The Chicago Syndicate: Witness Testifies Behind Large Screen to Protect His Identity at Deputy US Marshal Trial
The Mission Impossible Backpack

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Witness Testifies Behind Large Screen to Protect His Identity at Deputy US Marshal Trial

A witness in the trial of Deputy U.S. Marshal John Ambrose was heard, but not seen, by courtroom observers as he testified from behind a large screen erected to protect his identity.

The witness, identified only as Inspector 1, is an officer of the U.S. Marshals Witness Security Program, and was in charge of a security detail when mobster Nicholas Calabrese came to Chicago on two occasions in 2002 and 2003 to cooperate with a federal investigation.

Proceedings took place behind an eight-foot-high gray wall that was erected this morning along the front row of the courtroom's gallery. About 15 spectators, including two disappointed courtroom sketch artists, stared at one side of the wall while listening to questioning about security procedures in place during Calabrese's two visits.

Ambrose, 41, was assigned to those security details and is on trial on charges he leaked information about Calabrese's cooperation to a family friend who allegedly passed the sensitive details on to organized-crime figures.

Prosecutors in the case successfully argued in pre-trial hearings last week that the identities of personnel from the Witness Security Program should be protected as they testify in court. Attorneys for Ambrose opposed the measures, saying that the presence of unusual security precautions would "sensationalize" the trial. But U.S. District Judge John Grady ruled that there were valid reasons to keep the identities of Witness Security Program personnel secret and ruled that a wall should separate courtroom observers seated in the gallery from the judge, jury, attorneys and witness. More hidden witnesses are expected to testify this afternoon from behind the screen.

Thanks to Robert Mitchum

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