Informant arranged drug sell
FBI informant, Greathouse, arranged
to sell cocaine to Lonardo.
Lonardo finds distributors
Lonardo agreed to find individuals
to distribute the drugs.
Lonardo stated in a tape-recorded
telephone conversation that he had a "gentleman friend" who had
some questions to ask about the cocaine.
In a subsequent telephone call,
Greathouse spoke to the "friend" about the quality of the drug
and the price.
Drug buy was arranged
Greathouse then spoke again with
Lonardo, and the two arranged the details of the purchase.
They agreed that the sale would
take place in a designated
hotel parking lot, and Lonardo would transfer the drug from
Greathouse's car to the "friend," who would be waiting in the
parking lot in his own car.
Greathouse proceeded with the
transaction as planned
FBI agents arrested Lonardo and
petitioner immediately after Lonardo placed a kilogram of
cocaine into petitioner's car in the hotel parking lot.
In petitioner's car, the agents
found over $ 20,000 in cash.
The Government introduced
Angelo Lonardo's telephone
statements regarding the participation of the "friend" in the
District Court Findings
In considering the events in the
parking lot and Lonardo's statements over the telephone, the
Government had established by a
preponderance of the evidence
that a conspiracy involving Lonardo and
petitioner existed, and that
Lonardo's statements over the
telephone had been made in
the course of and in furtherance of the conspiracy.
Petitioner Arg Bootstrapping (Phone call is inadmissible)
Allowing such statements of
conspiracy to prove the existence of conspiracy was considered
similar to bootstrapping.
Bourjaily argued that the
phone call established the conspiracy, but since it was
inadmissible you couldn't prove the conspiracy existed, and so
the phone call was inadmissible.
This is known as the bootstrapping
rule, because the evidence isn't allowed to pull itself up by
its own bootstraps
Disagrees with Bootstrapping Argument
Rule 104 allows the trial judge to
consider any evidence whatsoever, bound only by the rules of
It was the drafters intent to
Petitioner ignores two simple facts of evidentiary life
First, out-of-court statements are
only presumed unreliable. The presumption may be rebutted by
Second, individual pieces of
evidence, insufficient in themselves to prove a point, may in
cumulation prove it.
The sum of
an evidentiary presentation may well be greater than its
Taken together, these two propositions demonstrate that a
piece of evidence, unreliable in isolation, may
become quite probative when corroborated by other
The out-of-court statements of
Lonardo indicated that Lonardo was involved in a conspiracy with
The statements indicated that the
friend had agreed with Lonardo to buy a kilogram of cocaine and
to distribute it.
The statements also revealed that
the friend would be at the hotel parking lot, in his car, and
would accept the cocaine from Greathouse's car after Greathouse
gave Lonardo the keys.
Each one of Lonardo's statements may itself be unreliable, but
taken as a whole, the entire conversation between Lonardo and
Greathouse was corroborated by independent evidence.
It is sufficient for today to hold
that HN12a court, in making a preliminary factual determination
under Rule 801(d)(2)(E), may examine the hearsay statements
sought to be admitted.
We hold that Lonardos out-of-court
statements were properly admitted against the petitioner.