Closing arguments took place today in the trial of former Fall River mayor Jasiel Correia II.
Judge Woodlock began the proceedings by stating that he released one juror according to protocols, but did not elaborate further on the reasoning.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Zachary Hafer then began his closing argument.
“Over the last two weeks you saw witness after witness who stated that the defendant lied to them.”
Hafer documented when money was received by investors and tied it to spending by Correia which included trips, a car, clothing and jewelry.
“The defendant said anything to get what he wanted… and what he wanted was money and power.”
Hafer proceeded to go through the mountain of SnoOwl evidence detailing the testimony of friends and investors, including Dr. David Cabecarias, who Hafer described as a nice man who cared about Correia.
The alleged sale of Find It Networks that never occurred, according to the prosecution, was crucial in luring people in and explaining Correia’s lifestyle.
Hafer detailed how in the first year of SnoOwl, $4 out of 5 investor dollars were spent on personal items and listed more documented Correia purchases.
Correia detailed that he was a full time grad student at Providence College while stating he was working on SnoOwl full time, according to Hafer.
“Was he a full-time student, or was he a 24/7 CEO? You can’t be both. He was poor when he had to pay his Sallie Mae loan, but rich when he wanted to impress Natalie (his then girlfriend).”
Something that wasn’t detailed during testimony, Hafer stated that Correia used investor money to buy sex toys on Amazon.
Hafer explained each charge involving SnoOwl to the jury and why they should find Correia guilty.
The marijuana bribery portion of the closing argument then began.
“The defendant sold the city of Fall River.”
Hafer outlined the tree from Correia, to the co-conspirators, to those who admittedly paid bribes.
Presented were checks, bank statements and damaging testimony from Tony Costa and Hil Camara including Correia stating that “Tony is the only guy who can screw me.”
Hafer reminded the jury that the only person that could sign the marijuana letters is Correia as he went through each alleged extortion one by one highlighting texts, phone records, and more testimony.
Towards the end of his closing, Hafer detailed charts, documents, and testimony concerning Correia allegedly taking half of Gen Andrade’s salary.
Hafer then explained each charge involving the bribery/extortion to the jury and why they should find Correia guilty.
The prosecution finished their closing statement with Hafer stating how serious and important the case is.
“Just because it is serious, just because it is important, doesn’t mean it is close. It is not remotely close. He is guilty.”
Correia lawyer Kevin Reddington then began his closing statement after a break.
“Not one person tried to get out of this case. All of you have taken time from your family, from your job, and everyone in this courtroom thanks you.”
After thanking the jury for being there, Reddington touched on how former girlfriend Natalie Cleveland made two differentiating statements on how much Correia told her he sold Find It Networks for.
“Words are easily manipulated.”
Reddington then touched on how SnoOwl was Correia’s baby and how intent matters.
“He had good faith belief in SnoOwl. Yes he worked 24/7 on SnoOwl. The evidence is clear.”
Reddington went on to say that Dr. David Cabecarias’ money went directly to Statewide Software and was not stolen.
The jury was instructed by Reddington to scrutinize the testimony closely of those who received co-operation agreements and their motives.
When discussing the alleged bribes, Reddington tied the meetings with the prospective marijuana business owners to Costa and Camara, not Correia, which included Costa keeping bribery payments and Camara wiping down the money left in the shed.
Reddington also pointed out inconsistencies in testimony from Costa and Camara from the initial Grand Jury testimony.
The defense reminded the jury that Correia setting up a legal defense fund was totally legitimate and there was no pay for play by Correia.
“There is no quid quo pro.”
Reddington urged the jury that the Saliby meeting never happened as Carla Dutra testified that she mailed the marijuana letters directly to Saliby and there were no phone records in evidence corroborating the communication between Correia and Saliby concerning the meeting.
“Where is the evidence? Words are one thing, evidence is another.”
Reddington went on to say that the documents showed nothing that Correia couldn’t spend the money the way he saw fit and that none of the investors wanted a refund.
“Does one person say they want their money back? No.”
Staff Sheehan appeared to back away from SnoOwl, according to the defense, but Reddington didn’t believe in what he felt was a portrayal of a lack of involvement.
“He backed up on this like a poodle on a linoleum floor.”
In continuing his statement, Reddington reiterated his sentiment throughout the trial that Correia was not a smart businessman.
Reddington went on to say that the helicopter ride and trips made by Correia resulted in clients or attempts for them to be a client.
“Everything was done in good faith intent. It is not a crime.”
When discussing Gen Andrade writing checks to Correia, Reddington stated that it was a loan.
Reddington touched on why there is no video evidence despite claims in testimony that there were cameras.
“Who do you believe?
After Reddington finished, Hafer rebutted and stated that there was no evidence that any of Correia’s trips resulted in clients and that Correia was smarter than Reddington would lead you to believe.
“He’s not dumb. He was in charge of this thing.”
Judge Woodlock gave instructions to the jury after lunch and then proceeded to put the case in their hands for deliberation which begins on Tuesday morning.