November 16, 2005
The Charlottesville racketeering trial continued today, as federal prosecutors tried to establish a pattern of organized crime. At the center of the organization they point to one of four defendants in this case - Louis Antonio Bryant.
Wednesday a former co-defendant in this case Roger Henry testified that he is a member of the Charlottesville street gang PJC. He said his tattoo 'PJC for life' means "stand by what you live for on the streets with your friends." He claims to be friends with co-defendants in this trial Louis Antonio Bryant, and Clay Maupin. But today he wasn't standing by his friends he was standing against them.
Rapper B-Stacks raps about PJC. Prosecutors call PJC a gang from the Westside of Charlottesville. B-Stacks a.k.a. Louis Antonio Bryant is on trial charged with racketeering and conspiracy. Federal prosecutors say he is the leader of a Charlottesville drug ring, one that used violence to settle scores.
"We laid out the pattern of racketeering activity that we're alleging occurred with respect to PJC and the Westside Crew," said Asst. US Attorney Tim Heaphy.
Originally there were 17 defendants in this case. Now there are four. One of the former co-defendants Roger Henry testified today that Louis Bryant shot a man in the leg on 10th Street. He also said Bryant is the man who directed co-defendant Clay Maupin to shoot a rival. He said that Louis instructed his crew to carry guns after one of their members was shot. All testimony the prosecutions hopes points to Louis Bryant as the head of this drug ring
Federal attorneys plan on using some of B-Stack's lyrics against him at trial. They say its evidence of his boasting about his crimes.
"Witnesses will say it is autobiographical that he included actual events in his rap music," said Heaphy.
Defense attorneys reminded the jury that Henry is a convicted felon, one hoping for a lighter sentence, and one who once fired 10 shots at Louis Antonio Bryant after a fight in 1997. They hope the jury will place little weight on this testimony, because they say it could be tainted.
This trial is not expected to wrap up until late November.