From Yes! Weekly
The US government and defense attorneys for seven North Carolina Latin Kings members presented clashing characterizations of the organization, as a federal criminal racketeering trial got underway in Winston-Salem on Monday.
Assistant US Attorney Robert AJ Lang pledged to members of the jury that the government would prove that each of the defendants entered into a conspiracy by agreeing that they would individually commit criminal acts such as arson, robbery, kidnapping, bank fraud and the sales of narcotics. He told the jury that former members would talk about an organization “that was ruled by violence and fear” by leader Jorge Cornell, AKA King Jay; about beatings, or “physicals,” meted out for violation of rules; about an enterprise with a “robust symbology” of manifestoes, hand signs, salutes, clothing and rituals”; and about acts of retaliation against rivals and former members alike.
“The Latin Kings’ colors are gold and black,” the prosecutor concluded. “Often gold by day and black by night.”
Michael Patrick, Cornell’s public defender, told the jury there was no question his client was the leader of the North Carolina Latin Kings. But he said they would hear evidence from defense witnesses at odds with the picture created by the government. He told them they would hear from a school board member who appointed Cornell to the school safety committee who would testify that the defendant gave names of middle-school aged wannabe Latin Kings to school officials so they could deter the youngsters; from various community members who were helping Cornell set up a temporary labor agency to provide jobs to ex-felons; from college professors who invited the defendant to speak to their classes; and from pastors who would testify that he helped broker a peace pact between street gangs. (more…)