United States v. Slawik, Crim. A. No. 75-110.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court (Delaware)
Writing for the CourtCarl Schnee and David E. Brand, Schnee & Castle, Wilmington, Del., for defendant Rappa
Citation408 F. Supp. 190
Docket NumberCrim. A. No. 75-110.
Decision Date29 January 1976
PartiesUNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff, v. Melvin A. SLAWIK et al., Defendants.

408 F. Supp. 190

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff,
v.
Melvin A. SLAWIK et al., Defendants.

Crim. A. No. 75-110.

United States District Court, D. Delaware.

December 16, 1975.

On Motion to Suppress January 29, 1976.


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W. Laird Stabler, Jr., U. S. Atty., and Alan J. Hoffman, Asst. U. S. Atty., Wilmington, Del., for plaintiff

Bruce M. Stargatt, Young, Conaway, Stargatt & Taylor, Wilmington, Del., for defendant Slawik.

Richard Allen Paul and Paul M. Lukoff, Paul & Lukoff, Wilmington, Del., for defendant Uffelman.

Carl Schnee and David E. Brand, Schnee & Castle, Wilmington, Del., for defendant Rappa.

Gerald Z. Berkowitz and Robert B. Coonin, Knecht, Greenstein & Berkowitz, Wilmington, Del., for defendant Capano.

OPINION

LATCHUM, Chief Judge.

On July 31, 1975 the Grand Jury in this district returned a thirteen count indictment charging violations of the federal conspiracy statute, 18 U.S.C. § 371,1 as well as violations of 18 U.S.C.

408 F. Supp. 197
§ 1952(a)(3) ("Travel Act");2 18 U.S.C. § 1503 ("Influencing . . . Witness");3 18 U.S.C. § 1510 ("Obstruction of Criminal Investigation");4 18 U.S.C § 1622 ("Subornation of Perjury");5 18 U.S.C. § 1623 ("False Declarations Before Grand Jury . . .");6 and 18 U.S.C. § 2 ("Principals").7 Melvin Slawik is the only defendant charged in each count of the indictment

All of the defendants have submitted various pretrial motions, concerning which the Court heard oral argument on September 26, 1975. The accusatory framework to which these motions relate is as follows:

Counts 1, 4 and 10 are conspiracy counts under 18 U.S.C. § 371.

Count 1 charges that from May through October 1974 all of the defendants (Slawik, Uffelman, Rappa and Capano) conspired to violate 18 U.S.C. § 1503 by seeking to convince Bayard Austin "corruptly and by bribes, threats, and threatening communications," to plead the Fifth Amendment before a federal grand jury of this district then investigating alleged activities of the defendants. This count also charges that during the same period all of the defendants conspired to violate 18 U.S.C. § 1510 by seeking to convince Austin, through "misrepresentation and intimidation," to refuse to talk or to cooperate with Special Agents of the FBI with regard to his knowledge of the defendants' activities.

408 F. Supp. 198
This conspiracy allegedly was fostered and carried out through a trip by Slawik and Capano to Orlando, Florida in May 1974 to meet with Austin; through numerous telephone conversations of the defendants with Austin from September 23 until October 13, 1974; through a second trip to Orlando by Slawik, Uffelman and Capano on October 13, 1974 to meet with Austin; and through a final telephone conversation by Uffelman with Austin on October 23, 1974

Count 4 charges that from October 9 until October 14, 1974 Slawik and Capano conspired to violate the Travel Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1952, in that on several occasions between October 9 and October 13 they used and caused to be used telephone facilities between Delaware and Florida, and on October 13 and 14 they traveled to Florida and met with Austin with the intent to promote an unlawful activity, viz., the crime of bribing a witness in an official proceeding (prohibited by 11 Del.C. § 1261 (Rev.1974)). The purported aim of Slawik and Capano's conspiracy was to convince Austin to plead the Fifth Amendment "when called to testify" before a federal grand jury sitting in this district. This aim was to be accomplished by offering Austin bribes relating to the continuation of financing of a house which Austin had purchased in Orlando, Florida.

