- The Washington Times - Friday, October 6, 2006

The robbery and slaying of New York Times journalist David E. Rosenbaum was part of a conspiracy to attack residents, then steal their credit cards to purchase items to resell on the street, officials with the U.S. Attorney’s Office said yesterday.

Prosecutors laid out their theory against defendant Percy Jordan Jr. during a motions hearing in D.C. Superior Court before Judge Erik P. Christian, saying evidence from two other robberies in which they think Mr. Jordan participated supports the conspiracy charge in the Rosenbaum case.

“Mr. Jordan was engaged in a conspiracy with his male family members to commit these crimes from November to January,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda Haines said.

Mr. Jordan, 42, is one of two suspects charged in the death of Mr. Rosenbaum, who was out for a walk Jan. 6 when he was attacked on Gramercy Street near his Northwest home

Other charges against Mr. Jordan in the Rosenbaum case include felony murder, aggravated assault and credit-card fraud.

The other suspect, Michael C. Hamlin, 24, has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, robbery and conspiracy and is expected to testify against Mr. Jordan, who is his cousin. Hamlin has admitted stealing Mr. Rosenbaum’s wallet, but said it was Mr. Jordan who beat the journalist over the head with a pipe.

According to a grand jury indictment, Mr. Jordan — identified as “Master P” — also participated in the Nov. 17 robbery in Southeast of James Rose and the robbery of Marian Dirda in Silver Spring the same night as the attack on Mr. Rosenbaum.

Miss Haines said the robberies clearly showed a conspiracy in which Mr. Jordan would enlist male cousins to help rob the victims by striking them on the head and stealing such items as credit cards and cell phones.

Mr. Jordan and others would ensure the cell phone and credit cards worked by calling Mr. Jordan’s home and swiping the cards at a gas station, Miss Haines said, then use the cards to purchase items such as deodorant and cigarettes that could be resold on the street.

Mr. Jordan’s attorney, Michael Starr, said at the hearing the robberies his client is being accused of were too far apart to establish a legal basis for a conspiracy charge.

“Legally, that’s very thin,” he told the judge. “I don’t think that’s a conspiracy — one person doing one thing with some people and then six weeks later doing something with other people.”

Judge Christian did not rule on the admissibility of the conspiracy charge, which likely will be revisited at a hearing Wednesday.

However, he gave prosecutors permission to attempt to link evidence of credit-card fraud in the Rosenbaum case to the Silver Spring robbery, and said he most likely will not allow details of the second robbery to be introduced at Mr. Jordan’s trial, which is scheduled for Oct. 18.

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