Government counters Latin Kings' request for new trial

In the latest development in the North Carolina Latin Kings racketeering case, the US government filed a motion requesting that the court not grant defendants Jorge Cornell, Russell Kilfoil and Ernesto Wilson a new trial.

No surprise there.

Cornell, the leader of the North Carolina Latin Kings was convicted of criminal racketeering by a federal jury in November 2012. The jury also found Kilfoil, also a Latin Kings member and Cornell's biological brother, and Wilson, who was not a member, guilty. Three other defendants were acquitted, and charges against a fourth defendant were dismissed before the jury began deliberations.

The motion for a new trial filed by the three defendants contends that the jury was confused by court instructions on how to assess defendants' guilt in relation to specific underlying criminal acts. The verdicts attached the same set of criminal acts to all three defendants even though evidence clearly established that they could not have each participated in all of them. For example, Wilson left North Carolina in 2007, before Latin Kings members were alleged to have committed conspiracy to commit murder, attempted murder, interference with commerce by threats of violence and bank fraud.

The government responded on Wednesday:

Defendants argue that they should not be held accountable for the actions of the enterprise. However, where a defendant is found guilty of RICO conspiracy, he is responsible for acts that are reasonably foreseeable . See, United States v. Barbeito, 201 WL 2243878 (S.D.W.Va. 2010). A branch of the Latin Kings in North Carolina was created in 2005 by Cornell and his brothers. From its inception, criminal activity, including attacks on rival gangs, a need to get money, and otherwise instill fear into others was part and parcel of the Latin Kings. The Latin Kings also endeavored to grow in ranks and did so by expanding and creating tribes in various cities throughout North Carolina. As such, the actions of members of the Latin Kings and their associates, from inception to 2011, were reasonably foreseeable as they all fell within the scope of what the Latin Kings were during this time period.

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