ST. LOUIS • A federal biologic abettor denied in affirmation actuality Friday that he anytime slept with a arcane informer, but he accepted developing a claimed accord with her.
The conduct of Keith Cromer, who was a accumulation administrator at the Biologic Enforcement Administration appointment in Atlanta, is the accountable of a continuing audition on whether accuse can move to balloon adjoin four declared St. Louis biologic arena associates — two of them accused of murder.
Officials accept accustomed that allegations of barbarism involving Cromer and a woman accepted as “CS1,” for “confidential antecedent 1,” are the accountable of an centralized analysis by the DEA and a bent analysis by the Justice Department.
CS1 has been paid $212,000 in DEA funds for her advice with cases, and played a role in accouterment advice for a eavesdrop adjustment that board said helped accompany bottomward the St. Louis ring.
According to abstracts acquired by the Post-Dispatch, aegis attorneys are application advice provided by federal prosecutors to affirmation that DEA board may accept acclimated CS1 to vouch for break acquired advice or alike their hunches.
The attorneys accept questioned whether there was anytime affirmation to prove several of the claims that prompted a adjudicator to accept wiretapping in the St. Louis case.
Cromer told U.S. Magistrate Adjudicator Shirley Padmore Mensah, “There’s no blue action activity on.”
He accustomed axis to CS1 for abundance afterwards his son died of leukemia in 2011, adage the DEA’s abettor abetment affairs had bootless him. He said he was depressed, abashed and had survivor’s guilt, but was abashed to let anyone abroad know.
“In hiding, I chose the amiss person,” he said.
He said he and CS1 had been to dinner, were in the aforementioned amphitheater to see a “Three Stooges” cine and had been on two vacations, but backward in abstracted apartment and were never intimate. He said sometimes his brother, who was dating CS1’s neighbor, had arrive her along. Cromer is married, or was at the time.
He denied falsifying letters to absolve payments to CS1, and said no subordinates had either.
“There’s annihilation amiss with the work,” he insisted. “That assignment is solid.”
CS1 was paid $2,500 per ages by the DEA. Cromer said that there was no accounting acceding but that her assignment was recorded anniversary ages to absolve her payment. He said that the bureau had the aforementioned adjustment with others and that his admiral were acquainted of it.
Cromer said the allegations of barbarism alike in May 2014. By June 2015, his aegis approval had been revoked. He said DEA board aloof “took it on faith” that he committed misconduct.
But, he said, “Nobody asked me about it.”
Twice during Friday’s questioning, Cromer asserted his Fifth Amendment appropriate adjoin cocky incrimination. In one instance, the adjudicator said he already waived it by testifying on Wednesday. Later, he invoked it back asked about his accord with CS1 but again answered the questions anyway.
Cromer has not been charged. He said Friday that he had been suspended.
He appropriate that CS1 fabricated the allegations afterwards acumen the abeyant after-effects of her cooperation with the DEA, including accessible acknowledgment as a source.
Testimony in secret
It is not accepted what CS1 said in cloister about the relationship. She testified Monday in a bankrupt hearing. Abundant of this week’s affirmation was taken in secret, with a anchorman kept out.
The Post-Dispatch arise online Monday night that aegis attorneys for four St. Louis suspects affirmation the accusation adjoin Comer should aftereffect in disqualifying key affirmation in the case.
The four, Dionne L. Gatling, Andre Alphonso Rush, Timothy Lamont Rush and Lorenzo Gibbs, were accusable in 2014 on assorted federal drug-related charges. Gatling and Andre Rush accept additionally been answerable and accused of a role in two murders here.
Defense allegations arise to accept been somewhat attenuated by what affirmation was fabricated in accessible cloister this week.
A retired DEA agent, John Harvey, said some of the money paid to CS1 was for assignment done for him that resulted in a admired seizure. He said agents were banned from alike actuality abandoned with sources, abundant beneath accepting a claimed relationship.
He said that an “arms-length” accord was all-important to assure “the candor of the accomplished process.”
Harvey additionally testified that CS1 contacted him in 2014 about a “relationship” she was accepting and added problems with the agency, including threats she had accustomed afterwards actuality outed as a DEA source. Those threats accept continued, added agents testified.
DEA agents in St. Louis accept ressed advice purportedly acquired from CS1, adage her letters about biologic access amid Gatling and a man from California were borne out by consecutive analysis and the wiretaps. Agents actuality were already acquainted of Gatling from added investigations, they said.
The affairs recessed Friday and are due to resume Nov. 21.
$237 actor to sources
A address appear aftermost ages by the Justice Department Appointment of Inspector General said the DEA had added than 18,000 alive arcane sources amid Oct. 1, 2010, and Sept. 30, 2015, who were paid a absolute of $237 million. It criticized administration and blank of the arcane antecedent affairs and payments.
An OIG staffer has been present at times in the St. Louis courtroom, including for Cromer’s affirmation Friday.
The prosecution’s position on the claims is not clear, as abounding cloister filings in the case are sealed.
Jeff Jensen, a above administrator in the U.S. attorney’s appointment here, said Friday that to prevail, the aegis charge prove two things: That advice in an affirmation for the chase accreditation was apocryphal or independent a adventuresome apathy for the truth, and that after it there would not be apparent account for the wiretap.
A DEA agent in Atlanta beneath to animadversion on the cachet of advisers called in the investigation.
Ashley Lisenby of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.
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