Update 22: Finishing up Chapter 8, what sticks in my mind most, thanks to recent commentary here, is the info on what exactly got impounded due to RICO.
In "Paying for a defense" we have Harlow on his blog opining that "The dollar amount to defend a capital case is over $250,000 combined" which I take to mean $125,000 for each Harlow and Joe. Which sounds about right, and I'm sure Harlow was well and truly informed by his legal team at the time as to that estimate.
Fred Kerekes, OTOH, puts the figure he needed to raise at "$150,000 for my son and Harlow (Cuadra)." So, we can put the total somewhere in that $150,000 to $250,000 range and be on pretty safe ground here.
So, in an alternate universe where RICO didn't exist, would H&J's legal funding problems been equally nonexistent? Turns out not quite.
As we know, VA didn't even bother with the house, it was so underwater it might as well have been nicknamed Jacques Cousteau. The cars they seized initially but ended up "sent back to the lenders" because they too had no equity. That leaves a bunch of personal belongings of undetermined value (computers, video cameras, a stereo, an iPod, some jewelry, a Louis Vuitton back, racing tire rims and and accessories) and $26,585.25 in cash.
I don't know what all the RICOed personal stuff was worth (based on this blog's namesake event, the auction of the infamous Chinchilla coat, I'd have to imagine it would not have been a very significant amount ... lets say, $5000 or so?) which leaves the only real RICO loss being that wad of cash, $26,585.25. In other words, barely 10% to 15% of what they needed for a paid defense.
In this alternate universe, Barry Taylor would have been in position and first in line to suck up this $32,000 or so. There are indications in the book he was owed quite a lot of money at the time of the arrest, so much of it would not have gone to any future capital defense by him, but rather, to pay off the billable hours already racked up.
(By the way, in a slightly earlier section "Trashing the evidence" can you guess who's one of the biggest whiners about the RICO seizures? Yep, Barry Taylor)
Bottom line, it can't be said RICO was this vast conspiracy to deny H&J they money to mount a paid defense. Because, even without RICO, they would not have had the cash to mount a paid defense. Not even close.
Update 21: The rest of Chapter 8, about the period they were "on the run" sure brought back memories.
Let me tell you what was going on in the Kocisphere back then. Back then, as you know, I was practically the lone voice in the wilderness pointing out the Harlow and Joe MUST have been involved in committing the murder. Practically everyone else wanted to point the finger and speculate at Sean and Grant, and didn't want to listen to logic that pointed in a different direction.
Also keep in mind, neither the SWAT raid nor the fact that Harlow and Joe had gone into hiding was public knowledge at this point. No news stories reported the SWAT raid right after it happened, so, no one knew that the police had basically eliminated Sean and Grant as suspects and were now focusing like a laser beam on Harlow and Joe. Which was great for all the Brent-did-it conspiracists.
At some point, I think, Sean got tired of all the excess suspicion on him. Police had kept he and Grant informed to some degree about the course of the investigation, so, he KNEW they were in reality they were cowering and hiding somewhere, after the SWAT raid.
So, Sean goes to his journalist friend Jody Wheeler and does an "interview" that was really not supposed to be one. It's a little fuzzy on whether what he told Wheeler was supposed to be off the record or not, but IMO the most likely scenario was that Sean wanted to leak truthful information to the Kocisphere about the VERY REAL investigation of Harlow and Joe, and this was the way he went about it.
The article "Two Pair" by Wheeler came out, and naturally it blew up the Kocisphere. Especially with it's quote of Sean saying that Harlow and Joe were currently "on the run."
And it was at this point that Joe began posting on the Kocisphere, under his "Mark" persona, in order to counter the TRUTH that they were indeed "on the run."
"sanfransam said... anyone else see harlow @ the gay awards?
i did :)
He looked cute, and did not look like he was too worried about anything. Harlow did have on a sweet pair of nike dunks with his suit. maybe the sneakers where in case he had to make a run for it?
