News 3 Las Vegas recently took a two-part look at my podcast, Vegas Fed, about the infamous Wynn Kidnapping case.
I’ll let them speak for themselves.
Las Vegas True Crime Stories
Michael J. Goonan is good friend of mine, a bartender in New York. Like the guy in “Piano Man”, he’s quick with a joke or to light up your smoke.” Unfortunately, he tells the same bad jokes, repeatedly. If someone says “It’s a small world” in his presence, he will invariably add “but I wouldn’t want to paint it”. Ouch.
Now here is a coincidence for you.
U.S. vs. EDDIE LEE DAVIS
Way back in 1991, with a year under my belt as an AUSA, I tried a pretty bad guy named Eddie Lee Davis. It was one of many cases I did with Detective Tim Shalhoob of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s Repeat Offender Program (“ROP”). The charge was Felon in Possession of a Firearm. That trial, and most of my trials, took place in the old Foley Federal Courthouse.
It was weak, basically a one witness case. Davis was mad at his girlfriend, very mad. He was at a bar, and he was armed. After calling the girl and threatening her, he coerced a poor slob named Luther into giving him a ride to her house. The girlfriend called the police. Luther’s car, with Davis as the sole passenger, was stopped. A handgun was recovered under his seat. Of course it was not registered.
After his arrest, Davis showed up at Luther’s house one night; broke in; and threatened to kill him if he testified. He had a friend waiting outside in a running car. Inside, Eddie stole Luther’s driver’s license, just to scare him a little more. It worked. Luther was terrified.
When it came time for trial, Luther told the Judge, Lloyd D. George, that he would not testify. He pointed at Davis and said “Judge, put me in jail right now, because of if I testify, they will find me dead behind the wheel of my car”. I would take a shot without our witness. I still had the evidence of his motive, to terrorize his girlfriend.
Wrong. Judge George held her testimony to be inadmissible. Now, I love Judge George, but that’s how he ruled. And a week or two later a Ninth Circuit case came out almost exactly on point, in our favor (U.S. vs Dunn).
At some subsequent court appearance, Judge George was humble enough to call me up to side bar and practically apologize. As smart and well regarded as he was, he had never assumed the imperious attitude of so many judges.
A gentleman and consummate professional, to this day.
We left off talking about the commitment by the new U.S. Attorney in Nevada, Nicholas Trutanich, to combat human trafficking, that is, child prostitution (i.e. the rape of girls too young to legally consent to sexual acts) in Las Vegas. Here’s some shocking information.
About a year ago, I got a tip that the “Big Pimp” aka “Gorgeous Dre” (Andre Taylor) the predatory exploiter of children whom I led off our office’s pimp initiative against in 1999, was now working in law enforcement in Seattle. I found that to be incredible; it could not possibly be true.
A little investigation on Google and – what do you know? Andre Taylor is (or was) the co-chair of the city’s “Serious and Deadly Force Investigation Taskforce”.
So this scumbag was going to review police use of force in Seattle?
This all began when his brother – Che Taylor – who was a multi-convicted felon, including rape and robbery, was shot to death in a confrontation with Seattle police. At the time, Taylor was under surveillance in an undercover drug operation, and was observed reaching for what police believed to be a firearm. As a felon, Che Taylor was a person prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition. After the shooting, police recovered both a handgun and drugs.
Outraged, Andre Taylor started a pressure group called “Not This Time” which I am told received “subsidies” from the city – as well as, among others, the Seattle Seahawks. It sounded like he was trying to become the next Jesse Jackson.
In an attempt to appease the “community”, the city established a panel which managed to change the law regarding police use of force through initiative I-940. This bill amended prior law that police can be criminally prosecuted for using deadly force only if it’s shown they acted with malice. The standard is now whether a reasonable officer would have done the same thing. The bill was the first was signed into law by Governor Jay Inslee in 2019.
I have recently been advised that Andre Taylor is seeking the establishment of a position for him as liaison between the police and the community, in cases of alleged police “use of force”.
The POP hasn’t posted in a while. In part because of family health issues (all good, thank God) and in part because I’ve been working on a new project – a podcast – more on that to come. But I’d meant to post another congratulatory note to the new U.S. Attorney in Nevada, Nicholas Trutanich, back in January, for his public commitment to combat human trafficking, that is, child prostitution (i.e. the rape of those unable to legally consent to sexual acts) in Las Vegas.