Assistant U.S. Attorney Theodore Shmanda gestured at the glittering chunks of gold jewelry arrayed on the prosecution table, the glossy black mink spread over a chair, the red and black satin jackets spilling out of a cardboard box.
"Fine cars, fine jewelry, fine clothes . . . ," he told the jury. "Tools of the trade of Fast Eddie Anderson."
Shmanda spoke during the government's closing argument yesterday in its case against 28-year-old Eddie Lee Anderson, also known as "Fast Eddie" and who authorities allege is a pimp. Anderson has been on trial in U.S. District Court here for the last month on charges of transporting 12 females, five of them minors, across state lines for the purpose of prostitution.
The case, which is to wind up today with closing arguments from the defense, has drawn a steady stream of visitors to Judge John Garrett Penn's sixth-floor courtroom to listen to 16- and 17-year-olds testify about their lives as prostitutes.
"You know a case is colorful when you have the janitorial and cafeteria staff coming up on their breaks," said one law enforcement official connected with the case.
The government portrays Anderson as a street-smart hustler who sweet-talked vulnerable young girls in such places as Atlantic City and Las Vegas into working as prostitutes for him in what Shmanda yesterday called a "road show . . . from city to city" that ended last year with a highly organized prostitution ring in the District.
Anderson, the prosecution charges, reaped hundreds of thousands of dollars from the women he preyed on, beating and manipulating them into submission. "He used these young women as tools to enrich Eddie Anderson, over and over again," Shmanda said yesterday.
"He would play them off against each other: 'Crissy, you're no good, you only made $200,' 'Paula, you're okay because you made $500,' " Shmanda said, drawing derisive laughter from women in the courtroom. Penn later identified the women as "friends of Mr. Anderson" and admonished them to be quiet or risk being held in contempt of court.
While Anderson amassed expensive possessions, Shmanda said, "All the women got was transportation, a cheap motel room and . . . "I care a great deal about how I represent myself." -- "Fast Eddie" Anderson memories that will haunt them forever."
In support of the government's portrait, five women testified they worked for Anderson and turned over their earnings to support the lavish life style that included new cars every year and thousands of dollars kept in socks in the car's trunk. One of the women testified that Anderson broke her nose, putting a hole through it; another said Anderson broke her jaw.
In his defense, Anderson painted himself as free-wheeling gambler who quit a $175-a-week job and crisscrossed the country for four years in search of the good life and the next gambling house. He denied acting as a pimp and argued that his flashy trappings were merely the result of lucky hands.
Five other women named in the indictment testified they did not work for him. Two of those, however, had told the grand jury that returned a 21-count indictment against Anderson that he was their manager.
"Why would you dress like that?" Anderson's lawyer, Charles Stow, asked last Thursday, lifting from the box on the witness table last week a pair of black tuxedo pants and one of the jackets, with "Fast Eddie" emblazoned on the lapel. "Were you going to a masquerade party?"
"I care a great deal about how I represent myself," said Anderson, dressed in a white shirt with a gray tie and high-waisted pants and chuckling with the jury. "You want a dealer to pay attention to what you have on and not so much attention to the cards," Anderson said, turning to the jury to explain the finer points of counting cards in blackjack.
As for the women, Anderson said, "The young ladies hung around with me basically because I was winning at gambling.''