Castro: No Info About Corrupt Elected Officials
After arresting former Philadelphia Police Inspector Danny Castro on charges of extortion, federal investigators indicated they would be willing to negotiate a deal if the 25-year police veteran could offer information in a federal investigation of corruption among elected officials. According to a source with intimate knowledge of the Castro case, the feds named four specific elected officials, asking Castro if he had information linking any of them to a corruption investigation. Castro said he had no such information.
Federal officials then pressed ahead with their extortion prosecution of Castro.
That’s the alleged back-story to the high-profile prosecution of Castro, who was indicted in November on charges of extortion and bribery. It is not known if any larger investigation federal officials were pursuing in connection with Castro is related to the probe of alleged wrongdoing by the police and the department of licenses and inspections.
Castro is charged with hiring “collectors” to recoup $90,000 he lost in a real estate deal with Wilson Encarnacion. According to the government’s main witness, Rony Moshe, a former friend of Castro’s, the then-Police Inspector was reluctant to resort to violence but did agree to hire “collectors” to get the $90,000 back from Encarnacion.
In truth, Moshe was acting as an FBI informant and recording the conversations with Castro, and the “collector” Castro met was an undercover FBI agent.
Castro’s defense attorney, Brian McMonagle, argued last week that Castro was a victim of government entrapment. He also alleged Moshe only became an informant in the Castro case because he was himself facing federal charges. According to the Inquirer, Moshe was convicted of drug dealing and also arrested on drug charges while serving as an informant. But after a brief attempt to question Moshe about his criminal past, and a private conference with Judge Harvey Bartle, McMonagle broke off that line of inquiry.
Of course, none of this changes what the jurors did hear, which included an audiotape of Castro saying “You tell [the collectors], go get my money. They’ve been nice long enough.”
Castro also testified, breaking down in tears when he admitted authorizing violence against Encarnacion. He also accused prosecutors of luring him into committing the crime.
Closing arguments in the case are expected to begin on Monday.