486 F.2d 670 (2nd Cir. 1973), 1039, United States v. Archer

Docket Nº:1039, 1040, 1041, 73-1527, 73-1528, 73-1711.
Citation:486 F.2d 670
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America, Appellee, v. Norman ARCHER et al., Defendants-Appellants.
Case Date:July 12, 1973
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

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486 F.2d 670 (2nd Cir. 1973)

UNITED STATES of America, Appellee,


Norman ARCHER et al., Defendants-Appellants.

Nos. 1039, 1040, 1041, 73-1527, 73-1528, 73-1711.

United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit.

July 12, 1973

Argued June 22, 1973.

Rehearing Denied Sept. 26, 1973.

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Irving Anolik, New York City, for defendant-appellant Norman Archer.

Milton S. Gould, New York City (Shea, Gould, Climenko & Kramer, New York City, of counsel), for defendant-appellant Frank R. Klein.

John L. Pollok, New York City (Edward Gasthalter, and Lenefsky, Gallina, Mass, Berne & Hoffman, New York City, of counsel), for defendant-appellant Leon Wasserberger.

Richard Ben-Veniste, Asst. U. S. Atty., New York City (Paul J. Curran, U. S. Atty. for the S.D. of New York, Rudolph W. Giuliani, John W. Nields, Jr., John D. Gordan III, Kenneth R.

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Feinberg and Richard J. Davis, Asst. U. S. Attys., of counsel), for appellee.

Maurice H. Nadjari, Deputy Atty. Gen., Peter J. O'Connor, Sp. Asst. Atty. Gen., for the Office of Special Prosecutor, State of New York, amicus curiae.

Frank S. Hogan, Dist. Atty., New York County, Alfred J. Scotti, Chief Asst. Dist. Atty., and Michael R. Juviler, Asst. Dist. Atty., amicus curiae.

Michael Armstrong, Dist. Atty., Queens County, amicus curiae.

Before FRIENDLY, FEINBERG and MANSFIELD, Circuit Judges.

HENRY J. FRIENDLY, Circuit Judge:

This case arises from what the Government characterizes as "part of an intensive combined Federal and local investigation into the nature and extent of corruption within the New York criminal justice system." Its brief tells us that the investigation "was premised on the belief that attempts to combat corruption in the criminal justice system"-to wit, New York City's-"through uncovering incidents of past wrongdoing had failed." It was essential, the Government insists, to arrange "undercover penetration into ongoing corrupting activities" by having "a federal agent assume the role of a potential consumer of corruption." We do not at all share the Government's pride in its achievement of causing the bribery of a state assistant district attorney by a scheme which involved lying to New York police officers and perjury before New York judges and grand jurors; to our minds the participants' attempt to set up a federal crime for which these defendants stand convicted went beyond any proper prosecutorial role and needlessly injected the Federal Government into a matter of state concern. 1 However, we base our reversal of these convictions and our instruction to dismiss the indictment on the more limited ground that the Government did not provide sufficient proof of use or agreement to use interstate or foreign telephone facilities to satisfy the requirements of the so-called "Travel Act," 18 U.S.C. § 1952.


The plan for setting up a crime was conceived at a February 1972 meeting attended by Thomas Taylor, the Regional Director of the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (BNDD); several special agents of the Bureau, including one Sante A. Bario; Vincent Murano, a New York City police officer; and two Assistant United States Attorneys for the Southern District of New York. According to the plan, Bario would assume the name Salvatore Barone and pose as a resident alien and member of the Las Vegas underworld. Murano would then "arrest" Bario in Queens County on the phony charge of the unauthorized possession of two loaded pistols, a felony under § 265.05 of the New York Penal Law. After his arraignment, Bario would make it known that he would be willing to pay a considerable sum to avoid trial or conviction on the charge. With Bario as bait, the planners hoped that some evidence of corruption would surface and that some use of interstate facilities would occur or could be arranged so that the incident of corruption would be transformed into a violation of the Travel Act.

