when I listened back to the tape of Manny and John talking to Stevens. I don't hear a lot of skepticism on how many different people did they try to get you to lie. Page. Oh. People. I don't know. How many couple of the people five people ten people. If you can channel they make sign phone ripe picture, like even fatal case. Did you sign the photo right pitcher near the cases? How many of your son? Some five different pictures. Okay. And this recording. William Stephen says he thinks he may be lied about a couple of people and then Manny throws out some concrete numbers five ten so William Stevens has. Yeah. It was ten throughout the recording. I hear John and Manny throwing out numbers details while Stevens quietly agreed 's maybe it's true that Stevens falsely incriminated lots of people. But this interview alone doesn't convince me that he has John later said he heard the interview differently. He said the way William Stevens was acting struck as the way someone would act if he'd been a victim of police abuse where I heard bathing and -tentivness John just hurt a kid who had good reason to distrust, the thirty figures asking him questions, and Manny John didn't have a lot of time to trust evens out the prison had only given them a brief window to talk to him. They were back into prison. Jonah Manny start asking William Stevens for the names of different people. He lied about it then. I want so. The tape cuts out for the record. I don't think this was on purpose. John didn't know how to use the recorder and later he'll tell us that he accidentally hit the wrong button. After a couple of hours many John emerged from the prison. Hurry over to the car room sitting with Meg right? We got to up. Manny flashes. A big sums up. Just shutting off I was right? This is really huge K. It's actually looking like more than twenty five year that I got from. Witnesses on the trip back to the Bronx keep talking excitedly about William Stevens. They say he admitted to lying about over twenty five people. There's no tape of this may because the record got turned off. They say they're twenty five kids who could be in jail right now because of false statements William Stevens had been coerced into making. They say he recounted multiple beatings at the hands of several different police officers and Manny says he's short the DA's office knew about it. Didn't do anything. I finally got all the evidence that's been confirming my suspicion for the past eleven months that the district attorney's office was corrupt this whole situation with William Stevens seems to be a lot of gray area. Here. We know how Manny feels about gray area. And the car he doesn't pause to wonder whether the information he got from Stevens is solid enough to act on is ready talking about how he's going to go to the press with the story, and he's fantasizing about how he's gonna free all those other kids right now that sounds pretty improbable. He's about to show me once again that sometimes the improbable comes true. Got good news. Scott textile saying, I don't know. Good news. As we head back to the Bronx, many gets text from patriots court appointed lawyer brother you won the latte or something telling me could use it better. Be good news from you. So what happened? Here's what happened. Thanks to all the local press. Man is ready trumped up. Hatred story reached Shaun king to prominent activist and journalist. Shaun king wrote a piece about patriots case that went viral Kerry Kennedy. Yes. One of those candidates. She's the head of the Robert Kennedy human rights organization, and if greed to pay the entirety of patriots pale. Tomorrow morning patriot will be released from jail. Phenomenal news news at top h getting out. Today was a beautiful thing. The next morning. Many shows up to Rikers for pages release. He goes inside the jail to deliver some fresh close to Pedro, Chris white, Michael Jordan, t-shirt some shorts and hat to match. It doesn't want page coming out in the world and a Rikers uniform Madison there. Jessica waits at the entrance. There's a small crowd of visitors who were there to see their own friends and relatives, but it seems like a lot of them have heard of Pedro pitcher takes his first steps at the gate start to. Mumber hugging rocking back and forth. Walking away that's beginning to cry. It is troubles are over his trial date is still living. And if you lose his trial Dylan up right back behind bars. But unlike so many other people thousands of people who get arrested and sent to Rikers each year were held Aaron bales. They can't afford to pay. Now, he can of these wait in the safety of his home. He'll have more time to plan is defensive the lawyer. And when he goes to trial instead of showing up in jumpsuit, he'll be able to face Jerry in a suit and tie. Manny walks over to the TV reporters have gathered at the entrance of the jail, his chest bulging with pride. He did it impossible. He strapped on wings and flew right past the sun. His version of Equis. It Chris hero. That was the true one. At least that's how it seemed at the time. Coming up after the break. Chris gets a warning. And ignores it. This is brought to you by the all new Toyota RAV four if you think, you know, rap for think yet, the new route four comes loaded with more, innovative technology. Rugged capability and sophisticated style than ever before the new route for also comes the bailable features like an Hance all wheel drive capability and multi terrain, traction giving Travers the ability to tackle just about any urban suburban and great outdoor adventure with superior handling and control. Plus every two thousand nineteen RAB for model. Features in tune three point oh audio system complete with by can act and apple carplay compatibility making it even easier to listen to your favorite podcasts has revolutionized the route for limited designed to deliver an elevated driving experience with features like an available panoramic glass roof and eight inch touchscreen multimedia display and more. Get to know the all new route for for yourself. Visit Toyota dot com slash route four for more details, that's Toyota dot com slash RAB. Four. For the past year. I've been talking to New York City police officers who