By Tony Hanson
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Bail hearings are scheduled for today for six Philadelphia narcotics officers charged with corruption.
Defendants Thomas Liciardello, Brian Reynolds, Michael Spicer, Perry Betts, Linwood Norman and John Speiser allegedly stole money, property and drugs from drug dealers, and targeted dealers and their families in robberies, kidnapping, and gun-point threats.
Federal authorities want all six defendants held without bail pending trial. US Attorney Zane Memeger says there are grounds to warrant pre-trial detention.
“Risk of flight and danger to the community. The fact of the matter is, as set forth in the indictment, these individuals did not hesitate to engage in violence,” said Memeger. “When you are hanging individuals over a balcony in order to extort them for money, you can only imagine what type of conduct they may engage in, in order to avoid being found guilty by a jury of their peers.”
The defendants have pleaded not guilty. The defense challenged the credibility of the government’s criminal witnesses and is expected to argue that bail is appropriate here.
One of those witnesses is an admitted corrupt cop cooperating with authorities, Jeffrey Walker.
Defense attorney Michael Diamondstein says his client, John Speiser, is not charged with any alleged acts of violence, and he should be released pending trial.
“The public should be outraged that the government has charged John Speiser on nothing more than the word of felons, villains and thieves. We deny these charges categorically,” Diamondstein said. “The law presumes that Mr. Speiser should be released. He is not charged with crimes of violence and the law says someone in his position should be released.”
The bail hearings are scheduled for this afternoon.