Last updated: May 14. 2014 3:28PM - 2081 Views
By - rdupuis@civitasmedia.com



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WILKES-BARRE — Leo A. Glodzik III has taken the stand in his own defense this afternoon at his theft trial in Luzerne County Court, denying that he stole drug money.
 
“Mr. Mimnaugh knows it didn't happen,” Glodzik said of allegations he put stolen money into his pockets after towing what he believed to be a seized drug vehicle.
 
His appearance follows testimony this morning from a retired state trooper, Daniel Mimnaugh , who worked undercover for a sting operation that led to Glodzik's arrest last year,
 
Glodzik, 43, of Wilkes-Barre, faces theft counts on allegations he stole $2,100 from a vehicle he towed as part of a drug arrest on Jan. 29, 2013. Sklarosky maintains Glodzik was the target of entrapment by FBI officials seeking incriminating information against Leighton, Police Chief Gerald Dessoye and other city officials.
 
Meanwhile, an FBI agent “may” have asked Leo A. Glodzik III whether he was paying Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tom Leighton in order to maintain an exclusive towing contract, Mimnaugh testified this morning.
 
Mimnaugh made the statement under cross-examination by defense attorney Joseph Sklarosky Sr.
 
Mimnaugh, who recorded numerous conversations with Glodzik during what he called an undercover role, was working with the FBI drug task force. But it was the FBI which took the lead role in the probe, Mimnaugh said.
 
Sklarosky asked Mimnaugh if he ever told Glodzik that he “was in a lot of trouble” and should “come clean” with information about Leighton and others.
 
“I don't recall making that statement at all, actually,” Mimnaugh said.
 
Sklarosky asked Mimnaugh if he ever heard FBI agent Joseph Noone accuse Glodzik of paying Leighton in order to hang on to his exclusive towing contract.
 
“He may have asked that in the form of a question,” Mimnaugh replied. “Not in a statement like you're putting it. He may have asked him if he was doing that.”
 
Leighton suspended the contract the same day Glodzik was charged in May 2013.
 
Mimnaugh, a prosecution witness, spent part of the morning testifying under questioning from Assistant District Attorney Sam Sanguedolce before cross-examination by Sklarosky began.
 
Mimnaugh testified about his surprise in January 2013 when Glodzik first suggested splitting up seized drug money retrieved from dealers' cars.
 
“I know, but we just met,” Mimnaugh recalled saying.
 
But despite his feigned reticence, former trooper Mimnaugh's testimony is that he did play along with the idea, sending a cash-filled car Glodzik's way just days later, telling the tower he might want to “check the ashtray” of an impounded Cadillac.
 
Following a day of technical difficulties on Tuesday, jurors this morning listened to recordings made by investigators during a 2013 sting operation aimed at Glodzik and his business practices at LAG Towing. Mimnaugh also responded to questions about the circumstances surrounding the recordings.
 
“He asked me, any time you find money, you put it under the seat — and he motioned to under the seat — and we'll settle up later,” Mimnaugh said, responding to questions by prosecutor Sam Sanguedolce about a Jan. 25, 2013, conversation with Glodzik.
 
The jury of 10 men and two women heard Mimnaugh testify yesterday that he was playing the role of a “dirty cop” as part of the investigation, earning Glodzik's trust as they discussed setting up an arrangement under which Glodzik would tow vehicles seized by FBI drug task force members, including Mimnaugh.
 
Glodzik's attorneys, Joseph Sklarosky Sr. and Michael Sklarosky, have argued that he is a victim of entrapment by FBI agents who were seeking incriminating information against Wilkes-Barre city officials. When Glodzik couldn't deliver, the Sklaroskys say, the FBI ultimately charged Glodzik in May 2013, after months of holding charges over his head.
The alleged crime for which Glodzik was charged was a Jan. 29, 2013, incident in which police said Glodzik took what he believed to be drug money from a white Cadillac and then offered Mimnaugh $1,100 of it, wrapped in a paper towel during a meeting at Glodzik's Carey Avenue garage.
In one of the recordings played this morning, Mimnaugh can be heard talking to Glodzik about checking the car's ashtray after LAG towed it away from a parking lot behind the Wyoming Valley Mall.
Mimnaugh testified that although it was around 7 in the evening, Leo handed him a cash-filled paper towel back at LAG, saying it was “11 o'clock,” in apparent reference to the $1,100 he allegedly gave Mimnaugh.
Sklarosky, who frequently pointed out that Mimnaugh lied to Glodzik as part of his undercover role, demanded to know where the paper towel went. Mimnaugh did not know.
Sklarosky produced a pair of sweatpants, with no front pockets, which he indicated Glodzik had been wearing, contrasting that with Mimnaugh's statement that Glodzik took the $2,100 from the Cadillac on Jan. 29, 2013 and put it in his front pocket before later giving $1,100 to Mimnaugh.
Then, Sklarosky reminded Mimnaugh of his testimony at a preliminary hearing last year that Glodzik had been wearing “pants, a shirt … I don't know exactly.”
“You didn't tell me the pants had pockets, did you?” Sklarosky asked.
“I know that he was wearing pants with front pockets in them,” Mimnaugh said.
Testimony continues this afternoon.

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