February 25, 8:37 AM
---Anonymous said... Hi this is Mark again from www.boisrus.com here just confirming I sent a studly entorage to san fran (Harlow and Calvin) for gayvn just to mingle and to set alarms silent. Harlow isnt on the run and actually has been filming in va beach for my new update to boybatter today with he and mason. :-)Trent & Harlow have been escorting here ever since that night in question and before.Im sorry I cant respond to any questions regarding investigations, my long time litigation lawyer says NObut thanks for your warm welcome to this blog..that was suprising as I DO realize porn & escorting are two very different worlds.MarkAnd that folks, is ALL IT TOOK. INSTANTLY, this Harlow-was-at-the-GAYVNs story was adopted by the majority of folks in the Kocisphere AS THE GOSPEL TRUTH. That's all it took! A fake "sanfransam" Yahoo email account, and a statement by "Mark."
February 25, 2007 9:00 AM"
And STILL TODAY, there was that idiot who posted a comment on the Sword a few months back about how Harlow was at the GAYVNs after the murder! That shows how amazingly effective those two posts above were. My brain still explodes thinking about this today! It's incredible how gullible people can be when they want to be!
And what happened to Sean at this point, you may wonder? Sean, who took a risk and provided the Kocishere with the first REAL information about the course of the murder investigation?
Oh. My. God. He was CRUCIFIED. "That lying TOXIC TWINK, Harlow and Joe are NOT on the run, LOL! They were at the GAYVNs, see? Someone even noticed his nice shoes! OBVIOUSLY, this LIE proves BRENT is a MURDERER!" Etc etc etc.
Oh, you should have seen the comments. Sean was literally crucified. And for what? Giving us all what we so desperately craved: real and truthful information about what was going on in the murder investigation.
To this day, I'm still in amazement about how when the Kocisphere was presented with both the truth and a lie, the degree to which the lie was eagerly cherished and adopted, and the truth was villified and denigrated...I am just astounded. To this day!
This is stuff I kinda wish was in the book. There are life lessons here, about the capacity of people to be completely blind to the nature of truth and lies in order comport them to one's own preconceived world views, that are IMO of immense value and should be put on record here.
Update 20: "[Harlow and Joe, while they were hiding out in Miami after the SWAT raid but before the arrest] also conducted an on-camera interview with TV producers from MTV's Real Life program to tell their side of the story, but the segment never aired."
Will it ever air? Has anyone outside MTV actually seen this? Was it involved in the trial in any way?
Were both of them interviewed, together?
Seems to me some valuable insight into the power dynamic between the two would be revealed in this video, and how they responded to the interviewer.
Any chance it will ever been seen by the public? It keeps coming up from time to time (I think Joe mentioned it in one of his letters) and it's like this mysterious thing that gets mentioned but no one has ever really seen or heard it.
Update 19: On to Chapter 8. "In the short time they did spend together, Higgins came away unimpressed with Cuadra. "He is a male prostitute, and he comes across as soft, by the way he speaks and his mannerisms, but I can see right through that," Higgins said. ... "He acts like that to get people to do what he wants, to manipulate people."
The footnote indicates the source of this observation is "Higgins interview with AES" making this a new fact revealed in the book, and a quite interesting one coming from someone who's entire professional career is based on making these sorts of profiling character observations.
Update 18: Chapter 7: "...Kocis approached his friend Samuel Hall, a Milwalkee-based entertainment lawyer who had befriended Kocis earlier in 2005."
What's interesting to me about this is that this I think the first time I've heard of this guy (or maybe I did, but can't remember?).
In any case, what we get in this section is some very interesting details from Mr. Hall about the Cobra settlement. And not just the terms of the settlement, but the state of mind of the parties before, during and right after the settlement talks in Vegas.
I notice the source for all this is the Cuadra Trial Transcript, so, I gather Hall was called as a witness, and was asked about all this by either the prosecution or the defense.
