Castro extortion case to be retried in August
Former Philadelphia Police Inspector Daniel Castro - convicted of only one of 10 counts in his federal extortion trial - faces a retrial. Jurors convicted Castro of lying to the FBI but deadlocked on other charges.
Former Philadelphia Police Inspector Daniel Castro - convicted of only one of 10 counts last month in his federal extortion trial - faces a retrial.
After a meeting with federal prosecutors and Castro's attorney in his chambers Wednesday, U.S. District Chief Judge Harvey Bartle III ordered a new trial for Castro to begin Aug. 22.
A federal jury last month convicted Castro of lying to the FBI but deadlocked on eight other charges.
Castro, 47, was indicted in November on charges that he plotted to hire strong-arm collectors to shake down a former business partner, Wilson Encarnacion, who owed him $90,000. Castro had invested the money with Encarnacion in a real-estate deal in Delaware that flopped.
Castro admitted on the witness stand last month that he had authorized collectors in September to use force to get his money back from Encarnacion, but defense attorney Brian McMonagle argued that the FBI had relied upon an unscrupulous informant, convicted drug dealer Rony Moshe, to entrap him.
No extortion ever took place, but Moshe persuaded Castro to believe it occurred.
No verdict was reached on the charges involving Encarnacion, and Castro was cleared of an unrelated extortion charge. Several jurors said afterward that a majority had voted to acquit on the deadlocked charges, concluding that Castro, a police officer for 25 years who aspired to be commissioner, had been entrapped.
But a retrial is a whole new ballgame.
First, there will be a new jury. New charges could be added, and new witnesses could be called by the government to testify. And any admissions Castro made from the witness stand in his first trial can be used by prosecutors in the second trial.
First Assistant U.S. Attorney Louis Lappen declined to comment yesterday on prosecutors' next moves. McMonagle could not be reached for comment.
Castro is believed to be the highest-ranking Philadelphia police officer in more than two decades to face criminal charges.
He is not the first city police officer to face a retrial on federal criminal charges.
Former Officer Malik Snell was twice retried before being convicted by a third jury in June 2009 of robbing a drug dealer, attempted robbery and related gun offenses. He is now serving a 30-year sentence.