Existence of "suppressed" tape
was revealed at 1967 trial

"We had a tape recorder concealed under the desk," detective testified

Published in The Herald-News, Passaic-Clifton, N.J., Oct. 16, 1975

PATERSON -- That controversial "suppressed" tape recording was not suppressed at all, according to the trial transcript.

Supporters of Rubin "Hurricane" Carter and John Artis, who were convicted of a 1966 triple murder here, have argued that a key tape recording was suppressed for nine years by the Passaic County Prosecutor's Office.

That tape, they say, shows that deals were made with a prosecution witness, Alfred Bello, in exchange for Bello's testimony against Carter and Artis. Because of the potentially damaging information about those "deals," the Carter supporters contend, the tape became a well-kept secret of the prosecution.

Despite the contentions of Carter's supporters, the existence of the tape was first made known in 1967 during the Carter-Artis murder trial.

Paterson Det. Sgt. Robert Mohl (now a captain) was being cross-examined by Carter's attorney, Raymond Brown. The attorney asked Mohl if the pre-trial interrogation of Alfred Bello, a prosecution witness, had been planned in advance.

"Yes," replied Mohl. "As a matter of act we had a tape recorder concealed under the desk."

It was Bello who testified that Carter and Artis were the gunmen he saw leaving the Lafayette Grill immediately after the murders there. He has since recanted his identification of Carter and Artis.

Carter and Artis are now seeking a new trial. They are doing so based, in part, on the recantations of Bello and the "suppression" of the tape.

The transcript of the tape was released for the first time late last year. The tape was made in October 1966.

After a hearing on the requests for a new trial, Superior Court Judge Samuel Larner ruled that the prosecution made no improper deals with Bello.

Larner further ruled that the tape contained no exculpatory material relating to Carter and Artis.

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