are in a fight for their lives. They say it's them against this broken out of control machine that runs the police department. There are believers within the police department that believed this is the right way to go. We have to attack black people. And if you're defending them, you're against us. You can hear about their fight against this machine. And the various apprising story of how the thing got belt. If you subscribe to our podcast reply all and check out the story the crime machine. After the Kennedy organization took over the case, they help pay Joe in a few big ways. They didn't just post patriots bail. They also provided him with a whole team of top notch lawyers in a system where the thirties have almost all the advantages, the balance of power had suddenly shifted towards a kid named Pige from the South Bronx. And none of it would have been possible without Manny. But many wasn't as excited as I figured he'd be the next time. I spoke with him on the phone. He's spent a lot of time complaining about the new lawyers the lawyers not doing the job. Just me if you're gonna you're gonna take on the case, then you need to roll up. This leaves yet involved. Not just go. Hi, I'm the new attorney and high media look at me. That's that's not what this is about. Manny was worried that these new lawyers would get all the credit for pages release credit that should be going to many. The new lawyers. They weren't thrilled with Manny either when they got involved they want to stop going to the media concerned about Manny publicly, accusing officials of corruption especially the Bronx tissue. attorney Dr sell Clark the top prosecutor in the county. It is not in Pedro's best interest to make any type of allegation against the district. Attorney publicly this is Wade McMullan one of the lawyers with Kennedy organization he and his team thought that could persuade the district attorney to drop the charges against Pedro. But not if Manny kept making noise about the case into do that while we're trying to negotiate the dropping of Pedro's charges. It's just not wise. And why is that? It's not wise because the more accusations you make against the DA the harder you make it for the DA to actually drop the charges. They were worried that Manny was back in the district attorney into a corner putting her in a position where she couldn't just quietly drop the charges for them. It seemed like Manny was forcing her to choose between two options. Either launching a big public investigation into allegations of wrongdoing in her own office or fighting even harder to convict Pedro. On the phone with Manny, I asked if he thought he's new lawyers maybe had a point. No, none of my thing. I this is not my first rodeo and told you in the beginning. I thought case one way you get a Turney to say dismiss is you choke him with the evidence and gem down their throat. There's no way for them to rebutted. You know, no way. Not be a passive aggressive. So fight a fight like this. You must vote knew it like a Bradley tank going into a battle zone. That's way. And that's something. You know, that's something that I have that. They don't I. And I know how to attempt the enemy in other words, these high class lawyers, their fancy degrees ridiculous notion that things should be handled but diplomacy intact. Maybe they knew how to succeed in the rarefied air of downtown Manhattan. But they didn't know the first thing about the Bronx. I see this as about play. I'm treating this as an act of war. This is just making the enemy realize that they have no choice, but to surrender. Total when I. And so many went Roque more allegations of witness coercion by the NYPD at now, the DA's office for six starts right now introduced Williams Stevens and his explosive story to the media twenty year old William Stevens says he was more than as secret witness. He claims he gave false witness against more than two dozen suspects in the Bronx, most notably Pedro Hernandez. How many people have you lied on? Twenty five people. He says one of them was Pedro Hernandez. Stevens claims he was pressured to lie on the teen on three separate occasions stunningly Stevens says it wasn't just cops who pressured him to lie. He identified a photo of David slot. The lead prosecutor in the Hernandez shooting case this interview, which many arranged was manny's police attack on the district. Attorney yet not only was William Stephen saying that he lied about patriot three different times. It was repeating the claim that he lied about a lot of other people to over twenty five just like Manny said, and he was also claiming that the prosecutor David slot was in on it. According to Stevens slot thread into central to his house to harass him. If he backed out of testifying against Pedro I wanted to ask about these allegations. But neither slot or the DA's office would come in for the story. The interview is William Stevens was just beginning over the next few weeks as patriots trial approached the stories. Kept coming out later asked that lawyer Wade McMullen about manny's media plants, or is there a moment where you guys got really mad at him. I think it's hard to put put a pin in a single moment that we were frustrated concerned because every step along the way every piece of new media every new quote every new video every new accusation made it riskier and riskier and put Pedro in in a more vulnerable position. The voyeurs could reason with Manny, but they figured maybe Chesa could we talked to Jessica at one point. Jessica put in writing to men while saying do not talk about my child do not talk about Pedro publicly anymore. And if there are any media request, please refer them to my lawyer. More than where we I'm more than where I'm more than more. We talked with Jessica around this time. And she said that she was worried that if Manny strategy backfired, did you end up paying steep price? Yes, I'm scared because it offers down on patriots. So that's when I act ma-ma, we got to take this easy because it's become more of a problem with this canoe. Manny pretty well by now, she didn't doubt that he wanted to help her son. But she knew that Manny had other motives to lifestyle. What you call that Showtime? I think he does like the