Count 10 charges Slawik, Capano and Austin (the latter as an unindicted coconspirator) with conspiring from December 18, 1972 through December 21, 1972 to violate the Travel Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1952, by using and causing "others" to travel in interstate commerce with the intent to promote the crime of bribery (prohibited by 11 Del.C. § 105 and Del. Const. Art. 2, § 22) and by agreeing that after such interstate travel they would promote and cause "others" to promote the crime of bribery. Allegedly, on December 18, 1972 the two defendants as well as Austin and Dennis Petrillo flew to Puerto Rico and vacationed there until December 21, all at Petrillo's expense. Moreover, during the airline flight down and in Puerto Rico, Petrillo allegedly discussed an application for a gypsum by-product disposal permit that Allied Chemical Corporation had pending before the State of Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control and before the New Castle County Department of Public Works, and the position of the New Castle County Executive Office regarding that application. As of December 18, 1972 Slawik was newly elected New Castle County Executive, although he had not formally assumed that office, and Petrillo owned the tract of land that the gypsum by-product disposal permit sought by Allied Chemical Corporation would cover.

As for the substantive counts, the indictment contains the following charges:

Count 2 charges that from May through October 1974 all of the defendants (Slawik, Uffelman, Rappa and Capano), aware that Special Agents of the FBI were then investigating possible violations of several federal statutes, unlawfully, willfully and knowingly endeavored by means of intimidation and misrepresentation to obstruct, delay and prevent Austin from communicating relevant information to these Agents. Such acts are alleged to be a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1510.

Count 3 charges that between May and October 1974 all of the defendants, aware that Austin had received a subpoena from a federal grand jury of this district, willfully, knowingly and corruptly endeavored to obstruct justice in this district, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1503, by advising or attempting to persuade Austin by bribes and threats to plead the Fifth Amendment before the grand jury.

Count 5 charges that on or about October 11, 1974, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1952(a)(3) and 18 U.S.C. § 2, Slawik used and caused to be used telephone facilities between Delaware and Florida with the intent to promote an unlawful activity, viz., bribing a witness in an official proceeding (prohibited by 11 Del.C. § 1261 (Rev.1974)). Allegedly, Slawik sought to convince Austin to plead the Fifth Amendment before a federal

408 F. Supp. 199
grand jury of this district in return for the continuation of financing of a house that had been purchased by Austin in Orlando, Florida

Count 6 charges that on or about October 13, 1974, Slawik and Capano, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1952(a)(3), traveled from Delaware to Florida with the intent described in Count 5, and while there, attempted to promote a violation of 11 Del.C. § 1261 (Rev.1974).

Count 7 is a perjury charge. Slawik is charged with having violated 18 U.S.C. § 1623 ("False Declarations Before Grand Jury . . .") in that on December 11, 1974 before a federal grand jury of this district, he testified falsely contrary to his oath regarding his conversations with Austin as such conversations bore upon (1) Austin's possible testimony before a federal grand jury of this district, (2) the obstruction of justice arising from attempts to influence Austin's possible testimony before a federal grand jury of this district, (3) attempts to prevent Austin or someone else from communicating with federal criminal investigators, (4) the identity of any person who might benefit from Austin's withholding of information from a federal grand jury or from federal criminal investigators, and (5) the identity and actions of persons who might have conspired to achieve these ends or to violate other federal statutes.

Count 8 is also a perjury charge under 18 U.S.C. § 1623. This count charges that on December 11, 1974 before the same grand jury Slawik testified falsely contrary to his oath regarding his knowledge of other people who may have been "involved with" his conversations with Austin and the extent of that involvement.

Count 9, the last perjury charge under 18 U.S.C. § 1623, charges that at the grand jury session on December 11, 1974 Slawik testified falsely contrary to his oath regarding his knowledge of the financing of Austin's home in Orlando, Florida and regarding his knowledge of other benefits Austin had received as this related to Austin's withholding information from a federal grand jury of this district and from the FBI.

Count 11 is another Travel Act count. In it Slawik is charged with violating 18 U.S.C. § 1952(a)(3) and 18 U.S.C. § 2 on or about December 18, 1972, in that he used and caused to be used a facility in interstate commerce, viz., a regularly scheduled commercial airline, with the intent to promote the crime of bribery prohibited by "Title 11, Delaware Code, and Article II, Section 22, Delaware Constitution," and in that thereafter he performed acts promoting the crime of bribery by receiving payment for airline, lodging and meal expenses from Petrillo in connection with discussions with Petrillo about Slawik's views as newly elected New Castle County Executive in regard to Allied Chemical Corporation's pending applications for a gypsum by-product disposal permit covering a tract of Delaware land then owned by Petrillo ("Petrillo tract").