The Le Cirque dinner is covered at the end of the chapter as well. The only detail I think should have been included was the phone conversation between Joe and Grant, after Vegas but before the murder, with Joe once again nagging to begin filming, and Grant telling them they still weren't ready yet due to the recently signed settlement.
I'm trying to remember the exact details of this call, and what date it took place (it's probably written on my blog here, but it'll take a while to dig up), but as I recall it was triggered in part due to the premature announcement on Boybatter of a new partnership with Brent Corrigan , etc etc etc. which Grant was not pleased with.
It is my belief that it was this phone call that was the final trigger in the decision by Harlow and Joe to murder Bryan Kocis.
[Edit: I found it!
"On the morning of Tuesday, January 16, Joe and Harlow called Sean, angry that Sean had not posted an announcement of their plans on his blog. Grant was furious at their impatience. “I’m in the middle of the settlement, and I had gone to great lengths to explain our situation, and they’re all pissed off because we don’t have a blog post on? Who the fuck do they think they are? I called them and said, ‘We’ve got a lot to do. You’re calling Sean and harassing him.’ Joe starts getting angry with me, saying wild things, threatening me that if we don’t ‘put up a post,’ the deal is off. I said, ‘If you don’t understand us, leave us the fuck alone.’ And I told Sean, ‘Screw those guys. Don’t talk to them anymore.’ That was it.”"]
Update 17: I just finished up Chapter 6, which is an *excellent* synopsis of what went down at the Crab Catcher and on Black's Beach. A really fine job in describing how Harlow and Joe for all intents and purposes confessed to murder on tape, the audience at this point now knows the police investigation has run it's course, and it's only a matter of time before the jaws of the trap snap shut...and they swoop in for the arrest! The anticipation is palpable, how will it go down? This missed them once during the SWAT raid, will Harlow and Joe manage to wriggle away again? Will there be violence or bloodshed? The reader eagerly turns the page to Chapter 7...
...And begins to read more of the past history of Sean Lockhart.
This is, I think, the biggest problem with the book, one that Will has remarked on already, and many book reviewers have noted as well, and that is the unfortunate over-tendency to of the book to tell the story in a non-chronological fashion. With this transition from Chapter 6 to 7 being the most jarring example of this. In fact, 7 goes on to simply repeat much of what's already been covered in Chapter 3 (although in greater detail).
Now, I don't know if any plans are in the works for a 2nd edition, but if there are, I think an untangling of the various sections and chapters would be a worthwhile endeavor. I have had some months to ponder this problem, and for it's worth, I throw my ideas out for fixing here. They are suggestions, obviously, so take from them what you will (if anything):
Chapter 1: The murder scene, unchanged from the book.
Chapter 2: Life of Kocis, which would be the current Chapter 2, plus much of current Chapter 3 dealing with the history of Cobra Video all the way until Bryan sees Sean on webcam for the very first time, then STOP.
Chapter 3: Life of Sean, childhood through meeting Kocis (where Ch 2 stopped), then continuing on with much of what's in Chapters 3 and 7 (the Cobra Wars), all the way to the climactic settlement signing in Vegas, then STOP. "But there was another fateful meeting Sean and Grant had scheduled during that weekend in Las Vegas, at the world famous Le Cirque in the Bellagio Hotel..."
Chapter 4: Life of Harlow and Joe, the rise and fall of their empire, all the way to the Le Cirque dinner, then STOP. We are now caught up to where we left off in 3, AND we have now introduced all the main characters, so, no more backtracking! It's all forward narrative from this chapter and onwards!
Chapter 5: Harlow and Joe do the murder (ie, current Chapter 5).
Chapter 6: Shock and Awe in San Diego (current Chapter 6) etc etc etc, except now we can dispense entirely with the current Chapter 7 (which was merged into 3 and 4). So, the current Chapter 8 becomes 7, and so on and so forth!
So, FWIW, that's my fix suggestion. We only time-shift 3 times (in the first three chapters), and that out of necessity when each new major character groups are introduced. From Chapter 4 and onwards we are full speed ahead.