The DEA set up a deal to entrap well known criminal defense lawyer Ralph Crozier who the US Attorney labelled a “do it all” lawyer who went to far with his alleged attempt to launder drug proceeds.
The lawyer, with an interesting background and experience (see our extract from his website below) now faces a major trial of his own, as reported in the CT Law Tribune:
“Ralph. Ralph. Ralph.” Bruce Yazdzik, the government’s star witness in a money-laundering case against Seymour attorney Ralph Crozier, repeated his former attorney’s name, in responding to a series of questions from federal prosecutors.
Trial testimony began Tuesday morning in U.S. District Court in New Haven, with attorneys outlining their cases in opening statements before U.S. District Judge Janet Hall.
In coming days, the government said it will use testimony, records and surreptitiously recorded tapes from an April 11, 2013 conversation between Crozier and Yazdzik’s mother, Debra Rost, to prove Crozier agreed to launder $11,000 in drug proceeds. The money was actually put up by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, which was pursuing a case against Crozier for allegedly crafting a plan for Yazdzik to invest in a solar panel company in order to “clean” $30,000 in drug proceeds.
In his opening statement, Assistant U.S. Attorney Rahul Kale called Crozier a “do-it-all” attorney who “went too far.”
“You will hear Mr. Crozier’s own voice acknowledging he took Mr. Yazdzik’s money,” he said.
Michael Hillis countered that the government is prosecuting Crozier only because he couldn’t help them pursue public corruption cases in Waterbury. He didn’t elaborate on the charge.
Crozier faces up to 40 years in prison and up to a $2 million fine if convicted on counts of conspiracy to launder monetary instruments and attempt to launder monetary instruments. During Tuesday’s proceedings, Crozier sat by his attorney’s side jottings notes on a legal pad.
His former client, Yazdzik, a former drug dealer who is now serving a 10-year sentence in a federal prison in New Jersey for a single count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute oxycodone, spent most of the day camped out on the witness stand. Wearing a tan jailhouse jumpsuit, he testified about the solar company investment and other business ventures he said Crozier helped come up with to make Yazdzik appear more “legitimate.” They included a car selling business and a handyman businesses.
While going to great lengths to paint his client as a “father figure” to Yazdzik, Hillis detailed Yazdzik’s felonious past, which included convictions for drug and domestic violence, and said Yazdzik’s held himself out “to the world” as a car dealer and entrepreneur. He suggested Yazdzik went to great lengths to hide his true profession from everyone, including Crozier. He also suggested that Yazdik’s testimony against Crozier was intended to win him a reduction of his current sentence.
Hillis wasn’t finished cross-examining Yazdzik when court broke for the day. Crozier plans to testify late this week or earlier next week.
Federal prosecutors contend Crozier knew all along that Yazdzik’s money was from selling drugs.
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Ralph Crozier was pushed at an early age to excel. His family’s history goes back over a thousand of years and is traced from 1066 and William the Conqueror. His family moved to Ireland in 1407. More recently his forefather Captain Francis Crozier in 1821 volunteered to join Captain William Parry’s second expedition to find the Northwest Passage and Captained the H.M.S. Fury to the North Pole. He later in 1839 joined Ross on a four year voyage to explore the Antarctic as Captain of the H.M.S. Terror and finally died in 1848 with Sir John Franklin when his ships were stuck in ice and all men died. He took six separate voyages and was the only man in history to explore both poles.
On his mothers side Attorney Crozier’s grandfather isolated Progesterone and was the developer of the birth control pill. He received his PhD in chemistry and accepted the Nobel prize and fled to Brazil from Germany to avoid the oppression of the Nazi regime. While in Brazil, he founded the Institute Butantan where he isolated crotoxin the first snake toxin to be obtained and created numerous anti venoms. Working for Howard Hughs he co-founded a bio-pharmaceutical company and was a renowned research professor of bio chemistry at the University of Miami and searched all his life for a cure for polio using snake venom.