San Francisco Chronicle
Rapper appeals to Supreme Court
After having his request for a new trial denied by a Nevada judge last month, San Francisco rapper Mac Minister is appealing his double murder conviction to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Andre Dow was convicted of the 2005 killings of two Midwest rappers in Las Vegas in what prosecutors argued was retaliation for the homicide of San Francisco rapper Mac Dre. Some of the critical testimony against Dow came from a man who now says he lied on the stand.
Antoine Mouton took the stand in December to say that he’d lied when he said Dow had made incriminating statements about the murders of Anthony “Fat Tone” Watkins, 24, and Jermaine Akins, 22.
Judge Michelle Leavitt wrote in her Jan. 4 ruling that she found Mouton credible — during the trial. At trial, Mouton claimed he knew Dow from growing up, but in the December hearing, he said he actually hadn’t known Dow at all. He also acknowledged that he was testifying against Dow in hopes of getting a lenient sentence for child sex-trafficking. Though Dow’s team had accused Mouton, born Antoine Cantrell, of testifying under a false name at the trial, Leavitt believed him when he said he’d changed his name before the trial.
But she didn’t believe his story about police pressing him to implicate Dow.
“The Court has an opportunity to view the testimony of Mr. Mouton and to judge his demeanor and credibility,” wrote Leavitt. “His testimony was simply not credible.”
She said Mouton had a motivation to lie because of new scrutiny on the case, including that Dow had spoken out about him on a podcast days before he recanted. The judge was echoing arguments made by the state that Mouton felt he was in danger from Dow’s supporters if he didn’t recant.
Mouton testified that his father had convinced him to come forward and the son admitted to the father he’d lied. The father testified to the same.
Leavitt was also unswayed by December testimony from Lateef Gray, the former managing attorney of the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office’s Independent Investigations Bureau, which investigates police misconduct and prisoners’ claims of innocence. Gray, a civil rights attorney who was hired by recalled District Attorney Chesa Boudin and fired by Boudin’s successor, testified that he had uncovered information about Mouton that should’ve been turned over to the defense before Dow’s trial. Leavitt said the information was available to the defense during the trial.
While Mouton’s latest statements didn’t help Dow in Las Vegas, he’s arguing different grounds in asking for intervention from the Supreme Court, which has federal law to consider.
In the filing, Dow’s attorney Robert Demarco argues that Dow’s constitutional rights were violated in the original trial.
The first complaints are that Dow didn’t have the attorney of his choice and that his attorney later violated attorney-client privilege by testifying during the trial.
Demarco said Dow was prevented from putting up a full defense because several key defense witnesses didn’t testify.
It wasn’t immediately clear when the high court may decide whether to take the case.
Dow is serving life at Southern Desert Correctional Center, 20 miles north of Las Vegas.