Mr. Gorence stated actions display knowledge. He gave some examples.
A banker makes a collateralized loan. The loan goes bad. Does the government arrest the banker? It is FDIC insured. Is a mistake a reason? Mr. Gorence told the Jury they could infer knowledge if on the loan, the banker knew something was misrepresented and the loan would be non-collectible. Then when the loan went bad, it would be criminal and there would be a basis to prosecute.
Another example was an employer who hired someone in the southwest. Someone presents a valid green card and driver’s license. The employer can’t tell if it is valid because there is no national database. The employer gives the person a job, but later is told the papers are bogus, even though the employer can’t tell. Does the employer go to jail? No. The employer has to know the papers are bogus.
Mr. Gorence returned to the federal agents in the Reese case. Mr. Gorence reminded them of Roman’s border crossings and that even by the end of the trial, the list of these crossings weren’t complete. Mr. Gorence told them Agent Pacheco didn’t query all of the crossings, just the vehicle tags, and asked, “Why?” Why, for something totally relevant to this case, did Pacheco say he saw something on the screen, but did not print it out?
Mr. Gorence pointed out that not even with leading questions did Pacheco answer why there was massive paperwork and thousands of agents in this case, but why weren’t there any border crossings. Mr. Gorence asked if it was either gross negligence or a mistake.
Mr. Gorence explained to the Jury the key issue was did Rick and Terri, Ryin and Remington have actual knowledge of straw purchasers. Mr. Gorence reminded them that in 2010, there were four straw purchases. These only involved Roman and Penny and they couldn’t keep their stories straight. They used their collective memory. Penny Torres she always came in with Roman and he called in orders ahead of time.
Mr. Gorence noted the phone records in 2010, and that they clearly went to voice mail, and pointed out that is not evidence of knowledge.
Mr. Gorence reminded the Jury about Inspector Smith, and that the agents did not find suspicious evidence and if they didn’t then how were the Reese’s supposed to find something suspicious. The government took no action.
Mr. Gorence explained to the Jury that they heard snippets and cherry picking from the audio and video from the undercover operation and there was a massive effort to set up the undercover operations.
Mr. Gorence asked the Jury to think about the type of proof needed with the example of the banker and employees, and stated that Pacheco presented no evidence during trial that the Reese’s set up any kind of conduct with Roman. There was no knowledge in their heads.
Mr. Gorence pointed out that in 2011, Roman was never held out as being a
prohibited person. He never told them he couldn’t purchase weapons. It would
have been different if he had been convicted and couldn’t buy guns, but that is
not on the tapes. Mr. Gorence stated the purpose of a straw purchase was to
help a person who can’t purchase guns or get guns. The purpose of the statutes
is to keep guns out of the hands of persons who aren’t permitted to have guns;
however, Roman was permitted to have guns.
Mr. Gorence provided an example of a different kind of buyer, “I am a felon. I can’t purchase, and I will make it worthwhile and pay you $2500 not $500. I don’t want to come in during store hours because part time law enforcement works there. I want to come in after hours at night and make sure no one is there. We’ll meet and I can’t buy so we’ll make up a name. Use some fictitious name. I can’t even take them out. I’m going to deliver to Columbus.” If there was that kind of test, then there would have been knowledge, illegal knowledge, Mr. Gorence explained. But he added there was nothing like this, and the government cherry picked the conversation.
The Reeses were fooled by a straw purchaser.