Reluctant witness discusses FBI visit in Latin Kings trial

The 14th day of the North Carolina Latin Kings federal racketeering trial in Winston-Salem began with testimony from a current member of the organization, Tracy Weyman of High Point, who took the stand under subpoena with visible unhappiness about answering the government’s questions.

Weyman’s adult daughter, known as Queen Sky, entered the gallery just before her mother took the stand. She exchanged glances with Jorge Cornell, one of the defendants.

Weyman, who is also known as Queen Smiley, testified that she was living with Cornell, Charles Moore, an individual named Bobby and her children at a house on Lexington Avenue in Greensboro in December 2011 when federal agents raided just before the racketeering indictment was unsealed. She was not among those arrested in the raid, and she testified that she cleaned up in the aftermath.

Assistant US Attorney Robert AJ Lang showed her a letter from Jason Yates to Cornell, and asked her if it was one of the documents she took after the raid. Weyman responded, “Yes, it was in the common area.”  

FBI Special Agent Doug Rentz had testified the previous day that Weyman gave him the letter, in which Yates warns Cornell that the FBI is investigating the Latin Kings and that an indictment might be in the offing, when he visited her at the Thomasville Inn in September 2012. Yates, whose king name is Squirrel, is also a defendant in the racketeering indictment, but his case has been severed from the other defendants because his court-appointed lawyer was unprepared to go to trial. Yates and Cornell were bitter rivals for control of the North Carolina Latin Kings. 

Weyman testified that she didn’t remember giving the letter to Rentz. 

Lang peppered her with questions about her relationship with Yates and why she might have the letter. Weyman testified in response that she had never met Yates, or Squirrel, and that she had no history with him. 

Rentz had also testified that the FBI had approached Yates to see if he would cooperate in the case, and that Yates did not accept the overture. Rentz and another member of the FBI Safe Streets Task Force, High Point police Detetective Dennis Szentmariay testified that they found no firearms when they executed search warrants on Latin Kings residences before the racketeering indictment was unsealed.

Cornell smiled at Queen Sky as Weyman left the courtroom. 

Later, after Judge James A. Beaty Jr. dismissed court for the day, Weyman said outside the federal building that the letter from Yates to Cornell had not been in her possession when Agent Rentz visited her at the Thomasville Inn. She said that after the raid, “anything that did not belong to me I gave to a friend to hold,” declining to identify the friend on the record. 

Weyman said she allowed Rentz to take a letter from her hotel room that she had received from Willie Craig, a North Carolina prison inmate who was not a Latin King but rather was someone looking for a pen pal. 

Weyman also said that Rentz’s stated reason for the visit was that he wanted a handwriting sample from her so he could exclude her as a suspect in an investigation of a person who was sending notes containing death threats to cooperating witnesses. 

A full account of today's testimony will be included in a later installment.

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mody halem said...
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