A self-professed drug addict, saying he was sick with withdrawal pains, yesterday was granted immunity to testify in a major Alexandria drug trial and immediately began recanting testimony he had given to a U.S. grand jury.
James Monroe Justice of Plantation Acres, Fla., claimed he had been pressured by federal prosecutors to provide certain testimony "so I just said anything."
Justice, who said he ran a drug "stash house," had been called a link Donald David Haynie, a West Palm Beach resident to what prosecutors have called a huge international drug ring that funneled large quantities of overseas drugs to America through Dulles International and other major airports.
Yesterday Justice, who said he was sick with a runny nose, chills and a headache from a lack of drugs, said he had told a grand jury in August that he had drug dealing with Haynie "even through in my mind I could have said I had not."
Under questioning by prosecutors, Justice said he could have had those dealings but he never knew for certain that the drugs he was holding at his home belonged the Haynie, the alleged leader of a ring that allegedly grossed $52 million in a six-year period. Haynie and four others have pleaded innocent to drug smuggling charges that stem from the seizure of 800 pounds of hashish at Dulles Dec. 5.
Under cross-examination, Haynie's attorney Michael Kennedy asked Justice if he tried to tell the truth when he initially went before the grand jury on March 23. "Not really," Justice said, shifting in the witness chair. "I kind of hedged on things."
Kennedy then asked Justice about his testimony on Aug. 2 before the grand jury.
"That was the other extreme," Justice said. A prosecutor told him "the grand jury is going to vote to charge me with perjury and he was going to give me another chance," he said. "On everything I tried to come up with a specific answer."
"You felt compelled to come up with an anser when you didn't even know an answer" Kennedy asked. "Yeah, yeah," Justice replied.
Justice's grant to immunity does not extend to perjury, a point noted by District Judge Albert V. Bryan Jr. when Justice was called as a witness.
Prosecutors alleged that Haynie was the center of a sophisticated drug operating from an. 1, 1977, until Septemebr when he was indicted.
Justice's description of the alleged operation showed it was run haphazardly. Hundreds of pounds of drugs were loaded in broad daylight, people sauntere in and out of drug "stash houses," thousands of dollars were left about in paper bags and that, on one occasion, 1,100 pounds of marijuana was stolen from his Florida house, he said.
Justice testified that on one Occasion 8,000 pounds of marijuana was delivered to his home and 1,700 pounds another time. When asked by prosecutor Henry Hudson whose marijuana it was, Justice said he didn't ask. It was bad manners to pry into others' business, Justice said. "You don't say, 'Is that yours'"
Justice said he did what he was supposed to do and then Haynie and some of the other defendants would give him money and food in friendship, not as pay.
Justice said he had sensed that Haynie owned the marijuana, but no one ever said he owned it. He also said he received no specific instructions from Haynie and that he believed the head of the operation was William Simon Coury, an Atlanta businessman. Coury was indicted along with the others, but pleaded to guilty to a felony drug charge and has testified for the prosecution.