Mr. Fortier was a daily seller of amphetamines, both Michael
Mr. Fortier was a daily seller of amphetamines, both Michael
Apr. 25, 1997
Mr. Fortier was a daily seller of amphetamines, both Michael and Lowry used marijuana; and the evidence will show, as I've already indicated, that the government wasn't interested in pursuing that; but Mr. Fortier didn't know that. Mr. Fortier's maximum punishment, under the charges that he pled guilty to, is 23 years but he faces over a hundred years if he had been charged with the other crimes for which he was not charged, multiple counts of drug use and possession and lying to the ATF.
Our proof is that what he could have been charged with that he did is far greater in its severity then that which he pled guilty to but didn't do; and of course, as Mr. Hartzler told you, no charges were filed against his wife, whose drug use and habit was almost as great as Mr. Fortier's.
The FBI repeatedly told Mr. Fortier in the interviews that participants in the Oklahoma City bombing would face the death penalty. Our evidence is that Terry Nichols appeared to be in the same circumstantial position by Mr. Fortier and that Mr. Fortier could read the writing on the wall.
In the plea negotiations that Mr. Hartzler has referenced the government offered Mr. Fortier a deal which allowed he and his wife to escape death itself. Mr. Fortier believed, and he will tell you, that under the deal he could receive as little as two years and his wife would not be prosecuted at all.
The deal, as I indicated, and you'll see it in evidence, provides that the government will file a motion for a lower sentence in the event Mr. Fortier, quote, ``cooperated,'' close quote.
The bottom line was, and is, that under this agreement which will be introduced, in order to testify against Tim _ Mr. McVeigh _ Mr. Fortier would avoid a federal prison sentence in excess of 50 years for false statements to the FBI, false statements to the ATF and drug possession and distribution all of which, the proof will show, are totally unrelated to the bombing of the Murrah Building; but in the Oklahoma City bombing case, under the agreement, he escapes capital prosecution and his wife avoids prosecution altogether. Our proof is that under such circumstances Mr. and Mrs. Fortier could only be expected to say whatever the government wanted to hear, and we will prove they tailored their testimony to fit what they already new about the prosecution's case and theory and save their own skins at the expense of the truth. We will prove that Mr. Fortier's testimony against Mr. McVeigh is the product of fear and intimidation, that he proclaimed Mr. McVeigh's innocence to his closest friends and the world and changed when Mr. Terry Nichols was charged.
Mr. Hartzler told you, and it's true that the government will introduce evidence of _ in various ways to describe the Darrell Bridges debit card, Spotlight debit card, the telephone card, but we're all referring to the same thing. The material is put together in some kind of summary that you may see later, but basically here's what the proof will show: A telephone debit card is not of the same thing as a telephone credit card or direct distance dialing.
You have a telephone credit card and you call from your home in Denver to New York City, there is an electronic chain of billing. A call from your home or your office or a pay phone to the place in New York City that you call, and if you use direct distance dialing, you pick up the phone, you dial 1-212, whatever the number is, a record is created because you, or whomever's phone you are using, is charged a tariff and part of that tariff is dependent upon several factors, where you called from and where you called to, whether you called in the morning or after 6, whether you called on a holiday or workday, whether you had operator assistance or not, whether you called person to person or station to station. All of that information is necessary for billing.
And the telephone debit card, none of it is necessary except one thing, where the call was placed to. Because the telephone debit card charges 25 cents a minute whether you call across the street or across the nation. It doesn't make any difference where you called from or how or the time of day, it's only important where you called to; and it's the same whether you called Evergreen or Bangor, Maine.
Now the way that works is, is that this Spotlight, which is a newspaper put out by Liberty Lobby in Washington, D.C., which is kind of a political organization, advertised these debit cards; and in fact debit cards are a new and fast growing way that people use the telephone. You have to put the money up front. So the company's already got your money, and you can put $25, $50, a hundred dollars up, you send them a check or money order, they put it in an account.
Spotlight is the company _ and I'm not sure of its full legal name, but that's, for ease of convenience, what we'll call it _ they market this debit calling card service. People fill out an application, they pay the money to open an account, and they get the card.
Now, you don't need the card to make a call. All you need to know is the number. So anybody that knows the number can make the call. It's not something you slide in the machine and slide back out. You can surf a number, you can steal somebody's number, you can memorize your number, or you can carry the card and pull it out when you get ready to make the call.
There's a second company that figures into these transactions when you're making these calls, and that's a company called OPUS. I'm sure that stands for something but I don't remember what it is. That's the company _ remember Spotlight advertises a card and they sell it. Well OPUS is the company whose job it is to facilitate the billing for the Spotlight debit card calling customers.
These Spotlight customers prepay money into an account and they're given a number and this account is managed by OPUS; and then OPUS, through various computer systems, subtracts the cost of each call, which is 25 cents a minute, from the customer's account.
Anyone who has the PIN number _ and that's what it's called _ of a particular Spotlight account, like a traditional calling card number, would be able to charge calls to that person's account.
One of the problems that the proof will show with the Bridges card record in this case is that the original design of the Spotlight calling card system was not to provide a trail from the calling party to the called party, not because they were trying to help the customer but because it wasn't needed so they didn't want to create more work and spend more money in a competitive market than what was needed. All they needed to know was how long you were on the phone, and as many minutes that you were on the phone they took 25 cents off.
The card didn't carry a camera with it, so who made the call is not in and of itself part of the telephone records; so there is, of course, a record of the call coming in. I make a call or Michael Fortier makes a call or Tim McVeigh makes a call, let's say, from Lockport, N.Y., and he wants to call Denver, so the mechanics _ and these experts will tell you about it _ you pick up the phone, any phone, and you dial an 800 number, 1-800-Spotlight or whatever it is, and a phone rings. It might not really ring, it's all computers, but to make it simple, a phone rings and somebody there picks up that phone and so now you're connected; and you punch in your PIN number. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and electronically you're then ready to make your call. So you make the call. And then there's a record from the place where the call came in at OPUS, or wherever it might be, Los Angeles, to where the call is received, say Denver, Colo.
But here's our proof, to go back and say that this call in Denver was made from this pay phone in Junction City is not certain, and the reason that it's not certain is because there are three clocks. There's three forms of billing along the way, three records kept, and the clocks aren't synchronized so they're off; and this call to Denver, which may or not _ may or may not be from Junction City is not the only call OPUS is handling. It might be the only call, and the records will show it, at 3 a.m. in the morning, but at nine o'clock in the morning there could be several thousand people using their debit card calling at the same time and then their calls are filtered out but they're not linked up except in narrow, specific circumstances.
You see these computers systems that have to arrange this, unlike the debt card _ unlike the credit card on direct distance dialing, our experts or the government experts will tell you, were not designed to work together to produce a summary of the details of each call like you get each month. When you get your phone call at the end of month you have a credit card for direct distance dialing, it will say call from Denver to Longmont or call from Denver to Kansas City on such and such a date, such and such a duration.
But that's not the way the debit card works. The government experts spent over 2,000 hours trying to match and study these cards and I believe the proof will show on cross-examination that there were many, many mistakes and they continue to be mistakes. Just the other day, it will be introduced into evidence, there was a new summary that corrected 35 mistakes.
For example, almost two years after they had access to it, this new summary shows a new call being placed with the Bridges calling card that they hadn't found before. The government's expert has changed the location to where a call was placed from the Bridges card from the Traveler's Motel to a Minimart pay phone, and changing the city from where the calls were placed, from, for example, Kingman, to Bullhead City.