PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — KDKA-TV has obtained FBI surveillance recordings, previously introduced in court, which were key to the prosecution of former East Washington Police Chief Donald Solomon.
Solomon may learn his fate Friday at a sentencing hearing.
A federal judge has ruled a confidential informant will not have to testify about his role in the prosecution of Solomon.
The defense has raised questions about that role, and Federal Judge Joi Flowers Conti is expected to rule on those issues Friday before sentencing.
Here, for example is a 2011 conversation between Solomon, who was chief at the time, and the informant about being hired to protect drug deals.
Informant: “Well, I would tell him, you know, you’re a cop. Um, he knows that you’re going to go along with it, then I’m pretty sure he knows you’re on the dark side.”
Solomon: “Tell him I’m the best cop money can buy.”
Informant: “Well said sir, well said.”
Solomon pleaded guilty to federal Hobbs Act violations that could mean decades in prison for him.
According to another recording, he told the informant he could keep his officers away from drug deals he agreed to protect.
Solomon: “I sent mine away.”
Informant: “You sent him away?”
Solomon: “I told him to go down to the station. I had two on till eight, one guy on till 11, another guy comes on at 11, so…”
Informant: “You can just tell him to go to the station like that, and go away?”
Informant: “God, you’re worth your weight in gold. Wait, how much you weigh before I say that?”
Also, federal agents tracked transactions in which Solomon, in his cruiser, protected the deal. In one transaction, Solomon was paid $1,000.
Informant: “That’s a thousand. I’ll tell you what. Keep that. I like the fact that you showed up in uniform. You were going to protect me, right? I liked how you, you, you backed up so he couldn’t just pull out right away.”
Solomon: “Um hum”
Informant: “Was that your plan?”
Solomon: “Um hum”
And the recordings show Solomon’s temper. He was explicit in his anger at his former girlfriend. In one video recording, casually over lunch, he talked about her possible demise.
Solomon: “But I’m sure that I would end up with, I mean I had it all figured out how I was going to do it if she came to my apartment. I got body bags in my apartment, so put her in a body bag, wait till it was night. Put her in the car. Take her some place, drop her off.”
And the demise of an East Washington councilman he did not like.
Solomon: “There’s others I’d rather have you go talk to.”
Informant: “Who’s that?”
Solomon: “Like one of my councilmen. I’d like for you to make him (expletive) feed the fish.”
During the original sentencing hearing, the defense raised questions about possible inducements for the informant, and which of these recordings are relevant to his sentencing hearing.
All those issues are expected to be settled at Friday’s sentencing hearing.