Chauncey Bailey trial: Attorneys to debate how much jurors should see of secret video
By Thomas Peele, The Chauncey Bailey Project
OAKLAND — Lawyers in the Chauncey Bailey murder trial will argue Tuesday over how much jurors will see of a secretly recorded police videotape that appears to show former Your Black Muslim Bakery leader Yusuf Bey IV mocking the shotgun blasts that killed the journalist.
Attorneys watched a 90-minute version of the recording Monday afternoon, following along with transcripts. Jurors had been sent home for the day.
It now appears that the earliest jurors could see the video is Wednesday.
The video shows Bey IV saying, “Pow, pow, poof!” as he appears to mimic the three 12-gauge shotgun blasts his follower Devaughndre Broussard has admitted firing at Bailey at arm’s-length range. Bey IV then throws his head back and rolls his eyes upward before breaking into laughter.
“Where he shoot him at? In the head?” Bey IV’s younger half brother, Joshua Bey, asks him on recording.
“In the head!” Bey IV exclaims and laughs again.
Click here for a version of the video produced by the Chauncey Bailey Project. The jurors will see a different version.
Prosecutor Melissa Krum wants to show the entire 90 minutes to the jury, she told Judge Thomas Reardon.
Speaking outside court, Bey IV’s lawyer, Gene Peretti, said he thought the tape could be cut down to 15 or 20 minutes.
He will argue Tuesday that portions showing his client laughing about Bailey’s killing should be omitted.
“It is very inflammatory and has little probative value,” he said. “It’s not a flattering tape.”
On a short-lived website run by his family and supporters in 2008, Bey IV apologized for laughing about Bailey’s Aug. 2, 2007, death, which he says he had nothing to do with.
Bey IV “didn’t like Bailey much and considered him to have slandered the bakery” in his reporting, but is also “ashamed of his behavior” on the recording, Peretti said.
“He was full of himself and a little scared,” the lawyer said.
Broussard has testified that Bey IV ordered him and bakery member Antoine Mackey to kill the Oakland Post editor to stop a story he was working on about the bakery. Bey IV and Mackey are being tried together for Bailey’s death and the unrelated shooting deaths of two other men in summer 2007. They have pleaded not guilty.
Earlier Monday, former Oakland Police officer Jesse Grant testified about how the video was taken. Grant said he tricked Bey IV, Joshua Bey, and a third bakery member, Tamon Halfin into thinking they were stuck at the San Leandro Police Department because of a flat tire. They had been arrested in connection with a kidnapping and torture case unrelated to Bailey’s death.
Grant then left the three alone together in a room wired with hidden cameras and audio recorders.
The Aug. 6, 2007, recording, made as evidence in the kidnapping and torture case, shows Bey IV expressing relief that the shotgun used to kill Bailey wasn’t found in his bedroom closet. It had been returned there shortly after Bailey’s slaying, but then removed just hours before police raided the bakery on Aug. 3, 2007.
On the recording, Joshua Bey — who also testified Monday about the video — and Halfin watch as Bey IV says how he told police Broussard was the shooter and brags how he lied to detectives and district attorney’s office investigators when questioned.
He also speaks of Bailey’s killers in the plural, saying at one point, “The gun they used, it was in my closet.”
Much of Bey IV’s defense is centered on the claim that he didn’t order anyone killed and that Broussard acted alone in order to receive increased status the bakery. Bey IV later told investigators he knew he was being recorded in the San Leandro holding cell, and that he told numerous lies to confuse police.
Criminal experts who reviewed the video before the Chauncey Bailey Project put it online in June 2008 said it was clear Bey IV didn’t know he was being filmed.
The ruse was designed by former Alameda County Assistant District Attorney Tom Rogers to collect more evidence in the May 2007 kidnapping and torture case in which Bey IV is charged.
Bey IV quickly told the others they needed to get their stories straight on the kidnapping — to which he’s pleaded not guilty — and expressed confidence the victim, a woman who had a bag placed over her head, could not identify her attackers.
“She didn’t see (anything). If we don’t say (anything), (police) don’t got (anything),” he says on the tape. The same Superior Court Judge presiding over the murder trial, Thomas Reardon, ruled in 2009 that the video could used against Bey IV in the kidnapping case, calling it “devastating” evidence of Bey IV’s guilt.
Joshua Bey pleaded guilty in the kidnapping case in 2008 and agreed to cooperate with authorities.
At the trial of bakery associate Richard Lewis last year, another of Bey IV’s half brothers, Yusuf Bey V, testified that the kidnapping was a desperate attempt to learn where a major drug dealer they intended to rob kept his money by torturing a woman who bought cocaine from him.
A police officer happened open an East Oakland house where the woman was being tortured and rescued her.
A convicted drug dealer, Albert “Johnny” Antone, testified last week that he helped Bey IV set up the woman. Bey IV had asked to borrow money from him to “save the bakery,” Antone said, but he countered with an idea of robbing the drug dealer and the woman.
Krum told jurors in her opening statement last month that the cases are related because Bey IV was desperate in each because of his serious financial struggles; he was willing to risk robbing a drug dealer to get money and willing to kill Bailey to keep a story about the bakery’s troubles out of a newspaper so it wouldn’t hurt his ability to borrow money.
Contact investigative reporter Thomas Peele at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at Twitter.com/thomas_peele.