A look inside the Numero Uno case

Jeffery Anderson has a piece out today on Ticklethewire, which goes into some detail about how the government essentially blew its case against George Torres, the inner city grocery store kingpin who was accused in a racketeering case. 

Thomas Himes tackled the same material in Sunday’s newspaper. Here’s a snippet of Tom’s story in case you missed it:

LOS ANGELES — In the eyes of a federal court judge, an Arcadia man who was convicted of soliciting murder and racketeering was the victim of a rogue LAPD cop who bribed and threatened key witnesses in the case.

As a result, George Torres, 52, the one-time owner of the Los Angeles-based Numero Uno supermarket chain, which had a store in South El Monte, is free again after serving nearly two years time in federal custody.

“Now he (Torres) stands convicted of nothing,” Torres’ attorney, Steve Madison said.

Torres still faces charges of harboring illegal aliens, bribing a planning commissioner and tax evasion and will return to court on Nov. 30

In a 147-page ruling U.S. District Court Judge Stephen V. Wilson cited police and government misconduct as reasons to overturn Torres’ convictions.

Wilson singled out LAPD Sgt. Greg Kading, ruling that Kading bribed and threatened key witnesses to obtain testimony against Torres.

The LAPD veteran made “promises of immunity, money, and benefits while in prison, to drug dealers who faced decades of prison time,” Madison said.

Kading did not return phone calls seeking comment for this story. Although LAPD had no official comment, a source close to the investigation said the department’s Internal Affairs Group is investigating Kading.

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