Count 12 charges Slawik with a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1622 ("Subornation of Perjury"). Allegedly, from September 1974 continuing through March 4, 1975 Slawik knowingly and willfully suborned Petrillo to commit perjury before a federal grand jury of this district with the consequence that on March 4, 1975 Petrillo willfully testified falsely that he (Petrillo) had not financed a trip taken by Slawik to Puerto Rico in December 1972 nor had he had any discussions there with...

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14 practice notes
  • U.S. v. Juarez, No. 77-5217
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • May 19, 1978
    ...consent to the taping was voluntary. See United States v. Osser, supra, 483 F.2d at 730; United States v. Slawik, D.Del., 1976, 408 F.Supp. 190, 219-20, rev'd on other grounds, 3 Cir., 1977, 548 F.2d 75. Cf. Bordenkircher v. Hayes, 434 U.S. 357, 98 S.Ct. 663, 54 L.Ed.2d 604 The third object......
  • United States v. Olin Corp., No. CR-78-38.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court of Western District of New York
    • February 20, 1979
    ...count provides the connecting link among defendants and offenses. See, e. g., United States v. Laca, supra; United States v. Slawik, 408 F.Supp. 190 (D.Del.1975), aff'd without opinion, 564 F.2d 90 (3d Cir. Olin argues that there is no nexus among the counts of the Indictment and that each ......
  • Pitts v. Redman, Civ. A. No. 89-91-JRR.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Delaware
    • November 7, 1991
    ...400 U.S. 965, 91 S.Ct. 367, 27 L.Ed.2d 384 (1970). See United States v. Gorecki, 813 F.2d 40, 43 (3d Cir.1987); United States v. Slawik, 408 F.Supp. 190, 215 (D.Del.1975), aff'd, 564 F.2d 90 (3d Cir.1977). Moreover, Pitts later complained that he did not want his trial to be strung out over......
  • U.S. v. Malatesta, No. 77-5032
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • November 8, 1978
    ...only one instance of a reference to a witness's testimony before a Page 754 prior grand jury, and United States v. Slawik, D.Del.1976, 408 F.Supp. 190, 209-211, Aff'd, 3 Cir. 1977, 564 F.2d Violation of Rule 6 by disclosing grand jury testimony to another grand jury does not Per se invalida......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
14 cases
  • U.S. v. Juarez, No. 77-5217
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • May 19, 1978
    ...consent to the taping was voluntary. See United States v. Osser, supra, 483 F.2d at 730; United States v. Slawik, D.Del., 1976, 408 F.Supp. 190, 219-20, rev'd on other grounds, 3 Cir., 1977, 548 F.2d 75. Cf. Bordenkircher v. Hayes, 434 U.S. 357, 98 S.Ct. 663, 54 L.Ed.2d 604 The third object......
  • United States v. Olin Corp., No. CR-78-38.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court of Western District of New York
    • February 20, 1979
    ...count provides the connecting link among defendants and offenses. See, e. g., United States v. Laca, supra; United States v. Slawik, 408 F.Supp. 190 (D.Del.1975), aff'd without opinion, 564 F.2d 90 (3d Cir. Olin argues that there is no nexus among the counts of the Indictment and that each ......
  • Pitts v. Redman, Civ. A. No. 89-91-JRR.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Delaware
    • November 7, 1991
    ...400 U.S. 965, 91 S.Ct. 367, 27 L.Ed.2d 384 (1970). See United States v. Gorecki, 813 F.2d 40, 43 (3d Cir.1987); United States v. Slawik, 408 F.Supp. 190, 215 (D.Del.1975), aff'd, 564 F.2d 90 (3d Cir.1977). Moreover, Pitts later complained that he did not want his trial to be strung out over......
  • U.S. v. Malatesta, No. 77-5032
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • November 8, 1978
    ...only one instance of a reference to a witness's testimony before a Page 754 prior grand jury, and United States v. Slawik, D.Del.1976, 408 F.Supp. 190, 209-211, Aff'd, 3 Cir. 1977, 564 F.2d Violation of Rule 6 by disclosing grand jury testimony to another grand jury does not Per se invalida......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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