Witness Grilled in ESL Vote Fraud Trial
Defense lawyer Bruce Cook pursued a simple strategy Tuesday when the federal vote fraud trial of five prominent Democrats resumed: Hammer away at the credibility of government witness Rudy McIntosh.
For nearly seven hours, Cook sharply questioned McIntosh, a Democratic precinct committeeman and former East St. Louis deputy police chief.
Cook, the attorney for ex-City Council member Charles Powell, highlighted gaps in McIntosh’s powers of recall during the election fraud trial under way in U.S. District Court in East St. Louis.
Toward this end, Cook played a videotape of an appearance McIntosh had made before supporters a few days before the April 5 election, when McIntosh was running for East St. Louis Township supervisor.
During his brief talk, McIntosh bragged about being a government informant and about his links to the FBI.
“The FBI is going to be right there with us,” McIntosh told the group. “I talk to them every day. They’re counting on us to make this city right…. We need to answer the call, people.”
Cook asked McIntosh if it was true, as he had implied, that federal agents were trying to help his faction win the election.
“No, it was to deter voter fraud on Election Day,” McIntosh said. “It didn’t do any good, though.”
“So you were lying.”
“That’s correct,” McIntosh said.
Indeed, Cook accused McIntosh of telling a long string of lies that he, McIntosh, had justified to himself because they were “in everybody’s best interest.”
McIntosh admitted making some errors and “miscommunication,” though he refused to back down.
“But I did what I was supposed to do,” he said, “and the tapes are going to tell the story.”
Cook also hammered away at discrepancies between McIntosh’s testimony Friday and clips of audiotapes played in court. The tapes were of conversations that McIntosh had secretly made between himself and the defendants in the weeks before and after the Nov. 2 election.
After 45 minutes of hostile questioning, McIntosh finally admitted he had secretly audiotaped Powell, the chairman of the city’s Democratic Central Committee, discussing an alleged vote-buying scheme on Oct. 13 — not on Oct. 20, as McIntosh had adamantly testified Friday.
“That would’ve been a bad thing if I did not catch you,” Cook said.
“It was on the 13th, sir,” McIntosh said.
“The jury heard what you said under oath, and it wasn’t true, was it?”
“It was the 13th, sir,” McIntosh said. “I made an error.”
Cook glanced at the table where Powell and the other four defendants sat. Cook reminded McIntosh that earlier in the trial he had referred to the five as “friends.”
You wouldn’t intentionally make such errors, Cook said, “because these are your friends, correct?”
“And with friends like that, nobody needs enemies, do they?” Cook said.
“We all have friends and we all have enemies,” McIntosh said.
Susan Gentle, the attorney for defendant Jessie Lewis, pursued much the same line of questioning as Cook when it came her turn to question McIntosh.
Gentle reminded the jury that McIntosh has already admitted lying about holding a GED when he applied to become a police officer 12 years ago.
“And you were willing to keep that lie to keep that job,” Gentle said.
“Yes,” McIntosh said.
In April the city’s fire and police board fired McIntosh for falsifying his application. McIntosh is appealing that decision on the grounds he was fired in retaliation for his role as a government witness.
Gentle also brought up the fact that McIntosh has acknowledged having an affair with fellow government informant Dannita Youngblood.
Gentle asked McIntosh how many other lovers he has had besides his wife and Youngblood.
“I have no idea,” McIntosh said.
“C’mon, guess,” she said. “Is it 45?”
“I have no idea.”
The trial is scheduled to resume at 8 a.m. today.
“State Witness Says He Lied at Rally”
On Tuesday, under intense cross-examination, McIntosh said he was lying when he said the FBI had picked sides in the city’s April 5 election. McIntosh himself was running for East St. Louis Township supervisor in that election.
It would be highly irregular for a federal law enforcement agency to back candidates in a city election.
“What I was trying to do was deter voter fraud on Election Day,” he said of his statements at the rally, in response to a question from Bruce Cook, attorney for Powell.
Much of Tuesday was taken with Cook’s cross-examination on behalf of Powell. Powell seemed to be implicated last Friday by prosecutor’s transcripts of a conversation secretly recorded by McIntosh right before the Nov. 2 election. That transcript states Powell told McIntosh to “pay $10 a vote,” to get voters to support Kern.
The jury heard the tape played three times in a row, with Cook suggesting that Powell says, “take $10 a vote.” (instead of “pay”)
The trial resumes today at 8:00 AM.
Here are the previous posts on this trial:
East St. Louis makes Voter Fraud a Business
$5 for Non-Racists; Racists are $10
ESL Prosecution Witness Falters
Damning Tapes in East St. Louis Voter Fraud Trial