limelight. And and I think he likes winning other than liking to win. He likes proving his point. That's the problem because winning we don't like winning, but we're many he likes show into the world that he won he likes bragging about it. In the end. Jessica can reason with either. We're going to be bringing up the private investigator on when Gomez was then working with the family was hired by the family to do their own investigation. He's gonna share some more a few weeks before patriots trial day, the activists who organized at rally for Pedro the ones who are in the last episode. They held a rally Manny got in the Mike and began attacking the prosecutors this time he went farther than ever. General. So last the charges against with my evidence against this district. Attorney David slot sector, David Terrell because they need to be in jail. He was calling for the prosecutor David slot to locked up, and he was levelling accusations. At the office of the district attorney, Dr sell Clark, and I should point out here that while he was making the speech was standing about twenty steps from the front door of Dr sow Clark's office. Has now uncovered a hornet's nest of corruption on the six flow clocks office. If the DA's office really was a hornet's nest he was kicking it. It was implicating wider and wider circle of people. He was pushing the envelope. He was flying closer and closer to the sun and more and more people are watching him up there. Rooting for him to fall on a message port for cops. Someone road Gomez. Go jump out, the George Washington Bridge spread your wings. It just might make it and it wasn't just the cop two on many stop. It's not that. I wanted to go to jail if I don't like the man, but I think he needs to be stopped. If he's doing things that aren't the way that a private detective should be conducting himself. This is Marty Goldberg a defense attorney. He's the guy heard from the first episode railing against the injustice of New York's blindfold, LA is a lot of criticisms of the Justice system. A lot of the same criticisms that Manny has. But he also has a lot of criticisms of Manny. According to mardi his problems with Manny began with her first encounter, mardi was defending someone who'd been accused of murder and to mardi. There wasn't much question that the guy was guilty. He stayed into the police admitting the whole thing, but very remorseful. You'd never saw anybody more polit apologetic in more remorseful on a video that that than this kit. Rain your car, right? Couldn't believe he did it asking forgiveness than one day, mardi gotta call. I remember clearly I was driving. I was in the car and the phone rang. And it was it was Manny. And he says to me Mr. Goldberg represent John Doe. And I said, yes, he says your client didn't do it. He's he's innocent. I said really I said, okay. We'll have you ever seen my client statement? So he said, no, I said are you aware that there's a full admission this case, and he said, no, I said, whether you're right or wrong. How can you make a statement like that without knowing all the facts of the case the con? Sation became more stupid after that he told me he had been a police officer. But the things that are coming out of his mouth, just it makes sense to the point where I actually I was just trying to find out if I just have a lunatic on the other end of the phone, right? According to mardi Manny kept pork in the case and eventually found a witness who claimed that the defendant didn't do it. But then the prosecutor produce evidence that contradicted the witnesses account ultimately, mardi said the defendant pled guilty. Manny for his parts has Marty is biased because he used to be a prosecutor still friendly with people in that office and Manny claims defendants remorseful confession wasn't genuine. He says he only made it out of fear. Manny says the merger was gang related, and that the guy was afraid that his family would get killed. If he didn't take the fall for the crime. But Tamari this story revealed some troubling things about Manny at best Manny was sloppy careless at worst he tampered with a witness he'd found. Getting him to lie. And if that was true if he was out there tampering with witnesses a serious crime. He could end up in jail. Day. You started singing a song jolly Brown? Too young to remember Charlie Brown. He's gonna get caught. Just you wait. And see. Why is everybody always picking on those are the line from the song? Right. And that would be the fence. Why all picking on me? I'm just here to do good. You know, and and save all these people from a corrupt police department in law enforcement, but I'm not in that group that thinks that everything is a conspiracy. What do you think's going to happen to Gomez? I think he's gonna be doing a perp walk. Much to the delight of new police department because you know, that I mean, there is bad blood there. A man he was that's the reason why they're doing this to me. But the police department believes that he's unethical. Marty was telling me that many was about to come crashing down to earth. If he did what would that mean for Pedro? The next and final episode patriots trial date finally arrives and Manny his trial of zone. Conviction is a production of Gimblett media, his hosted by me sake cannot produced by Meg Driscoll. Chris Nouri and say teaching. In our editors are Alex Bloomberg for, hey, just then Levy and Jessica Weisberg mixing by Sam Bayern Haley show music by heavy. Shop credits music is hard time. Curtis Mayfield performed by baby. Hugh. The series was developed with help from producer Kate is poor. And it grew out of a collaboration with the New York Times magazine special. Thanks to my added to their Mike. Ben wa this series was also made in partnership with type investigation special. Thanks tester. Kaplan, in fact, check every mom grin. Thanks also to a manual berry. Allure Chemi allegory through enemy the crime county. If you'd like to show these rate and review us an apple podcasts. It helps people find out about this series. Thanks to our sponsor Toyota. Learn more about the freshly designed wrath for by heading over to Toyota dot com slash Rathore for more detail. That's Toyota dot com slash RAB four.