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
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
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
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.