2005_11_dollars.jpgAlthough it would probably be ulcer-inducing, Gothamist wishes we could be in the gallery for the Murder Inc. drug laundering trial. Because things sound totally insane. Yesterday, prosecutors heard testimony about druglord Kenneth McGriff's hit on 50 Cent (McGriff invested in record label Murder Inc.; the feds say Murder Inc. laundered McGriff's drug money) associates were text messaging each other within 30 minutes of the 2000 shooting, though a defense lawyer said that Murder Inc. head Irving Lorenzo/Gotti was really messaging "I love the s--- out of you" to his wife. Jurors didn't hear the evidence, as the judge is still deciding whether or not to allow the testimony.

But what takes the cake is that an NYPD detective spent his weekend putting 7,400 one-dollar bills into a shoebox to prove that in fact, Murder Inc. could have using shoeboxes to bring money in and out of the offices. Defense attorney Gerald Shargel had stumped a prosecution witness in bit of courtroom theatrics, when he asked the witness to put 7,000 fake bills into a shoebox. The witness couldn't, so Detective Anthony Castiglia actually put $7,400 in singles into an Adidas basketball shoes box. The NY Times described why with much flair

"Your example was that 7,000 bills could not fit in a shoebox," the detective told Mr. Shargel on cross-examination. "I have 7,400 bills in my shoebox."

...After watching his own stunt upstaged by the prosecution, Mr. Shargel complained that the detective's box was a lot larger than his own.

"Your shoebox was very small," Detective Castiglia said with a shrug. In his professional opinion, he went on, "the standard urban attire" for New York drug dealers was "sneakers and/or work boots," both of which, he said, required boxes of a greater breadth and width than one might need for shoes "in the small lawyerly size."

For the record, Mr. Shargel wears a custom-made Paul Stuart, size 12.

Burn! And we're impressed that Detective Castiglia used $2,400 of his own money to put in the shoebox; we suppose the remaining balance was taken from the NYPD evidence room, like from drug busts and raids. Gothamist can't wait for the next bizarre moment from this trial!