NEW YORK - When federal authorities charged recently that the Gambino crime family had been involved in sex trafficking with girls as young as 15, one prosecutor suggested that the activity might represent “a new low for the Gambino family.”
But now a defense lawyer in the case contends that the government helped promote that same kind of illegal activity.
The lawyer, Gerald J. McMahon, said in newly filed court papers that one of the men running the trafficking ring was a convicted sex abuser who had a cooperation agreement as a federal witness.
“A reasonable person might wonder,” Mr. McMahon wrote, “whether the government — in its zeal to make a racketeering case against the Gambino family — allowed a 15-year-old girl to be shamefully and criminally exploited.”
The witness began cooperating with the government in 2008, court papers show, while the sex trafficking occurred in 2009. While he was a witness, he acted as the 15-year-old girl’s pimp, Mr. McMahon said...
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