In a twist, prosecutors in FBG Duck murder trial intend to bring up criminal records of their own witnesses (2024)

In their push to convict six men in the brazen killing of rapper FBG Duck on the Gold Coast, federal prosecutors are relying on a cast of unsavory characters to make their case.

Two gang members-turned-YouTubers have sparred with defense attorneys and evaded questions while providing potentially crucial testimony against the O Block faction of the Black Disciples in the murder and racketeering trial. A former member of the gang set has also taken the stand.

Prosecutors are now expected to press three of their own witnesses about their criminal backgrounds this week — a move defense attorneys opposed, saying it was inappropriate.

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“You can’t put up a witness simply to impeach them,” attorney Cheryl Bormann argued during a conference without the jury present Monday.

Meanwhile, a warrant was issued for another witness who was previously booted from the courtroom after it was revealed she was present for the proceedings. The warrant remained under seal Monday, but electronic updates to the courts’ online system showed that a bench warrant had been issued for the woman, who is the mother of one defendant’s child.

The trial has grown into a spectacle that’s spilled out of the Dirksen Federal Courthouse and onto YouTube accounts and rap blogs that draw millions of viewers from across the globe. It centers on a lengthy gang war between O Block and the Tookaville faction of the Gangster Disciples that was claimed by FBG Duck, real name Carlton Weekly.

On trial are six O Block members and associates: Marcus Smart, 24; Christopher Thomas, 24; Kenneth Roberson, 30; Charles Liggins, 32; Tacarlos Offerd, 32; and Ralph Turpin, 34.

The testimony of Martell “Trenches News” Wiley and Rakeem “FBG Butta” Wilton provided a revealing look into that world since the bloggers have deep knowledge of the gang feud. But they proved mercurial on the stand, alternating between angry outbursts and comical asides that bordered on mocking the court.

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Wilton testified that he had a child with Duck’s sister and was close friends with the slain rapper. But Wilton’s most compelling testimony related to the killing of his own sister, Gakirah Barnes, a female gang assassin who was shot and killed in a 2014 attack that also wounded Wilton.

In a twist, prosecutors in FBG Duck murder trial intend to bring up criminal records of their own witnesses (2)

YouTube

Wilton conceded in open court that King Von, a superstar rapper and alleged O Block leader, had killed his sister by standing over her and shooting her repeatedly. Von, real name Dayvon Bennett, later placed a bounty on Duck’s head before he was killed, prosecutors say.

Wilton’s testimony came after he made public statements claiming Von hadn’t killed his sister — something he said he did to avoid breaking the no-snitch code of the street. He changed his story after Von was killed in an apparently unrelated shooting months after Duck was gunned down.

“As long as Von was walking this earth,” Wilton said, “I never mentioned the man’s name on no police s---.”

In a twist, prosecutors in FBG Duck murder trial intend to bring up criminal records of their own witnesses (3)

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Prosecutors are now getting ready to call a new batch of witnesses with troubled backgrounds they want to highlight. All three witnesses are longtime associates of Turpin, who allegedly alerted the other defendants that Duck was shopping on the Gold Coast on Aug, 4, 2020.

On Monday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Julien said the witnesses have willingly brought up their criminal histories while discussing the case but wouldn’t prep for their testimony. “That’s just not the reality with these folks that we’re talking about,” Julien said, describing them as bordering on being “hostile.”

The dozen defense attorneys objected, saying they weren’t going to focus on the records and called on Judge Martha Pacold to block the move. “Everybody here knows that it’s improper to do,” said Steve Greenberg, who along with Bormann represents Roberson.

In a twist, prosecutors in FBG Duck murder trial intend to bring up criminal records of their own witnesses (4)

Associated Press

Julien complained that Greenberg had previously made unfounded claims that prosecutors had acted improperly, calling Greenberg’s behavior “wildly unprofessional.” After telling both sides to “take it easy,” Pacold found that federal rules allowed prosecutors to move forward with its plan.

Before Monday’s proceedings closed on that testy exchange, Pacold made an order granting the government’s motion for a material witness warrant for Tiffany Huff, Offerd’s ex-girlfriend and the mother of his child.

The warrant was issued to the U.S. Marshals Service but remained under seal, according to an email sent through the court’s online system.

Huff was previously kicked out of the courtroom when officials realized she was watching from the gallery.

In a twist, prosecutors in FBG Duck murder trial intend to bring up criminal records of their own witnesses (2024)
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