Pursuant to the scheme, Taylor gave Bario two loaded pistols, a fake Nevada driver's license, and a false immigration card issued by the Immigration and

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Naturalization Service in Washington at the request of the Director of the BNDD. The next morning Murano effected the staged arrest at a diner in Queens. Murano then took Bario to a precinct house and filed a complaint and arrest affidavit falsely charging him with the unauthorized possession of loaded weapons. 2 Bario, in turn, lied about his name, his address, his marital status and his employment, produced the false Nevada driver's license and immigration card, and then certified to the correctness of the false report he had made. When a police officer at the precinct became suspicious about the immigration card, Bario had Murano call Taylor so that the latter could arrange for appropriate falsification of records in the Immigration and Naturalization Service in Washington. Subsequent to arraignment in Queens County Criminal Court, at which Bario lied about his identity, he was admitted to bail. A special agent of the Bureau of Narcotics, posing as Bario's father, "C. Barone," subsequently posted Bario's bail, which had been set at $5,000. After three adjournments, a preliminary hearing was waived and the case was forwarded for presentation to the grand jury.

Nicholas DiStefano, a figure not unknown to this court, see United States v. DiStefano, 464 F.2d 845 (2 Cir. 1972), who, the Government tells us, "was cooperating in a limited manner with the United States Attorney's Office," was then brought upon the stage. On April 19, DiStefano introduced Bario to defendant Wasserberger, an associate of a Manhattan bail bondsman. Wasserberger told Bario he was aware of the latter's arrest and had already spoken to a Queens attorney with "big connections," to wit, defendant Klein. Bario responded that he was "not interested just in any lawyer," but was "under the opinion that something more effective could be done." Wasserberger repeated that Klein had "strong connections" and that he could "do something" for Bario. When Wasserberger suggested that they drive to Klein's office, Bario agreed. While enroute, Wasserberger told Bario "it was too bad the case went before the grand jury, because it could have been taken care of before the lower court." Bario then said he "could not afford to be seen in a courtroom" and asked "what could be done." Wasserberger answered that they must try to "get the case kicked out before it went any further."

On meeting Klein, Bario first declined a proposal that he plead to a misdemeanor charge. Klein then echoed Wasserberger's advice that "the only thing then left to do was to have the grand jury return no indictment." To arrange that, Klein added, would cost a lost of money-probably between $10,000 and $15,000 in cash. He sought a telephone number where he could reach Bario in Las Vegas; Bario responded, truthfully for once, that he would be out of the country and that he would call Klein instead. Klein promised to have "an answer" by April 25 at the latest. Bario then paid Klein a $500 "retainer" and departed with Wasserberger. On the ride back to Manhattan, Wasserberger explained that part of the total payment would have to go to the assistant district attorney who would be in charge of the presentation to the grand jury. When Wasserberger asked how he could reach Bario in Las Vegas if that became necessary, Bario responded that he could be contacted by paging at the Sahara Hotel or, if that did not succeed, by leaving a message with the hotel telephone operator. In fact, Bario had no contacts whatsoever with the hotel.

On April 25 Bario, who had gone to France on a genuine narcotics investigation, called Klein from Paris. Klein arranged a meeting at his office for April 27, at which time he said he would have some news. Bario then flew back. Early

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on the morning of April 27 Bario and Murano, on instructions from an Assistant United States Attorney, went to a hotel in Newark, N. J., admittedly for the sole purpose of having Klein talk in an interstate telephone call. The calls began before 8 A.M., and were repeated every ten to fifteen minutes. At around 9 A.M., someone answered, and Bario asked that Klein return the call to him in Newark. Later that morning, Klein did.

Bario met Wasserberger and Klein at the latter's office later in the day. Klein reported that he had been in touch with the Queens assistant district attorney in charge of the grand jury, and that the latter, who turned out to be defendant Archer, had suggested that Klein create a fictitious story to afford some justification for Bario's possession of the guns. The three men concocted a story whereby Bario would testify he was carrying cash as a "junket coordinator" for a Las Vegas hotel and was obliged to carry a pistol, for which he had a Nevada license; Klein and Wasserberger both assured Bario that no one would check the details. The story invented to justify possession of the second pistol was considerably more preposterous; Bario would explain that he was carrying the gun for a friend overnight so that the friend could avoid upsetting a young woman with whom he had a date. Klein then informed Bario that the grand jury hearing was scheduled for May 8. The total price was fixed at $15,000 in cash, including the $500 that Bario had already paid. Klein insisted that Bario deliver the $14,500 balance to him on May 5. Bario's plan to lie to the grand jury was disclosed to the Assistant United States Attorneys and sanctioned by them.

On May 5, Bario made an intrastate call to Wasserberger to postpone delivery of the $14,500. Wasserberger said he had been trying unsuccessfully to call Bario at the Sahara Hotel in Las Vegas in order to tell him that the grand jury appearance had been postponed...

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